First Bay Tradition

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First Bay Tradition (or First Bay Area Tradition) was an architectural style from the period of the 1880s to early 1920s. Sometimes considered a regional interpretation of the Eastern Shingle Style, it came as a reaction to the classicism of Beaux-Arts architecture. Its characteristics included a link to nature, and use of locally sourced materials such as redwood. It included an emphasis on craftsmanship, volume, form, and asymmetry. The tradition was rooted in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area.[1] The Environmental Design Archives at the University of California, Berkeley house a repository of drawings and specifications associated with the tradition.[2]

Joseph Worcester (minister), a minister, mystic, and amateur architect, is believed to have developed the First Bay Tradition in its early stages.[3] The style was later popularized by the architects Bernard Maybeck and Willis Polk.[4] Other architects associated with the tradition included A. Page Brown, Ernest Coxhead, John Galen Howard, Julia Morgan, Louis Christian Mullgardt, and A. C. Schweinfurth. Polk, Maybeck, and Schweinfurth had previously worked in Brown's office.[5]

The tradition influenced later styles such as the Modernists of the follow-on Second Bay Tradition. Transitional architects associated with the bridge between these two traditions were Henry Higby Gutterson and John Hudson Thomas.[1]

It has also been known as the San Francisco Bay Region Tradition[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Brown, Mary (September 30, 2010). "San Francisco Modern Architecture and Landscape Design 1935-1970 Historic Context Statement" (PDF). California Office of Historic Preservation. p. 83. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  2. ^ "Environmental Design Archives". University of California, Berkeley - College of Environmental Design. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  3. ^ Thompson, Elisabeth Kendall (1951). "The Early Domestic Architecture of the San Francisco Bay Region". Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. 10 (3): 15–21. doi:10.2307/987446.
  4. ^ "The Early Builders (1853-1863)". Russian Hill Neighbors. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  5. ^ Longstreth, Richard W. (1998) [1983]. On the Edge of the World: Four Architects in San Francisco at the Turn of the Century. University of California Press. pp. 6–7. ISBN 978-0-520-21415-6. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  6. ^ According to Freudenheim and Sussman, per National Register of Historic Places Registration: Jobs Peak Ranch, a year 2000 NRHP nomination of a work by Nevada architect Russell Mills.

Further reading[edit]

  • Freudenheim, Leslie Mandelson, and Elisabeth Sussman (1974): Building with Nature: Roots of the San Francisco Bay Region Tradition. Peregrine Smith, Inc., Santa Barbara.