Abrams, Harold
Ain, Gregory
Alexander, Robert E.
Anderson, Guy
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
Dammann, Bruce
Davis, Ronald K.
Decker, Arthur
Deems-Lewis
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
Jackson-Scott
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
Lumpkins, William
Lykos, George
Macy, Al
Malone, Ed
Marr, Clinton
Matthews, Roger
May, Cliff
McKim, Paul
Mitchell, Delmar
Mock, John
Mortenson, John
Mosher & Drew
Naegle, Dale
Neptune & Thomas
Neutra, Richard
Nomland & Nomland
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
Slatton, William
Soriano, Raphael
Spencer & Lee
Stimmel, William
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

Richard George Wheeler (1917-1990)


Richard George Wheeler (left) and Roger Matthews (right) in 1965.

Richard George Wheeler was born the son of prominent San Diego architect William Henry Wheeler on June 30, 1917. Growing up on Guy Street in Mission Hills, the young Richard attended Grant Elementary School, Roosevelt Jr. High and San Diego High School with his older brother Henry “Hank” L. Wheeler.

Following his graduation from San Diego High School in 1935, Richard attended San Diego State College for “...three years before transferring to U.C. Berkeley, to further my architectural studies. I attended Berkeley for 3 years, graduating in June 1941 with a major in architecture...,” Wheeler wrote in 1989.

Only months after graduating and earning money teaching night classes in architecture at Cal, Pearl Harbor was attacked and the US entered World War II. Wheeler recalled, “I applied for a commission in the Navy. It came through in May 1942 as an ensign. They immediately sent me to Sitka, Alaska where I stayed for three years. My first tour of duty was as commanding officer of Port Armstrong, a converted cannery, then on to Port Althorp as Executive Officer."

After the war Richard “Dick” Wheeler returned to work for his father at Wheeler & McGowan, Architects and Engineers. During this period of time he met and married Marian O’Brien and had two children - Wendy and Brien). “...In May 1947, I received my architectural license and quit Wheeler & McGowan. Dad was old and blind and wished me “God Speed,” Dick wrote.

"Dick began his career as a self-employed architect in the garage of his Pacific Beach home in 1947," recently recalled his secretary, since 1957, Katy Baehles. Wheeler opened his first office in two rooms on the 2nd floor at 5th and Laurel in the old Spanish Village (now the 5th Avenue Financial Center and Mister A’s). The Wheeler office only had one employee, Clark Laycock, who left Wheeler & McGowan with Richard. While Dick designed, Clark crafted each project's working drawings and specifications. They each took a salary of $75.00 per week. Business picked up and commissions started to come to the office - and within a couple of years increased to 1,200 square feet and ten employees.

A couple of years later Richard designed a new office for his firm at the corner of 5th and Ivy Lane (now NuNu’s). In addition to the 1,500 square foot office, Wheeler’s brother, and general contractor for the firm, Hank, built four apartments adjacent to the office to bring extra income to the firm.

In 1957, the year Richard would lose his father Henry, Clair Burgener (former Congressman) and Richard built the Wheeler Building, or Horizon House, in the 3200 block of Rosecrans. At this address locally acclaimed architects Tom Tucker, Hal Sadler, Ed Bennett, Gayne Wimer and Roger Matthews would cut their teeth under Wheeler's employ.

The RGW and Associates office started out with primarily residential commissions. The office diversified rapidly, in part due to Wheeler's relationship with Legler Benbough for whom the office designed several projects. In the late 1950s, the firm changed its name to Richard G. Wheeler, AIA, & Associates, A Division of Charles Luckman Associates (later the Luckman connection was dropped).

Among his belongings found in hand-written form, Mr. Wheeler wrote: Design for Living: My philosophy of design is my philosophy for living. I would not force my theory upon any society but through logic and my belief in the greatness of man, I will tend to influence the world with that which I think is most fitting and appropriate for modern living. Of paramount importance is the necessity for free thinking and not to be bound by conventional or traditional architecture. I do not mean that we are to improve the past, but to study it along with the manner of living in relation to the time in which it was built, is the logical approach. The buildings of the past were designed in relation to the society that was to inhabit them, thus it would be unpardonable folly to associate the present manner of living with the past and to design our buildings based on this decadent style.

In 1959, Tucker, Sadler and Bennett left RGW and Associates to start their own firm, taking the important Safeway stores account with them. Richard and Marian divorced the next year. Despite losing some of his assets in court, Dick was allowed to keep his lot at 3223 Sterne where he designed “a house for a bachelor" (according to the LA Times Home Magazine). Mr. Wheeler would then marry Gerry Smith and have three children (Cindi, Jim, and Rick).

According to Wheeler, the highlight of his career was the SDG&E building (1967). “I think the one building that changed my career was the award of the commission to design the corporate headquarters for the San Diego Gas and Electric Co. It was a dream project. Before starting the design, Pete DeYoung, a Vice President of the Gas Co. toured the country with me studying the best buildings around the United States…we were determined to make this a fine building,” Richard wrote in his autobiographical notes.

Immediately following the SDG&E project, the firm was awarded contracts by C. Arnholt Smith to design the Executive Hotel, Westgate Plaza and numerous branches for US National Bank.The firm grew to employ 40 architects, engineers and support staff. In 1970 the firm name was changed to Wheeler, Wimer & Associates. The office’s work had expanded greatly becoming one of the largest architectural firms in the county.

“In January of 1989, I decided to retire. I was 71 and 41 years of practice seemed sufficient. The practice was wonderful and I felt that I had accomplished my objective as originally planned. I would estimate that we designed…400 buildings, Mr. Wheeler later wrote. Richard George Wheeler died on May 14, 1990.

Partial List of San Diego Projects

Allen, Dr. Phillip Office
6th and Ivy, Hillcrest

Associated General Contractors (1960)
404 Camino Del Rio South, Mission Valley

Demolished 2005

Bechetel Residence (1952)

Benbough, Legler Medical Building #1 (1952)
5th-6th and Hawthorne

Benbough, Legler Medical Building #2 (1958)
2850 6th Avenue (Demolished)

Butter, Hazel Residence (1947)
Granger Street, Point Loma

Circle Arts Theater (1961)
Clairemont Mesa Blvd, Kearney Mesa
Demolished

Convair Off-Site Warehouse (1957)
At 500,000 square feet this was one of the largest steel frame buildings in the world.
Rose Canyon "parallel to Highway 101 and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad tracks"

Del Norte Housing Tract
Date, Location Unknown


Dick Residence (ca. 1953) photographer unknown.

Dick, William and Ruth Residence (1952)
2354 Pine Street

Edgewater Cove Apartments (1959)
1031 Coast Boulevard

El Cortez Hotel Additions (1954)

First National Bank of San Diego (ca. 1962-1963)
Navajo Shopping Center

First National Bank (1963)
Clairemont Drive and Balboa intersection


First National Trust and Savings Bank

First National Trust and Savings Bank (1961)
NE Corner of Mission Boulevard and Turquoise Street
Demolished

Frame-Grosso Dental building (1952)
4060 30th, North Park

Garden of Allah Restaraunt (1954)
3780 Park Blvd, Hillcrest

George Residence (1953)
Clairemont Mesa

Glasson, Bill Residence
Jamul

Greek Orthodox Church
3600 Park Blvd

Gross Center (1959)
3045 Rosecrans, Point Loma

Gross Smith Mall (1961)
Lemon Grove

Grossmont Junior College (1964)
8800 Grossmont College Drive, El Cajon

Recognized at the 1964 United Masonry Association of San Diego Awards

Gynob Building
Fifth Avenue

Hansen, Mr. & Mrs. Dean Residence (1950)
2455 Poinsettia Drive, Point Loma

Horizon House / Richard George Wheeler Offices. Photograph by Julius Shulman
© J. Paul Getty Trust. Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (2004.R.10)

Horizon House / Richard George Wheeler Offices
Rosecrans, Point Loma

Humanities and Social Science Building (1969)
UC San Diego campus, John Muir College

La Jolla Square (1963)
"Cutsom Executive Offices" at Girard and Silverado

Lockwood & Gordon Cinerama Theatre (1962)
58th & University Avenue
Demolished

Loma Square Shopping Center
Point Loma

Loomis, Robert Residence
La Jolla

Loveall, Dr. Medical Building (circa 1950)
4th Avenue

Medical Building
5th and Hawthorne

Medical Building
5th and Juniper

Mission Valley Inn (1958)
Mission Valley

Narmco Offices (1960)
Research Park, Kearney Mesa

North Park Health Club

North Park Health Club
*San Diego & Point remarked "The North Park Health Club will relocate to Clairemont in this much-expanded facility... Charles Richardson will build this Richard Henry Wheeler design."

Paradise Valley Hospital (1964)
2400 East Fourth Street, National City

Parkview Medical Building (1955)
San Diego

Phillips Ramsey Co. Offices (1955)
NE corner of 3rd Avenue and Ivy Street

Point Loma Doctor's Hospital (1959)
3475 Kenyon Street, Point Loma
Now Sharp Cabrillo Hospital

Private Residence (1952)
2425 Poinsettia Drive, Point Loma

Private Residence (1953)
3020 Seville Street, Point Loma

Private Residence
Alvarado Estates

Redwood Baptist Church
Rancho Mission

Rohr, Fred Residence
Point Loma

Rosecrans Professional Building (1958)
3276 Rosecrans, Point Loma
aka Horizon House, RGW Associates Office Building

Sands Motel
San Diego

San Diego Gas & Electric Company (1968). Photograph by Julius Shulman
© J. Paul Getty Trust. Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (2004.R.10)

San Diego Gas & Electric Company (1968)
101 Ash

San Miguel School for Boys (1960)
Linda Vista Road

Security Trust National Bank (1958)
North Clairemont Quad, Clairemont

Shattuck, J.R. Model House

Shearson-Hammill Building
Northeast corner of 6th & A

Shelter Island Restaraunt/Hotel (1960)
Point Loma

Shelter Island Botel (1958)
Point Loma

Shelter Island Inn
Point Loma

Skeoch Residence
Alvarado Estates

Smith, Raymond E. Residence (1954)
646 Bradford Road, El Cajon

Speedee Mart Stores (1961)
10 stores in San Diego County owned by Henry Boney

Thompson, Jack Residence
Point Loma

Union Carbide Electronics Division (1968)
Kearny Mesa

University Lanes (1959)
5933 University Avenue

Valley Shopping Center (1959)
bounded by Johnson Avenue, Magnolia Avenue and Broadway, El Cajon

Vance, Paul Residence
Kensington

Vernetti, Dr. James Dental Office (1947)
543 Orange Avenue, Coronado

Westgate Plaza Hotel (1970)
1055 2nd Avenue
At a cost of $14.5 million, when the Westgate Plaza Hotel was built in 1970, it was the most expensive hotel built in the country.

Westminster Presbyterian Church (1961)
Canon and Talbot Streets, Point Loma

Wheeler, Henry L. Professional Building (1959)
1st Avenue and Maple Street
*Noticeable by the seven 18' concrete block (Hazard's Empress Screen Bloc) screen walls facing south and east.

Wheeler, Richard George & Associates Office (circa 1950)
3537 5th Avenue


Wheeler Residence #1

Wheeler Residence #1 (circa 1948)
3664 Curtis Street, Point Loma

Wheeler Residence #2 (1960)
3223 Sterne Street

Windago Apartments (1958)
La Jolla Shores, La Jolla

Woods Residence
Alvarado Estates