Harold G. Sadler

Architect | 1930-2022

In October 1957, architects Tom Tucker and Hal Sadler alongside structural engineer Ed Bennett designed their first building together, the Mission Hills Safeway, from a small office over a garage in Ocean Beach. Shortly thereafter the trio left their employer, Richard George Wheeler & Associates, to go out on their own.

Born in Phoenix on October 25, 1930, Harold G. 'Hal' Sadler spent summers at his relatives’ farm in Idaho, where he developed a love of the outdoors and a preference for cowboy music. Sadler earned his Bachelor’s of Architecture at nearby Arizona State University’s School of Architecture in 1952. Lacking accreditation at the time, Hal moved from ASU to USC to secure his Master’s degree in 1955. During his time at USC, his teacher and mentor A. Quincy Jones recognized his talent and hired him following graduation to work at the firm of Jones & Emmons. Hal married his high school sweetheart, Mary Beecher, who earned an interior design degree at Woodbury University.

Securing a job with architect Richard George Wheeler, Hal moved to San Diego in 1957. At this firm, he would meet architect Tom Tucker and structural engineer Ed Bennett – with whom later in 1957 he would form a partnership with. Mr. Sadler joined the San Diego AIA chapter in 1958. In 2007, Hal Sadler received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the California Council of the American Institute of Architects.

According to Mr. Sadler, the residential buildings completed within the first 10 years were for clients that were close friends. The publication of these designs would lead to more opportunities. For instance, Hal’s relationship with Alec Cory and George Hutton through FedMart, led to the firm completing homes for Hutton and his daughter Malvena Cory.

In October 1957, architects Tom Tucker and Hal Sadler alongside structural engineer Ed Bennett designed their first building together, the Mission Hills Safeway, from a small office over a garage in Ocean Beach. Shortly thereafter the trio left their employer, Richard George Wheeler & Associates, to go out on their own. From the design of that small supermarket, moonlighting while still employed in Wheeler’s office, Tucker, Sadler & Bennett was born. Many of their early contracts stemmed from their work with Safeway – a client they developed from Wheeler’s portfolio.

Tucker and Bennett went on to design some of San Diego's most prestigious projects including the renovation of the historic U. S. Grant Hotel, the regional headquarters buildings for Union Bank, Security Pacific National Bank, and Bank of America's downtown offices. The team also designed Rady Children's Hospital's Jean Hahn Surgical Pavilion, Beckman Center for Chemical Sciences at Scripps Research Institute, and expansions of both the San Diego Convention Center and Terminal 2 of the San Diego International Airport.

The firm is still active having operated for more than 50 years and becoming one of the largest architecture and engineering practices in San Diego. Among their most notable contacts were the First National Bank corporate high-rise headquarters in downtown, the County Operations Building (now demolished), and the Fire Station for the City of San Diego. The Fire Station later received an American Institute of Architects Award of Honor in 1960, the first year that the organization began awarding architectural achievement.

Sadler loved the simple and clean approach to modernist construction techniques; the use of glass where the indoor-outdoor brought nature into the buildings as well the ability to view the building’s structural elements. Years later, the architect described his goals as “…the feeling of sitting in your living room and feeling like your landscape came directly into the interior of the building… I’ve always had outside showers that are part of the environment and outside of your master bedroom… “

Partial List of San Diego Projects

Abbey Rents (1961)
2122 El Cajon Boulevard, North Park

Argo Hall (1967)
Revelle College, UC San Diego

Arnold and Mabel Beckman Research Center for Chemical Sciences
Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla

Bank of America (1982)
Downtown

Blake Hall (1967)
UC San Diego Revelle College

Butler, Lyle Residence (1988)
3021 Kona Way, Point Loma

Carousel Apartments (1969)
3050 Rue d'Orleans, Ocean Beach

Cory, Mitchel and Malvena Residence (1958-1960)
10364 Bonnie Lane, Mt. Helix

County of San Diego Operations Center (1962)
5555 Overland Avenue, Kearney Mesa
*Demolished

De Groote, Dr. & Mrs. David Residence (1961)
3361 Ocean Front Walk, Mission Beach
*Earned an Award of Merit AIA San Diego in 1962 and published LA Times Home Magazine Feb 24 1963.

Elmer C. Otto Center (1966)
San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park

Escondido National Bank (1968)
140 N. Escondido Boulevard, Escondido

FedMart Stores (1960s)
Various Locations

Fire Station for the City of San Diego (1960)
*Earned an American Institute of Architects Award of Honor in 1960

First Congregational Church Apartments (ca. 1966)
6th & A Streets, Downtown
*250-unit retirement apartment building published in San Diego & Point - March 1966

Hutton, George O. Residence (ca. 1960-61)
10399 Bonnie Lane, Mt Helix
*Built by G.L. Cory

Kvass, Mr. & Mrs. Harold Residence (ca. 1974)
10076 Shadow Road, Mt Helix

Larsen Residence (1966)
1405 Savoy Circle, Ocean Beach

Malcolm Love Library (1960)
San Diego State University

Mission Bellwood Apartments (1965-66)
6855 Friars Road, Mission Valley
*This 30-unit apartment complex is now condominiums. Originally published in San Diego & Point - March 1966

Pacific Telephone Building (1960)
6312 Potomac Avenue, National City
*Recognized at the 1964 United Masonry Association of San Diego Awards

Palomar Lanes (1959)
511 N. Escondido Avenue, Escondido
*Demolished

Parking Garage (1965)
Centre City Concourse, Downtown
*Published in Arts & Architecture in June, 1965

Parking Garage (AKA Evan V. Jones Parkade) (1963)
El Cortez Convention Hall and the International Motel, San Diego

Peterson, George & Evelyn Residence (1965)
7860 East Roseland Drive, La Jolla

Point Loma Inn (1961)
Point Loma

Rady Children's Hospital Health Center's Jean Hahn Surgical Pavilion (1984)
Kearney Mesa

Sadler, Harold G. Residence I (ca. 1959-1960)
3860 Narragansett Street, Point Loma
*Award of Honor, AIA San Diego; published in The San Diego Union’s 'Homes and Gardens' section.

Sadler, Harold G. Residence II (1988)
3021 Kona Way, Point Loma

Safeway Stores
Various locations

San Diego Airport Terminal 2 Expansion (2009)
San Diego

San Diego Convention Center Expansion (2001)
San Diego

San Diego State University Alumni Center (2009)
San Diego

San Ysidro Fire Station (1960)
175 San Ysidro Blvd, San Ysidro
*Earned an Award of Merit, AIA San Diego 1960

Sciences Building (1959)
San Diego State University

Security Pacific National Bank Regional Headquarters (1973)
San Diego

Security Pacific Bank Branches
San Diego County

Serra Mesa Branch Public Library (1963)
3440 Sandrock Road, Serra Mesa

Southern California First National Bank (1966)
530 B Street, Downtown
*Stood as the tallest building in the San Diego skyline for 25 years is completed

Telephone Building, Central Exchange (1962)
Santee

Terrace Building (1959)
Granada Hall remodeled

Tucker, Sadler & Associates Office (1962)
2411 Second Avenue, Bankers Hill