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Sanchez (Gil) papers
CEMA 15  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Biographical / Historical
  • General
  • Series Description
  • Scope and Contents
  • Conditions Governing Use

  • Contributing Institution: UC Santa Barbara Library, Department of Special Research Collections
    Title: Gil Sanchez papers
    Identifier/Call Number: CEMA 15
    Physical Description: 89.5 Linear Feet (49 cartons,1 oversize flat box, 1 oversize box, 122 oversized telescoping boxes, and 10 bags with drawings)
    Date (inclusive): 1974-2016
    Language of Material: English .

    Conditions Governing Access


    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Donated by Gil Sanchez, Architect

    Biographical / Historical

    "I never met a man who reminds me so much of an adobe building. He's one with it. It's part of him." Ellen Calamiris CM magazine.
    Gil Sanchez is a rarity in the world of architecture. As a Mexican American, he grew up speaking only Spanish in a society which had yet to realize the value of a multicultural tradition. Sanchez became interested in art at an early age and dreamed of becoming a sculptor. He struggled through school due to the language barrier, yet he received his high school diploma and subsequently joined the army. Following a tour abroad, Sanchez returned to San Jose and began a job as an architect's apprentice. He worked for fifteen different architects over a span of ten years, and attended night school in order to earn his architectural license. He established his own architectural practice in June of 1973. Over the years, Gil Sanchez has worked on more then 25 adobe projects, and numerous other projects. He is a well-known speaker and expert at the Getty Foundation Adobe Restoration Workshops.
    Some of his most notable projects include the Santa Barbara Presidio, Mission San Juan Bautista, San Juan Capistrano, Mission Santa Clara, the Peralta Adobe, Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park Adobe, and Juana Briones Adobe.
    Gil Sanchez has received a number of awards including The Excellence in Design Award from the Fine Arts Commission for Peralta Adobe Restoration and for Laundry Works Restauration Rehabilitation in 1977 and a Citation from Masonry Institure for Mission San Jose Reconstruction in 1985 and for Flickinger Park Buildings in 1987. The California Council of the American Institute of Architects (CCAIA) presented Sanchez with the Special Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation at their 1989 Vision Pacific conference and advanced him to Fellowship in the AIA that same year in recognition of his work on the San Jose Mission, the Santa Barbara Presidio, and Mission Santa Cruz. This is a significant honor. There are 56,000 members in the AIA but only 1,700 are fellows. He also received the Santa Clara Merit award for his Ryland Park Pool structure in the 1989 Santa Clara Masonry Design Award Program. He has been awarded three Merit Awards from the CCAIA, 1984, 1987 and 1991. He has also received the outstanding service award 1989 for his work on the Peralta Adobe, Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park Adobe, and Mission San Juan Capistrano and The California Perservation Foundation 2000 Design Award for Casa Amesti Seismic Strengthening and Repair.
    After a long career, Sanchez is best known for his restoration of adobe missions. Adobe is an extremely delicate material and requires the knowledge of history, structure, and materials. Details such as soil composition are integral when attempting to match new materials with the old. Sanchez headed the reconstruction of Mission San Jose, which required almost four years of study prior to the commencement of any physical work.
    Architecture is a functional art and Gil Sanchez is helping to preserve a part of a culture as well as a period of history. In similar spirit, the Gil Sanchez Papers are being preserved by the California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives in the Davidson Library of the University of California Santa Barbara. The collection amounts to sixty linear feet and includes thousands of drawings and research material for his many projects, photographs, correspondence files and clippings. Gil Sanchez's heritage was looked down upon by some as he was growing up; however, his life has come full circle. Now the ancestry which those persons might have denied has enabled him to become a part of history.


    This is a partial list of projects in the Gil Sanchez Collection.

    Series Description

    Series I: Personal and Biographical. The series includes articles from major magazines and newpaper sources and is divided into two categories and ordered chronologically. The first category includes all articles primarily concerned with Gil Sanchez himself, his work and his life. The second category includes articles which primarily pertain to the projects he has worked on. The articles were culled from the collection in many places and so were placed in box 42. Because of their content they are listed in this guide first in order to offer the researcher insight into the various projects which follow.
    Series II, III and IV: The 1970s, 1980s and 1990s Projects. These three series, much as would be expected, list the architectural projects Sanchez has documented in his many years as an architectural restorationist. Their arrangement follows a chronological order and a project filing structure that was conceived by the creator. Obviously the projects which are most notable in the collection are those for which Sanchez has received awards. These projects are the Peralta Adobe Project #7416, 1974, Mission San Jose Project #7802, 1984 Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park Adobe Project #8604, 1986, El Presido, Chapel de Santa Barbara Project #8005, 1984, and the Juana Briones House Project #8912, 1989, Additionally, two subseries have been added to the collection due to their extensive documentation. Because of the completeness of these two subseries the researcher can examine the many steps it takes to accomplish these restoration projects and the multi-faceted effort taken by Gil Sanchez when he accepts a restoration project. These two subseries can be found in their chronological order within the collection entitled: The John Swett School Project #8505 and the Ainseley House, Campbell Historical Museum Project #8901, 1992.
    Series V: Supplemental. Donated in 2005, this series spans several years but is not stored in chronological order. The series is maintained in its orginal order as provided by the donor. Various projects are grouped together by their project name and number. Series V spans 5 boxes.
    Series VI: Supplemental. Donated in 2017, this series spans several years but is not stored in chronological order. The series is maintained in its orginal order as provided by the donor. Various projects are grouped together by their project name and number. Series VI spans 5 boxes.
    Oversize. At the end of the collection guide is a listing of the blueprints that were included with the collection. Wherever possible these blueprints were arranged according to project number and foldered in the order that they were received by CEMA. Most projects contain multiple drawings or sections of drawings on various stages of the project and so will have multiple folders as well. These multiple folders are designated parenthetically with the statement "# drawings."

    Scope and Contents

    The Gil Sanchez papers represents his projects between 1974 through 1995. The collection is ordered chronologically with few notable exceptions wherever the subject matter called for it. Large flat architectural drawings and blueprints have been re-ordered by their project number and/or date and are arranged chronologically at the end of the collection as oversized prints. Articles and publicity specifically about Gil Sanchez or one of his projects have been moved to the first series in order to provide an overview of Gil Sanchez's career.
    Each project was originally created with its own internal order. This order has been preserved as closely as possible, as follows:
    Legal and contractual matters: Owner-Contractor contracts, correspondence between owner and contractor and construction estimates.
    Correspondence: chronological file of Incoming and Outgoing Correspondence. Notes from conferences, dated memos, etc. Transmittals and general information.
    Drawings: Copies of preliminary drawings and sketches marked up by clients, copies of surveys, area maps. Any drawings submitted to the Sanchez office.
    Field Reports, Test Reports, Specifications: Test reports during construction submittals such as concrete mix designs, structural calculations, etc.
    Restoration Projects: This portion of the files includes photographs, historical information, archeological reports. Also included are, construction analysis details, schedules, drawingsbrochures of materials and items used in the structure.

    Conditions Governing Use

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.