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Bernard Maybeck

Bernard Maybeck, Architect [1862-1957]

Bernard Maybeck [†] was born in New York City in 1862, the son of German immigrants. His father's training in Flemish and Dutch cabinet making and specialization in wood carving, along with his own education at the Deutsche-Americanische Schule, deeply influenced the future aesthetic of Bernard Maybeck's architecture.

In 1881, Maybeck set sail for Paris, where he studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. In 1886, after five years in Paris, Maybeck returned to the United States and joined the firm of Carrere and Hastings in New York. In 1889 he came to the Bay Area, and eventually joined the offices of A. Page Brown, the most prestigious architectural firm in San Francisco. In 1894 he joined the Department of Instrumental Drawing at the University of California in Berkeley, a move that forever changed Maybeck's career. The largely rural town of Berkeley, with its beautiful hillsides and sweeping vistas of the Bay Area proved to be the perfect canvas for Maybeck to develop his love for German and Dutch medieval architecture, to foster the growth of the Arts and Crafts movement in California.

Over the next several decades, Maybeck developed a reputation as an eccentric artist and became one of the most influential voices of the Hillside Club and residential development of Berkeley and the Bay Area. He mentored numerous aspiring architects, including Julia Morgan and Lillian Bridgman, and designed some of the most significant works of architecture in the Bay Area, including the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Berkeley, and the Palace of the Fine Arts in San Francisco. Maybeck died in 1957 at the age of 95.

† 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.