Sally B. Woodbridge   Bernard Maybeck: Visionary Architect.
Photography by Richard Barnes.
Abbeville, 247 pages, $55

Bernard Maybeck’s is one of those names that float somewhere below the surface of American architectural greatness occupied by the likes of Henry Hobson Richardson, Louis Sullivan, and Frank Lloyd Wright. Born the son of a master woodcarver in 1862 in New York City, Maybeck studied at the Beaux-Arts in Paris, and worked in New York and Kansas City before settling in San Francisco in 1890. There he designed a wide variety of picturesque eclectic buildings, some of the most distinguished of which were private houses (although the finest of which was the stylistically unclassifiable First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Berkeley), and established a reputation as a thoroughly eccentric romantic. Nevertheless, his work had sufficient quality in the eyes of his colleagues that he was awarded the Gold...

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