Charles Paulson (and Clyde Hufbauer)
While spending a good deal of his career working for Clyde Hufbauer as structural engineer, Theodore Paulson designed a handful of wonderful light, airy, open-plan residences (including his own) in San Diego. Choosing to work for another architect over the detail-work and stress of running his own office, Paulson aided Hufbauer in designing a number of schools and education-related projects across the county - most notably The Education Center on Park Boulevard (1953).
Theodore "Ted" Paulson was born on June 13th, 1911 in Albert Lee, Minnesota. Following the untimely passing of his father (when Ted was 6 years old) and mother (at age 12), Ted was taken in by his grandmother. Shorttly thereafter Ted (at age 14) moved to San Diego with his aunt, uncle and cousins. After living in Mt Helix and Point Loma, Ted graduated from San Diego High School and headed to the University of Minnesota.
Ted met June Paulson at the University of Minnesota, where he earned a degree in engineering. After directing her to use a colon not a semi-colon on an assignment in their English class, June left her boyfriend for the curious man she knew little about. Following their university education, Ted shared with June his desire to return to San Diego.
June and Ted arrived in San Diego in 1935. Ted started his career in aeronautical engineering with Convair, where he worked through to the end of WW2 (and garnered a draft deferment in the process). At this time, Ted and June lived on Inspiration Point in the Mt Helix area, striking up friendships with local residents like San Diego State College art professor John Dirks. Following the War, Ted was laid-off by Convair. Re-hired later, Ted returned to his work in the Design Department at Convair.
Ted did take time away from Convair in 1960 to build his 2nd San Diego home on a rural plot of land on Hidden Valley Road in La Jolla. Building the east wing of the house first and moving his family in right away, the family of five (wife June, two daughter Daira and Tamara, and son Birk) couldn’t wait for the rest of the house to be completed. The construction project was a family affair, with everyone pitching in as Ted built the entire structure with his own hands.
According to June Paulson and Robert Mosher, Ted may have worked for Lloyd Ruocco prior to 1955 at the time John Reed was in Ruocco’s office.
Ted worked for Clyde Hufbauer, known as a very direct, practical man, who was very successful working with school districts and state agencies. According to Robert Mosher, Ted was not excited about the prospects of running an architectural practice on his own, in part because he was impatient with people, so working for others offered more steady financial prospects for raising his family. Ted worked as Hufbauer’s structural engineer designing San Diego area schools between 1955-1965. Ted’s bicycle commute to Hufbauer’s downtown office, was later reduced when the firm moved to La Jolla Shores. Ted would then go on to work for Stanley J. French at Boyle Engineering. French worked with Paulson to get him through his licensing process.
According to Robert Mosher, Ted’s homes are brilliantly structurally designed – more so than being finely detailed. Common elements of his designs are brick/concrete flooring, wood interiors (fir, redwood and mahogany) and plenty of glass through floor-to-ceiling glass and elaborate skylight systems. Following his retirement in the mid 1960s Ted continued to do occasional remodels and addition-work to area homes, but nothing as fine as the homes he designed for his family and close friends.
During the 1950s, ceramist Martha Longenecker introduced her friend Dr. Sidney L. Gulick and wife, Allied Craftsmen weaver Eve Gulick to Ted Paulson. Their desire for a small home in Mt. Helix allowing for Eve to have a workroom for her crafts overlooking the El Cajon valley resulted in the completion of the Gulick Residence (1959) on Sierra Vista (and Martha Longenecker's father, a local builder would construct the house). This introduction created a lifelong bond between the three families (Dirks, Gulick, Paulson) as they raised their children (Denny and Maryanne Gulick, Doug and David Dirks) and planned family outings together.
Ted was a devoted
husband, father and friend to other area architects Fred Liebhardt,
Robert Mosher, Roy Drew, Gene Weston, Vincent Bonini, artists Eve
Gulick and John Dirks as well as writer Harry Crosby.
His hobbies included – building kites, hang gliding (which he learned at age 70), bicycle riding, ocean swimming, sailing, baking bread and making yogurt. Beyond his furniture designs, Ted continued to design a number of things including a solar water still.
Ted Paulson died in 2000 following a stroke.
Partial List of San Diego Projects
Elementary School (Hufbauer)
Gulick, Dr. Sidney
L. & Eve Residence
Mission Bay High
& June Residence
& June Residence
Dorrit & Albert Residence (ca. 1955)