There is much to be said for adult education. Today I took a course on the works of Californian architectural pioneer Bernard Maybeck. Like Louis Sullivan who was overshadowed by his apprentice Frank Lloyd Wright, Maybeck is often overshadowed by Julia Morgan, best known for her designs for Hearst Castle. Maybeck's most iconic building may be San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts, but some of his truly greatest achievements are in Berkeley, and I was lucky to tour five of them.
The course was taught by Mark Wilson who has already written a book about Morgan and has a new volume on Maybeck scheduled for 2011. He was a deft, knowledgeable instructor, and a great lecture was followed by a walking tour that made a circular route of five masterpieces around and on the UC Berkeley campus.
We started with the Men's Faculty Club on the UC Berkeley Campus.
Next up was the Hillside Club on Cedar, a place I've passed many times. From the street it looks like an unassuming bungalow, but inside is a theater with echoes of Tudor era London and the Globe Theatre.
Then it was a short hop over to the Flagg House, close to several other Maybeck homes, whose owners have preserved the integrity of the master's initial vision.
Up on Maybeck Twin Drive (named after his grand daughters who still live in the area), we got to glimpse at several important homes by Maybeck and his students, including a garage door with ornamentation painted by the master himself.
The grand finale was what many consider to be his greatest achievement, the First Church of Christ, Scientist, where at least five styles converge seamlessly.