Biography of Richard S. Requa
compiled by Cornelius O'Leary, CHA Research Volunteer
One of the most notable early California architects, Ricard S. Requa was best known as the creator of the Southern California style of architecture, an amalgam of Spanish Eclectic style with influences from his travels in the Mediterranean, Mexico, and Central and South America.
Richard Requa was born in 1881 in Illinois. He moved to San Diego in 1900 and began his career in 1907 in the office of the well-known architect with connections to Coronado, Irving Gill. In 1912, he opened his own office, and in 1914, became a partner with Frank Mead. In 1920 upon the dissolution of his partnership with Frank Mead he would formalize a relationship with Herbert Jackson who had been his silent partner since 1915.
Although all of his home designs during the peak years of the 1920s were unique, his Coronado designs stand out as examples of his creative imagination unrestricted by the clients’ financial status. Many of the homes were featured in national and local publications. Eight different properties where he was the architect of record have been designated by the city as a Historic Resource. Two additional properties in which he partnered, one with Mead and one with Jackson were also so designated.
- 801 Tolita Avenue was built in 1911. The home was designated in 2002 as an example of the Tudor architectural style.
- 875 Alameda Boulevard was built in 1919. The property was designated in 2014 for its association with the Douglas Family and Scott Anderson and as an example of the Spanish Eclectic style and the teaming between Requa and the builder Louis R. Dilley.
- 1127 F Avenue (pictured above) was built in 1924. The home was designated in 2004 as an example of the Mission Revival architectural style.
- 300 Ninth Street was built in 1924. The home was designated in 2005 as a special element of Coronado's military and architectural history for its association with significant individuals Captain Allen Buchanan, Rear Admiral Charles Buchanan, and Commander William Rennie. It is an example of the Mediterranean architectural style and as a notable work in which Requa teamed with the builder Albert Laing.
- 1045 Loma Avenue was built in 1926. The home was designated in 2004 as an example of the Mission Revival architectural style and as a notable work in which Requa teamed with the builder A. E. Keyes.
- 1313 Tenth Street was built in 1926. The home was designated in 2003 as an example of the Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style and as a notable work in which Requa teamed with the builder, Gengie & Son.
- 815 Alameda Boulevard was built in 1928. The home was designated in 2012 for its association with the significant individuals Duncan H. Cameron and Leonard Kaine and as an example of Requa’s Spanish Eclectic architectural style.
- 1010 Olive Avenue was built in 1931. The home was designated in 2004 for its association with significant individuals, the Alessio family, and as an example of the Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style.
Requa was also well known for his many works in the city of San Diego.
Among his many works in San Diego, he was the designer and superintendent of the San Diego Civic Center, now known as the County Administration Building. He designed the new permanent buildings for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition, including the California State Building (now the San Diego Automotive Museum) and the Ford Building (now the home of the San Diego Air and Space Museum). In addition, he participated in the landscaping upgrade for the exposition.
The city has recognized his many contributions to their architectural landscape by designating him as a Master Architect. He was one of the San Diego Architectural Association’s original members.
Requa died of a heart attack at the age of sixty in June 1941.
Architect biographies compiled through the use of:
Coronado Historic Resource Commission Agendas &Minutes
City of Coronado's Searchable Register of Designated Historic Resources
Coronado Designated Historic Resources Map
Biographies of Established Masters - City of San Diego 2011
California Digital Newspaper Collection
City of San Diego Historical Resources Board minutes
San Diego History Center website
Modern San Diego website
Legacy 106 website
Friends of San Diego Architecture website
California Historical Resources Inventory Database, City of San Diego
The AIA Historical Directory of American Architects
Save Our Heritage Organization