In these Scholars’ Essays, more than a dozen writers contributed voices to honor Bernard Maybeck’s contribution to twentieth-century architecture, and to express concern for the preservation of his work and the perpetuation of his vision. Writers of all stripes take up the task: architects, teachers of architecture and its history, and critics, all of different viewpoints and generations. Brief, often witty, sometimes alarming in the warnings they raise, the essays attempt to answer a simple if challenging question put to them by the Maybeck Foundation in the summer of 1998:

In 1909, when he was commissioned to build First Church of Christ, Scientist, Berkeley, Bernard Maybeck recalled the Romanesque churches he had seen in France that were built at the turn of the first millennium. Assuming his legacy survives a thousand years beyond the commission of First Church, Berkeley, will anyone recall Maybeck’s work in the year 3000 A.D.?

Few of the essayists read any of the other contributions before submitting their own, yet a number of themes recur. Almost unanimously, the writers express their commitment to and concern for the preservation of the entire body of Maybeck’s work. In concert with that concern, they enumerate various and growing threats to the buildings, including, ironically, First Church’s location in the East Bay, a beautiful, popular, and populous region of the San Francisco Bay Area. In the spirit of the participants in the Arts and Crafts Movement at the end of the last century who decried the dehumanizing aspects of the growing industrial world, many of the contributors contrast the humane quality of Maybeck’s buildings to the potentially deleterious effects on architecture and society of unbridled reliance on computerization. In the end, most of the essayists find that their own hopes for the future of Maybeck’s buildings are founded on their knowledge of Maybeck’s own insights into the nature of architecture and of humanity.


Gray Brechin, Ph.D., Ciriarcy-Wantrup Postdoctoral Fellow, U.C. Berkeley Department of Geography, Importance Of The Palace Of Fine Arts

Paul Goldberger, Building Poetry: Part I

Timothy Culvahouse, Building Poetry: Part II

Alan Temko, Not Wright But Not Wrong: Part I

Gray Brechin, Not Wright But Not Wrong: Part II

Jeffrey Limerick, A Challenging Future: Part I

Kenneth Cardwell, A Challenging Future: Part II

Ross Selmeier, Beyond Calculation

Charles Duncan, A Vision For The Ages: Part I

William Marquand, A Vision For The Ages: Part II

Jeanne Colette Collester, And What Of Principia? Part I

Robert Craig, And What Of Principia? Part II

Jay Turnbull, In Conclusion: Part I

Margaret D’Evelyn, In Conclusion: Part II

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