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John Hudson Thomas

John Hudson Thomas, Architect [1878-1945]

John Hudson Thomas was born in Ward, Nevada in 1878 and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. After graduating from Yale University in 1902, he enrolled in the architecture program at the University of California and studied under the tutelage of John Galen Howard and Bernard Maybeck. Thomas worked for Howard for a short time, before entering into a partnership with George T. Plowman in 1906. During this period of his career he designed, with Plowman, a series of redwood bungalows which established his reputation.

In 1910 he established his own practice. He continued to design wood houses when clients requested them, but he became deeply involved with exploring the visual possibilities of working in stucco. Thomas borrowed ideas from a range of sources and transformed and integrated them into very complex compositions. Among the most influential architects in Thomas's career were Adolf Loos, Otto Wagner, Charles Mackintosh, and Charles Voysey. A member of the Hillside Club, he mastered the archetypal Craftsman style advocated by Charles Keeler, but Thomas's early work also shows a whimsical exploration in Mission, Gothic, Tudor, Art Nouveau, English Cottage, and Viennese Secessionist styles. After 1915, however, Thomas designed more literal interpretations of historical styles, a notable feature of the second Bay Area Tradition.

† Janice Thomas and Fredrica Drotos, Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association, Panoramic Hill, Alameda California, nomination document, 2004, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

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