Recently (June 18, 2008) a cover article entitled “No Shushing in This Library” appeared in The San Diego Reader newspaper about the libraries in San Diego. Featured prominently was the North Clairemont Library (Google Map link). This was rather interesting, because I knew that my father, who was an architect, had designed it – in fact I’d been up to the library a number of years ago to photograph it.
(I haven’t found my photos yet, but in the meantime, here’s the Google Street View):
I didn’t expect him to be mentioned in the article, but then towards the end of the article he was! The author – Alex Finlayson – apparently lives near the library and likes it. He (or she?) mentions that it was rebuilt a couple times after fires in the 80′s, to original specifications. It was designed, I’ve now learned from my own research, in 1960.
” ‘The North Clairemont Library is among our favorites,’ says Keith York, SOHO member and moderator of ModernSanDiego.com. San Diego architect Robert Platt’s design ‘communicates like a billboard, attracting onlookers and passersby to investigate what’s inside,’ he says, singling out the unique ‘diamond-shaped fascia’ that runs across the library’s front. According to York, the North Clairemont Branch Library is ‘among the few and best examples of Googie architecture’ left in San Diego.”
Apparently it’s a well-liked library, and they have a scrapbook about the library and the fires at the branch.
This sparked off a dialogue between Keith York and I, which in turn led further motivation to the preservation of my father’s archive of work. My mother recently was moved into an assisted living facility, and her house put up for sale. All his work is in her garage, and I am the only one who has the time (or interest perhaps) to work on a preservation effort (plus the skills to do the digital work). Keith has subsequently published some of the material I’ve sent him on his site.
At this point (8/7/08), I’m in the early stages of the project, and need to write up a basic biography and timeline. I managed to find a project list (my father kept everything), and started to construct a web page of Robert Platt Architecture Projects , using that list as a backbone. I haven’t listed all the project yet, but you can start to see how much work he did! Another exciting thing for me was to see what buildings are still around. I was able, as I found addresses to add to the project list, to find a Street View in Google maps, and see the buildings, and recognize that they were definitely his – he had an unmistakable style. I’ve added links along the side of the project list web page to these Google Street Views.
Keith got excited when I showed him the drawing I’d uncovered of the Pearl Hotel. Turns out a friend of his renovated this hotel (originally called “The Sportsman’s Lodge”, and built for businessman Frank Naso). A bit later I found the folder for the Naso Hotel, which included the orignal (pencil!) plans and a wonderful concept sketch, with lots of typical R. J. Platt flair. I remember “The Sportsman’s Lodge” – the logo on the front of the building – I must have passed it hundreds times of times, growing up in Point Loma, but moved from there in the late 70′s …