When it comes to unique architecture, San Diego has officially become a national benchmark, and buyers have been scrambling to find special properties in every nook and cranny of the county. A new boutique real estate agency, Architecture Agents, plans to make finding your dream home easier with an exclusive blend of deep expertise and boundless enthusiasm. Even their headquarters in Hillcrest, a hybrid office, retail and gallery space in an Egyptian Revival-style building, celebrates local design.
“We have a lot more people moving here looking for authentic historic properties or the integrity of the original design,” says founder and broker Jeff Walker. A former Sotheby’s agent and Mission Hills resident with a passion for immaculate vintage homes, from artisanal and Spanish styles to urban lofts, Walker wanted to take a more personalized local approach to marketing real estate in San Diego. He brought in modern architecture authority Keith York as his first additional agent.
“If we understand and appreciate its uniqueness, it’s in our wheelhouse,” says York, whose Modern San Diego is a go-to source for enthusiasts of regional architecture from the mid-century and beyond. “It’s not the cookie-cutter version of any kind of architectural style.”
Walker recently closed escrow on a mid-century home in Point Loma by bold local architect Richard Wheeler, overlooking Plumosa Park. According to him, increasing awareness is at the heart of the company’s mission: “Something more classic will retain its value and people will want to keep it and enjoy it for longer.”
Agents of Architecture’s new approach to real estate includes inspiring office space. Housed in a 1927 building with edificial Egyptian motifs, it doubles as a consignment store and a gallery filled with mid-century modern finds – items such as Bertoia Diamond chairs originally purchased for a John Lloyd Wright home in Rancho Santa Fe, and vintage Persian rugs from Seller Mesa Mesa Vintage. Also on offer are pieces by San Diegans notables like potter David Stewart and artist Marjorie “Marj” Hyde, the eponym of the Hyde Art Gallery at Grossmont College.
“We both said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if people could come in and talk about art and design and take a piece of ceramic?’ says York. “And maybe talk about buying a house. It has been a fun and engaging way to practice our work and professional lives. »
A nod to icons
The Agents of Architecture space is the perfect place to pay homage to local design icons. The gallery opened with Julius Shulman: modern San Diego, a look at the iconic mid-century architectural photographer who made over 200 visits to San Diego. In May, the space highlights Sim Bruce Richards, who trained in East Taliesin and became one of San Diego’s most notable mid-century architects. This will be followed by a summer showcase from pioneering architect Irving Gill, whose work includes some of San Diego’s most revered buildings, like the Marston House and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
The Gill exhibition will inaugurate a new book, The Sacred Architecture of Irving Gill, focused on the architect’s local church designs. It’s written by Mark Hargreaves, an English reverend and architecture enthusiast whom Keith York met through a shared love of design – exactly the kind of connection architectural agents strive for.