Frederick Liebhardt

Architect | 1924-1999

Decades after he and his wife Mimi served as apprentices to Frank Lloyd Wright (1948-49), Fred Liebhardt described his design philosophy: "I like to think that things have a use. They should be useful and handsome in their usefulness. To put up (buildings) just to be handsome is not a good idea."

"I like to think that things have a use. They should be useful and handsome in their usefulness. To put up (buildings) just to be handsome is not a good idea." - Fred Liebhardt San Diego Union Tribune (1996)

Fred Liebhardt was born in Fresno on May 28, 1924 and grew up in San Marino and Pasadena. Prior to World War II, Liebhardt attended the Curtis Wright technical school and worked briefly in aircraft engineering.

Frederick married Marianne at the beginning of World War II and signed up with the Navy through their V12 program despite serious illness before his entry. Fred attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison and Notre Dame while in the Navy. Later in the War, Fred went to Norman, OK then off to Florida to fly PBYs. Mr. Liebhardt nearly died of encephalitis but was saved by an intern and antibiotics. Fred completed his wartime service in 1945 near San Luis Obispo in flight training.

According to the San Diego Union Tribune, Fred’s inspiration to become an architect came from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. "If that doesn't impress you, you're not impressible. It's probably the best piece of architecture of any type, any size, any anything, in the last 100 years" he said.

Following the War, Fred was accepted at USC and at the University of Denver. Marianne’s aunt, and wife of David Bond who worked on Wright's Biltmore Hotel in Scottsdale, Bertha Jackson Bond, interviewed him when he was in the employ of Harwell Hamilton Harris. Bertha thought highly of Fred’s drawings. With this optimism, Fred wrote Frank Lloyd Wright asking to work at Taliesin. He was turned down.

In 1945, while living at his parent’s Colorado estate, “Roseacre”, and beginning his formal architecture education at the College of Architecture and Planning at University of Denver, Fred attended a local lecture by Frank Lloyd Wright. After Fred’s instructor showed Mr. Wright his drawings, the noted architect asked Fred and Marianne to visit Taliesin. According to Mrs. Liebhardt, “Come be with me before they ruin you,” Wright stated. Soon thereafter the first of their two children, Alanna was born in 1946.

In 1947, the trio left Colorado to join the Taliesin Fellowship where Fred acquired the architectural orientation that he pursued throughout the rest of his career. At Taliesin, wife Marianne acquired skills in interior design that would propel her through her own career.

The couple spent less than a year between Taliesin (Spring Green, WI) and Taliesin West (Scottsdale, AZ) between 1948-49. In an unusual move, Mr. Wright sent Fred straight to the drafting room rather than the norm of employing his apprentices in less-distinguished roles early on. Marianne worked on the library and ‘old theater’ interiors; helped with 3 o‘clock tea and cake service; and cleaned the model of the Guggenheim museum as interest in the project was growing. Telling Mr. Wright she didn’t understand what the Guggenheim meant, Marianne recalled him replying with, “you will understand it when it is done.”

According to Mrs. Liebhardt, over the years Frank Lloyd Wright regretted only a few of his apprentices leaving his employ – Rowan Maiden (known for his Nepenthe Restaurant in Big Sur), John Lautner, and Fred Liebhardt (blaming Marianne for his departure). The Liebhardts would continue to visit Frank Lloyd Wright through the 1950s.

The Liebhardts returned to a small house in Pasadena, from which they visited La Jolla and Santa Barbara looking for a place to settle. Despite Fred’s opinion that San Diego was lacking in strong architecture, they decided to move to La Jolla. Soon after arriving here, Fred worked for Lloyd Ruocco where he likely worked on the Holmgren Residence. Following this brief stint, Fred worked began an informal practice of his own and partnered with fellow Taliesin apprentice Loch Crane from the latter’s Point Loma home. While with Crane and Ruocco, Fred designed his residence and a canvas-roofed studio perched atop his La Jolla property.

According to Robert Des Lauriers, “Fred and I met after he left Taliesin West and came to San Diego. We both worked for a drafting firm, George Mueller (who later became a licensed architect), we specialized in tract homes and commercial projects. Speed drafting was our specialty. And we were good at it. The architecture was not especially great, but we could put it together fast. Jim Bird also worked with us during the summer while he was still playing football at USC. Fred’s dad passed away around this period. His Dad made his money in Uranium in Colorado. Fred and I used to drive his dad’s convertible Rolls Royce up and down La Mesa Boulevard.”

Fred opened his first office on Herschel with Fred Norris (ca. 1951-52). In addition to working with Norris, Liebhardt partnered with Henry Hester. Hester & Liebhardt (ca. 1953-56) reportedly designed homes in Pacific Beach.

In 1956 Eugene “Gene” Weston III had moved to La Jolla, designed and built a few spec houses. In 1958 Gene asked Fred for a job. Having met Fred years earlier while visiting a friend at Taliesin West, Weston worked as an employee for Fred and then joined in partnership in 1960.

After working in architecture for five decades, does Liebhardt have a favorite project? -- "I asked Mr. Wright that question once, and he gave me the definitive answer, I think, which was: the last one he'd done." With that answer, "you confess that you're in love with what you do and that you think everything you do is better than anything you did before,” Fred told the San Diego Union Tribune (February 4, 1996).

Mr. Liebhardt’s work embodied the organic principles advocated by Frank Lloyd Wright and encompassed a wide variety of project types from single family residences and hotels to projects for research and education and the master planning of zoos, aquaria, wild animal parks, theme parks and other outdoor recreation facilities. He was licensed to practice architecture in New York, California, Arizona, Florida, Hawaii and Utah. Fred Liebhardt retired in 1991.

Over the years, the architecture firm changed its name. Between 1950-1960 the firm was solely owned and run by Frederick Liebhardt. Eugene Weston III joined the partnership as Liebhardt and Weston (1960-1965), which later changed to Liebhardt, Weston and Associates (1965-1967). Don Goldman, a noted designer in his own right, later became a partner in Liebhardt, Weston and Goldman (1967-1976). When Goldman left the firm, the partnership reverted back to Liebhardt, Weston and Associates (1976-1990). Following Mr. Weston’s retirement, Bob Botton joined Fred as partner in Liebhardt, Botton and Associates (1990-1991). Between 1974-1984 a number of animal-oriented projects were designed by the Animal People Environments a joint venture of Liebhardt, Weston and Associates, Charles Faust, Dr. James Dolan and Barry Upson.

According to the San Diego Union Tribune, “Unlike some Wright disciples, Liebhardt is no die-hard clone of the master. Said architect J. Spencer Lake, "One of the strengths of his work is you can't `type' it. There's no classic Liebhardt look, and that's a tribute to his ability to suit a design to its purpose."

Partial List of Projects

Anderson, Harry Residence (1954)
Cottontail Lane, La Jolla
*Designed by Frederick Liebhardt

Anthony’s Fish Grotto (1965)
Harbor Drive, San Diego
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Associates. Demolished.

Arrhenius Residence (1956)
2711 Glenwick Place, La Jolla
*Designed by Frederick Liebhardt

Bilings Residence (1957)
La Jolla Shores, La Jolla
*Designed by Frederick Liebhardt

Biology Building - Building 2B (1969)
UC San Diego Muir College, La Jolla
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Goldman

Bishop, Frank Residence (B.F. Properties Residence) (1957)
Pacific Coast Highway, Del Mar
*Designed by Frederick Liebhardt

Bishop Residence (1967)
Laguna Seca, Monterey
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Goldman

Brennan, Mike & Gertrude Residence (1960)
Camino De La Costa, La Jolla
*Designed by Liebhardt & Weston

British Overseas Airways Corp (B.O.A.C.) Ticket Sales Office Remodel (1961)
US Grant Hotel, San Diego
*Designed by Liebhardt & Weston

Cardiac Catheterization (1967)
UC San Diego Medical Center, La Jolla
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Goldman

Clark, Jim Residence (1958)
1878 Washington Place, Mission Hills
*Designed by Frederick Liebhardt

Cluster Gymnasium, Natatorium and Playing Fields. (1966)
UC San Diego, La Jolla
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Associates

Cochrane Residence Remodel (1968)
Location not known
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Goldman

Contemporary Enterprises, Inc. Residence (1957)
8764 Dunaway Drive, La Jolla
*Designed by Frederick Liebhardt

Contemporary Enterprises, Inc. Residence Remodel (1965-66)
8764 Dunaway Drive, La Jolla
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Associates

County Developer Residence (1959)
Location not known
*Designed by Frederick Liebhardt

Crabtree, Dr. Hodge N. Residence (1962)
4521 Trias Street, Mission Hills
*Designed by Liebhardt & Weston

Crabtree Apartments (1967)
Pacific Beach
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Goldman

Dade County Zoo Study (1965)
Dade County, Florida
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Associates

Dennis, John and Eleanor ‘Poppy’ Demarco House (1973)
4690 North Lane, Del Mar

Driscoll Residence (1978)
859 Bangor Street, Point Loma

Dunne, Brian & Gloria Residence (1961)
7241 Rue Michael, La Jolla
*Designed by Liebhardt & Weston

DuPont, Charles Residence (1962)
4545 North Lane, Montecillo
*Designed by Liebhardt & Weston

Farrar, Robert I. Residence (1956)
La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla
*Designed by Frederick Liebhardt

Faucett, Mr. & Mrs Robert Residence (1990)
478 San Fernando, Point Loma

Feher Residence (1960)
2710 Bordeaux Street, La Jolla
*Designed by Liebhardt & Weston

Ferguson Residence (1958)
La Jolla
*Designed by Frederick Liebhardt

Hansen Residence (1952)
Palmdale
*Designed by Frederick Liebhardt

Harris Apartments (1963)
Location not known
*Designed by Liebhardt & Weston. Unbuilt

Harris Offices & Bank Building (1969)
Downtown San Diego
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Goldman

Humanities & Classroom Bldg. (1975)
San Diego State University , College Area
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Goldman

Intensive & Special Care (1968)
University Hospital, San Diego
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Goldman

Islandia Hotel & Restaurant (1961)
1441 Quivira Road, Mission Beach
*Designed by Liebhardt & Weston

Laborers & Hod Carriers Union Building (1959)
East San Diego
*Designed by Frederick Liebhardt

La Jolla Country Day School (1961)
9490 Genesee Avenue, La Jolla
*Designed by Liebhardt & Weston

La Jolla Country Day School Master Plan Revision (1965)
9490 Genesee Avenue, La Jolla
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Associates

La Jolla Country Day School Classroom Additions (1965)
9490 Genesee Avenue, La Jolla
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Associates

La Jolla Country Day School Library & Playing Fields (1967)
9490 Genesee Avenue, La Jolla
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Goldman

La Jolla Country Day School Gymnasium (1963)
9490 Genesee Avenue, La Jolla

La Jolla Country Day School Science Addition (1969)
9490 Genesee Avenue, La Jolla
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Goldman

La Jolla Lumber Company (Western Lumber) (1958)
Fay Avenue, La Jolla
*Designed by Frederick Liebhardt

Lanaut Medical Building (1965)
528 Nautilus, La Jolla
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Associates

La Jolla Methodist Church (1968)
6063 La Jolla Boulevard, La Jolla
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Goldman

Liebhardt, Frederick & Marianne Residence (1951)
7224 Carrizo Drive, La Jolla
*Designed by Frederick Liebhardt

Liebhardt Residence Remodel (1969)
7224 Carrizo Drive, La Jolla
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Goldman

Liebhardt, Louise Residence (1958)
6266 Camino de la Costa, La Jolla
*Designed by Frederick Liebhardt

Lodge Residence (1967)
Pala
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Goldman

Lowe, Brent Residence (1954)
7905 Lowry Terrace, La Jolla
*Designed by Frederick Liebhardt

Lyceum Theatre (1986)
Horton Plaza, San Diego
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Associates

Mackenzie, W.R. Residence (1955)
North end of La Jolla Shores on the Water, La Jolla
*Designed by Frederick Liebhardt

Marine Biology (1974)
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Goldman

Marine Research Library (1976)
Scripps Institute of Oceanography, La Jolla
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Goldman

Markey, Willard and Florence Residence (1958-59)
6930 Country Club Drive, La Jolla
*Designed by Frederick Liebhardt. Possibly remodeled in the 1990s by Paul Thoryk

Miller Apartments (1965)
Location not known
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Associates

Minshall, Jane Residence (1959)
11790 Hi Ridge Road, Lakeside
*Designed by Frederick Liebhardt. Demolished by fire.

Mira Costa Community College (1989)
San Elijo Campus, Encinitas
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Associates

Mira Costa College Gymnasium Addition (1978)
Barnard Drive, Encinitas
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Associates

Mira Costa College Little Theatre (1980)
Barnard Drive, Encinitas
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Associates

Monsees Professional Building (AKA Liebhardt & Weston Office) (1959)
407 Via Del Norte, La Jolla
*Designed by Frederick Liebhardt

Monsees Professional Building Addition (AKA Liebhardt & Weston office expansion) (1965)
407 Via Del Norte, La Jolla
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Associates

Moorehead, Bruce C. and Mary Residence (1952)
6944 Country Club Drive, La Jolla
*Designed by Frederick Liebhardt. As early as 1953, the Mooreheads were running a paints and varnishes business at 5707 La Jola Blvd. called Moorehead’s Color Unlimited.

Muir College Recreation Gym (1972)
UC San Diego, La Jolla
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Goldman

Nielsen, Judge Leland & Virginia Residence (1955)
Fairway Road, La Jolla
*Designed by Frederick Liebhardt

Norris, Fred Residence (1952)
La Jolla Boulevard, La Jolla
*Designed by Frederick Liebhardt and Fred Norris

North, Lowell & Kay Residence (1958)
850 San Antonio Place, Point Loma
*Designed by Frederick Liebhardt

Northwest YMCA Gym (1967)
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Goldman

Ocean Science Detection Systems Laboratory (1986)
NOSC, Point Loma
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Associates

Old Globe Theatre (1982)
Balboa Park, San Diego
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Associates

Old Globe Theatre Festival Stage (1987)
Balboa Park, San Diego
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Associates

Page Residence (1964)
Location not known
*Designed by Liebhardt & Weston

Quivira Basin Office Building (1962)
Mission Beach
*Designed by Liebhardt & Weston

Ragone Residence Remodel (1964)
Location not known
*Designed by Liebhardt & Weston

Roberts Residence Remodel/ Deck Additions (1963)
Malibu
*Designed by Liebhardt & Weston

San Diego Wild Animal Park (1973)
San Pasqual Valley, Escondido
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Goldman

San Diego Yacht Club House (1963)
San Diego Harbor
*Designed by Liebhardt & Weston

San Diego Yacht Club Locker Building (1967)
San Diego Harbor
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Goldman

San Diego Yacht Club Shower Facilities (1959)
San Diego Harbor
*Designed by Frederick Liebhardt

San Diego Zoo - Food Service Addition & Staff Dining Room (1967)
Balboa Park, San Diego
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Goldman

San Diego Zoo Film Stand (1968)
Balboa Park, San Diego
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Goldman

Saunders, George & Alice Residence (1991)
3115 Tennyson, Point Loma
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Associates

Sea Lodge Hotel & Restaurant (1969)
Camino Del Oro, La Jolla
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Goldman

Spec House #1 (1993)
7242 Romero Drive, La Jolla
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Associates

Spec House #2 (1993)
7226 Romero Drive, La Jolla
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Associates

Spec House #3 (1993)
7220 Romero Drive, La Jolla
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Associates

Spec House #4 (1993)
7212 Romero Drive, La Jolla
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Associates

Sullivan Residence (1953)
North End of El Paseo Grande, La Jolla
*Designed by Frederick Liebhardt

System Science & Software (1971)
Sorrento Valley Road, Sorrento Valley
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Goldman

Thickstun Residence Remodel (1958)
Carrizo Drive, La Jolla
*Designed by Frederick Liebhardt

United States Naval Hospital Barracks (1968)
Balboa Park
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Goldman

Warren College Lecture Hall & Literature Bldg. (1988)
UC San Diego, La Jolla
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Associates

Welsh Residence – Alteration & Addition (1964)
Location not known
*Designed by Liebhardt & Weston

Western Lumber (1955)
Harbor Drive, San Diego
*Designed by Frederick Liebhardt

Wiley, Nevin Residence (1963)
4325 North Lane, Del Mar
*Designed by Liebhardt & Weston. Winner of House of the Year, Architectural Record Magazine in 1965

Wilkey, Roscoe Residence (1963)
2750 Bordeaux Street, La Jolla
*Designed by Liebhardt & Weston

Women’s PE & Locker Building (1965)
San Diego State College, College Area
*Designed by Liebhardt, Weston & Associates

Woody’s Drive Inn (1952)
Mission Boulevard, Pacific Beach
*Designed by Frederick Liebhardt

Frederick and Marianne Liebhardt Residence (1950)
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