Bernard Maybeck Posts a Great Past

This is the first in a series of architectural highlights, which will be posted each week.  Each post will visit the heritage and history behind some of the East Bay’s greatest architects and what makes their homes so fabulous.  I will also talk about styles, movements, and trends. 

Bernard Maybeck was certainly a visionary and eclectic connosieur of chamelionesque design within the Arts and Craft movement of the 20th century.  He moved to Berkeley at the age of 30, acting as a mentor to some of the most esteemed architects, including Julia Morgan and William Wurster.

Some of his larger homes can be found by his old stomping grounds near Buena Vista Way and La Loma in Berkeley, a fact memorialized by Maybeck Twin Drive off of Buena Vista above La Loma.  Maybeck was known for his ability to build on the land, in harmony with the surrounding landscape.  One of his most inspirational works is perhaps the First Church of Christ in Berkeley.  In it he combined personalized historicism – combining oriental, classical, Romanesque and Gothic motifs and indiustrial materials integrated to a powerful new whole.  In the words of Kenneth Cardwell, Maybeck’s biographer, “no other building demonstrates so completely Maybeck’s imaginative architectural genius […] with its masterly handling of space, structure, color, and light.” 

In May the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association will be hosting their 34th Spring House Tour and Garden Reception featuring “Maybeck Country, the Hillside Houses of the Early- and Mid-20th Century,” Sunday, 3 May 2009, One to Five o’clock