My Architect Grandfather, Warren Charles Perry & Ecole de Beaux-Arts de Paris
Berkeley in the late1800s was a quiet community across the Bay from the exponentially expanding San Francisco, where the Gold Rush influx had suddenly inflated a small town into an inchoate city that was struggling to create a civic structure to keep apace with the material development.
Across the Bay Berkeley was quietly emerging as a city, in part due to the vision of an amazing woman, Phoebe Apperson Hearst. She boldly envisioned a new ‘Athens of the West’, an intellectual-cultural-urban center similar to what Athens had been in the Periclean Age, a Golden age in western history and art in which the idea of democracy was born. Hearst, who was the mother of William Randolph Hearst, sponsored an international competition for the design of a Master Plan for the campus of U.C. Berkeley, and architects from all over the world submitted large Beaux-Arts renderings and plans. These were exhibited in the SF Ferry Building in 1900, which Grandpa remembered attending at age 16. The winner, Emile Benard, was a Parisian architect from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and had been a Prix de Rome winner, the highest honor at that time. He traveled to Berkeley and finding how unsophisticated it was, turned around and went back home! The fourth place winner was John Galen Howard, an American architect practicing in Boston who had attended the Ecole. Howard relocated his life to Berkeley and with the patronage and friendship of Phoebe Apperson Hearst, supervised the Master Plan of the campus, designed many of the buildings, and became the head of the newly created Department of Architecture.
My Grandfather, Warren Charles Perry, was one of his first students and Howard was his mentor. After graduating Grandpa went to Paris to study for four years after which he returned home to practice and teach at UC. He eventually succeeded Howard as the Head of the Department, a position he held from 1927 to 1954. After Grandpa died in 1980 I asked my Mother and Uncle if I could have his renderings and plans from his school days at UC and the Ecole; these had been rolled up in his basement in crates next to the woodpile! I flattened them all out, researched the chronology, studied the Beaux-Arts educational system and photographed the entire collection on slides and presented this to the AIA Exhibits Committee in San Francisco. They loved the idea, and it became the kickoff exhibit of their Centennial year in 1981. There was a large opening party attended by many Bay Area architects, some of whom had studied at UC during my Grandfather’s tenure, and the exhibit remained in place for a month.
Bilquis Ayar is an Architecturally trained designer specializing in custom homes with experience in commercial office buildings. She has practiced as a designer and design manager for projects ranging from residential bathroom renovations to 30,000 sq.ft. commercial office TIs. Bilquis graduated from the University of California Berkeley with a degree in Architecture. She has also worked in Real Estate for over 10 years and holds a California Real Estate Agent License. Bilquis is intrigued by tiny homes and compartmental living solutions. She enjoys trying new restaurants and new cuisines and is a big sports fan and a loyal follower of the SF 49ers and the SF Giants. Her favorite activity is relaxing at home with a cup of tea and watching a show or reading a good book.
Thayer Hopkins is an architect and designer with over 40 years of experience in architecture, interiors, and furniture design. Thayer is a 5th generation San Franciscan who graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with degrees in Architecture and Fine Arts.
Thayer has expertise in climate-responsive sustainable regional architecture and has completed hundreds residential projects, mostly located in the Bay Area. The practice also includes buildings for corporate, professional, commercial, office, retail and educational clients. His award-winning furniture designs are seen in many showrooms and publications, and have been selected for hotels, resorts, residences and cruise ships. Additionally, his creativity has led to designs for theater and opera sets, interior spaces on an aircraft carrier, exhibit design and graphic identity projects.
Thayer has been a long-time volunteer and has offered his time and skills as lifelong Trustee & Chair of Cathedral School for Boys Buildings & Grounds Committee and liaison with Grace Cathedral, member of the Rhode Island School of Design Architectural Advisory Council, Director and Treasurer of the San Francisco Architectural Club, President of the Alumni Council and member of the Board of Town School for Boys, Director of the Board and member of the Committee for the Renovation of the California Tennis Club.
As the daughter of a contractor from small-town Pennsylvania, Tiffany was exposed at an early age to construction sites and developed an affinity for fine details and home design. After graduating from Pratt Institute in New York with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture, with its own custom cabinet shop, and then apprenticed for eight years under an architect specializing in custom residential design. Tiffany’s untiring dedication and adventurous spirit brought her to San Francisco for a project in 2008. Tiffany absolutely loves what she does, and it shows. When not working, she enjoys escaping the city; camping, backpacking, rock climbing, paddling, diving in remote undersea landscapes, or rappelling through the canyons of Southern Utah.
Ellen Rothstein has been an exhibiting artist, a color consultant and has studied interior design. She applied her training and artistic vision to the field of advertising, collaborating with creative teams and managing clients. This experience segued perfectly to becoming a project manager and client services & marketing manager on the client side. Additionally, Ellen is a certified Life Transition Coach and author.
Ellen has leveraged the breadth of her experience to be a management & marketing consultant for Thayer Hopkins Architects, bringing the sum of her art background, acquired business acumen and understanding of human interaction to the benefit of the practice. Ellen received her B.A. Practice of Art, from U.C. Berkeley. She studied Interior Design in the Certificate Program at U.C. Berkeley Extension, and is CAA Certified International Life Coach. See Ellen’s designs @ ellenbrodydesigns.com
Rosemary Brito started her career as an Architect in Brazil after receiving her degree in a five year in Architecture and Urban Design program from the Pontifical Catholic University of Goias. After graduating she worked in Brazil designing and supervising large scale projects. Rosemary moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1991 and worked on the design and project management of residential high-end projects. The scope of her work includes a diverse portfolio ranging from residences, offices, retail and restaurants, custom furniture design to yacht refits, both locally and internationally. Rosemary brings a personal approach to her work and experience as a homeowner, landlord and property investor. Rosemary is a keen listener with attention to detail and an eye for quality. She brings her international experience to any project, with a focus on her clients’ objectives, transforming thoughts into reality. She enjoys a collaborative teamwork approach with clients, colleagues and builders and is passionate about her work. She supports academic programs and has volunteered her time for high schools in Marin County, where she resides with her husband and two sons.