Tucker, Sadler & Bennett AIA
In October 1957, architects Tom Tucker and Hal Sadler, both with engineer Ed Bennett, designed their first building together, the Mission Hills Safeway, from a small office over a garage in Ocean Beach. The three just separated from working for Point Loma based architect Richard George Wheeler.
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 that 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 Children's Hospital and Health Center's Jean Hahn Surgical Pavilion, Beckman Center for Chemical Sciences at Scripps, and the expansion of the San Diego Convention Center.
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 – later acknowledged by a Purple Heart. In 2009 he was awarded the French Legion of Honor Chevalier Medal. He arrived home in 1945 and worked as a draftsman. Tucker became a licensed architect in 1955.
Born in Phoenix, Harold (Hal) G. Sadler attended Arizona State University’s School of Architecture in 1952, obtaining his Bachelors of Architecture, then transferred to USC where he received his Master’s degree in 1955. He began his architectural career working with the prestigious architecture firm of Jones & Emmons in Los Angeles. Hal was highly influenced by the firm’s principal, A. Quincy Jones. He moved to San Diego in 1957, where he briefly worked for Richard George Wheeler and later partnered with Tom Tucker and Ed Bennett to form their own firm. 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.
Mr. Sadler’s formative years were influenced by the region’s contemporary/progressive architecture while at USC and with the Los Angeles firms he was associated: Jones & Emmons, an early firm of A. Quincy Jones, and Pereira & Luckman.
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….”
According to 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.
Partial List of San Diego Projects
Abbey Rents (1961)
Argo Hall (1967)
Arnold and Mabel Beckman Research Center for Chemical Sciences
Blake Hall (1967)
and Malvena Residence (1958-1960)
of San Diego Operations Center (1962)
De Groote, Dr. & Mrs.
Church Apartments (ca. 1966)
O. Residence (ca. 1960-61)
Larsen Residence (1966)
Love Library (1960)
Bellwood Apartments (ca. 1966)
& Evelyn Residence (1965)
Point Loma Inn
Residence Halls (1968)
College Residence Halls (1968)
G. Residence (ca. 1959-1960)
San Ysidro Fire
Serra Mesa Branch
Public Library (1963)
First National Bank (1966)
Central Exchange (1962)
& Associates Office (1962)