August 8, 1902|
|Died||January 16, 1969
Los Angeles, California
|Alma mater||University of Washington|
|Practice||Welton Becket and Associates|
|Design||Century City Master Plan|
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.
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.
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.
Becket's sons, Welton MacDonald Becket & Bruce Becket, are also practicing architects.
Becket's extensive list of credits includes:
- Pan-Pacific Auditorium (destroyed by a fire), Los Angeles, 1935
- Manila Jai Alai Building (demolished), Manila, Philippines, 1939
- Pegasus (formerly the General Petroleum Building), Los Angeles, 1949
- Beverly Hilton Hotel, Beverly Hills, 1953
- Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, 1953
- Parker Center (formerly the Police Administration Building), Los Angeles, 1955
- Capitol Records Building, Los Angeles, 1956
- Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Santa Monica, 1958
- Hotel Tryp Habana Libre (formerly the Habana Hilton), Havana, Cuba, 1958
- The Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo (formerly the Nile Hilton), Cairo, Egypt, 1959
- Sheraton Dallas Hotel (formerly the Adams Mark Dallas and Southland Center), Dallas, 1959
- Kaiser Center, Oakland, 1960
- Petersen Automotive Museum (formerly a Seibu and Ohrbach's department store), Los Angeles, 1962
- Cinerama Dome, Los Angeles, 1963
- Century City (masterplan), Los Angeles, 1963
- Gateway West Building, Century City, Los Angeles, 1963
- Hartford National Bank, Hartford, CT 1963
- McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas, NV 1963
- Federal Building, Los Angeles, 1964
- Los Angeles Music Center (officially the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County), Los Angeles, 1964
- General Electric Pavilion (destroyed), New York City, 1964
- Pauley Pavilion at UCLA (officially the Edwin W. Pauley Pavilion), Los Angeles, 1965
- Gulf Life Tower (now known as the Riverplace Tower), Jacksonville, Florida, 1967
- Xerox Tower, Rochester, New York, 1967
- City Hall, Pomona, 1969
- Equitable Life Building, Los Angeles, 1969
- 800 Wilshire, Los Angeles, 1970
- PNC Plaza (formerly the Citizens Fidelity Plaza), Louisville, 1971
- Disney's Contemporary Resort, Lake Buena Vista, 1971
- Worcester Center Galleria (demolished 2012), Worcester, MA, 1971
- Chase Tower (formerly the Bank One Center and Valley Bank Center), Phoenix, 1972
- Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, New York, 1972
- Regions Center (formerly the AmSouth Center, AmSouth-Sonat Tower, and First National-Southern Natural Building), Birmingham, 1972
- Glendale Central Library, Glendale, 1973
- 100 Summer Street, Boston, 1974
- Reunion Tower, Dallas, 1978
- One Market Plaza, San Francisco, 1972
- Orange Civic Center, Orange, 1963
- Park Plaza Mall, Oshkosh, WI, 1970, now City Center a commercial business center for Oshkosh.
Interiors of the new Los Angeles International Airport, 1962
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Welton Becket.|
- Perkins quote, from oral history, pg. 75
- Video clip of construction of the Contemporary Resort
- Contemporary Pictures
- Welton Becket at Find a Grave