Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings

Designers: Wurster, William W., Architect (firm); Theodore C. Bernardi (architect); William Wilson Wurster (architect)

Dates: constructed 1942

3 stories

182 South Fair Oaks Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94086

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William Wurster and Theodore Bernardi's design for the Schuckl Company Office Building had a modern appeal that attracted wide attention during and after World War II. Its permeable, airy interior invited connection with its temperate Santa Clara Valley environs, strongly reflecting Wurster's experience designing ranch houses during the previous decade. Wurster's houses of the 1930s became famous for a new informal way of life they suggested, allowing for the creation of unified indoor-outdoor living rooms. In these remarable houses located in various Northern CA locations, Wurster and his office pioneered a new regional synthesis, combining selected concepts drawn from the Mexican adobe and early Anglo wood-frame vernacular and Modern works seen in Scandinavia, Germany and France. This open, permeable and informal regional synthesis often did not translate well to large-scale, corporate environments. The Schuckl Office Building contained elements of Wurster's most successful residential works, and became one of his most celebrated larger-scale institutional efforts.

Building History

Viennese-born immigrant Max Schuckl (1869-1937) came to the US from Yokohama, Japan, in 1908. He founded Schuckl and Company, a producer of canned fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, as well as an export broker for various types of produce. (In the 1920s, prunes were a valuable commodity to European consumers.) In 1922, Schuckl and Company had offices in San Francisco, CA, and New York, NY, its headquarters being in the former city. Following Max Schuckl's death in 1937, new president and general manager Emil Rutz (1899-1961) decided to move the company's administrative headquarters closer to its cannery operations south from San Francisco to the Santa Clara Valley town of Sunnyvale. This site was closer to the company's cannery operations, and was an opportunity to build a new, less corporate office environment.

Building Notes

The building reflected Wurster's interest in and recent touring of Alvar Aalto's buildings in Finland, principally his Paimio Sanitorium. The resemblance of the roof terraces of both buildings was not coincidental.

Working closely with Wurster, Theodore Bernardi was the lead designer on the Schuckl Cannery Office Building;


The Schuckl Cannery in Sunnyvale, CA, was demolished in the 1980s.

PCAD id: 1516