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David Carson Soka

September 14, 1967 March 26, 2019
David Carson Soka
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Obituary for David Carson Soka

David Carson Soka passed away suddenly on March 26, 2019 in Stockport, New York. Born September 14, 1967 in Yonkers, he was the son of the late Arthur and Caroline Mink Soka. David most recently was a resident of Ghent, New York.
A talented architect, artist and naturalist with a deep-rooted connection to his craft and the Hudson Valley, David found his true expression through the medium of design. This led to an immensely creative and often thought-provoking international body of work in the arts and architecture.
At the time of his death, David was building Solstice Space, a 1150 square foot home in Spencertown, New York. Set into the rocks and forest, his work is heavily influenced by the surrounding landscape, both artistic and natural, as well as passive house and net zero design principles. The house and its surroundings had been a driving force in David’s life for over a decade. His work was also an ode to his memories of growing up surrounded by giant boulders, stacking stone walls with his father and working in their family’s vegetable garden.
David regarded the opportunity to bring his vision to fruition as “cosmologically aligned,” a subtle clue to Solstice Space’s deliberate alignment with the passage of the sun and moon. Similarly his design draws on site-specific ideas such as moving from rock “cave to crystal” as well as inspiration hewn from visits to nature-inspired world heritage sites in Japan, England and elsewhere.
David studied at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation under Dean Bernard Tschumi and at the University of Kentucky under Dean José Oubrerie, who recently cited David’s work on his Miller House in a book on the project. As an adjunct assistant Professor at Ohio State University, David also embraced the undulating landscape and farms of the lower Ohio Valley.
After completing his Masters of Architecture David then spent a year in Kyoto, Japan, on a Keimeisha Fellowship. Here he studied traditional Japanese carpentry, painted each of the city’s beautiful gardens and collected grass to be woven into the roofs of Kayabuki Minka. During this time he also developed a love of Wabi-Sabi and bathhouses, especially those in Japan and later Peter Zumthor’s stone thermal baths in Vals, Switzerland.
Following his time in Japan David lived and worked in New York City at Edward Larrabee Barnes / Lee Timchula Architects. There he met artist Maureen Connor and collaborated on an installation for Barcelona’s Antoni Tapies Foundation. This was set to be the first of many artistic collaborations including visionary work for Wisconsin’s Rabbit Island.
David moved to Madison, Wisconsin, in 2005 where he designed university research buildings as a licenced, LEED-accredited architect for Flad Architects. There he was greatly inspired by the state’s rolling farmland, architecture, gastronomy, thriving music scene and freshwater lakes, where he loved to canoe under the stars.
He was also deeply inspired by the environmental legacies of John Muir, Aldo Leopold and Gaylord Nelson as well as poets from farther afield including Wendell Berry. Their ideas made a profound impact on his approach to architecture and led him to become an expert in sustainable design, a focal point for his future work including Solstice Space.
David moved back to New York City in 2013 with Flad Architects and remained there until his departure in mid-2018 to build Solstice Space.

David leaves behind a loving community, including his brother Troy Soka and his girlfriend Ruth Temianka, as well as a strong creative legacy.
Those who would like to honor David’s life by making a donation in his memory are asked to give to: Hawthorne Valley Association 327 County Route 21C Ghent, NY 12075 Condolences may be convey at
A celebration of life will be held at Hawthorne Valley Farm, Ghent NY on Friday, June 21, 2019 at 4:00pm. All are welcome.

To send flowers or a remembrance gift to the family of David Carson Soka, please visit our Tribute Store.

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4:00 PM 6/21/2019 4:00:00 PM
Hawthorne Valley Farm

327 County Route 21C
Ghent, NY 12075

Hawthorne Valley Farm
327 County Route 21C Ghent 12075 NY
United States

Memorial Contribution

Hawthorne Valley Farm

327 County Route 21c
Ghent, NY 12075

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