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Male, UK/US, born 1834-08-20, died 1898-03-05

Associated with the firms network

Laver and Curlett, Architects; Laver, Augustus, Architect; Laver, Curlett and Lenzen, Architects

Professional History


Apprentice, Thomas Hellyer, Architect, Ryde, Isle of Wight, UK, c. 1849-1853. According to architectural historian Stephen A. Otto, writing in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, "He then worked in various London architectural offices until he was qualified to practise, when he joined the Post Office Department as a staff architect for about two years. In 1856, a year before leaving for the United States, he became a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, forming a connection that he cherished throughout his life." (See Stephen A. Otto, Dictionary of Canadian Biography, "Laver, Augustus," accessed 09/22/2016.)

Principal, Augustus Laver, Architect, Ottawa, Canada, 1865-1866.

Partner, [Thomas] Stent and Laver, Ottawa, Canada, c. 1859-01/1865; according to Otto, "Presumably both men were attracted to Ottawa because it had been selected as the permanent capital of the Canadas early that year and a building boom was anticipated. To promote the capital and their own practice, Stent and Laver published a bird’s-eye view of the city." Between 03/1859 and 08/1859, architects were invited to submit designs for two new national governmental buildings in Ottawa. Two competitions were set up for departmental office spaces--what came to be called the "East and West Blocks"--and for the legislative spaces of Parliament. Thomas Stent supervised most of the Stent and Laver designs submitted for the two competitions, as Laver returned to England that year to marry. The firm did very well in both competions, winning the East and West Block commission and placing second for the Parliamentary job behind the Toronto firm of [Thomas] Fuller and [Chilion] Jones. As was very common for capitol buildings erected during the late nineteenth century, costs ballooned for the Canadian governmental buildings, a combination of poor coordination between architects and the building trades and, more to the point, political graft on the part of bureaucrats and elected officials. Work began on the buildings in 1859 but was halted in 10/1861, due to cost over-runs and slow progress. A special Commission of Enquiry was formed in 08/1862 to look into the construction delays, that resulted in Stent and Laver being removed from their supervisory positions. (See "Ottawa Buildings," Sessional Papers Second Session of the Seventh Parliament, vol. 21, no. 3, 1863, n.p.)

Partner, Fuller and Laver, Architects, Albany, NY, 1866- . In 1866, Laver, along with Thomas Fuller and Arthur Delavan Gilman prepared a competition entry for the New York State Capitol building, a commission that promised to be lucrative and prestigious. Living in Albany, NY, they won the contest, with the result that Fuller and Laver went into practice together to supervise the building. Fuller and Laver, fresh from their victory in the Albany statehouse competition, entered an 1871 competition to design a similarly grand City Hall for San Francisco. Laver came West to oversee the work for at least two reasons. First, his wife had health issues that physicians insisted could be ameliorated by moving to CA, and second, the commission promised to be lucrative, as well.

Principal, Augustus Laver, Architect, San Francisco, CA, c. 1870-1898. In 1874, Laver had an office in the Cochituate Building, Rooms #8-9.

Professional Activities

President, Pacific Coast Association of Architects, 1881; he was instrumental in organizing the San Francisco Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, 1881;



The occasionally accurate book by Henry and Elsie Rathburn Withey, Biographical Dictionary of American Architects (Deceased), stated of Laver's education: "Received architectural training in London" (See Henry and Elsie Rathburn Withey, Biographical Dictionary of American Architects [Deceased], [Los Angeles, New Age Publishing Company],p. 364.)



Born in England, Laver migrated to the US in 1857 and thence to Ottawa, Canada in 1858. In Ottawa, According to testimony that he gave before a the City Hall Construction Commissioners of San Francisco County in 1887, he moved to San Francisco for his wife's health. He said: "The main reason was on account of my wife's health. It was not good in the East and we had been advised by physicians to come to California." (See "The New City Hall The Commissioners choose Augustus Laver as Architect," Daily Alta California, vol. 42, no. 13824, 07/07/1887, p. 8.)


Laver, while residing in Canada, married Elizabeth Fox on 06/09/1859 in Dover, Kent, England.

Augustus and Elizabeth owned some property in San Franicsco, that was sold after his death. Elizabeth Laver, the executor of his estate, sold a parcel of land to the Mutual Savings Bank for a price of $7,200. A notice in the San Francisco Call: "Elizabeth Laver (administratrix of the estate of Augustus Laver) (by H.P. Umbsen, commissioner) to Mutual Savings Bank, lot on SE line of City Hall avenue (Park avenue), 175 NE of City Hall Square (City Hall avenue), NE 25 by SE 100, City Hall lot 54; $7200." (See "Real Estate Transactions," San Francisco Call, vol. 90, no. 153, 10/310/1901, p. 15.) Two years later, Charles J.F. Laver sold another San Francisco land parcel. The San Francisco Call recorded: "Estate of Augustus Laver, by Charles J.F. Laver, administrator, sold to Andrew J. Martin, a lot on the southeast corner of Nevada and Vermont streets, E 200 by S 400, for $5000," in 1902." (See "Real Estate Transactions," San Francisco Call, vol. 87, no. 104, 09/12/1902, p. 11.)

Associated Locations

  • Alameda, CA (Architect's Death)
    Alameda, CA

  • Folkstone, Kent UK (Architect's Birth)
    Folkstone, Kent UK

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PCAD id: 2115