Alvarado Estates; A Hidden San Diego Gem

    Alvarado Estates; A Hidden San Diego Gem
    Jacobo Realty Group has the great pleasure of listing 4940 Armin Way in the beautiful community of Alvarado Estates. We have grown to fall in love with this community after working in the area, admiring the unique homes and researching the architecture. To show our deep respect for the post-modernist architecture in this one of a kind community we have compiled an interesting background on the community and it’s founder, and most famous architect, Lloyd Ruocco.
    Alvarado Estates is an exclusive hilltop residential development overlooking Mission Valley and Grantville. Alvarado Estates is the only private, gated community within the College Neighborhoods. Established in 1948, this stunning community was first conceived by noted San Diego architect Lloyd Ruocco.  Initially the community was targeted for San Diego’s top “professional” residents. With this in mind, an airstrip was developed at the top of the hillside to attract residents whom might own private aircraft. Sometime later, this airstrip was turned into a residential street and named Avion Street. Within Alvarado Estates some of the San Diego’s most impressive examples of notable Modernist residential architecture can be found. Including homes designed by Richard Neutra, Henry Hester, and Lloyd Ruocco.
    Lloyd Pietrantonio Ruocco (1907-1981) arrived in San Diego in the early 20’s while still in high school. Early on, he immersed himself within the architectural community that thrived in San Diego in the early part of the last century. While a student at San Diego High School, he worked as a draftsman in the offices of another famous architect, Richard Requa. Here Ruocco was exposed to the Mediterranean styles that had become immensely popular throughout Southern California and he developed a sensitive respect for the built environment’s relationship to the outdoors.
    After graduating from UC Berkeley, Ruocco returned to his much loved San Diego and began to make his distinct architectural mark on the city. He assisted in the 1935 Panama Exposition that would later become San Diego landmark Balboa Park. In addition to developing Alvarado Estates, he also assisted on the master plan for the community of Rancho Santa Fe under the supervision of his high school drafting instructor Lillian Rice. Ruocco would go on to become San Diego’s pioneering post-war modernist. Designing well over 100 projects throughout San Diego County, Lloyd is responsible for several projects that are considered by many to be some of the areas best examples of the period.
    Ruocco believed that no level of architectural genius could equal the beauty of San Diego’s natural landscape. He believed in the beauty of the trees, canyons and sky and if you have had the pleasure of being inside one of his simple wood or steel buildings you know the trees, canyons and sky of which I speak.  He believed that as an architect he had a responsibility to the people, that the building’s impact on the land should be as minimal as possible, and that it should be the experience of those who live and work within the structure that matters. Further, he believed structure obscured that which is most grand (see trees, birds sky above). To this point many of Ruocco’s works are invisible from the street.
    Below is a partial list of Ruocco’s works. You can distinctly see in each one his post-modernist style, combined with his distinct appreciation for the natural beauty of the landscape surrounding each property.

     Il Cavo, Maynard L. Parker, photographer. Courtesy of The Huntington Library, San Marino, CA

    Partial Project List

    Arenson Residence (1970)
    4727 Avion Road

    Avocado Professional Group Medical and Dental Center (1971)
    230 Avocado

    Baranov, Nate Residence (1948)
    Del Mar

    Baranov, Sylvan Residence I (1948)
    736 Armada Terrace, Point Loma

    Baranov, Sylvan Residence II (1971)
    3576 Via Las Flores

     Barwick Residence by Lloyd Ruocco. Photo courtesy of Todd Pitman.

    Barwick Residence (1955)
    Designed by Lloyd Ruocco
    3260 Kenora Drive

    Bauman, Mr and Mrs Henry Residence (1955)
    3615 Dorothy Way

     Beers Residence photographed in December 1958

    Beers, Mr. & Mrs. Wm. N. Residence (1954, 1964)
    631 N. Crescent Drive, Mission HIlls
    *Residence Remodel & Addition for Mr. & Mrs. W. Beers by Lloyd Ruocco dated July 24, 1964

    Burnett, George Residence (early ’60s)
    3223 Zola Street, Point Loma

    Burnett, William Residence (1971)
    3576 Via Flores, Point Loma

    California Exposition (1935)
    Balboa Park

    California Steel Building (1965)
    Main Street

    Chernoff, Howard and Melva Residence (1962)
    4522 Trias Street, Mission Hills

    City Concourse Plaza (1964)
    Front Street, Downtown

     Clitsome Residence (1938)

    Clitsome Residence (1938)
    South Park

     Cole Residence (1952) by Lloyd Ruocco. Photograph by Kelly Watkins

    Cole Residence (1952)
    La Mesa

    County Admin Building. (1933)
    1600 Pacific Coast Highway

    Design Center, The (1949)
    3611 5th Avenue, Hillcrest

    Edel Residence  (1963)
    1317 Windridge Drive, El Cajon

     Feller Residence, Point Loma

    Feller Residence (1962)
    3377 Charles, Point Loma

    Garden Villa Exposition House (1953)
    Balboa Park
    *temporary exposition house, later rebuilt as part of Solari

    Greene, Ethel Residence (1946)
    Helix Street, Spring Valley

    Grossmont Spec House (1969)
    5609 Lakewood Drive, La Mesa
    Also referred to as the Ishikawa Residence . Demolished

    Herrera Residence (1970)
    1108 Dawnridge Ave, El Cajon

    Hillside House (1960)
    3343 Poe Street, Point Loma

    Holmgren, Richard Residence (1948)
    10037 Ward Lane, Mt. Helix

    Institute of Geophysics & Geoplanetary Sciences (1964)
    8602 La Jolla Shores Drive, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

    International Center (1971)
    UC San Diego

     Jacobson Residence. Photograph by Edward Sievers

    Jacobson, Mr. & Mrs. Isadore Residence (1948)
    9175 Lavell Street, La Mesa

    Jackson, Marvin Residence (1949)
    4421 Mayapan Drive, El Cajon

    Jones, Mr. Burton I. Residence (1949)
    9830 Edgelake Drive, La Mesa

     Kaye Residence

    Kaye, Peter Residence (1956)
    240 Ocean View Avenue, Del Mar

    Keller Residence #1 (1942)
    3039 F Street, National City

    Keller Residence #2 (1947)
    1433 Puterbaugh Street, Mission Hills

    The Keller Residence (#3). Photograph by John Oldenkamp

    Keller Residence #3 (1963)
    9405 La Jolla Farms Road, La Jolla

    KOGO-AM/FM/TV (1958)
    47th & Highway 94, San Diego

    Lange, Mitchell & Marian Residence (1951)
    6051 Folsom Drive

    Lemon Avenue Elementary (1957)
    8787 Lemon Avenue, La Mesa

    Libby Residence (1965)
    La Jolla

    Lillie Residence (1958)
    4410 Carmen Drive, Mt. Helix

    Mills Office Building (1964)
    4th & Nutmeg

    Mitchell, Alfred Residence (1937)
    1500 Block 31st Street, South Park

    Montgomery Memorial Park (1962)

    Nelson Residence (1958)
    630 N. Crescent Drive, Mission Hills

    Pioneer Congregational Church (1966)
    4905 Jellett /2550 Fairfield Street, Clairemont

    Burke, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Residence (ca. 1960)
    2322 Hartford Street
    Designed by Ruocco & Delawie

    Private Residence (1954)
    1440 Puterbaugh Street, Mission Hills

    Private Residence (1972)
    Toyon Road

    Private Residence (1950)
    4351 Ridgeway Drive

    Private Residence (1945)
    7100 Lakewood Drive

    Private Residence (1962)
    7245 Rue de Roark

    Private Residence (1950)

    Private Residence (1952)
    3252 Hawk Street, Mission Hills

    Cole Residence (1952)
    Briercrest neighborhood, La Mesa

    Private Residence
    2417 Pine Street

    Private Residence (1959)
    2021 Rodelane Street

    Private Residence (1949)

    Rabinowitz Residence (1952)
    2034 Sunset Drive, Mission Hills

    Robertson Residence (1942)
    4245 Randolph, Mission Hills

    Roberston, Tom Residence (1947)
    3920 Pringle Street

     Il Cavo

    Maynard L. Parker, photographer. Courtesy of The Huntington Library, San Marino, CARuocco Residence #1 “Il Cavo” (1945)
    1900 La Sievida, La Mesa

    Ruocco Residence #2 Solari (1958)
    5481 Toyon Road, Alvarado Estates

    Salik, Mr and Mrs Charles Residence (1957)
    2110 Guy Street, Mission Hills

    Sanborn Residence (1949)
    Point Loma

    San Diego Children’s Zoo (1957-1961)
    Children’s Zoo Entry Dome (1955)
    Park Boulevard

    San Diego Civic Theater (1965)
    1100 Third Avenue, San Diego

    Security First National Bank (1961)
    Carlton Hills Road, Santee

     Il Cavo Maynard L. Parker, photographer. Courtesy of The Huntington Library, San Marino, CA

    Shelton Residence (1964)
    1100 Oxford Avenue

    Southwest Onyx & Marble Co. (1966)
    Crosby Street, National City

    Spitzer, Lillian Residence (1949)
    7256 West Point Avenue, La Mesa

    St. Andrews Episcopal Church (1963)
    1050 Thomas Street, Pacific Beach

    St. Phillips Episcopal Church (1962)
    Hardy Road

    Upas Garden Apartments (1960)
    1740 Upas Street, Hillcrest
    Designed by Ruocco & Delawie

    U.S. Navy Lounge & Bar (1966)
    Ream Field

    Watts Office Building (1964)
    2970 Main Street

    Wexler, Sidney & Henrietta Residence (1964)
    10088 Sierra Vista, Mt. Helix

    Wing Monument (1946)
    Border Field Park

    Yates Residence (1959)
    15187 Las Planideras Road, Rancho Santa Fe

    Il Cavo  Maynard L. Parker, photographer. Courtesy of The Huntington Library, San Marino, CA

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