When Lewis Mumford suggested the existence of a “Bay Region Style” in a New Yorker article in 1947 he created quite a stir in the architectural community. When he suggested that this regional California form of modernism was more “humane” than that practiced in other parts of the world he created an uproar.
Whether or not there is a characteristically Northern California style of architecture is still up for debate. Proponents now divide the Bay Region tradition into three schools: the first represented by Bernard Maybeck and Julia Morgan, the second by William Wurster and Gardner Dailey, and the third by Joseph Esherick and Charles Moore.
The intent of this website is not to take a position one way or another in this argument. We seek only to catalog the wide variety of compelling architectural contributions to our local environ. We will discuss some architects and builders that fit neatly into one of the Bay Region categories described above, as well as some that do not. Our focus will begin in the East Bay where most of the Bay Region architects lived and worked, but we will also make visits further afield to places like Sea Ranch where the Third Bay Tradition is well represented.