Gardner A. Dailey (1895-1967)


Dailey, Gardner A.

Personal Information

Birth/Death:    deceased 10/24/1967
Occupation:    American architect
Location (state):    CA

This record has not been verified for accuracy.

AIA Affiliation

Member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 1930-decease
Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA) 1948

Biographical Sources

American Architects Directories:
Biographical listing in 1956 American Architects Directory
Biographical listing in 1962 American Architects Directory
Biographical information:
Contributed by the Environmental Design Archives, University of California, Berkeley:
Gardner A. Dailey, born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1895, moved to California in 1915. He briefly worked in landscape architect Donald McLaren's San Francisco firm and then in 1916 worked in Costa Rica for the Parisimna Banana Company, developing small houses for its banana plantation workers. He also worked for the Costa Rican government, and designed various parks and grounds throughout Central America.
During World War I, Dailey served as an Air Force Lieutenant in the United States Army Air Force, receiving a Purple Heart award in recognition of his skill and bravery. After the war, he studied economics at UC Berkeley (1919), and then attended Stanford University where he studied entomology (1920-1921). Leaving Stanford after one year of study, Dailey went on to study structural engineering at Heald's Engineering College, San Francisco (1921-1922). During the early 1920s, Dailey went to work for the Engineering Department of the Spring Valley Land & Water Company of San Francisco. In 1926 he traveled in Europe to study architecture and a year later, received his architectural certificate. By 1927, Dailey had opened his own architectural practice and throughout the following decade, he won numerous awards and national competitions.
Dailey's practice encompassed designs for medical, commercial, residential, educational, and recreational projects. Some of his clients included the Biltmore Hotel of Santa Barbara, Matson Shipping Company, Stanford University; UC Berkeley; and the San Francisco Park Commission. Residential clients included Rudolph Bundschu, Charles de Bretville, and Stephen and Kenneth Bechtel. The government of Brazil selected Dailey's design for the Brazil Pavilion at the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition.
In 1942 Dailey invented the stressed skin-roof and its use in unit construction, for which he obtained a patent; during that year he also designed and constructed the Merchant Marine Cadet Basic Training School in San Mateo, California. Several of Dailey's projects were selected for the New York Museum of Modern Art's 1944 exhibition "Built in USA." Two years after this seminal exhibition, the American National Red Cross appointed him head architect for the construction of their Western Headquarters building in San Francisco (demolished 2001). In 1948, the American Battle Monuments Commission appointed Dailey architect of the Pacific War Memorial at Fort McKinley in Manila, P.I. to commemorate soldiers lost to the Pacific Theater of World War II; Yale University appointed him to the post of Visiting Critic for their School of Architecture; and he was made a fellow of the A.I.A.
In 1950 the Art Commission of San Francisco presented Dailey with an Award of Honor for Distinguished Work in Architecture and in 1960 the President of the Philippines awarded Dailey the Philippine Legion of Honor for his work on the Pacific War Memorial. Dailey served on the San Francisco Planning Commission including one year as its President. He also served as a trustee for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, a post from which he made public addresses on art and architecture through television and radio. House Beautiful, House & Garden, Life, Good Housekeeping, and Ladies Home Journal honored Dailey with first prizes in their residential competitions. In 1964 the National Academy of Design in New York City presented Dailey with the Samuel F.B. Morse Award for its 139th Exhibition—and hung his portrait in its Gallery. Dailey married Lucille Downey of San Francisco in 1961. Following his death in 1967, the Manila AIA appointed Dailey an honorary member.
Sources: Baldwin Memorial Archive of American Architects; Biographical Outline, ED Archives office records.

Related Records

Gardner A. Dailey (firm)

Archival Holdings

The American Institute of Architects Archives
      Membership file may contain membership application, Fellowship nomination, related correspondence. Contact the AIA Archives at archives@aia.org for further information.

Environmental Design Archives, University of California, Berkeley

Collection Number: 1988-1, 1999-10, 2004-11. Extent: 10 boxes, 5 flat boxes, 15 flat file drawers. The collection, which spans the years 1923-1979 (bulk 1930-1967), consists of records, drawings, and photographs relating to Gardner A. Dailey's architectural career. The collection also includes files of the successor firm Yuill-Thornton, Warner & Levikow, which are continuations of earlier projects completed by Gardner Dailey. The collection is organized into three series: Office records, Project records and an Additional Donation.
The office records consist primarily of project portfolios assembled in proposal for new commissions, presentation photographs from a number of residential, commercial and educational projects, clippings from architectural publications such as House & Home, House & Garden, and Architectural Record, a scrapbook from the dedication of the War Memorial, and correspondence regarding Dailey's veteran's retirement.
The project records include specifications, drawings and some project-related correspondence from the firm's work. Projects in this series include much of Dailey's early residential work, the Brazil Pavilion and the Golden Gate International Exposition, the Pacific War Memorial, three Hawaii hotels for the Matson Navigation Co., the American Red Cross, as well as work for UC Berkeley and Stanford University.
The additional donation contains tear sheets for various projects. Included in this series are letters from around the country requesting information and plans for the Lowe residences. Plus, there are personal and professional news clippings as well as two photographs, possibly of Frank and Emma Dailey.
Link to online finding aid: http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/kt396nb7zw