Welton Becket

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Welton Becket
Born (1902-08-08)August 8, 1902
Seattle, Washington
United States
Died January 16, 1969(1969-01-16) (aged 66)
Los Angeles, California
United States
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Washington
Practice Welton Becket and Associates
Buildings
Design Century City Master Plan

Welton David Becket (August 8, 1902 – January 16, 1969) was an American architect who designed many buildings in Los Angeles, California.

Biography[edit]

Becket was born in Seattle, Washington and graduated from the University of Washington program in Architecture in 1927 with a Bachelor of Architecture degree (B.Arch.).[1]

He settled in Los Angeles in 1933 and formed a partnership with his University of Washington classmate Walter Wurdeman and Angelean architect Charles F. Plummer. Their first major commission was the Pan-Pacific Auditorium in 1935, which won them residential jobs from James Cagney, Robert Montgomery, and other film celebrities. Plummer died in 1939.

The successor firm Wurdeman and Becket went on to design Bullock's Pasadena (1944) and a couple of corporate headquarters. Wurdeman and Becket developed the concept of "total design," whereby their firm would be responsible for master planning, engineering, interiors, furniture, fixtures, landscaping, signage, and even (in the case of restaurants) menus, silverware, matchbooks, and napkins.[2]

The 3,000-seat Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, opened in 1958.

After Wurdeman's death in 1949, Becket formed Welton Becket and Associates and continued to grow the firm to the extent that it was one of the largest architectural offices in the world by the time of his death in 1969. In 1987, his firm was acquired by Ellerbe Associates, and the merged firm continued as Ellerbe Becket until the end of 2009, when it was acquired by AECOM. It is now known as Ellerbe Becket, an AECOM Company.[3]

Becket's buildings used unusual facade materials such as ceramic tile and stainless steel grillwork, repetitive geometric patterns, and a heavy emphasis on walls clad in natural stone, particularly travertine and flagstone.

With The Walt Disney Company and the United States Steel Corporation, Becket's firm co-designed Disney's Contemporary Resort, which opened in 1971 at Walt Disney World Resort. The Contemporary was designed as a 14-story steel A-frame with a monorail running through the building. Modular guest rooms were assembled, finished, furnished, fully equipped and their doors locked, on the ground, then lifted by crane and inserted (video below) into the frame like a dresser drawer.

Welton Becket was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1952.

Becket's sons, Welton MacDonald Becket & Bruce Becket, are also practicing architects.

Commissions[edit]

City Hall Pomona, California, built in 1969, designed by Welton Becket and B.H. Anderson as two buildings joined by a central glass pavilion (photograph taken in 2004).
Glendale Central Library, finished March 13, 1973.

Becket's extensive list of credits includes:

Interiors of the new Los Angeles International Airport, 1962

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Welton David Becket , Sr.". Pacific Coast Architecture Database. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  2. ^ Timberg, Scott (10 August 2002). "A Toast to a Man Who Left His Imprint on L.A.". Los Angeles Times. 
  3. ^ Reynolds, Christopher (6 March 2003). "L.A.'s Invisible Builder". Los Angeles Times. 

External links[edit]

The ArcLight Cinerama Dome, as decorated for Shrek 2.