96 cartons, 14 boxes, 2 flat boxes, 13 linear feet mounted and framed material, approximately 700 tubes, 11 artifacts
Environmental Design Archives. College of Environmental Design.
University of California, Berkeley.
Abstract: The collection consists of records of architect William Turnbull Jr. and the Moore, Lyndon, Turnbull, and Whitaker architectural
firm. The majority of the collection documents William Turnbull Jr./MLTW projects between 1958-1997. The Sea Ranch development,
commissioned by Oceanic Properties, is the development that put Turnbull on the architectural map, as well as influenced the
look of developments on the Pacific coastline for decades to come. Of note in the Project Records are those projects that
were either entirely the work of Charles Moore or were instigated by Moore.
Physical location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
Languages represented in the collection:
Collection open for research.
All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from materials in the collection should be discussed with the
[Identification of item], William Turnbull, Jr./MLTW collection, (2000-9), Environmental Design Archives. College of
Environmental Design. University of California, Berkeley. Berkeley, California.
The collection was acquired in 2000.
William Turnbull, Jr. was born in New York on April 1, 1935 and raised on a farm in Far Hills, New Jersey. Both his father
and great-grandfather were architects: the latter, George B. Post, was the architect of the New York Stock Exchange and planner
of Forest Hills Gardens, and in 1911 won the gold medal from the American Institute of Architects. As was his "birthright,"
Turnbull studied architecture at Princeton and the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. He returned to Princeton to receive his
Master's degree in 1959, studying under Louis I. Kahn and producing a thesis on the redevelopment of Ellis Island. For this
thesis, he received the AIA Student Medal. He befriended Charles Moore, a fellow graduate student at Princeton, and in 1960
moved to San Francisco, where he began working at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. One of his achievements at SOM was as a designer
of the Big Sur Coast Master Plan, which has been written into law and protects nearly 100 miles of pristine California coastline
In 1963, at the age of 27, Turnbull co-founded the firm of MLTW with fellow principals Charles Moore, Donlyn Lyndon, and Richard
Whitaker. In a 1968 letter to architectural historian David Gebhardt, Turnbull writes of the MLTW collaboration, "Essentially
Chuck, Don, Dick and I are or were all designers. We worked together with the man having the strongest opinion about a subject
usually prevailing. This built-in system of checks and balances was one of the reasons why the quality of design was so high.
On each project, identification with the solution varied, but all were involved?. We have thought of ourselves as a group
of designers and talk about ourselves that way: the work being the product of a dialogue." The four designers in MLTW, along
with the landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, together designed the master plan for the Sea Ranch, located on the Sonoma
coast in northern California, as well as the first structure on the site, Condominium #1. The condominium drew high praise
from critics and the general public alike, and the firm instantly made a name for itself. Sea Ranch continued to grow and
evolve throughout Turnbull's life, and he remained constantly involved with it: serving on the design committee; designing
two athletic centers, a corporation yard, and employee housing; creating house after house (including 17 versions of his "Spec
House II" or "Binker Barn") for clients almost to the time of his death.
In addition to Sea Ranch, MLTW completed several other significant projects, including Kresge College at the University of
California, Santa Cruz and the Faculty Club at UC-Santa Barbara. During this time, Turnbull also taught several architecture
and landscape architecture studios at UC-Berkeley. He co-authored (with Charles Moore) and produced drawings for the 1971
The Place of Houses. In 1967, he married Wendy Woods, from whom he was later divorced.
By 1970, all three of the other principals of MLTW had left the firm to pursue academic careers and begin new firms. Turnbull
remained in San Francisco and renamed his practice William Turnbull Associates, located at Pier 1 1/2 on San Francisco's Embarcadero.
He continued to collaborate with Charles Moore on many projects, but also began to make a name for himself as a designer,
accepting important commissions from Golden West Savings & Loan, Warren and Teeny Zimmerman, Sandy and Barbara Tatum (whose
house won the coveted "Record House of the Year" award in 1972 from
Architectural Record) and a low-income housing development in Tacoma, Washington called Conifer.
In the early 1970s, Turnbull and his friend (and lawyer, and client) Reverdy Johnson went into business together growing grapes
in an esteemed region of the Napa Valley. When, one year, the winery to which they usually supplied their grapes declined
to purchase them, Turnbull and Johnson invested in winemaking equipment and began (with the expert assistance of oenologist
Kristin Belair) to produce their own award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay throughout the 1970s and 1980s under
the name Johnson Turnbull Vineyards. Turnbull designed all of the facilities for the winery, as well as for their neighbors,
fellow winemakers Jack and Dolores Cakebread. Johnson and Turnbull remained active in the Napa Valley winemaking community
until the vineyards were sold in the mid-1980s.
Turnbull was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1976, and attended the American Academy in Rome in
1980. He was a sought-after speaker due to his quiet rejection of architectural fads such as Postmodernism and Deconstructionism,
and lectured at architecture schools all over the country. At ease with projects of any scale, he continued to design modest,
regionally-inspired houses while at the same time taking on enormous international projects such as the American Club in Hong
In 1985, Turnbull married architect Mary Griffin, who became a partner in his firm. Through the 1980s and ?90s, William Turnbull
Associates thrived as their work became notable for its consistency of vision in an environment of wildly divergent architectural
styles. William Turnbull Associates won the California Council of the American Institute of Architects "Firm of the Year"
award in 1986, and the same award from the AIA in 1995. Near the end of his life, Turnbull observed, "The older I get, the
more I think that architecture should be like mashed potatoes and not like ice-cream sundaes." Turnbull died on June 26, 1997
at the age of 62. His wife and his partner Eric Haesloop continued the practice, under the name Turnbull Griffin Haesloop,
in Berkeley, California.
1966-1970 MLTW Moore Turnbull
1970-1997 William Turnbull Associates (with a brief interlude of simply "Turnbull Associates")
1997-present Turnbull Griffin Haesloop
In 2016, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission funded a project to digitize archival materials relating
to the development of The Sea Ranch. The project resulted in a virtual collection published online that can be viewed at
"Vernacular virtuoso" [Turnbull obituary]. House Beautiful, v. 139 no. 10 (October 1997), 114-116.
"Master builder" [Turnbull obituary]. San Francisco Examiner, July 6, 1997.
"William Turnbull Jr." [Turnbull obituary]. San Francisco Chronicle, June 30, 1997.
Stout, William and Dung Ngo, eds.
William Turnbull, Jr.: Buildings in the Landscape. San Francisco: William Stout Publishers, 2000.
Typed letter from William Turnbull to David Gebhardt, 1968.
Scope and Contents Note
The records of the William Turnbull Jr./MLTW collection span the years 1952-1997. The collection is organized into seven
series: Personal Papers, Professional Papers, Faculty Records, Office Records, Project Records, Major Projects, and Additional
Donations. Within these series, original order has been maintained wherever evident. Where an original order was not evident,
records have been arranged either chronologically or alphabetically as noted in the Series Description.
The majority of the collection documents William Turnbull Jr./MLTW projects between 1958-1997. A small amount of Personal
Papers exists, which consists of documentation related to Turnbull's Army service, student work including his Master's thesis
at Princeton, personal financial records, and correspondence. The Professional Papers series contains extensive coverage of
Turnbull's involvement in various local and professional associations, including the Community Appearances Advisory Board
in Sausalito (where he lived for most of his adult life), the American Institute of Architects, his fellowship at the American
Academy in Rome, and his involvement in the Sea Ranch Design Committee. This series also documents the numerous awards that
the firm received, as well as the lectures given by Turnbull across the globe and the juries on which he served in order to
honor other members of his profession.
The Faculty Papers are a record of the time Turnbull spent teaching at various institutions around the country, including
significant appointments at the architecture schools of UC Berkeley and Yale (both during Charles Moore's tenure as dean).
Most of the papers in this series are course materials: syllabi, reading lists, and lecture notes. Office Records primarily
document the public relations efforts of the firm through brochures, photographs, correspondence, and (when the efforts were
successful) tearsheets from publications in which the projects were featured. This series also contains the partnership and
dissolution documents from each of the firms in which both Charles Moore and Turnbull were partners. The correspondence in
this series is evidence of the close relationships that evolved between Turnbull's firm and the vendors it worked with closely
to achieve its vision, including photographer Morley Baer and the principals of the Finnish textile design firm Marimekko
Oy. This series also includes documentation of the various exhibitions at museums and galleries in which the work of the firm
was displayed and eleven models of various Turnbull projects.
While the office records document the firm's official correspondence, most of the correspondence that brings the work of Turnbull's
firm to life is located in the Project Records series. Along with construction photographs, meeting and telephone notes, "napkin
sketches" and other quick drawings, and financial records, the project records are a rich source of correspondence between
the architects and their clients, contractors, vendors, and (in some instances) lawyers. Occasional clippings may also be
found among the records. Through this series one comes to know the other major partners and associates in the firm, including
Robert Simpson, Gerd Althofer, Richard Garlinghouse, Karl G. Smith II, Hildegard (Heidi) Richardson, and Turnbull's sister,
Margaret Turnbull Simon (who, with Wendy Libby, ran the firm's interior design division). Later principals, including Mary
Griffin and Eric Haesloop, appear in the series after 1980. The correspondence documents Turnbull's relationships with other
architects and design professionals as well, including the landscape architects Lawrence Halprin and Mae and David Arbegast;
Turnbull's former partners and their successor firms including Charles Moore's Urban Innovations Group and Moore Ruble Yudell;
and Donlyn Lyndon's later firm of Lyndon/Buchanan. It is also not an overstatement to call "collaborators" Turnbull's main
Northern California contractor Matt Sylvia (who constructed most of the buildings at Sea Ranch and in Napa and Sonoma Counties),
renderer Bill Hersey, photographers Morley Baer and Roger Sturtevant, and structural engineers Peter Culley, Steven Tipping,
Fook Z. Lee, and the firm of Rutherford & Chekene. Much correspondence with them is represented in these records.
The projects themselves are all the richer for their clients, who were, almost to a person, warm, intelligent, opinionated
people who came to Turnbull not because he was a "name architect," but because his vision of lightly but intentionally inhabiting
a space and the surrounding landscape rang true to their own. Most of Turnbull's residential architecture is worthy of mention
here, but of particular note ? those projects where, in the process, the clients became close friends ? are the houses commissioned
by the Hoopers, the Swifts, the Phelans (in association with Richard Whitaker, Turnbull's former partner), the Zimmermans,
Gerald Hines, the DiGiorgios, the Allewelts, the Davidows, the Fishers, the Witherspoons, the Cakebreads, the Sandlers, the
Budges, the Tatums, the Spencers, and above all, Reverdy and Marta Johnson, who later became Turnbull's partners in the Johnson/Turnbull
Turnbull's larger projects for corporate or governmental entities display much of the same reverence for both space and surroundings
that his residential architecture does, but on a larger scale. The Sea Ranch development, commissioned by Oceanic Properties,
is the development that put Turnbull on the architectural map, as well as influenced the look of developments on the Pacific
coastline for decades to come. After Sea Ranch, one of Turnbull's earliest corporate clients was Golden West Savings and Loan
(later World Savings), owned and operated by Herbert and Marion Sandler. Turnbull's firm created a signature design for each
of the branches in northern California, and later served as a design advisor to the savings and loan when it began to build
in other states across the country. Some other commissions of note ? there are many more than those on this list ? include
Conifer Housing in Tacoma, Washington, several prototype houses for Weyerhauser, Kresge College at the University of California,
Santa Cruz, the Design|Research Store at Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, Beaver Creek condominiums in Vail, Colorado and
Woodrun Place in Snowmass, Colorado, the Biloxi Library and Cultural Center in Mississippi, the Embarcadero Promenade in San
Francisco, Cakebread Cellars in the Napa Valley (among many wineries in the area), the American Club in Hong Kong, Mountain
View Civic Center in California, and residence halls at Arizona State University. Turnbull's larger projects also include
a number of unbuilt projects wherein he served as an advisor for large nonprofits or governmental entities seeking expert
land-use planning advice. Among his clients were the Oregon State Coastal Commission, the California Coastal Conservancy,
the State of California Attorney General's Office, and the Nature Conservancy.
Also of note in the Project Records are those projects that were either entirely the work of Charles Moore or were instigated
by Moore. Many Moore projects in this series do not have job numbers, but are listed with Moore as a "contributor." Other
Turnbull projects in which Moore played a major design role were the Hines residence, the Louisiana World Exposition, the
Faculty Club at the University of California, Santa Barbara, several early residences, and the Sea Ranch Condominium #1.
The Major Projects series consists of only one project: the Foothills Housing at the University of California, Berkeley.
Due to time constraints, the size of the project, and litigation surrounding the project, this series is entirely unprocessed.
The other series in the collection the Additional Donations, which consist of Turnbull's student work and some early personal
papers. Because these papers were donated at the end of the grant period in 2004, they are currently unprocessed.
The bulk of this collection was donated in 2000. Additional material was donated by the family in 2004. All series in this
collection have been appraised and processed, except the Major Projects and Additional Donations. The Project Records have
been processed and appraised through the year 1986; from 1987 on, the records were processed and inventoried, but not appraised.
Certain project records absent from the collection may have been retained by the successor firm, Turnbull Griffin Haesloop
as they were still required for ongoing work.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in
the library's online public access catalog.
Architecture--California--San Francisco Bay Area--20th Century
Architecture, Domestic--California--San Francisco Bay Area
Louisiana World Exposition (1984: New Orleans, La.)
The Project Index list is arranged alphabetically by Project/Client Name and contains information, where available, about
the location, date, project type, collaborators, photographers, and formats for each project in the collection.
Zimmerman, Warren and Teeny - renovations ( Fairfax County , VA ; 1988-1990 ; residential ) [Ms, Dr]
The William Turnbull, Jr./MLTW collection was processed in 2004 according to the guidelines published in the
Standard Series for Architecture and Landscape Design Records: A Tool for the Arrangement and Description of Archival Collections (Kelcy Shepherd and Waverly Lowell. Berkeley: University of California, 2000.) by Betsy Frederick Rothwell, an assistant
archivist with an M.Arch and extensive experience in processing other Modern architecture collections at the EDA, and Laura
Tatum, project archivist with an MSI from the University of Michigan.
The Turnbull collection was donated to the Environmental Design Archives in 2000. At the time of the donation, the collection
was housed in the firm's office at Pier 1 1/2, on the Embarcadero in San Francisco. The damp, dank conditions of the storage
warehouse made appraisal and processing of this extremely large collection more time-consuming than usual. In the interests
of long-term preservation, the majority of metal fasteners - most of which had already rusted - were removed, and great care
was taken to separate more corrosive types of paper from other, more stable media.
The transfer of materials to the Environmental Design Archives was managed by EDA Archivist Kelcy Shepherd and Curator Waverly
Lowell. Prior to physically transferring the drawings, tubes containing original drawings were identified for the actual move.
This reduced the number of tubes that the EDA eventually accessioned by about half. In many cases tubes contained both original
drawings and prints. It was intended that the duplicate prints would be weeded during processing. Additionally, the successor
firm, located in Berkeley, CA, retained some of the later records for their own office use.
When appraising this collection, Betsy and I adhered to the same standards that we had set while appraising the Wurster collection.
The goal was to dispose of non-permanent material within the time frame of the grant. We discovered, as we learned more about
the projects, certain eccentricities and design philosophies that Turnbull and the members of his firm held dear. Because
of this, we retained some items that might otherwise have been removed, such as paint samples and fabric swatches (especially
fabric designed by Marimekko). These items should provide the researcher with a tangible sense of the exuberance that the
firm embraced, particularly in the 1960s-early 1970s. We retained most telephone notes, especially as they became the primary
means of communication between the firm and its clients and contractors. This firm's records serves as a case study that documents
the rise of the computer and the fax machine in architectural practice - from their introduction in the late 1970s through
their widespread use in the 1990s.
Despite these technological advances, Turnbull remained true to his passion - drafting by hand. The project records are sprinkled
liberally with "napkin sketches" and other quick drawings where he worked his ideas through on paper, often being very self-critical
("possible" and "not this one" are written next to many of these "first tries"). The schematic and design development drawings
are also mostly in his hand and predominantly on yellow tracing paper. Thousands of these small drawings exist. Betsy's architecturally-trained
eye separated the wheat from the chaff, and the drawings that remain in the collection now are those with permanent research
The project records came to us arranged, for the most part, chronologically and in job-number order. Those projects without
job numbers were arranged chronologically at the end of the numbered projects. Large projects often came to us divided into
many folders, the most standard were Correspondence, Meeting and Telephone Notes, Miscellaneous Notes and Sketches, Financial,
and Field Reports. When, after appraisal, a project's records remained voluminous enough to warrant separate foldering, these
(and other, more specific) folder titles were retained. For smaller projects, all records were placed into a single folder
with the client's name, the location of the project, and the job number as identifiers. The collection has been heavily appraised,
with approximately one third removed as non-permanent material. The non-permanent material consisted primarily of duplicates,
transmittal letters, routine correspondence and submittals, product literature and samples, unsuccessful bids, and copies
of codes and regulations readily available elsewhere.