San Diego County
RICHARD S. REQUA
Richard S. Requa, nationally known architect, is a member of the firm of Requa & Jackson, with offices at 1123 Bank of America Building in San Diego. He has won wide renown for his creation of the so called Southern California type of architecture, developed after extensive foreign research. Mr. Requa was born in Rock Island, Illinois, March 27, 1881. He is a lineal descendant of Gabriel Requa, a French Huguenot who came to America about 1690 to escape religious persecution. Richard S. represents the eighth generation of his paternal line in America. His great-grandfather, Daniel, and many of his relatives were soldiers in the Revolutionary War. Daniel Requa, while in Captain Gabriel’s company, was captured by the British and charged with being a prominent rebel, but was finally exchanged for an English officer. After the War he settled at Tarrytown Heights and married Marie Marting.
Edward H. Requa, father of Richard S. Requa, was engaged in mercantile business at Rock Island, Illinois, when our subject was born. Two years later he moved to Fremont, Nebraska, and in 1885 removed to Norfolk, that state. In 1900 he brought his family to San Diego, California, where he resided until his death in 1915, at the age of sixty-four. His wife, whose maiden name was Sarah J. Powers, passed away in San Diego in 1925.
Richard S. Requa, the oldest of three sons and three daughters, received his early education in the public schools of Nebraska and later attended Norfolk College. He was greatly interested in electrical engineering and trained himself for that profession. After leaving school he was engaged in this line of work in Nebraska and San Diego until 1907. Architecture began to appeal to him strongly as he became impressed with the possibilities of developing a distinctive style suited to the climate and other conditions peculiar to Southern California. Therefore he decided to give up his profession, and entered the architectural office of Irving J. Gill in San Diego as a draftsman. His earnestness and ability were soon recognized and within a few months a co-partnership with Mr. Gill was formed. In 1912 Mr. Requa opened his own office and in 1920 entered into partnership with Herbert L. Jackson under the firm name of Requa & Jackson.
The particular style of residence, school and building construction which is known as the Southern California style of architecture is the creation of Richard S. Requa, beginning more than a quarter century ago. He traveled extensively in Mexico, Central America, South America, Spain and the Mediterranean countries, for the express purpose of selecting the best features of those types of architecture distinctive to the countries whose climatic conditions closely approximated those of Southern California. Gradually a wonderful conception shaped itself which has been perfected in the succeeding years and is used almost exclusively in the cities in this part of the state. One of Mr. Requa’s first important assignments to utilize this architectural style came in1913, when he was commissioned by the capitalist, E. D. Libby, to re-construct the picturesque village in the hills of Ventura County, California. This he accomplished, and today Ojai is a marvelous unified example of the Southern California style of architecture. In 1920 Mr. Requa was employed by the Santa Fe Railroad Company to create a civic center in the development of Rancho Santa Fe near Del Mar, California. The result is one of the most perfect architectural and town-planning achievements in the United States and is one of Mr. Requa’s greatest successes. The design and creation in Indian architecture, as ranch community buildings, in the Montezuma School, a private school for boys situated near Los Gatos in the Santa Cruz mountains, is still another of his accomplishments. The Mount Helix nature amphitheater near La Mesa, in San Diego County, is another product of Mr. Requa’s genius. Here thousands witness the annual early sunrise Easter services and many entertainments during the year. New building developments around San Diego are the result of Mr. Requa’s efforts and are examples of his perfect Southern California architecture. Schools and town planning are also among his assignments. In 1917 he became associated with Albert Kahn, the noted Detroit architect, in the construction of the flying school at Rockwell Field, upon which work he was engaged until the termination of the Word War. In 1918 he invested a notable improvement in hollow building tile, for which he received patents in the United States and many foreign countries. One of his residences in Hollywood was selected by the “House Beautiful” magazine as one of the three best in Southern California.
Mr. Requa has written extensively on the subject of architecture for magazines and newspapers. He is the author of “Architectural Details, Spanish and Mediterranean,” published in 1927, and “Old World Inspiration for American Architecture,” published in 1929. With the aid of slides and motion pictures, made on his journeys abroad, he has devoted much time in recent years to popular architectural education work before clubs, societies and schools. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects, the State Association of California Architects and an honorary member of the Florence Nightingale Institute of Honorables of the United States of America. He is chairman of the Better Homes Committee of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce. In his political views he is a Republican.
On the 21st of February, 1908, Mr. Requa was united in marriage to Miss Viola Hust, who was born at Carmi, Illinois, and was reared and educated at Spokane, Washington. Their son, Richard S., Jr., died in 1924 at the age of eleven years. Mrs. and Mrs. Requa reside at 2906 Locust Street in San Diego.
Transcribed by V. Gerald Iaquinta.
Source: California of the South Vol. III, by John Steven McGroarty, Pages 335-338, Clarke Publ., Chicago, Los Angeles, Indianapolis. 1933.
© 2012 V. Gerald Iaquinta.