Bernard Maybeck : Architect

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  • Bernard Ralph Maybeck (February 7, 1862 – October 3, 1957) was an architect in the Arts and Crafts Movement of the early 20th century. He was a professor at University of California, Berkeley. Many of his major buildings were in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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    Bernard Maybeck is a luminary of American architecture whose work is particularly valued in the San Francisco Area, where a large majority of his greatest works can be found.

    Maybeck was born in Greenwich Village, New York in 1862. His was the son of German immigrant parents, who encouraged him to draw and paint. Maybeck's father was a woodcarver and sent the young Bernard to Paris to study furniture making. But he soon chose his own path and enrolled in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts school, where he studied architecture until returning to the U.S. in 1886.

    Maybeck migrated west and arrived in California in 1890 where, like other young architects of the time, he took inspiration from the local environment. Maybeck joined the faculty of UC Berkeley in 1894 as a drawing instructor in the Civil Engineering College - from 1898 through 1903, he served as the university's first professor of architecture.

    After leaving UC Berkeley, Maybeck established an architectural office in San Francisco, California and specialized in homes, churches, and club buildings. He experimented with innovative and different building materials and developed an eclectic personal style that combined Spanish mission, Gothic, and Japanese influences. Maybeck's work include use of native woods, large windows, handcrafted craftsman details, intriguing use of color, and brilliant integration with the landscape.

    Maybeck designed many of the Bay Area's most treasured buildings. His homes, both small and grand, incorporated features considered radical at the time, including shingles, rough redwood interiors, and huge hand-wrought fireplaces. His public commissions include the First Church of Christ, Scientist (1910) in Berkeley - considered Maybeck's masterpiece - with its Gothic influences, brilliant color, and all interior furnishings designed by the architect.

    From 1913 to 1915, Maybeck created the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, which became the most popular building at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition and the event's only surviving structure. Designed as an art gallery, the Palace displays Maybeck's flair for drama and his passion for buildings in harmony with their natural surroundings.

    The American Institute of Architecture honored Maybeck twice during his lifetime - with citation in 1913 and with a Gold Medal in 1951. Maybeck died in California in 1957.

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    Biography / History

    Bernard Maybeck is a luminary of American architecture whose work is particularly valued in the San Francisco Area, where a large majority of his greatest works can be found.

    Maybeck was born in Greenwich Village, New York in 1862. His was the son of German immigrant parents, who encouraged him to draw and paint. Maybeck's father was a woodcarver and sent the young Bernard to Paris to study furniture making. But he soon chose his own path and enrolled in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts school, where he studied architecture until returning to the U.S. in 1886.

    Maybeck migrated west and arrived in California in 1890 where, like other young architects of the time, he took inspiration from the local environment. Maybeck joined the faculty of UC Berkeley in 1894 as a drawing instructor in the Civil Engineering College - from 1898 through 1903, he served as the university's first professor of architecture.

    After leaving UC Berkeley, Maybeck established an architectural office in San Francisco, California and specialized in homes, churches, and club buildings. He experimented with innovative and different building materials and developed an eclectic personal style that combined Spanish mission, Gothic, and Japanese influences. Maybeck's work include use of native woods, large windows, handcrafted craftsman details, intriguing use of color, and brilliant integration with the landscape.

    Maybeck designed many of the Bay Area's most treasured buildings. His homes, both small and grand, incorporated features considered radical at the time, including shingles, rough redwood interiors, and huge hand-wrought fireplaces. His public commissions include the First Church of Christ, Scientist (1910) in Berkeley - considered Maybeck's masterpiece - with its Gothic influences, brilliant color, and all interior furnishings designed by the architect.

    From 1913 to 1915, Maybeck created the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, which became the most popular building at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition and the event's only surviving structure. Designed as an art gallery, the Palace displays Maybeck's flair for drama and his passion for buildings in harmony with their natural surroundings.

    The American Institute of Architecture honored Maybeck twice during his lifetime - with citation in 1913 and with a Gold Medal in 1951. Maybeck died in California in 1957.

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