Ernest Alexander Born (1898-1992)


Born, Ernest Alexander

Personal Information

Birth/Death:    b. 21 February 1898 – d. 05 September 1992
Occupation:    American architect
Location:    New York, NY; San Francisco, CA

AIA Affiliation

Member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 1944-decease
Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA) 1955

Biographical Sources

American Architects Directories:
Biographical listing in 1956 American Architects Directory
Biographical listing in 1962 American Architects Directory
Address listed in 1970 American Architects Directory

Biographical information:
Contributed by the Environmental Design Archives, University of California, Berkeley:
Ernest Born was born in San Francisco in 1898. Educated in San Francisco and Oakland schools, he graduated from UC Berkeley's School of Architecture in 1922. Following graduation he traveled to Europe on a Fellowship returning to receive his master's degree in Architecture from the University of California in 1923. From 1927 to 1928 he studied decorative painting and fresco in Europe and in 1936 he traveled to Mexico to study modern architecture. Early in his career, Born worked with John Galen Howard, John Reid Jr., and George Kelham. He received his license to practice architecture in New York in 1931, and in California in 1937. In 1926 he married UCB Architecture School graduate Esther Baum ('26) with whom he traveled and shared an architectural practice (1945-1973). Esther B. Born was a widely regarded architectural photographer.
An accomplished artist as well as architect, Born's designs included exhibits, murals, and building design for the 1939-40 Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco, low rent housing for the San Francisco Housing Authority, residences, warehouses, offices, plant designs, and showrooms. He performed site and master planning for the University of California and consulted on product and book design projects. Later in his career, Born participated in the design of the Glen Park BART station and drafted the signs for 33 BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) stations. Born also did editorial and design work for the Architectural Record and Architectural Forum magazines, as well as rendering designs for other firms, designing furniture, painting in oils and watercolor, and creating illustrations and art prints.
Born was a member of the faculty at the UC Berkeley School of Architecture from 1951 to 1958 and from 1962 to 1974. A member of the A.I.A., he was director of the San Francisco Art Association from 1947 to 1950, serving as its president in 1951. He was also a member of the Art Commission of the City and County of San Francisco from 1947 to 1950. His works were published in various professional architectural magazines from 1929 onward. Born created the illustrations and co-authored both of The Plan of St. Gall and The Barns of the Abbey of Beaulieu (UC Press) with Walter Horn. He died in 1992 in San Diego.

Related Records

Husband and partner of Esther Born

Archival Holdings

The American Institute of Architects Archives
      Membership file contains membership application, Fellowship nomination, request for emeritus (retired) status, obituary. Letters in support of Fellowship have been scanned as a separate file.

Environmental Design Archives, University of California, Berkeley

Collection number: 2001-16. Extent: 10 manuscript boxes, 5 flat boxes, 2 flat file drawers. The Ernest and Esther Born collection contains six series: Personal Papers, Professional papers, Project Records, BART, Golden Gate International Exposition, and the UC Greek Theater Reconstruction. The collection is comprised of two primary parts: Ernest Born's personal and professional papers and the records of his practice including design, exhibit, and building projects; and the architectural photographs of Esther Born. The Personal Papers are comprised of personal drawings of mosque details and designs from Tunisia (1924) and travel slides (1965 – 1971) from Europe. For further information contact the Environmental Design Archives http://www.ced.berkeley.edu/cedarchives/

Getty Research Institute, Research Library
Ernest Born architectural drawings of medieval aisled timber halls, ca. 1944-ca. 1981, Accession no. 920089
A series of architectural drawings, executed in ink and pencil, of 13th and 14th centuries English, French, Dutch and Belgian vernacular buildings, consisting of ground plans, site plans, structural details, and elevations, some 800 items in all, as well as some photostats, photographs, and maps. Produced in collaboration with Walter Horn as part of an unpublished study of medieval 3-aisled timber halls, they document churches, tithe barns, manor halls, hospitals, and market halls, representing over fifty buildings, 30 English, 20 French, one Dutch, and one Belgian.
For further information, see catalog record