Male, US, born 1907-11-23, died 1992-11-17

Associated with the firms network

Alexander, Robert E., Architect; Alexander, Robert E., Associates, Architects; Johnson, Wilson, Merrill, and Alexander, Architects; Neutra and Alexander, Architects; Wilson, Merrill and Alexander, Architects


Professional History

Résumé

Partner, Wilson, Merrill, and Alexander, Los Angeles, CA, 1935-1941.

During World War II, Alexander worked at Lockheed Aircraft Plant, Burbank, CA, 1942-1945.

Principal, Robert E. Alexander, Architect, Los Angeles, CA, 1946-1949.

Partner, Neutra and Alexander, Associated Architects, 1949-1958, (Neutra concentrated primarily on residential architecture, Alexander on corporate and institutional).

Principal, Robert E. Alexander and Associates, Los Angeles, CA, 1958-c. 1980 ; Alexander worked as a consultant for John Remington on a high school for the children of Marines serving in Okinawa, Japan, c. 1983. He spent 6 months in Okinawa on the rehabilitation of this high school, and his wife was there six weeks with him. This was his last job as a paid architectural consultant.

He worked without remuneration for Elisabeth Kübler-Ross on her 250-acre farm/workshop at Head Waters, in Northern VA, in 1987. This farm was burned down by a deranged arsonist in 1994. (See Spencer S. Hsu, "Old Anger May Have Erupted In Arson At Kubler-Ross' Farm," Seattle Times, 11/14/1994, accessed 03/18/2106.)

Professional Activity

Governor Edmund Brown of California appointed Alexander to the Governor's Advisory Council on Good Design, 06/1965;

Professional Awards

Fellow, American Institute of Architects (FAIA), 1955.

Archives

Papers by Alexander were housed at the "Robert Evans Alexander papers, 1935-1993," Collection Number: 3087, Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NY.

Education

College

B.Arch., Cornell University, 1930 (attended 1925-1930).

Personal

Relocation

Alexander was born in Bayonne, NJ, and resided in the Los Angeles area for most of his life. He built a small house in Big Sur, near to his friend Nat Owings (of the firm Skidmore Owings and Merrill). He shuttled between this vacation residence and Los Angeles, before moving to Northern CA late in his life. Robert Evans Alexander died in the 94705 zip code of Berkeley, Alameda County, CA at the age of 84.

Parents

His mother's maiden name was Evans. His mother, a teacher, exerted strong influence on her son. He became a "grammarian" because of her, and she taught him how to bake.

Spouse

Alexander married three times; his was married to his first wife Eugenie Vigneron, between 1931-1952, (Vigneron was born in New York State, 10/03/1904, and passed away in Los Angeles, CA, 01/08/1953.) She died in a traffic accident with a train at the age of 48. he was married to his second wife, Mary "Molly" Starbuck, between 1953-1982, but they divorced in 1982. He married his third wife, Nancy Jaicks, in 1984. She was about 25 years and 8 months younger than Alexander, but his charm, kindness and general outlook won her over. (Thank you to Nancy Jaicks for her insights into Alexander, telephone conversation with the author, 03/18/2016.)

Children

Robert and Eugenie Vigneron Alexander had the following children: Lynne and Timothy; he and Mary Starbuck Alexander had one son, Robert, Jr.

Biographical Notes

Alexander served on a small committee of the American Institute of Architects, Southern California Chapter, advising movie producers on the film, "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House," in 1947. Alexander's break with Richard Neutra from their association in 1958 was rancorous. Alexander wrote testily to the Editors of Architectural Forum in 07/1962, when they mistakenly included the firm of Neutra and Alexander as one of the top 100 in the US: "Forum: You are evidently the victim of a report based on pure fantasy when you include Neutra & Alexander in the 100 Biggest Architects. During that entire year, Neutra and Alexander had no employees whatsoever. I have not entered into a new contract with Mr. Neutra since 1958, although we are still completing work in my office contracted for before that time." (See "Letters: 100 Biggest Architects," Architectural Forum, 117, 07/1962, p. 20.)


PCAD id: 180


American Architects Directory, 1956, First edition: xxxii, 1955. "Baldwin Hills Village: Owner, Rancho Cienega Corporation", Architect and Engineer, 149: 26-27, 1942-04. "Letters: 100 Biggest Architects", Architectural Forum, 117: 20, 07/1962. Alexander, Robert E., "Letters", Architectural Forum, 117: 20, 07/1962. Mock, Elizabeth, Built in USA, 1932-1944, 56-57, 1945. "Community of Living Units in the West: Baldwin Hills Village; Architects, Reginald D. Johnson and Wilson, Merrill & Alexander", California Arts and Architecture, 59: 32-33, 1942-01. "Community of Living Units in the West : Baldwin Hills Village: Architects, Reginald D. Johnson and Wilson, Merrill & Alexander", California Arts and Architecture, 59: 32-33, 1942-01. "Editor's Asides", Journal of the American Institiute of Architects, 8: 3, 142, 9/1947. "The Editor's Asides", Journal of the American Institute of Architects, VIII: 3, 142, 09/1947. "1966 Library Buildings Award Program", Journal of the American Institute of Architects, 46: 2, 53, 08/1966. "Southern California Chapter's Honor Awards", Journal of the American Institute of Architects, 7: 2, 74-79, 02/1947. Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, "Palos Verdes High School, 1961", Los Angeles An Architectural Guide, 56, 1994. Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, Los Angeles An Architectural Guide, 246, 1994. Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, Los Angeles An Architectural Guide, 89, 1994. Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, Los Angeles An Architectural Guide, 218, Gibbs-Smith. "Los Angeles County Hall of Records #2", Los Angeles Times, section G: 4, 5/13/1962. Palermo, B.J., "Westwood Italian Institute makes a glittery debut", Los Angeles Times, 7, 3/30/1995. Mid-Century Architecture in America, 150, 1961. "Baldwin Hills Village", Pencil Points, 25: 44-45, 1944-09. Ritter, Paul, Planning for Man and Motor, 260-261, 1964. "Personalities", Progressive Architecture, 46: 7, 62, 07/1965. "Baldwin Hills Village, Los Angeles, California 1942", South African Architectural Record, 31: 22, 1946-01. "Bakersfield Theatre Project 1937", Southwest Builder & Contractor, 44, col 3, 12/17/1937. Shepherd, Roger, Structures of Our Time, 13-17, 26-31, 2002. This Is the International Student Center, np, c. 1960.