Robert E. Des Lauriers (1924 - 2013)
Robert 'Bob' Des Lauriers was born in Waukegan, Illinois (on February 29, 1924), and raised in Los Angeles. He graduated from Huntington Park High in 1941. Following his graduation the family moved to the north shore of Oahu (11 miles from Pearl Harbor) where he worked for Hawaiian Construction as a carpenter on military projects. They arrived just two months prior to the Japanese attacking Pearl Harbor.
Nine months later Bob returned to Los Angelesto join the Army Air Corps. While waiting to be accepted he worked for Western Pipe & Steel Ship Building Co. as a designer-draftsman on pressure tanks and liberty ships. In February 1942 he was inducted into the Army and began flight training. Graduating as a 2nd Lt. in 1944, B-17 pilot Des Lauriers spent 6 months flying 33 missions from his base in the UK over Germany. On VJ Day, following an Honorable Discharge he married Shirley Marie McHenry in Sioux City, Iowa (where they had met during his military training months earlier).
After relocating to Denver, Bob worked for Stearns Rogers Engineering. In 1946 the young couple returned to Sioux City where Bob entered Morningside College under the GI Bill. During this time he continued to fly for the Army Air Force Reserves. While at Morningside, an aptitude test rated Bob as '90% Architecture' so he changed his major and transferred to the University of Colorado at Boulder. From this campus, in 1949, he graduated with a BS in Architectural Engineering.
Bob and Shirley had settled in La Mesa, building their own home on Calavo Drive. At this time Mr. Des Lauriers worked alongside Frederick Liebhardt and Jim Bird for a local designer Alfred George Mueller. Here they designed a large number of tract homes in Point Loma for developers like Jackson Scott.
His year and a half with Mueller proved invaluable in design, mass production and speed drafting. In 1952 H. Louis Bodmer (formerly of Bodmer Wurdman & Beckett Architects) hired Des Lauriers where he aided the office in desiging banks, commercial buildings and the original San Diego Airport Terminal Building on Pacific Coast Highway.
In 1957 Bob secured his State of California Architectural License and began working for Paderewski, Mitchell & Dean. Among his assigned projects was the El Cortez Travelator Building located across 7th Street from the hotel and connected by a bridge and the first moving sidewalk and three hydraulic glass elevators.
In 1958 he left Paderewski to launch his own firm from his home office. From his poolside deck and drafting table he completed his first project - St. Lukes Lutheran of La Mesa. In 1959, his 20th project was a hyperbolic parabloid church - Carlton Hills Lutheran in Santee. Earning his first AIA Award of Merit, this project would garner much-deserved accolades and work from the religious community for years to come.
In 1961 John Sigurdson joined as a partner to form Des Lauriers Sigurdson AIA Architects. John remained through 1967 when he split off to launch his own office. According to Bob, "During this 6-year period of Des Lauriers Sigurdson, the architectural practice intensified and developed projects with even more fervor and dedication to make contemporary architecture a lasting scheme of creating, serving and preserving the way of life of "the Transition Period".
Following Sigurdson's departure, Robert E. Des Lauriers & Associates AIA completed 67 religious projects, over 150 residential, 187 Navy, 18 public school projects, and extensive commercial and planning projects. 506 projects in all.
Reflecting on his career, Des Lauriers sees his contribution as "innovative architecture with traditional roots."
Partial List of San Diego Projects
Abi Bakr Al Siddiq Mosque (1986)
Adler Residence (1969)
Ascension Evangelical Lutheran Church (1960)
Assembly of God
Bacheller, Cmdr. & Hester Residence (1968)
Bone, Dr. Robert & Patricia Residence (1972)
Borrego Springs Community United Methodist Church
Bush, Mr. & Mrs. J. Residence
Butts, David Residence (1972)
Byrum, GeorgeResidence (1959)
Calvary Southern Baptist Church (1963)
Calvary Lutheran (1961)
Carlsbad Garden Apartments (1960)
Carlton Hills Lutheran Church (1960)
Carmichael Residence (1972)
Christenson, Dr. Robert Residence (1961)
Clairemont Lutheran Church (1966)
Colina Medical/Dental Center (1965)
Community Church (1986)
Community Methodist Church
Croome, Dr. Clifford Orthodontic Clinic (1968)
Davis, John Residence (1966)
Davis, Lester Robert Residence (1968)
Des Lauriers, Robert Residence (1957)
First Assembly of God Church (1971)
First Lutheran Church
First Lutheran Church (1962)
First Presbyterian Church (1964)
Fletcher Hills Presbyterian Church
Fred H. Rohr Elementary School (1966)
Myron B. Green & Dailard Elementary Schools (1975)
Heald, Dan Residence (1964)
Home of Guiding Hands (1966)
Hope United Methodist Church (1978)
Horizon Home Competition Residence for American
Housing Guild (1961)
Jean Farb Middle School (1976)
Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority (1965)
La Mesa Chamber of Commerce Building
La Mesa Development Plan
La Mesa Police Facility (1966)
La Presa Junior High (1966)
Loma Elementary School (1976)
McHenry, Edna Residence (1950)
Mt. Miguel Covenant Church (1961)
National City School District (1977 - 1979)
New Sanctuary Calvary Lutheran
Northminster Presbyterian Church (1965)
Our Savior Lutheran Church
Ozzies Music Store
Prim, Donald Residence
Private Residence (1968)
Robert Des Lauriers, AIA Architects (1967)
Shepherd of The Valley
Silverman, Milton Residence (1969)
Spring Valley Fire Station (1961)
St. Lukes Luterhan Church (1961 - 1987)
St. Mark's Lutheran Church
Theta Chi Fraternity House (1960)
Top Shelf Residence (1967)
US Navy Dental Clinic (1973)
US Navy Medical Clinic
Valle Lindo Elementary School (1967)
Wissell, Ozzie Residence (1959)
Zvaifler, Nate and Debie Residence (1972)