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Signature Architects of the San Francisco Bay Area Hardcover – March 30, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

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. 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 residential architecture.

But is there such a thing as Bay Area architecture? Many people say no. Historians have been arguing for years about something called the "Bay Tradition" or "Bay Region Style." The term Bay Regional Style was invented in the late 1940s and refers to several things-the idiosyncrasies of Maybeck; the wit of Ernest Coxhead; the influence of farm houses, barns, and adobes; the influence of Mission Revival; and modern homes that soften the International style by building in redwood and admitting regional influences like Maybeck and Morgan or touches of Japan.

Dave Weinstein offers a detailed look at the Bay Area's master architects. From Frank Wolfe's idiosyncratic mix of details and foolhardy arrangement of windows, chimneys, rooflines and gables to Jack Hillmer's expressive use of natural woodwork and rigorous geometric designs to Ace Architect's playful style allied with post-modernism that deliberately recalls Bay Tradition architects from years past, this fascinating volume offers a rare glimpse of the talented architects who shaped the area.

Dave Weinstein is a long-time Bay Area writer and journalist who has been profiling architects for the San Francisco Chronicle for three years, and writes about modern architects for CA Modern-the Eichler Network magazine and Web site. Dave also writes about historic preservation, the environment, history, and diverse issues for many Bay Area and national publications. A native of Long Island, Dave studied art history at Columbia University and journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. He's an avid hiker and dog-walker, and a dedicated preservationist who initiated the successful effort to preserve the Cerrito Theater, an Art Deco theater in his hometown of El Cerrito, California.

About the Author

Dave Weinstein, a native of Long Island, New York, received his undergraduate degree in art history at Columbia University in 1973, and then studied journalism at UC Berkeley. He has lived in the Bay Area for thirty years, and spent twenty years as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers. Dave has written two books, Signature Architects of the San Francisco Bay Area, and the text for a photo book Berkeley Rocks. He writes for the magazine CA Modern, and for four years has been writing a popular series of architect profiles for the San Francisco Chronicle.



Linda Svendsen, a graduate of Music and Art High School and Parsons School of Design in New York, has been a renowned photographer for more than thirty years. Her work is showcased in numerous magazines and books; she is the author of Bicycle: Around the World.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Gibbs Smith; 1 edition (March 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586857517
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586857516
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,176,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By John Matlock on May 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Every city has a wide variety of buildings. But San Francisco, because of its small size puts a wide variety of architectural styles in close proximity. San Francisco is unique (with the possible exception of Boston) in that the down town residential areas have been kept up, have kept their value, and are considered to be desirable places to live.

As the book says, I'm not sure that there is a Bay Area traditional architecture. Instead it seems that a Victorian house can be adjacent to an ultra modern with no jarring conflict in the mind.

This well written, beautifully illustrated book, perhaps untentionally seems to tell why this is so. Mr. Weinstein describes the work of fifteen of the Bay Areas most famous architects. Their styles vary, and perhaps because of this these fifteen architects just may be the reason that San Francisco architecture is so diverse. Other architects or prospective house builders have taken ideas from this fifteen.

Besides being a history of San Francisco architecture, this book also qualifies as an idea book for anyone thinking of building a house.
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Format: Hardcover
Written in a style that's friendly, accessible, witty, and imaginative, Dave Weinstein really brings the personality and history of Bay Area architecture and architects to life in his book. Great photography too!
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Format: Hardcover
The book profiles 15 architects who helped shape the Bay Area we love. Dave Weinstein presents a historical view that doesn't extend to what we've been experiencing in the more recent years.

Some big names are not part of the 15 architects chosen. The 15 are not all individuals and include an architectural firm with its distinct approach and in the case of the Newsom brothers we had more than a single architect. The choice is these 15 is unclear but the combination is representative of the many styles we can still see as distinct in the Bay Area.

I was hoping to see more on the Eichlers that were built in the area half a century ago. The Bay Area is where Eichler communities were built and where in San Francisco Joseph Eichler attempted to expand his vision to urban development in the ways that were progressive and ahead of their time but led to the bankruptcy of his building company. You can still find untouched by time and carefully preserved Eichlers that remain in demand if you look for the Eichler communities.

There is no style that is representative of Bay Area which makes sensible Dave Weinstein's decision to show a representative selection. The selection includes most of what we associate with Bay Area architecture until the recent years changed much of what we love about the Bay.

The book is about architectural styles but the author includes stories of the architects that he chose and makes everything personal. Some of the 15 names are now known only to very few. Maybeck is not one of the 15 chosen.

The picture are highest quality and pleasure to look at.
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