Clyde Hufbauer was born in Los Angeles (on May 26, 1911) prior to his family relocating to San Diego (at age 10). Following graduation from San Diego High School, Clyde attend San Diego State College before pursuing architectural studies at Cal. Here he obtained his Bachelor (in 1933), Master of Arts (in 1934), and for the first time in the University’s history, a Doctorate of Architecture (in 1936).
Clyde met Arabelle McKee, a fellow architectural student at Cal. Arabelle also secured her BA and MA in architecture. The couple married and relocated to San Diego. Clyde began his architectural career in the late 1930’s as he and Arabelle welcomed three children, sons Karl and Gary, and young daughter Joyce.
Prior to launching his own office (Clyde Hufbauer, AIA in 1947), the young architect worked as Chief Draftsman in the San Diego office of Kisther & Curtis (1938- 39) before working as Staff Architect for the San Diego City Schools (1940-47).
Upon its completion, the young family resided in their first home, designed by Clyde, in Mission Beach. Clyde was averse to living in ‘recycled’ houses and was determined to express his modernist design sensibilities starting with this first residence. In a 1939 San Diego Union article the home was touted as ‘Ultra-Modern’ in a full-page Sunday feature. Clyde would later build a second home in La Jolla for his growing family in 1952.
During 1955-1965, Hufbauer collaborated with structural engineer Ted Paulson, who designed houses a number of unique, modernist, homes throughout the county. Clyde Hufbauer maintained professional offices at 1975 Fifth Avenue throughout most of his career.
Hufbauer is most known for his work as chief architect for the San Diego Unified School District. He is credited with designing and bringing in on budget, 16 middle, junior, and high schools, in addition to 63 elementary schools. Hufbauer also designed school facilities for Grossmont, Mesa and Southwestern community colleges.
Hufbauer’s career Clyde’s career success was tied to San Diego’s population growth in the years following World War II. In 1940 San Diego County hosted a population of 289,348. By 1950 it grew to 556,806. In 1960 the population continued to swell to 1,033,011. Hufbauer’s school projects were instrumental in keeping up with the growing numbers of San Diegans.
Hufbauer’s school designs responded to the mild climate of San Diego, utilizing mostly one story structures with interconnecting flat or low sloping roofs, and a modular steel structural system with pipe column supports for canopies over the outdoor corridors; banded low walls and horizontal steel window systems facing intervening walkways and lawns on one side, and high transom windows on the opposite side. He was known “as a very direct, practical man, who was very successful working for school districts and state agencies.”
He and Arabelle would divorce in 1960. She would remain in their second home in La Jolla until 1964, after which she moved back to Berkeley.
That same year, Clyde married Virginia and moved to Del Mar. They would be remain married until his death in 1993. Together they had five children.
According to one of his children, “Clyde was an amazing, modest, talented and caring person who delivered more than 100 schools to various districts in the San Diego area - on time or ahead of schedule and under budget… His reputation was built on designing efficient buildings from plans that contractors would readily understand and thus there were no hidden, unexpected costs…There were those who wanted to honor Clyde's contribution to education by naming a school after him but he would not allow such attention.”
Well into his 80s, Mr. Hufbauer maintained his practice – especially his association with the region’s school districts – as Hufbauer, Humphrey & Worthington at 2148 Avenida de la Playa in La Jolla.
Partial List of San Diego Projects
Crown Point Elementary School
(AKA San Diego Unified School District Board of Education's
High School (1955)
Grossmont Community College
Hufbauer, Clyde & Arabelle
M. Residence #1 (1939)
Hufbauer, Clyde & Arabelle
M. Residence #2 (1952)
Elementary School (1954)
Miramar (Mesa) Community College
Mission Bay High
Poway Unified School District Schools
Dorrit & Albert Residence (circa mid-50s)