Tucker, Sadler & Bennett AIA
In October 1957, architects Tom Tucker and Hal Sadler alongside structural engineer Ed Bennett designed their first building together, the Mission Hills Safeway, from a small office over a garage in Ocean Beach. Shortly thereafter the trio left their employer, Richard George Wheeler & Associates, to go out on their own. From the design of that small supermarket, moonlighting while still employed in Wheeler’s office, Tucker, Sadler & Bennett was born. Many of their early contracts stemmed from their work with Safeway – a client they developed from Wheeler’s portfolio.
Tucker and Bennett went on to design some of San Diego's most prestigious projects including the renovation of the historic U. S. Grant Hotel, the regional headquarters buildings for Union Bank, Security Pacific National Bank, and Bank of America's downtown offices. The team also designed Rady Children's Hospital's Jean Hahn Surgical Pavilion, Beckman Center for Chemical Sciences at Scripps Research Institute, and the recent expansions of both the San Diego Convention Center and Terminal 2 of the San Diego International Airport.
The firm is still active having operated for more than 50 years and becoming one of the largest architecture and engineering practices in San Diego. The firm had produced hundreds of residential and commercial projects. Among their most notable contacts were the First National Bank corporate high-rise headquarters in downtown, the County Operations Building (now demolished), and the Fire Station for the City of San Diego. The Fire Station later received an American Institute of Architects Award of Honor in 1960, the first year that the organization began awarding architectural achievement.
Born in Ada, Oklahoma in 1923, Thomas Tucker move to Escondido with his family at age 3. In 1943, he was drafted into the Army and deployed to Europe where he fought in the Battle of the Bulge. Corporal Tucker was wounded in 1944 and later acknowledged by a Purple Heart. He arrived home in 1945 to work locally as a draftsman. Tucker became a licensed architect in 1955.
Born in Phoenix, Harold G. (Hal) Sadler earned his Bachelors of Architecture at nearby Arizona State University’s School of Architecture in 1952. Lacking accreditation at the time, Hal moved from ASU to USC to secure his Master’s degree in 1955. During his time at USC, his teacher and mentor A. Quincy Jones recognized his talent and hired him following graduation to work at the firm of Jones & Emmons.
Securing a job with architect Richard George Wheeler, Hal moved to San Diego in 1957. At this firm, he would meet architect Tom Tucker and structural engineer Ed Bennett – with whom later in 1957 he would form a partnership with. Mr. Sadler joined the San Diego AIA chapter in 1958. In 2007, Hal Sadler received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the California Council of the American Institute of Architects.
According to Mr. Sadler, the residential buildings completed within the first 10 years were for clients that were close friends. The publication of these designs would lead to more opportunities. For instance, Hal’s relationship with Alec Cory and George Hutton through FedMart, led to the firm completing homes for Hutton and his daughter, Malvena Cory.
Sadler loved the simple and clean approach to modernist construction techniques; the use of glass where the indoor-outdoor brought nature into the buildings as well the ability to view the building’s structural elements. Years later, the architect described his goals as “…the feeling of sitting in your living room and feeling like your landscape came directly into the interior of the building… I’ve always had outside showers that are part of the environment and outside of your master bedroom… so many things that go to creative living that make so much more of life than what it would be otherwise….”
Partial List of San Diego Projects
Abbey Rents (1961)
Argo Hall (1967)
Arnold and Mabel Beckman Research Center for Chemical Sciences
Bank of America (1982)
Blake Hall (1967)
Butler, Lyle Residence (1988)
Carousel Apartments (1969)
Cory, Mitchel and Malvena Residence (1958-1960)
County of San Diego Operations Center (1962)
De Groote, Dr. & Mrs. David Residence (1961)
Otto Center. Photo Courtesy of Esoteric Survey
Elmer C. Otto Center (1966)
Escondido National Bank (1968)
FedMart Stores (1960s)
Fire Station for the City of San Diego (1960)
First Congregational Church Apartments (ca. 1966)
Hutton, George O. Residence (ca. 1960-61)
Larsen Residence (1966)
Love Library (1960)
Mission Bellwood Apartments (ca. 1966)
Pacific Telephone Building (1960)
Palomar Lanes (1959)
Parking Garage (1965)
Parking Garage (1963)
Peterson, George & Evelyn Residence (1965)
Point Loma Inn (1961)
Rady Children's Hospital Health Center's Jean Hahn Surgical Pavilion (1984)
Sadler, Harold G. Residence I (ca. 1959-1960)
Sadler, Harold G. Residence II (1988)
San Diego Airport Terminal 2 Expansion (2009)
San Diego Convention Center Expansion (2001)
San Diego State University Alumni Center (2009)
San Ysidro Fire Station (1960)
Sciences Building (1959)
Security Pacific National Bank Regional Headquarters (1973)
Security Pacific Bank Branches
Serra Mesa Branch
Public Library (1963)
Southern California First National Bank (1966)
Telephone Building, Central Exchange (1962)
Terrace Building (1959)
& Associates Office (1962)