“Modernism Defined by Someone Who Committed It”
LA boy Robert Mosher attended The Art Center School and USC, then majored in architecture at the University of Washington. At the beginning of his career after World War II, he worked for Myron Hunt & HC Chambers, Harwell Hamilton Harris, and William Templeton Johnson. The first office that he designed was for his father’s Green Dragon Colony in La Jolla. He worked on this with another architect, Roy Drew, whom he had met at the Hunt and Chambers office. Mosher and Drew continued to collaborate, and their work drew the attention of several shelter publications. Their firm eventually grew into Mosher Drew Watson Ferguson.
Mosher was named executive architect for the first building of Muir College at UCSD and was commissioned to head a team of architects to design the remainder of the buildings. The college then served as the model for the “unity concept” in campus development.
In addition, Mosher designed the student union at SDSU, the west wing of the Museum of Art, All Souls Episcopal Church, office buildings for the Union Bank and Coldwell Banker, and numerous other structures in San Diego and beyond. He also served as design consultant for the Coronado Bridge.
Now, at the age of 91, Mosher can look back on his survival of booms and busts and his influence on the modern-architecture movement. He will speak at the January FSDA meeting in dialogue with architecture historian Keith York.
To describe York as an architecture historian is somewhat inadequate, as he is also a restoration consultant, a university instructor, and a record and documentary producer who has won every national programming award in public television. In addition, he is in the process of restoring his mid-century modern house, designed by Craig Ellwood and furnished with pieces by George Nelson and Charles and Ray Eames.
At our meeting, York will query Mosher about his definition of modernism – a definition that Mosher says distinguishes San Diego and his colleagues – and about his attitude toward historic preservation, which has figured in battles over the fate of the Green Dragon Colony and some of the houses that he has designed.