AKA: Atalaya, Menlo Park, CA; Stanford University, Meyer-Buck House, Menlo Park, CA

Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses

Designers: Bakewell and Brown, Architects (firm); Sasaki, Walker Associates (SWA), Incorporated, Landscape Architects (firm); John Bakewell Jr. (architect); Arthur Brown Jr. (architect); Charles Hall Page (architect); Hideo Sasaki (landscape architect/urban planner); John Gordon Turnbull (architect); Peter J. Walker (landscape architect)

Dates: constructed 1920

2 stories

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2111 Sand Hill Road
Menlo Park, CA 94025

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The Meyer-Buck House was located at the intersection of Sand Hill Road, Santa Cruz Avenue and Alpine Road.


The house's main living block had a simple, rectangular shape topped by a compound hipped roof. The building was not richly ornamented or formally flamboyant, unlike some mansions in San Mateo County, suggesting, perhaps, the owner's desire to create a more subtle and modest personal statement of establishment and wealth. John Henry Meyer was a dedicated donor to Stanford University, and this house, built at the end of his life, may have reflected his priorities to direct more of his money to philanthropy than ostentation.

Building History

Children of banker John Henry Meyer (1855-1921) and Eugenie Meyer (1857-1918), Eugenie Olga Meyer (1880-1970) and Alice Meyer Buck (1882-1979) donated their parents' house (and its belongings) to Stanford University in 1979. The house was designed by the notable architect Arthur Brown. Jr.,(1874-1957), of the firm of Bakewell and Brown, in a style that had details derived from French Classical and Mediterranean Revival precedents. The Meyers' previous residence, a 19th-century building, burned in a fire on Sunday, 04/17/1919. Drawings for the residence, held by Stanford University Libraries, were dated 03/09/1920 with revisions made on 03/26/1920.

Following its donation to Stanford in 1979, the house served as a campus conference center until the Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989 caused significant damage to it, necessitating its closure. It remained closed for a decade before being renovated and reopened as the residence for Stanford University's Provost in 2003.

Building Notes

Plans for the Meyer-Buck House have been preserved in Stanford University architectural drawings collection, 1889-2001.

The building had a composite stylistic character, taking elements of the then fashionable French Provincial and Mediterranean Revival Styles. Its Spanish tile roof tied it to the ascendant Mission/Spanish/Mediterranean Revival movement of the 1920s. Its stucco exterior could have been influenced by either tradition. Particularly French was the use of decorative wrought ironwork for the second floor balconies, and the location of twooeil-de-boeuf windows flanking the arched front entryway. The parapet's balustrade can be seen in French or English country house architecture of the 18th or 19th centuries.


Having fallen into some disrepair, the Meyer-Buck House underwent a large-scale restoration in 2002-2003. The Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989, which caused significant damage to nearby Stanford University, also caused some structural damage to the Meyer House, necessitating its closure for over a decade. The house and its 11-acre grounds were restored at the same time theWilliam and Flora Hewlett Foundationleased half of the estate for its administrative use. The foundation provided some of the funding for the renovation, as its new building would be located nearby to the somewhat dilapidated, 83-year-old house. The San Francisco-based historic preservation architecture firm, Page and Turnbull, Incorporated, supervised the house's restoration, working with the landscape architecture firm, SWA Group.

The SWA Group's work included "..the creation of new gardens based on historical precedents. SWA worked to preserve as much of the original plant material as possible while adding new, drought-tolerant species to create a sense of the historic gardens." (See Stephen Kelly, "Reclaiming the Visions of Leland Stanford and Frederick Law Olmsted," LandscapeOnline.com, accessed 10/03/2017.

PCAD id: 21498