the world's most visited architecture website
i

Sign up now and start saving and organizing your favorite architecture projects and photos

Sign up now to save and organize your favorite architecture projects

i

Find the most inspiring products for your projects in our Product Catalog.

Find the most inspiring products in our Product Catalog.

i

Get the ArchDaily Chrome Extension and be inspired with every new tab. Install here »

i

All over the world, architects are finding cool ways to re-use run-down old buildings. Click here to see the best in Refurbishment Architecture.

Want to see the coolest refurbishment projects? Click here.

i

Immerse yourself in inspiring buildings with our selection of 360 videos. Click here.

See our immersive, inspiring 360 videos. Click here.

All
Projects
Products
Events
Competitions
Navigate articles using your keyboard
  1. ArchDaily
  2. News
  3. Spotlight: William Pereira

Spotlight: William Pereira

Spotlight: William Pereira
Spotlight: William Pereira, Geisel Library. Image © Darren Bradley
Geisel Library. Image © Darren Bradley

Winner of the 1942 Acadamy Award for Best Special Effects, William Pereira (April 25, 1909 – November 13, 1985) also designed some of America's most iconic examples of futurist architecture, with his heavy stripped down functionalism becoming the symbol of many US institutions and cities. Working with his more prolific film-maker brother Hal Pereira, William Pereira's talent as an art director translated into a long and prestigious career creating striking and idiosyncratic buildings across the West Coast of America.

Transamerica Pyramid. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/jkz/6371624443'>Flickr user jkz</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a> Thene Building, LAX. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/132084522@N05/16747302728'>Flickr user Sam valadi</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a> Jack Langson Library at University of California (Irvine). ImageCourtesy of <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:UCILibrary.jpg'>Wikimedia user TFNorman</a> (public domain) Geisel Library. Image © Darren Bradley + 12

Courtesy of UC Irvine Special Collections and Archives
Courtesy of UC Irvine Special Collections and Archives
Transamerica Pyramid. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/jkz/6371624443'>Flickr user jkz</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a>
Transamerica Pyramid. Image © Flickr user jkz licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Born to Portuguese immigrants in Chicago, Pereira graduated from the University of Illinois and rapidly established himself as a prominent figure, designing a few notable Art Deco buildings and helping to draft the masterplan for the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. Moving to Los Angles and becoming involved in the film industry with his brother Hal in 1930, it wasn't until his partnership with Charles Luckman in the 1950s that his distinctive style of heavy masses with stripped down detailing emerged, becoming increasingly radical as his career progressed.

Thene Building, LAX. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/132084522@N05/16747302728'>Flickr user Sam valadi</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a>
Thene Building, LAX. Image © Flickr user Sam valadi licensed under CC BY 2.0
University of California, Irvine, 1966. Image Courtesy of Orange County Archives
University of California, Irvine, 1966. Image Courtesy of Orange County Archives

In 1958 Pereira & Luckman completed perhaps their most famous work, the Googie-styled Theme Building at Los Angles International Airport. Splitting from Luckman in 1959 and forming his own, independent practice, Pereira's work became a whirlwind of concrete, completing as many as 250 projects in the 1960s and 1970s, and working on increasingly high-profile landmark commissions. His austere geometrical style was soon to be seen in pyramids, ziggurats and domes in a variety of areas along the West Coast, including the San Diego International Airport (1959), plans and buildings for campuses for the Universities of Southern California, California (Irvine) and Pepperdine, the sprawling Los Angles County Museum of Art, and of course his two most prominent landmarks: the inverted ziggurat of the Geisel Library and perhaps the most recognizable building in San Francisco, the Transamerica Pyramid.

Jack Langson Library at University of California (Irvine). ImageCourtesy of <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:UCILibrary.jpg'>Wikimedia user TFNorman</a> (public domain)
Jack Langson Library at University of California (Irvine). ImageCourtesy of Wikimedia user TFNorman (public domain)
Pacific Life Headquarters, Newport Beach. Image © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pacificlifeheadquarters.jpg'>Wikimedia user Coolcaesar</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a>
Pacific Life Headquarters, Newport Beach. Image © Wikimedia user Coolcaesar licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Pereira's forays into urban planning were also suitably monolithic, for example the masterplan for the Californian city of Irvine, a tightly regulated planned city around the campus of the University of California. Initially planning for a new city of 50,000, Irvine's regimented plan of individually planned and styled villages has since swelled to more than 4 times that size. His plan for the university, with stark brutalist buildings jutting out of the hillside on concrete platforms, formed an academic island within the suburbs he designed.

University of California, Irvine Campus, at the center of Pereira's planned development at Irvine. Image © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Campus_of_the_University_of_California,_Irvine_(aerial_view,_circa_2006).jpg'>Wikimedia user Poppashoppa22</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a>
University of California, Irvine Campus, at the center of Pereira's planned development at Irvine. Image © Wikimedia user Poppashoppa22 licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Transamerica Pyramid. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/jkz/6371624053'>Flickr user jkz</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a>
Transamerica Pyramid. Image © Flickr user jkz licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Find out more about one of Pereira's most famous works, the Geisel Library at the University of California San Diego, via the thumbnails below:

Geisel Library. Image © Darren Bradley Geisel Library. Image © Darren Bradley Geisel Library. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/brazilfox/6907949259'>Flickr user brazilfox licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/'>CC BY-NC-ND 2.0</a> Geisel Library. Image © Darren Bradley + 12

About this author
Dario Goodwin
Author
Cite: Dario Goodwin. "Spotlight: William Pereira" 25 Apr 2018. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/623739/spotlight-william-pereira/> ISSN 0719-8884
Read comments
Geisel Library. Image © Darren Bradley

聚焦:威廉·佩雷拉

You've started following your first account!

Did you know?

You'll now receive updates based on what you follow! Personalize your stream and start following your favorite authors, offices and users.