William Wilson Wurster

American (Stockton, California, 1895 - 1973, Berkeley, California)

A student of Bernard Maybeck and a tireless advocate for interdisciplinary education, William Wurster garnered considerably less transcontinental fame than other Modernist architects of his era. Yet in the San Francisco Bay Area Wurster emerged in the 1920s as the region's household name in everyday modernism.

There Wurster mixed his Beaux-Arts training with an emerging interest in the more pared-down forms of the International Style. This meant that his houses, including the eponymous 1928 Gregory Farmhouse in Scotts Valley, were neither traditional nor avant-garde for their time, but somewhere in between.

Wurster was also known for his contextual approach, taking into account a site's topography, views, and winds. As a result, critics often deemed Wurster's houses more livable than those designed by his European counterparts, who approached architecture as a more conceptual, rather than practical, art form.

From June 3, 2013, through early 2016, SFMOMA's building on Third Street in San Francisco will be temporarily closed for expansion construction. Selected artworks in our collection are included in a range of off-site exhibitions during this period. We regret that the remainder of the collection will not be available for study during this time.

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