Richard Sundeleaf

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Richard Sundeleaf
BornRichard Wilhelm Sundeleaf
(1900-02-08)February 8, 1900
Portland, Oregon
DiedMarch 8, 1987(1987-03-08) (aged 87)
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Spouse(s)Mildred Sundeleaf (1925–1987)
PracticeA. E. Doyle (1923–1924);
Sutton and Whitney (1924–1928);
Sole practice (1928–1980s)

Richard Wilhelm Sundeleaf (February 8, 1900 – March 8, 1987) was an American architect from Portland, Oregon, United States. A number of the buildings he designed are listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

Early life and education[edit]

Sundeleaf was born in Portland's Goose Hollow neighborhood in 1900, and moved at age 6 to a neighborhood just north of Sellwood that was then known as City View Park.[1] After graduating from Washington High School in 1918 he attended the University of Oregon's School of Architecture, in Eugene, graduating in 1923.[2] He trained in the Beaux Arts style of traditional design.[2]


After graduation, Sundeleaf returned to Portland. He began working for the firm of A. E. Doyle in 1923 and remained with Doyle for a year. He then worked for four years with the firm of Sutton and Whitney.[1] After working for other architecture firms, he decided to open his own firm in 1928.[2] During the Great Depression, he worked for the Historic American Buildings Survey. During this time he became known for his imaginative work in industrial architecture. He combined his decorative training with a rugged functionalism in a series of distinctive warehouses and offices.[3] In the 1940s, his style changed somewhat when he became a proponent of the Streamline Moderne style, "in which the spirit of the machine age and the concepts of aerodynamics shaped the design of the building", The Oregonian wrote in its obituary of Sundeleaf.[2]

He designed numerous residential and public buildings around Portland. Sundeleaf carried out several projects for Portland-based Jantzen Knitting Mills, including design of a new headquarters building and factory building in Portland, as well as buildings in Australia and England.[4]

In 1935, Sundeleaf designed a Tudor-style English cottage for the University of Oregon chapter of Chi Psi in Eugene, Oregon. The Chi Psi Fraternity House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1993. Many of Sundeleaf's English cottages would be constructed in suburban Portland.[5]

Sundeleaf lived in Lake Oswego, Oregon, from 1940 until his death, and he designed many homes in that area.[1] One of the latter, the Dr. Walter Black House, is listed on the NRHP.[6] Around 1930, Jantzen Knitting Mills co-founder Carl Jantzen also commissioned Sundeleaf to design his home in Oswego (now Lake Oswego), and the now-NRHP-listed Carl C. Jantzen Estate used Sundeleaf's designs for its boathouse[7] and bridge.[4] Sundeleaf also designed the NRHP-listed 1934 Paul F. Murphy House, in Northwest Portland.[8]


With his wife, Mildred, to whom he was married from 1925 until his death, Sundeleaf also owned a 160-acre (65 ha) ranch in southwestern Montana, acquired in 1956.[1]

Sundeleaf died on March 8, 1987, at his home in Lake Oswego.[2] His career included over 3000 projects.[9]



Commercial and public buildings[edit]

  • Oregon Portland Cement Building (1929), 111 SE Madison, Portland, NRHP-listed[10][9]
  • Headquarters of Jantzen (Portland), 1929; and British headquarters of Jantzen in London, England, 1933[1]
  • Mailwell Envelope Co., 1931[9]
  • Fliedner Building remodel, 1931[9]
  • Woodbury and Co. warehouse, 1939[2]
  • Bearing Service Co. building, 1944[2]
  • General Co. building (now Dynagraphics Inc.), 1945[2]
  • Francis and Hopkins Motors showroom (which later became the University Station Post Office), 1949[2]
  • The original Oregon Museum of Science and Industry building, 1955[2]
  • Portland Medical Center (a conversion of the 1929 Eastern Building, a former department store at SW 10th and Washington),[11] 1957[2]
  • Wilson-Chambers Mortuary (1932), aka "Little Chapel of the Chimes", 430 N. Killingsworth St., Portland, NRHP-listed[10]


  1. ^ a b c d e Pintarich, Paul (August 19, 1982). "At 82, Oregon's oldest architect is still going strong". The Oregonian. p. C2. (Clackamas County edition).
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Architect Richard Sundeleaf dies". The Oregonian. March 11, 1987. p. C8.
  3. ^ "Richard Sundeleaf papers and architectural records, 1924-1984". University of Oregon Special Collections & University Archives: Archives West. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  4. ^ a b John M. Tess (August 1989). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Carl C. Jantzen Estate" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  5. ^ Tim Netsch (March 18, 1993). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Chi Psi Fraternity House" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved November 20, 2013.
  6. ^ Jane Morrison (August 1, 1990). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Dr. Walter Black House" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  7. ^ Goetze, Janet (August 27, 2013). "Lake Oswego Preservation Society's boat tour of Oswego Lake combines history, architecture". The Oregonian. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  8. ^ a b John M. Tess and Richard E. Ritz (July 1990). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Paul F. Murphy House" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  9. ^ a b c d Ritz, Richard Ellison (March 2003). Architects of Oregon. Portland, Oregon: Lair Hill Publishing. pp. 375–377. ISBN 0-9726200-2-8.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  11. ^ "Remodeling nears for Eastern Building" (May 6, 1955). The Oregonian, p. 29.

External links[edit]