John Cooper Funk (1908-1993)


Funk, John Cooper

Personal Information

Birth/Death:    b. 17 February 1908 – d. 16 February 1993 (source: California Death Index online)
Occupation:    American architect
Location:    San Francisco, CA

AIA Affiliation

Member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 1945-1950

Biographical Sources

Biographical information:
Contributed by the Environmental Design Archives, University of California, Berkeley:
John Cooper Funk was born in 1908 in Upland, California where he worked on the family farm until moving to Berkeley. In 1934 he received his bachelor's degree in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley, and continued his education at Berkeley, receiving his master's degree the following year. From 1936 to 1938, Funk worked in the office of architect William Wurster. In 1938, Funk and his wife, Margaret, traveled through Europe, where he admired the work of Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. Upon returning to the United States he established his own practice in 1939, hiring a number of women and minorities in a time when white men dominated the profession.
In the 1930s and 1940s, Funk helped make famous the second "Bay Region Style" of architecture, similar to the International Style in its openness and clarity, but graced by the use of local materials and a sensitivity to the landscape. Funk established himself at a national scale with the Heckendorf House in 1939, which he designed for his sister-in-law. The Museum of Modern Art recognized the project in 1945 as an "inexpensive house [with] classic dignity and restraint." Other notable single family residences include his own residence in Lafayette, CA (1945), the Heymes House in San Francisco, CA (1948), the Zuckerman House in Berkeley, CA (1949), and the Maenchen Residence at Greenwood Common in Berkeley (1952).
In addition to single family residences, Funk's strong social philosophy led him to participate in low-cost wartime housing projects, as well as the post-war Ladera utopian housing development near Palo Alto with Garrett Eckbo (later completed as an Eichler subdivision).
Funk also completed several large University of California buildings between 1950 and 1980, most notably; the student health center, dormitories, dining hall, chemistry building, Science Library, and School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis. He also completed the student health center at UC Santa Cruz and the School of Dentistry at UC San Francisco.
Sources: Mock, Elizabeth, ed. Built In USA: 1932-1944 New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1944.
Temko, Allan. "John Cooper Funk – Architect of 'Bay Region Style.'" San Francisco Chronicle. February 20, 1993.

Related Records

Archival Holdings

The American Institute of Architects Archives
      Membership file contains membership application, termination.

Environmental Design Archives, University of California, Berkeley
Collection Number: 2002-1. Extent: 4 boxes, 6 flat file drawers, 1 tube. The John Funk Collection spans the years 1929-1988 and is organized into three series: Personal Papers, Office Records, and Project Records. The Personal Papers include drawings and photographs of student work, architectural exhibition material collected by Funk, and photographs of Funk. The Office Records contain clippings and promotional materials about Funk's projects, along with documentation and photographs from architectural exhibitions that highlight Funk's Heckendorf House.

The Project Records include manuscript files, drawings, specifications, and photographs of projects designed by Funk between 1937 and 1985. Notable projects include the Heckendorf House, Zuckerman House, Heymes House, and his own residence in Lafayette. The collection also contains files documenting several multi-residential communities such as the Hawthorne Defense Housing project and the Ladera Housing project. The Project Records also include several commercial, educational, and medical projects, many of which were commissioned by the University of California for Davis, Santa Cruz, and San Francisco campuses.

The collection reflects Funk's collaborative efforts with architect Joseph Allen Stein (Ladera, Mayer Clinic, and Mission Medical Dental Center) and landscape architects such as Lawrence Halprin (Kirby, Maenchen, Randolph and Woerner residences), Eckbo, Royston & Williams (Funk, Gorb, Lyon, McCullough, Power, Saunders and Zuckerman residences as well as the Ladies Home Journal Model House), Douglas Baylis (Heymes residence), and Osmundson & Stanley (Hamilton and Leet residences). He also worked with notable Bay Area architectural photographers including Morley Baer (Power, Woerner and Zuckerman residences), Ernest Braun (Ladera Housing project), Roger Sturtevant (Heckendorf and Heymes residences), and his brother, Ernest Funk (Allusi, Heckendorf, Hirschfelder, Martin, and Turner residences).

Link to online finding aid: http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/kt3g50111g