Joseph Esherick (architect)

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Escherick Sea Ranch house (1966) looking West from street.
View of Esherick Sea Ranch house (1966) from the street looking Northwest.
Sea Ranch house designed, and previously owned by Joseph Esherick, 1966.

Joseph Esherick (December 28, 1914 – December 17, 1998) was an American architect.

Life and work[edit]

Esherick was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1937 with a bachelor of architecture degree,[1] Esherick set up practice in the San Francisco Bay Area as early as 1950 and taught at University of California, Berkeley for many years. He was awarded the AIA Gold Medal in 1989.

Inheriting the Bay Area architectural tradition of figures like Bernard Maybeck and William Wurster, Esherick's designs for hundreds of houses through his career centered on attention to regional traditions, site requirements, and user needs.

In 1938, Esherick married Rebecca Wood whom he knew from Penn. About ten years later Rebecca designed their own home in Kent Woodlands with Joe consulting. The style of the house with a huge gabled roof and large glass walls is stunningly modern. In 1946, Rebecca earned her architectural license and worked for her husband on a variety of projects while raising their three children.[2]

In 1959, Esherick was the co-founder, along with William Wurster and Vernon DeMars, of Berkeley's influential College of Environmental Design (CED). The CED encompassed disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, environmental planning and city planning, and served as a nexus for figures like Christopher Alexander, Catherine Bauer, Galen Cranz, Donlyn Lyndon, Roger Montgomery, Charles Moore, and William Wilson Wurster.

In 1972 Esherick reorganized his office, turning away from houses to more commercial and academic work, with three longtime associates George Homsey, Peter Dodge and Chuck Davis to form Esherick Homsey Dodge & Davis, the winner of the 1986 Architecture Firm Award. The firm continues today as EHDD Architecture. In 1976, Esherick was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Associate member, and became a full Academician in 1990.

In 1989 Esherick received the AIA Gold Medal.

Esherick was the nephew of American sculptor Wharton Esherick.



  1. ^ Blumenthal, Ralph (December 25, 1998). "Joseph Esherick, 83, an Acclaimed Architect". NY Times. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Champion, Allison Brophy (October 3, 2012). "Stinson Beach home is an Esherick masterpiece". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 5 March 2015.


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