First Bay Tradition

First Bay Tradition (or First Bay Area Tradition) was an architectural style from the period of the 1880s to early 1920s. Sometimes considered a regional interpretation of the Eastern Shingle Style, it came as a reaction to the classicism of Beaux-Arts architecture. Its characteristics included a link to nature, and use of locally sourced materials such as redwood. It included an emphasis on craftsmanship, volume, form, and asymmetry. The tradition was rooted in San Francisco, the greater Bay Area, and the East Bay. The Environmental Design Archives at the University of California, Berkeley house a repository of drawings and specifications associated with the tradition.

Joseph Worcester (minister), a minister, mystic, and amateur architect, developed the First Bay Tradition in its early stages. The style was later popularized by the architects Bernard Maybeck and Willis Polk. Other architects associated with the tradition included A. Page Brown, Ernest Coxhead, John Galen Howard, Julia Morgan, Louis Christian Mullgardt, and A. C. Schweinfurth. Both Polk and Schweinfurth worked in Brown’s office.

The tradition influenced later styles such as the Modernists of the follow-on Second Bay Tradition. Transitional architects associated with the bridge between these two traditions were Henry Higby Gutterson and John Hudson Thomas.

It has also been known as the San Francisco Bay Region Tradition

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