James Hubbell Experience

I recently enjoyed an exclusive tour and luncheon at the home of James and Anne Hubbell. To call the Hubbell’s home unique is an understatement. The property and its structures are a reverence to heaven and nature’s seamless connection. James says, “It is the intertwining of the natural, physical, and spiritual that gives our human story meaning.” Thinking of the creativity, innovation and inspiration (not to mention perspiration) that went into creating this unique property is mind-blowing – truly a feat of courage and perseverance. The couple even dug one of the main buildings’ foundations by hand…not with shovels!

During my visit, I especially loved hearing Anne and James explain how they found the courage to create their beautiful home. Anne said that as a young girl she was inspired by a woman who built her own log cabin. James explained that he had already failed at so many things, he wasn’t afraid to fail at his art and architecture. He said he was never any “good” in school but eventually decided it was the teachers’ problem. What a revelation for a young man to have!

No one would argue that the contributions James Hubbell makes to art, poetry and architecture are anything less than extraordinary, so James’s comment made me wonder why such an obviously gifted and innovative architect and artist “failed” in school (or perceived that he did). I often hear or read that people (like Albert Einstein, Steven Spielberg, Thomas Edison, Lucille Ball, Isaac newton, Michael Jordan and Auguste Rodin) who are recognized for innovative accomplishments did not do “well” in school. And I wonder why. How can educators recognize creative thinking as achievement and success? How can learning environments be designed to “reward” all types of genius?

James Hubbell has “bridged together materials, countries, people and nature, the way water moves.”(1) How can we bridge together art, math, critical thinking and cultural inclusion to allow children to achieve personal and academic success?

Thank you Anne and James for sharing your home and your hearts!


(1) James Hubbell, A View From Above: Thoughts about San Diego and the Baja Region. March 2011.