Drake, Gordon

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To download a list of projects for this collection in an Excel spreadsheet, see the Project Index. For instructions on interpreting the Project Index, see The Guide to the Project Index. See the Gordon Drake Records Finding Aid at the Online Archive of California.

Gordon ​Drake (1917-1952)Portrait of Gordon Drake

Gordon Drake was born March 19, 1917, in Childress, Texas. After graduating from high school, Drake got his first experience with design and construction helping his brother build a home on Coronado Island, CA. In 1937, Drake enrolled in the architecture program at the University of Southern California graduating in 1941. While at USC Drake was influenced by Harwell Hamilton Harris and Carl Birger Troedsson, first as a student and later as a draftsman.

While serving as a Marine combat leader in the South Pacific, he received his first professional architectural commission, completion of the Haleakala Theatre. Following his release from the Marine Corps he joined Louis Soltanofff, and several other friends in California, and within four months, the group had constructed a basic house for veterans. For their efforts, they won the Progressive Architecture First Annual Award. As an active practitioner, Drake’s designs reflected his interest in climate, materials, siting, and structure

In 1948 Drake relocated from Los Angeles to Northern California in 1951. He began to work for Architect Ernest J. Kump while keeping a small office for evening and weekend work. Drake died at the age of 34 in a skiing accident in 1952.

Berns ResidenceThe collection contains biographical material, correspondence, and publicity files, as well as notes, specifications, sketches, and drawings for both client-driven projects and designs for houses, furniture, screens, and arbors. Projects include primarily residences in southern California, Drake’s various offices, and projects commissioned for publications such as Sunset Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, and Women’s Home Journal.