From Blueprints to Buildings

May 01, 2003 – February 15, 2004

This exhibit of San Diego architecture traces the region’s rich architectural history from early Indian bark houses to Modern and Postmodern buildings. The exhibition draws on the Historical Society’s extensive archives to showcase the most significant examples of various architectural styles and types of structures.

Through historical artifacts, photographs and ephemera from the Society’s collection the exhibition chronicles San Diego’s architectural history. The exhibition includes residential, religious, educational, scientific, commercial and recreational buildings as well as bridges. It features examples of Mission, Victorian, Spanish Colonial, Italian Revival, Arts and Crafts, Art Deco, International, Modern and Post Modern. It is structured to trace the evolution of architectural styles in San Diego through five distinct phases.

The first section features early vernacular (1769-1860), which begins with Native American dwellings and progresses through Mission San Diego de Alcala, Casa de Estudillo, the Point Loma Lighthouse and the Thomas Whaley House.

The next section covers San Diego’s boom years from 1860 to 1900 when the Horton House, Villa Montezuma, Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego County Courthouse and other significant structures were built.

The 1900-1915 period features the Marston House, the Bishop’s School, Theosophical Society Homestead and Temple on Point Loma, and the Melville Klauber residence.

The 1915-1945 period saw San Diego architecture return to its Mexican and Spanish roots, with the buildings in Balboa Park as the most stunning example. Balboa Park set the tone and style of California architecture. It created the idea of a magical fairyland

Notable structures in the 1945 to present section include the Salk Institute, the Coronado Bridge, Horton Plaza and the Convention Center.

In addition to illustrating the progression of San Diego’s architectural styles, the exhibition will highlight architects who helped create the signature styles, including Irving Gill, William Templeton Johnson and Bertram Goodhue. It also features images of notable buildings that no longer exist and examples of adaptive re-use of some historic structures such as the San Diego Trust and Savings Bank building at the corner of Sixth and Broadway which now houses the Courtyard by Marriott hotel and Faz restaurant.