Joseph Esherick, EHDD

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Works Cary House, at Mill Valley, California, 1960.
Garfield School, at San Francisco, California, 1981.
House at Kentwoodlands, at Kentwoodlands, California, 1957.
Silver Lake Lodge, at Deer Valley, Utah, 1982.
The Cannery, at San Francisco, California, 1968.
Monterey Aquarium, at Monterey, California, 1980 (circa).
The Hermitage, at San Francisco, California, 1984.

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Joseph Esherick, EHDD

(b. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1914; d. December 18, 1998)

Joseph Esherick was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1914. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1937. He worked in a private architectural practice in San Francisco until 1953 after which he assumed presidency of Joseph Esherick and Associates. From 1972 until the 1990s he was president of Esherick, Homsey, Dodge, and Davis (EHDD) in San Francisco. He was awarded the AIA Gold Medal in 1989. He was also an influential professor of architecture at UC Berkeley for many years, through the mid-1980's.

In a quiet break with tradition, including the formalism of the Bauhaus, Joseph Esherick reverted to a practical design approach, continuing and extending a Bay Area tradition pioneered by Bernard Maybeck, and extended by William Wurster and some contemporaries. Esherick rejected formal concepts of beauty and designs his buildings in relation to their specific purposes. He attempted to find new solutions to the problems of form and function. Critical of the aesthetic theory of design, Esherick emphasizes the functionality of a building over its appearance.

Esherick displayed an enormous diversity within his work. By approaching each project with a clean mental slate, he allowed himself tremendous creative breadth. He combined a utilitarian design philosophy, a desire to have his buildings reflect and merge with nature and the vernacular design of California to create successful, liveable buildings. He has been integral to the establishment of the Bay Area tradition in architecture.

Muriel Emmanuel. Contemporary Architects. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1980. ISBN 0-312-16635-4. NA 680-C625. p241-243.

Adolf K Placzek. Macmillan Encyclopedia of Architects. Vol. 2. London: The Free Press, 1982. ISBN 0-02-925000-5. NA40.M25. p32-33.

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