Irving Gill

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Irving Gill

(b. Syracuse, New York 1870; d. Carlsbad, California 1936)

Irving Gill was born in Syracuse, New York in 1870. The son of a building contractor, Gill attended public schools in New York but never went to college. In 1890 he joined the firm of Adler & Sullivan where Louis H. Sullivan influenced his outlook on the need for an "American Architecture".

In 1893 Gill moved to San Francisco. Two years later he established a private practice that was highly influenced by the native vernacular and traditional materials of the region. He worked in partnership with W. S. Hebbard from 1898 to 1906 and with Louis J. Gill from 1914 to 1916.

In his early California years, Gill practiced a variety of eclectic styles, ranging from Beaux-Arts to Shingle Style to Prairie Style. In 1906, when he ended his partnership with Hebbard, Gill began to make bold use of concrete and hollow tile, a technique that became one of the hallmarks of his career. He created a relatively inexpensive tilt-wall construction system that allowed for a great deal of artistic expression. This system allowed him to modify the existing California mission style into a simplified modern style.

A tireless designer of small-scale, low-cost housing projects, his career went into a decline after World War I when there was a revival of a Spanish neo-baroque style within southern California.

Gill died in Carlsbad, California in 1936.

Muriel Emmanuel. Contemporary Architects. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1980. ISBN 0-312-16635-4. NA 680-C625. p283-285.

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