Abrams, Harold
Ain, Gregory
Alexander, Robert E.
Antelline, Jon P.
Applebaum, Norm
Batter-Kay Associates
Beadle, Alfred
Beckett, Welton
Benedict, Hiram Hudson
Bird, Fujimoto & Fish
Bonini, Vincent
Brownell, J. Herbert
Buff, Straub and Hensman
Campbell, Donald
Cody, William F.
Crane, Loch
Davis, Ronald K.
Decker, Arthur
Delawie, Homer
Des Lauriers, Robert
Drake, Gordon
Eckel, George
Eggers, Henry
Ellwood, Craig
Ferris, Robert
Fickett, Edward
Forester, Russell
Fowble, Robert
French, Stanley J.
Frey, Albert
Gill, Irving
Goldberg, Bertrand
Goldman, Donald
Gordon, Kenneth & Robert
Grossman, Greta
Hagadone, Walter
Harris, Harwell Hamilton
Henderson, John
Hester, Henry
Hope, Frank
Hufbauer, Clyde
Hubbell, James
Jones, A. Quincy
Jones, Robert E.
Kahn, Louis
Kellogg, Dick
Kellogg, Kendrick Bangs
Kesling, William
Killingsworth, Brady & Smith
Kowalski, Joseph
Krisel, William
Ladd, Thornton
Lareau, Richard
Lautner, John
Leitch, Richard
Liebhardt, Frederick
Livingstone, Fred
Loring, Arthur
Lotery, Rex
Lykos, George
Macy, Al
Malone, Ed
Matthews, Roger
May, Cliff
McKim, Paul
Mitchell, Delmar
Mock, John
Mortenson, John
Mosher & Drew
Naegle, Dale
Neutra, Richard
Norris, Fred
Paderewski, CJ
Patrick, William
Paul & Allard
Paulson, Ted
Periera & Luckman
Platt, Robert
Ray, Eugene
Reed, John
Richards, Sim Bruce
Risley and Gould
Rosser, William
Ruocco, Lloyd
Salerno, Daniel
Schindler, Rudolph
Schoell & Geritz
Sigurdson, John
Simpson and Gerber
Skidmore, Owings and Merrill
Soriano, Raphael
Spencer & Lee
Stone, Edward Durrell
Therkelsen, Lloyde
Tucker, Sadler & Bennett
Turner, Herb
Veitzer, Leonard
Vickery, Dean
Weir Brothers
Weston, Eugene III
Wheeler, Richard
Wright, Frank Lloyd
Wright, John Lloyd
Wright, Lloyd
Wulff and Fifield

Sim Bruce Richards, AIA

Lipetzy Residence

Sim Bruce Richards was born of Cherokee descent in Tahlequah, Oklahoma in 1908. The son of a farmer, Bruce, chewing on wheat regularly, developed a bone infection in his jaw as a young boy after a kernel of wheat seated itself deep in his gums. Fascinated by architecture, even as a young boy, his passion would develop further by reading magazines while convalescing from his ill health. In 1920, the Richards family (brother Willis, and sisters Francis and Betty) moved to Phoenix, in part to find better healthcare for son Bruce. In Phoenix he would learn of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Bruce studied architecture upon arriving at Cal Berkeley in 1930. Soon thereafter, frustrated with the program and faculty, Bruce transferred to the art department. While studying art, Richards honed his talents weaving abstract rug designs that he had learned while still in Phoenix studying with master-weaver Melanie Murdoch. In 1934, prior to his graduation, Frank Lloyd Wright set his eyes on his (and Blaine Drake’s) rug designs on display at an art show in San Francisco. Mr. Wright told the gallery director to have the rug designer contact him.

Following correspondence with Wright, and at his invitation, at age 26, Bruce Richards joined the Taliesin Fellowship. Between May 1934 and September 1935, Bruce worked and studied alongside Wright and other Fellows Edgar Kaufmann Jr., Blaine Drake, John Lautner, Cornelia Brierly, Gene Masselink, Bill Bernoudy and others.

Arriving in San Diego in 1938, Bruce drafted for the 11th Naval District. Soon thereafter he met Janet Hopkins at a dinner party in Point Loma, and after a short time of dating, the couple was married in May 1944. At the time Bruce was renting a room above a 2-car garage and with the beginnings of a family in mind, the couple bought their first house – a “fishing shack” for $3500 at 3505 Talbot in Point Loma. In 1946, Bruce finished his work for the US Navy and began work for William Templeton Johnson on a number of projects including the early Harbor Front studies. The house was remodeled/renovated extensively while the family grew – both of Bruce and Janet’s sons were born in this tiny house with a backyard rental.

The family growing, Bruce and Janet bought property on Albion and began work on their first house of Bruce’s design. At this time Bruce began working for Harold Abrams, noted later for the design on Park La Jolla apartment community on La Jolla Boulevard. In 1949, Harold Abrams told Bruce to “take a vacation… and you don’t have to come back.” Bruce and Janet agreed that he should practice architecture on his own at this time… and would do so until his passing in 1983.
During nearly four decades in practice, Sim Bruce Richards designed over 200 projects not including his work in weaving, painting, and furniture design. His small practice moved through a few addresses (Prospect, La Jolla Boulevard and eventually on Linwood in Old Town) and a few employees: John Reed, Ken Kellogg and Spencer Lake, always taking the time and joy in hand-sharpening his drafting pencils.

Bruce was known for his calm demeanor, joy of life and sense of humor, as well as problem-solving skills. He fostered the talents of several young draftsmen and artists Rhoda Lopez and James Hubbell who aided in making his designs more organic and humane than even the materials and design philosophy behind them. Bruce found that building a house was a source of fun, and for clients like Alice Clark, he would build several homes and foster longstanding friendships with.

An Appreciation
(Used with permission from the San Diego Natural History Museum. From Nature in Architecture an exhibition presented by the San Diego Natural History Museum April-June 1984)

He was one of a small band of architectural dissenters which every city harbors – or should harbor, if art is to live and renew itself. During the ‘50s and ‘60s when architecture became more tightly organize, the path forked, the Miesians on the high road, the Wrightians on the low road. The Miesians, they said, had the only sensible way of putting up a tower. But Wright’s Price Tower which recognized the different orientation for each face turned out in the end to be the good way.

The architectural misfits tripled during the ‘50s. They were often westerners, like Bruce. They knew the land under their feet and what the sky held in store. Some had grown up under the banner of Frank Lloyd Wright, as Bruce did. In an instant Bruce was snatched up by Wright, plucked out of his last year in art at Berkeley and transported to Taliesin, after Wright had seen a display of Bruce’s weavings.

The communion between Bruce and Wright was caught in a single sentence written by Phyllis Van Doren: “They went into the countryside and brought looms and linen warp yarns and wood and were going to teach the students to weave and dye fabrics.” It caught also the King Jamesian rhythm in which westerners used to speak, it caught their enthusiasm and their faith. And it explains why Bruce never got back to Berkeley.

Art and architecture became one for Bruce, forever inseperable. The spirit of it was touched by Wright, but it was partly a heritage more indigenous to this continent than Wright’s. Born in Oklahoma, and one-quarter Cherokee, Bruce’s sureness of line and form had the breath of Indian weavings and pottery. And perhaps the toughness one associates with a dispersed people who have to carry their genius for long periods in the eye. The Cherokees, banished from their lands in the east, were sent marching to Indian Territory given them in exchange in Oklahoma. So many perished along the way that it was called the Trail of Tears. By a fine irony the blood-colored infertile soil of Oklahoma covered one of the great oil fields.

Bruce’s ancestral lesson in endurance served him when he was banished from the prospect of the fertile soil of highrise architecture to the design of houses. That was another delicious irony—Bruce was passed along from one rich client to another. “It’s been years since any of my plans had to be approved by a bank,” he said. Without construction loans to finance, Bruce could design as he chose.

He was the most cheerful man I have ever known. His affirmations came from a face as gnarled as a mesquite root. Treatment of a childhood injury to his face with X-ray had, over the years, sculptured it into an impish mask, forever young, forever playful, forever wise. A plastic surgeon offered to rebuild his face. “I thought it over and decided I didn’t want to look at a new face in the mirror every morning,” Bruce said.

He was content to stick with his own face and his own way of work, usually alone, standing rather than sitting at the drafting board, working on one house at a time although two or three clients waited their turn. One eye failed, his legs gave out, but he would rather talk about the house he was designing than his ailments. In spite of his pain, he was indeed a happy man.

We first met at his three-room office, with a big porch overlooking the Cove, on Prospect Street. As I was working on Irving Gill, and in La Jolla often, he put at my disposal an unused room in his office; it was furnished in things from Gill’s Bailey House on Princess Street. The ‘50s must not have been easy for Bruce, but he was never harried, nor was he hurried. He took pleasure in whatever came.

The Richards and their three children lived in his 1950 house on Harbor View Drive. It compressed into a small space all that was fresh and good and nurturing of his early work. There was no boastful detail, just the weaving together of land and sea and family within a loom of incense cedar. Ah, the wonderful smell of that wood, faint but indeliably fixed on the senses. I smell it now, over a quarter of a century later.

The apportioning of space was memorable. It brought people together and held them loosely together. He threw most of the shelf of level land into an entrance court with a lath structure at one end. This was Bruce’s immediate acknowledgment of Janet’s talent in horticulture. It was design with living things, things that budded and bloomed, a changing scene which involved the people who lived there.

The interior was essentially one space, with a bedroom wing, a space which moved in a circular pattern from one center to another. The half-walled kitchen with Bruce inside, looking out at us as he mixed martinis, the low evening light catching the several greens of his tweed jacket, the several tans of his handloomed wool tie, talking to us in his soft musical voice. The handcrafted table, pleasantly strewn with the children’s recorders and books. What could be sweeter than the flimsy music stands holding up sheets of music which promises sounds; what is more inviting than a group of comfortable chairs that have arranged themselves of their own accord in a non-Miesian scatter!

Everywhere the sense of communion; here love flourishes, friendship blooms. Nothing uniform, nothing stilted, none of the self conciousness into which architecture was falling in the ‘50s. The room, in Walt Whitman’s phrase, seemed to “lean and loaf at its ease.”

Whether Bruce built of wood or mud bricks, whether he built two or twenty thousand square feet, he built a haven. When Jim Hubbell came into Bruce’s design, bringing with him the images of Gaudi’s Barcelona, it was still Bruce. His business was people, the way they moved around, the places they sat, the surfaces where they put things down.

I see him standing long at his drafting board as he followed with pencil the people who were to live in his houses. I hear the incian moccasined feet, the elegantly shod feet of Frank Lloyd Wright. But most of all it was Bruce, forever young, forever playful, forever wise. For in the end the houses themselves became the mask, and Bruce and the mask were one.

Esther McCoy
Architectural Historian
Honorary Member, A.I.A.

Hood Residence (1955). This shot was taken circa 1957 upon completion
of the construction by an unknown photographer

Peterson Residence (circa 1973) by Sim Bruce Richards in
San Diego Country Estates

Lipetzky Residence (1965)

Childs Residence (1952). Photograph by William Aplin

Larrick Residence

Morrison Residence

James Residence (1953), Sim Bruce Richards

African Methodist Episcopal Church (1947), Sim Bruce Richards

Daniel Ellsworth Dickey Residence (circa 1958), Sim Bruce Richards

Skinner Residence (1949), Sim Bruce Richards (soon to be listed)

Waterman Residence (1958), Sim Bruce Richards (Orinda, CA)

Balboa Park Golf Course Equipment Storage Bldg, Sim Bruce Richards

Morley Field Tennis Center (1975), Sim Bruce Richards

Mission Bay Aquatic Center (1960), Sim Bruce Richards

(South) Clairemont Community Center, Sim Bruce Richards

Newsom Residence (1955), Sim Bruce Richards

Worthington Residence (1968), Sim Bruce Richards

Palk Residence (1953), Sim Bruce Richards

Brav & Schwartz Law Offices (1982), Sim Bruce Richards

ZLAC Rowing Club (1961), Sim Bruce Richards (recently altered!)

Private Residence, Sim Bruce Richards (on Mecca)

Hall Hood Residence, Sim Bruce Richards (on Folsom)

Same as above, different angle

Bascomb Residence (1954), Sim Bruce Richards

Blackwell Residence (1959), Sim Bruce Richards

Carlson Residence (1966), Sim Bruce Richards

Clark Residence (1953), Sim Bruce Richards

Franklin Residence (1962), Sim Bruce Richards

Liebmann Residence (1959), Sim Bruce Richards

Martin Residence (1965), Sim Bruce Richards

Richards Residence #2 (1947), Sim Bruce Richards

Richards Residence #3 (1950), Sim Bruce Richards

Richards Residence #4 (1957), Sim Bruce Richards

Rigsby Residence (1960), Sim Bruce Richards

Silva Residence (1953), Sim Bruce Richards

Spicer Residence (1960), Sim Bruce Richards

Thoreson Residence (1953), Sim Bruce Richards

Ullrich Residence (1961), Sim Bruce Richards

Wright Residence (1949), Sim Bruce Richards

La Grange Residence (1974) in Oceanside, Sim Bruce Richards

Weinberg Residence (1978), photographer unknown

Van Dorn Residence Addition (1968)

Town Residence Lanai Addition (1956), Sim Bruce Richards. Photograph by Russ Meyer.

Town Residence Lanai Addition (1956), Sim Bruce Richards

Liebmann Residence, photo by John Hartley circa 1960. A. Quincy Jones' Hvistendahl Residence remodeled by Sim Bruce Richards.

Liebmann, Mr Joachim E. & Mrs Suzanne Residence Remodel (1959) by Sim Bruce Richards. Originally built as the H.C. Hvistendahl Residence (designed 1948, built 1950).

Admiral Hord Residence (1952), by Sim Bruce Richards

Engstrand Residence (1964), by Sim Bruce Richards

Engstrand Residence vintage photo by John Waggaman

Partial List of San Diego Projects

African Methodist Episcopal Church (1947)
7517 Cuvier, La Jolla

All Saints Lutheran Church (1964)
6355 Radcliffe, University City

Alpha Phi Sorority (1966)
6055 Montezuma Road, College Area

Balboa Park Golf Course Bldg
2600 Golf Course Drive

Bascomb, Edward S. Residence (1953)
887 Golden Park, Pt Loma

Bauer Residence
1655 Plantation Way, El Cajon

Blackwell, Mr & Mrs E.J. Residence (1959)
1275 Willow Street, Pt Loma

Brav & Schwartz Law Offices (1982)
4026 Dove Street, Mission Hills

Brav, Nelson Residence (1977)
Del Mar

Carlson Residence (1966)
1335 Trieste, Point Loma

Childs, Mr & Mrs A.L. & Winetta Residence (1952)
663 Circle Drive, Solana Beach

Chung, Mr & Mrs Ronnie Residence (1959)
1807 Kelly Street, Oceanside

Clark, Mrs. John G. & Alice Residence #1 (1953)
3243 Harbor View Drive, Pt Loma

Clark, Mrs. John G. & Alice #2 Residence (1959)
7907 Calle de la Plata, La Jolla

Clark, Mrs. John G. & Alice Residence #3 (1972)
3634 Jennings Street, Pt Loma

Cohu, La Motte (1948)
5960 Camino de la Costa, La Jola

Des Granges, Pauline Residence (1975)
824 Golden Park, Pt Loma

Dickey, Dan Residence (1958)
3712 Promonotory, Pacific Beach

Eales, Rodney Residence (1973)
391 Catalina Blvd, Pt Loma

Engstrand, Mr & Mrs Paul Residence (1964)
9450 Sunset Drive, Mt Helix

Esling, Helen Residence (1954)
1119 Klish Way, Del Mar

Feldman, Dr. (1956)
3310 Lucinda Street, Pt Loma

Fine, Lawrence Dr & Mrs Residence (1967)
10535 Fuerte Drive, Mt Helix

Franklin, Mr & Mrs Wililam C. Residence (1962)
894 Rosecrans, Pt Loma

Furgatch, Harvey & Kiva Residence (1979)
Camino Del Mar, Del Mar

Hayward, Chester & Joanne Residence (1963)
1840 Neale Street, Mission Hills

Hood, J. Hall Residence (1955)
6063 Folsom, La Jolla

Hord, Admiral Paul W. and Jane Residence (1952)
621 First Street, Coronado

Hudson, Victor Residence
1275 Trieste Drive, Pt Loma

James, Catherine Residence (1953)
5578 Calumet, La Jolla

Karn, Patricia Residence
4575 Niagara, Ocean Beach

Kuhn, Skip Residence (1955)
5648 Toyon Road, San Diego

Larrick, Herschell
632 Canyon Drive, Solana Beach

Liebmann, Mr & Mrs Joachim Residence (1959)
3711 Dudley Street, Pt Loma

Lipetzky, Jerome Residence (1965)
1367 South Grade Road, Alpine

Lyon Residence (1972)
2411 Canyon Road
Designed by Sim Bruce Richards

Martin Residence (1965)
755 Albion, Pt Loma

McGaughey, John & Janet Residence (1948)
3646 Rosecroft Lane, Pt Loma

McGuire, Mr & Mrs Thomas G. Residence (1969)
1471 Borrego Springs Road, Borrego

Mission Bay Aquatic Control Center (1960)
2581 Quivera Court, Mission Bay

Morley Field Tennis Center (1975)
2221 Morley Field Drive, San Diego

Nemiroff, Dr. Residence (1975)
2803 Inverness Drive, La Jolla

Newsom, Mr & Mrs T.R. Residence (1955)
2580 North Arroyo Drive, San Diego

Nourse, Hal Residence (1962)
16205 Rostrata Hill Road, Poway

Olney, Richard Residence (1954)
1644 Crespo, La Jolla

Ostenberg, Mr & Mrs W.H. Residence (1959)
1620 Mecca Drive, La Jolla

Palk, Mr & Mrs Robert J. Residence (1955)
9303 Carmichael Street, La Mesa

Quintana, Mr & Mrs Frank Residence (1956)
2880 Moonridge Road, La Jolla

Richards, Mr & Mrs Sim Bruce Residence #1 (1947)
3505 Talbot (remodel), Pt Loma

Richards, Mr & Mrs Sim Bruce Residence #2 (1947)
977 Albion, Pt Loma

Richards, Mr & Mrs Sim Bruce Residence #3 (1950)
3360 Harbor View Drive, Pt Loma

Richards, Mr & Mrs Sim Bruce Residence #4 (1957)
955 Bangor Street, Point Loma

Richards, Mr & Mrs Sim Bruce Residence Spec House (1972)
3706 Jennings, Pt Loma

Rigsby, Mr & Mrs George Residence (1960)
411 San Remo Way, Pt Loma

Schmock, Joyce Residence (1953)
7345 Remley Place, La Jolla

Silva, Mr & Mrs Edward P. Residence (1953)
560 San Gorgonio, Pt Loma

Skinner, Alma (1949)
7044 Monte Vista, La Jolla

Soulé, Alan Residence (1949)
3651 Rosecroft Lane, Pt Loma

South Clairemont Community Center
3605 Clairemont Drive, Clairemont

Spicer, Mr & Mrs Raymond D. Residence (1960)
379 San Antonio, Pt Loma

Stauffer, Paul Residence (1956)
3033 Central Avenue, City Heights

Throneson, Lt Col & Mrs H.K. Residence (1953)
3640 Dudley Street, Pt Loma

Tyson, Robert Residence (1977)
7214 Rue Michael, La Jolla

Ullrich, Marian Residence (1961)
3340 Ingelow Street, Point Loma

Van Dorn, Nicholas Residence
10 E. Roseland, La Jolla

Vint, Mr & Mrs Vincent J. Residence (1964)
187 Nob Avenue, Del Mar

Watson, Mr & Mrs Maurice T. Residence (1964)
2744 Azalea Drive, Loma Porta

Weinberg Residence (1978)
23427 Calistoga Place, San Diego Country Estates

Worthington, Bryan Residence (1968)
2137 West California, Old Town

Wright, Leone and Gillett, Elsie Residence (1949)
935 Bangor, Pt Loma

ZLAC Rowing Club Residence (1961)
1111 Pacific Beach Drive, Pacific Beach