Reverse blueprint of ship cross-section

Image credit: Eugene Ray, Silver Ship Architectural Rendering (Elevation), 1978; diazotype from original hand drawn graphite on vellum rendering; courtesy of the SDSU Library’s Special Collections and University Archives

Radiant Architecture: The Visionary Work of Eugene Ray


On view August 3 – October 6, 2019

SDSU DOWNTOWN GALLERY 725 West Broadway San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 501 – 6370

Thursday through Monday 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (closed Tuesday and Wednesday)

Closure – September 2, 2019


Radiant Architecture: The Visionary Work of Eugene Ray celebrates the work and philosophy of architect and SDSU emeritus professor of Environmental Design from 1969-1996, Eugene Ray who is well known for his former La Jolla home and studio called the Silver Ship. Through an approach blending together theory, practice, and spirituality to arrive at architectural solutions and design, Ray’s methodology and pedagogy is truly unique. Ray invited many of his contemporaries such as Buckminster Fuller, Paolo Solari, Archigram, Ant Farm, Reyner Banham, and Bruce Goff, among others, to lecture at SDSU during his tenure. Ray sees architecture as a conduit for creating community and for considering possibilities that are sustainable and ecologically friendly. This combination of concept and making produced a one-of-a-kind practitioner whose structures became an invitation into another realm of perception.

Commemorating Eugene Ray’s 50th anniversary of starting at SDSU, the exhibition is comprised of many rarely seen, original hand-drafted architectural renderings and plans, ephemera, and collages, as well as projection sequences that share a visionary way of viewing the universe and urban space around us. This selection of works was drawn from SDSU Library’s Special Collections and University Archives, which will house Ray’s archive as part of its holdings, making his life’s work available for educational and scholarly research purposes.

Radiant Architecture: The Visionary Work of Eugene Ray is curated by Lecturer David Fobes, Professor Arzu Ozkal, Professor Junichi Satoh and organized by the SDSU Downtown Gallery in collaboration with the SDSU Library’s Special Collections and University Archives. The exhibition and events are sponsored by RNT Architects, Yuman Young, Kevin Immel, Yoshiki Matsuhisa, the School of Art + Design, the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts, and Arts Alive SDSU. Additional support is provided by the San Diego State University Art Council Ambassadors.   


Thursday, August 15, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Downtown at Sundown
SDSU Downtown Gallery

Thursday, September 19, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Reception with Eugene Ray
SDSU Downtown Gallery

All Events are FREE and open to the public

For more information about the exhibition or events, please contact Chantel Paul, Downtown Gallery Director at

About Eugene Ray and his archive within Special Collections and University Archives:

Eugene Ray, University Archives Photograph Collection Image credit: Eugene Ray, University Archives Photograph Collection; courtesy ofSDSU Library’s Special Collections and University Archives

Eugene Ray was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on October 26, 1932, to a family with very strong French roots. Professor Ray developed his strong interest in architecture, nature, history, and UFOs during his adolescent years in Louisiana. Much of his work was influenced by a UFO sighting in his teenage years, and Ray’s fascination with such astronomical anomalies continued into his retirement through the form of his blog: “Eugene Ray Architect.”  Professor Ray began teaching without a degree at Tulane University in 1952, then attended architecture school there for a year. He left to design buildings and enrolled in Louisiana State University to finish his education. After marrying, Ray dropped out of school, obtained his architecture license, and was invited to teach temporarily at Louisiana State University in 1964. San Diego State University offered him a job upon acquisition of a degree, so Ray earned his Master’s Degree at Tulane before moving to California permanently in 1969.

Professor Ray taught Environmental Design at SDSU until 1996. The program that he founded and developed is one of the most unique in the world, and hosted guest lectures by prominent architects including Bruce Goff, Reyner Banham, Buckminster Fuller, and Archigram’s Sir Peter Cook. The program generated many successful and notable professionals. Several students even assisted Ray in building his home, “The Silver Ship,” in La Jolla, California. The professor’s architectural works are influenced by the synchronicities of nature, the many cultures represented in Louisiana, and an aspiration to develop affordable homes. Ray’s accomplishments are noted internationally.

More ways you can explore the archive
can be found here: