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.

Architectural career[edit]

Joseph Esherick was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1937 with a bachelor's degree in architecture.[1] Esherick worked for San Francisco Bay Area architect Gardner Dailey, and, about 1950, began his own practice in the Bay Area. He taught at the University of California, Berkeley for many years. Esherick was awarded the AIA Gold Medal in 1989.[2]

Following in the tradition of Bay Area architects such as Bernard Maybeck and William Wurster, Esherick designed hundreds of houses, emphasizing 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.[3]

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.

Esherick was the nephew of American sculptor Wharton Esherick.

Work (partial list)[edit]


  1. ^ Blumenthal, Ralph (December 25, 1998). "Joseph Esherick, 83, an Acclaimed Architect". NY Times. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
  2. ^ "Gold Medal". American Institute of Architects. Retrieved January 31, 2022.
  3. ^ "Daring to Design Modern: Women Architects of Northern California - Docomomo".
  4. ^ Champion, Allison Brophy (October 3, 2012). "Stinson Beach home is an Esherick masterpiece". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved March 5, 2015.


External links[edit]