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Irving J. Gill: New Architecture For a Great Country

Architect Irving J. Gill was a San Diego architect, by way of Chicago, who relished the opportunity to work in this city during the end of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  He saw San Diego as a blank slate with great potential. Inspired by the coast and canyons, sunlight and shadows, Gill created a new design language, what we now call modern architecture. His simple, block-like designs offered simplicity, clean lines, and efficiency at a time when faux-Victorian and Spanish Colonial architecture were mainstream. Once sought after by many of San Diego elites like, Ellen Browning Scripps and Melville Klauber, his legacy was largely overlooked after his death.

San Diegans today may not know the name Irving Gill, but they are, perhaps unknowingly, aware of his influential and livable architecture.  From the home of Ellen Browning Scripps (today’s Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla), to the Bishop’s School in La Jolla, to the Sacred Heart Church in Coronado, the Marston House in Balboa Park, the Americanization School in Oceanside, and the Barona Indian Reservation in Lakeside. Gill’s designs made a lasting mark on San Diego County and the influence architects and their clients to this day.

Visit the History Center’s exhibition Irving J. Gill: New Architecture for a Great Country to learn more about this fascinating and sometimes misunderstood individual who helped create in a new style of architecture revered throughout the world, but one that originated right here in San Diego.
 
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SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Fund at The Chicago Community Foundation for its operating support.
Society of Architectural Historians
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