"Signature Architects of the
San Francisco Bay Area"
When talk turns to architects who have made their
mark in the San Francisco Bay Area, it often stops
after two names—Bernard Maybeck and Julia
Morgan. Widely admired, they are the stuff of
legend. This book takes aim at the little-known Bay
Area architects—in other words, everyone else.
People talk about filmmakers with ease, about
writers, even painters. But most architects remain
unknown.

Metro, a San Jose weekly, did an amusing story
some years back about William Wurster, who’s
just one rung beneath Maybeck and Morgan on the
ladder of architectural fame, but a long rung. It was
the rare passerby who could tell the Metro’s
reporter who Wurster was—and this was on the
Cal campus standing in front of Wurster Hall.

Maybeck and Morgan did much to create what we
call Bay Area architecture. But they didn’t do it
alone. The fifteen architects profiled in this book
were chosen not because they are the best the area
has produced, though several are, but because their
stories, taken together, provide a solid history of
Bay Area architecture—residential architecture in
particular.

Many other architects would have made ideal
subjects, like the acerbic Willis Polk, easygoing
Joseph Esherick, or Bob Anshen, who helped
create Joseph Eichler’s modern suburban tracts.
One day maybe they will.

I started profiling Bay Area architects six years
ago, as an outgrowth of articles I had been writing
for the San Francisco Chronicle about preserving
historic buildings. It quickly became apparent that
before people realize that a building is worth
preserving, they need to understand what the
building is all about.

What makes a building special? What thoughts,
feelings and skill went into its creation? Whose
thoughts, feelings and skill?

Maybe, I thought, if people knew more about the
architects behind the architecture, they wouldn’t
have moved so quickly to tear down Vernon de
Mars’ and Don Hardison’s Easter Hill Village,
Gardner Dailey’s Red Cross Building, or any
number of Victorian cottages. Fat chance?
Perhaps. But I was encouraged once I started
knocking on doors, which was my modus operandi
in researching this book.

“Hi, I’m Dave Weinstein,” I would say, “and I’m
writing about the architect who designed your
house.” The house could be a multimillion-dollar
mansion in Atherton with wrought-iron gates a
quarter mile from the front door, or a bungalow in
San Jose with an old sofa on the porch. My spiel
would be the same. The next thing, more often than
not, I would be inside and people who said they
only had a few minutes to talk would soon be
bragging about their house and its architecture—
even if they didn’t know the name of the architect.
WARREN CALLISTER'S McMurray House -- a
touch of Japan, some subtle color, a sense of
peace.
By Dave Weinstein
"Signature Architects," published by
Gibbs Smith in  2006, is the only book
that tells the history of Bay Area
residential architecture -- from the
Victorians to today -- by focusing on the
lives and work of individual architects.
Based on a series of architect profiles
that continues to run in the San
Francisco Chronicle, the profiles are
lively, revealing -- and well illustrated.
COXHEAD'S CHURCHILL HOUSE,
today an inn in Napa, combines
historical styles with modern wit.
"Signature Architects," with photos by
Linda Svendsen, is 144 pages, hardback,
and costs $29.95 US dollars. To order, call
Gibbs Smith at 1-800-835-4993 or visit
www.gibbs-smith.com. The book is
available at many local shops, including
the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
and Builder's Booksource in Berkeley.
Introduction: Beyond Maybeck

1. Victorian Finery
Samuel and Joseph Cather Newsom Kept Up to
Date

2. On Spec
Leola Hall Made Her Mark with Craftsman Homes
in Berkeley

3. Strange Talents
Ernest Coxhead’s Idiosyncratic Homes Helped
Create the Bay Tradition

4. It’s Tough to Tell a Turton
Luther Turton Left His Mark on Napa in Varied
Styles

5. Designs that Delight
Albert Farr’s Witty Homes Went Well Beyond the
English Cottage

6. Stucco Style
For John Hudson Thomas, Medieval Was Post-
Modern

7. Prairie Homes in Silicon Valley
San Jose’s Frank Wolfe Loved to Mix It Up
8. California Colonial
Birge Clark Mixed Romance with Realism in Palo
Alto

9. Taking Whimsy Seriously
Carr Jones Created Medieval Cottages that are
Surprisingly Modern

10. Easy, Elegant and Up to Date
Gardner Dailey Brought Modern Architecture to the
Bay Area

11. Middle-Class Modernism
Roger Lee Designed Homes for Every Man

12. All Natural
Jack Hillmer Likes His Wood Raw and His Spaces
Spare

13. Listening for Architecture
Warren Callister’s Homes Arise from the Spirit of
the Place

14. Against the Grain
Donald Olsen Kept his Modernism Pure

15. Telling Stories
Ace Architects Tips its Hat to Architectural
Tradition
The architects
LEOLA HALL'S HONEYMOON HOUSE in
Berkeley -- an immense room for entertaining,
with small bedrooms behind and a sleeping
porch upstairs