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Male, US, born 1919-02-24, died 2010-04-17

Associated with the firms network

Warnecke and Warnecke, Architects; Warnecke, John Carl, A.I.A., Architect; Warnecke, John Carl, and Associates, Architects; Warnecke, Rosenfield and Allen, Architects

Professional History


Apprentice, Arthur Brown, Jr., Architect, San Francisco, CA, 1939. Brown worked on the Stanford campus many times during the 1920s and 1930s, with John Bakewell, Jr., and on his own. A locally prominent designer, Brown would have been well known to an aspiring Stanford student interested in architecture.

Warnecke was excused from military service during World War II due to a football shoulder injury. He registered for military service on 10/16/1940.

Assistant Technical Director, City of Richmond Housing Authority, Richmond, CA, c. 1942-1943.

Associate, Miller and Warnecke, Architect, Oakland, CA, 1944-1949. J.C. Warnecke worked in his father's firm in 1949 in the Financial Building, Oakland, according to the Oakland, California, Telephone Directory, 1949, p. 555.

Founder, John Carl Warnecke, AIA, Architect, Richmond, CA/Oakland, CA/San Francisco, CA, 1947-1958.

Partner, Warnecke and Warnecke, Architects, Oakland, CA, 1953- before 1971. In 1953, Warnecke and Warnecke had an office in the Financial Center Building in Oakland. (See Oakland, California, Telephone Directory, 1953, p. 568.)

Founding Partner, John Carl Warnecke and Associates, San Francisco, CA, and New York, NY, 1958-c. 1985. In 1962, John Carl Warnecke and Associates had its San Francisco office at 55 New Montgomery Street.

According to William Grimes, writing in the New York Times, Warnecke's firm "developed a reputation for his environmentally sensitive designs," that took into account the immediate stylistic context as well as regional building traditions.(See William Grimes, New York, "John Carl Warnecke, Architect to Kennedy, Dies at 91," published 04/22/2010, accessed 09/27/2017.) In this sensitivity to local surroundings and building customs, he followed the example set by William W. Wurster (1895-1973), the Bay Area Regional Modern architect, active from the 1920s through the 1960s.

By the 1970s, John Carl Warnecke and Associates was the largest architectural firm in the US, with six offices across the country. In 1972, John Carl Warnecke and Associates had its Honolulu, HI, offices at 765 Amana Street, Room #408. (See Honolulu, Hawaii, City Directory, 1972, p. 177.)

Warnecke was known for his ability to assemble talented staffs; this continued in his New York office during the 1970s, particularly, serving as a training ground for A. Eugene Kohn, William Pedersen, Patricia Conway and others. These branch locations closed over the course of the later 1970s, leaving, in the end, only the San Francisco office.

Professional Activities

Member, American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Director, AIA, East Bay Chapter, 1948-1950.

Senior Fellow, Design Futures Council.

Member, AIA, Schools and Educational Facilities Committee, 1959-1960. Chairman, AIA, Public Relations Committee for the National Convention, 1960.

In 1962, Warnecke was a registered architect in the states of CA, IN, and NV. When surveyed in 1962, Warnecke indicated that he had been NCARB certified.

Member, Commission of Fine Arts, Washington, DC, c. 1967.

Professional Awards

Recipient, American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, NY, Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize, 1957.

Associate, National Academy of Design, New York, NY, 1958. (See "Associates: Architects," National Academy of Design 162nd Annual Exhibition, March 24-April 29, 1987, [New York: National Academy of Design, 1987], n.p.)

Recipient, Urban Land Institute (ULI), Award for Excellence in Architecture, Washington, DC.

Fellow, International Institute of Arts and Letters (IIAL), Paris, France, 1959.

The Architect and Engineer reported in its 05/1959 issue: "John Carl Warnecke, San Francisco architect, has won top honors in a national school and college building design competition held in New York City. He was honored for his design of a student residence hall completed during 1958 on the campus of the San Francisco Theological Seminary at San Anselmo. The competition was open to all architectural firms in the United States and Canada which had designed schools and colleges that were under construction in 1958. More than 144 firms submitted 148 entries.” (See "With the Engineers," Architect and Engineer, 05/1959, p. 29.)



A.B., Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 1938-1941; at Stanford, Warnecke was a notable football player, a member of the undefeated 1940 team that won the 1941 Rose Bowl.

M.Arch., Harvard University, Graduate School of Design (GSD), Cambridge, MA, 1942.

College Awards

Warnecke graduatedCum Laudefrom Stanford University, 1941.



John Carl Warnecke was born in Oakland, CA. As an infant he lived with his parents at 970 Rose Avenue in Piedmont, CA. (See, Source Citation Year: 1920; Census Place: Piedmont, Alameda, California; Roll: T625_92; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 204, accessed 10/19/2018.)

The 1930 US Census listed Carl J. Warnecke as living at 1224 Holman Road in Oakland, CA with his family. The residence had an estimated value of $12,000 at the time, comparable to other residences in the immediate neightborhood. (See, Source Citation Year: 1930; Census Place: Oakland, Alameda, California; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0202; FHL microfilm: 2339843, accessed 10/24/2018.) During World War II, in 1944, he continued to live at home at 1224 Holman Road. (See, Source Citation California State Library; Sacramento, California; Great Register of Voters, 1900-1968, accessed 10/24/2018.)

The architect lived at 264 Monte Vista Avenue in Piedmont in 1949. (See Oakland, California, Telephone Directory, 1949, p. 555.)

He made his home at 15 Crocker Avenue in Piedmont, CA, from at least 1953 until 1955. (See Oakland, California, Telephone Directory, 1953, p. 568 and Oakland, California, Telephone Directory, 1955, p. 553.)

In 1957, according to Carl I. Warnecke's naturalization paperwork, John Carl Warnecke lived in Piedmont, CA. (See, Source Citation National Archives at San Francisco; San Bruno, California; NAI Number: 605504; Record Group Title: RG 21; Record Group Number: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009, accessed 10/24/2018.)

During the 1970s-1990s, the architect seems to have had multiple residences. In 1985, Warnecke had a residential address at 125 Washington Avenue in Santa Monica, CA.

Warnecke died of complications from pancreatic cancer at his ranch in Healdsburg, CA. (According to the Social Security Death Index, his last residence was in the 94133 zip code of San Francisco, CA.) In 2010, Warnecke maintained residences in Healdsburg, San Francisco, CA, and New York, NY. (See William Grimes, "John Carl Warnecke, Architect to Kennedy, Dies at 91," New York Times, 04/22/2010,Accessed 05/23/2011.) His ranch was located at 13125 Chalk Hill Road, Healdsburg.


His father was the architect Carl Ingomar Warnecke (1891-1971), his mother, Margaret Kathryn Esterling, (born 04/11/1894-d. 08/1982 in Los Alamos, NM).


Warnecke married twiceis first wife was Grace Eldridge Cushing Warnecke (born 04/05/1924 in San Francisco, CA-d. 03/02/1974 in Honolulu, HI). Prior to her marriage to Warneke in 1948, Grace worked as a stenographer and lived at 2525 Webster Street in San Francisco. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1944, p. 384.)In 1948, he and Grace traveled to Honolulu, HI, aboard the S.S. Lurline. They sailed from San Francisco on 05/24/1948. (See, Source Citation National Archives and Records Administration [NARA]; Washington, D.C.; Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Honolulu, Hawaii, compiled 02/13/1900 - 12/30/1953; National Archives Microfilm Publication: A3422; Roll: 252; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787 - 2004; Record Group Number: RG 85, accessed 10/24/2018.) Grace E. Cushing's parents were Grace Isabel Beaver (born 02/16/1893 in CA-d. 10/12/1983 in San Francisco, CA) and John Eldridge Cushing (born 11/20/1887 in San Rafael, CA-d. 04/22/1956 in Bolinas, CA), a shipping executive, who was, in 1940, President of the Matson Steamship Lines. Grace E. Cushing divorced Warnecke before 12/12/1964, when she remarried to Harry Ewing Botsford, (born 06/15/1908 in Portland, OR-d. 04/17/1871 in San Francisco, CA), a railroad equipment salesman.

His second marriage to Grace Kennan Warnecke in 1969 also ended in divorce on 12/11/1978. (See, Source Information California, Divorce Index, 1966-1984 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007, accessed 10/24/2018.) Grace Kennan was the daughter of diplomat George Frost Kennan (1904-2005), a key architect of the US Cold War policy of "containment" of the Soviet Union. She had been born in Riga, Latvia, on 06/05/1932, while her father served as the Secretary of the American Legation there. Her mother was Annelise Soerensen (1910–2008), who was born in Kristiansand, Norway. Annelise and George were married in her birthplace on 09/11/1931.

Prior to Warnecke, Grace married newspaper heir Charles K. "C.K." McClatchy (1927-1989) in 1958, whom she divorced in 10/1966. In the 1980s and 1990s, Grace Kennan Warnecke lived on the Upper West Side of New York, NY. She passed away in 2008.


J.C. Warnecke, Sr., and Grace Cushing had four children: John Carl Warnecke, Jr. (b. 01/19/1947 in San Francisco, CA- d. 07/05/2003 in Belmont, CA), Rodger Warnecke (a Stanford University graduate of 1972), Margo Warnecke Merck, (a Stanford graduate of 1973), and Frederick Warnecke. At his death in 2010, Rodger lived in Santa Rosa, CA, Margo in Healdsburg, CA, and Fred in San Rafael, CA.

Biographical Notes

It appears that he was named "Carl John Warnecke" at birth. This name was used while he attended Stanford University between 1938 and 1940. In 1941, however, his name was listed as "John Carl" in the Stanford Quad of that year (p. 439). Thereafter, he became known as "John Carl" to differentiate him from his architect father professionally.

Like his father, Warnecke was a physically large man, six-foot three in height, who played left tackle on Stanford University's undefeated 1940 football team, nicknamed the "Wow Boys." (HIs World War II draft registration form listed him as being 6-foot, three-inches tall, and weighing 220 pounds. He had blue eyes, brown hair and a ruddy complexion. See, Source Citation The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 1897, accessed 10/24/2018.) Something of a football legend, Warnecke was a member of the East Bay Stanford Club in 1953. (See Year Book and Directory of San Francisco Bay Area Stanford University Alumni, 1953, p. 51.)

Warnecke got to know John F. Kennedy, Sr., (1917-1963) while the latter briefly studied at Stanford as a graduate student in business in the fall of 1940. In 1944, California voter records indicated that Warnecke registered as a Republican, although this seems to have changed in later years as he spent more time in the Kennedy orbit. According to William Grimes, writing in the New York Times, "Later, Mr. Warnecke was drawn into Kennedy’s circle by an old Stanford friend, Paul B. Fay Jr., who had become close to Kennedy when they went through PT boat training together; Kennedy appointed him under secretary of the Navy." (See William Grimes, New York, "John Carl Warnecke, Architect to Kennedy, Dies at 91," published 04/22/2010, accessed 09/27/2017.) Warnecke would later be retained by the president to design a building to contain his official papers, and in 1963, Kennedy named him to serve on the Commission of Fine Arts, a professional oversight body that supervised federal building projects in the nation's capital. After JFK's assassiantion, his firm designed Kennedy's gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery. Like Kennedy, Warnecke had a great deal of charisma, and would carry on a long-term romantic relationship with Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (1929-1994) after the death of JFK and before her marriage to Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis (1906-1975) in 10/1968.

Associated Locations

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

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  • Oakland, CA (Architect's Birth)
    Oakland, CA

PCAD id: 336

2000 Pennsylvania Avenue, Office Building, Washington, DC
Aid Association for Lutherans (AAL), Headquarters, Appleton, WI1977AppletonWI
American Telephone and Telegraph Company (A, T and T), Long Lines Building, Manhattan, New York City, NY1974New YorkNY
Arlington National Cemetery, Kennedy, John Fitzgerald, Gravesite, Arlington, VA1967ArlingtonVA
Asilomar Conference Center, Housing, Pacific Grove, CA1959Pacific GroveCA
Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation, McDowell, Mabel,. Elementary School, Columbus, IN1960ColumbusIN
Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD), Cragmont Elementary School, Berkeley, CABerkeleyCA
Christ College, Chapel, Irvine, CA1967IrvineCA
Del Monte Center, Monterey, CAMontereyCA
Hennepin County, Government Center, Downtown West, Minneapolis, MN1969-1977MinneapolisMN
Logan International Airport, South Terminal, Boston, MA1977BostonMA
Mission Bay Redevelopment, 1980 Master Plan, San Francisco, CA1980San Francisco
Neiman-Marcus Department Store, Beverly Hills, CA1981Beverly HillsCA
Palo Alto Hospital, Palo Alto, CA1954-1955Palo AltoCA
Presbyterian Synod of the Pacific, San Francisco Theological Seminary #3, Oxtaby Hall, San Anselmo, CA1958San AnselmoCA
Richmond Unified Elementary School District, Mira Vista Elementary School, Richmond, CA1951-1952RichmondCA
San Carlos School District, White Oaks Elementary School, San Carlos, CA1947San CarlosCA
Smithsonian Institution, Renwick Gallery, Washington, D.C.WashingtonDC
Stanford University, Book Store #2, Stanford, CA1959-1960StanfordCA
Stanford University, Cummings, Nathan, Art Building, Stanford, CA 1968-1969StanfordCA
Stanford University, Maples, Roscoe, Pavilion, Stanford, CA1967-1969StanfordCA
Stanford University, Meyer, J. Henry, Undergraduate Library, Stanford, CA 1964-1966StanfordCA
State of California, Department of Transportation, 23rd Avenue Bridge, Oakland, CAOaklandCA
State of Hawaii, Capitol Building, Honolulu, HI1969HonoluluHI
Thomas, Mark, Inn, Del Monte, CA1953Del MonteCA
United States Government, Department of State, Embassy Project, Bangkok, Thailand1957Bangkok
United States Government, Federal Office Building #2, San Francisco, CA1959San FranciscoCA
United States Government, Postal Service (USPS), Post Office, Stanford University, Stanford, CA1960StanfordCA
United States Government, U.S. Senate, Hart Office Building, Washington, DC1974-1982WashingtonDC
University of California, Berkeley (UCB), Unit 3 Housing, Berkeley, CA1961-1964BerkeleyCA
University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), Master Plan, Santa Cruz, CA1963Santa CruzCA
University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), McHenry Library, Santa Cruz, CA1965-1966Santa CruzCA
"19 Steel Frame Buildings Recognized in Competition", AIA Journal, 66: 10, 16, 1977-09. "How Insulux solves the bright sun problem", Architectural Forum, 91: 1, 20, 07/1949. "Hillside house of unfettered design darts off toward the views", Architectural Forum, 91: 3, 62-67, 09/1949. "Directional glass blocks shield sky and reduce brightness contrasts in south-lighting experiment", Architectural Forum, 91: 4, 228, 10/1949. "Logan Airport, the new south terminal", Architectural Record, 162: 4, 105-110, 1977-09. "Hennepin County civic center, Minneapolis, Minn", Architectural Record, 82, 1974-08. "New and Old on the Campus", Architectural Record, 129: 4, 145-148, 04/1961. "Trident submarine training facility, Naval Submarine Base Bangor, Bremerton, Washingto", Architectural Record, 165: 7, 121-126, 1979-06. "Stanford University Sports Pavilion", Architectural Record, 119: 176-179, 1956-05. "Impressive new government center around a grand atrium space", Architectural Record, 161: 3, 101-106, 1977-03. Joncas, Richard, Turner, Paul V., "Roscoe Maples Pavilion", Campus Guide Stanford University, Second Edition, 116, 2006. Dober, Richard P., "4. Stanford University Bookstore and Postoffice (1960)", Campus Planning, 105, 1963. Dober, Richard P., "4. Stanford University Bookstore and Postoffice (1960)", Campus Planning, 105, 1963. Bednar, Michael J., Interior Pedestrian Places, 131-132, 1989. "Newslines: Competition Underway for $22 Million Center", Journal of the American Institute of Architects, 14, 16, 08/1966. "Milestones in Prestressed Concrete by T.Y. Lin", Journal of the American Institute of Architects, 46: 4, 77, 10/1966. Giovannini, Joseph, "Kohn Pederson Fox: Transition and Development", Kohn Pederson Fox: Architecture and Urbanism 1986-1992, 18-19, 1993. Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, Los Angeles An Architectural Guide, 126, 1994. Mid-Century Architecture in America, 173, 1961. Mid-Century Architecture in America, 173, 1961. Eckardt, Wolf Von, "John Carl Warnecke & Associates", Mid-Century Architecture in America, 217, 1961. Eckardt, Wolf Von, "John Carl Warnecke", Mid-Century Architecture in America, 81, 1961. Semallie, Peter H. , Smith, Peter H., "University Incorporates Old Buildings into New Speculative Office Venture", New Construction for Older Buildings, 163-165, 1990. "PA & B Profile: John Carl Warnecke, San Francisco, California", Pacific Architect and Builder, 65: 7, 15-22, Woodbridge, Sally Byrne, "Urban issues: Mission Bay", Progressive Architecture, 71: 5, 121-122, 1990-05. "Telephone Tower for Lower Manhattan", Progressive Architecture, XLIX: 1, 28-29, 1968-01. "Personalities", Progressive Architecture, 49: 1, 32, 1/1968. "P/A Fifteenth Annual Design Awards Program", Progressive Architecture, 49: 1, 114-115, 1968-01. "Design of Hawaii's new state capitol", Western Architect and Engineer, 221: 1, 3, 01/1961.