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Male, US, born 1910-10-04, died 1997-09-01

Associated with the firms network

Wurster, Bernardi and Emmons (WBE), Architects; Wurster, William W., Architect

Professional History


Emmons first worked as a Designer/Construction Superintendant for three Los Angeles Architects between 1934-1938: Edgar Bissantz, Winchton L. Risley, and Roland Coate, Sr.; Draftsman, William Wilson Wurster, Architect, c. 1938-1941; Lt. Commander, US Naval Reserve, 1943-1945. Partner, Wurster, Bernardi and Emmons (WBE), Architects, San Francisco, CA, 1946-1980s;


Visiting Critic, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 1956 and 1964.

Professional Activities

President, San Francisco Planning and Housing Commission, 1947-1949. Director, California Council of Architects, 1953-1954. President, Northern California Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, 1953-1954; Chairman, Northern California Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, Bulletin Committee. When surveyed in 1956, Emmons reported being a registered architect in the state of CA.When surveyed in 1970, he reported being a registered architect in the states of CA, MA, and FL.

In 06/1965, Emmons was appointed to the US Department of the Interior's Potomac River Task Force; he served with Arthur Odell, Jr., Edmund R. Bacon, R. Max Brooks, Francis D. Lethbridge and Ian L. McHarg. Architectural Consultant, University of California, Berkeley (UCB), Berkeley, CA, 1968-1970s.

Professional Awards

Fellow, American Institute of Architects (FAIA), 1960. Recipient (along with William Wurster and Theodore Bernardi), American Institute of Architects' Firm Award, 1965. Emmons received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada, 1988. He was awarded this for his 25-year contribution to the planning of the University of Victoria's campus. Recipient, American Institute of Architects' Collaborative Achievement in Architecture Award, 1966.



Coursework, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 1929-1933; Coursework, University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, CA, 1934; Emmons also studied with the San Francisco Architecture Club.



Born in Olean, NY, Emmons attended Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, and lived in the early 1930s in Los Angeles, CA. His brother, Frederick, also lived in Southern CA at that time and would become an important Los Angeles architect in partnership with A. Quincy Jones. Donn Emmons moved north to San Francisco, CA, in the late 1930s and remained here until he died in Sausalito, Marin County, CA at the age of 86;


His mother's name was Fogarty.


Emmons was married twice. His first wife was Nancy Marianna Pierson Emmons (1913-2014), whom he married in 1942. They separated in 1955, and divorced thereafter.

His second wife was the architect, Audrey Emmons.


With Nancy Emmons, he had two daughters, Zette Emmons (b. 1946), Janet Emmons (nicknamed "Luli," b. 1949), as well as a son, Andrew Pierson (Mush) Emmons (b. 1953).

Biographical Notes

He was the younger brother of Frederick E. Emmons (1907-1999), a partner in the Los Angeles, CA, architectural firm of Jones and Emmons. In 1956, Emmons reported to have traveled to 27 foreign countries, including those in Africa, South America, Asia, and Europe. SSN: 564-16-6471;

Associated Locations

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

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  • Olean, NY (Architect's Birth)
    Olean, NY

PCAD id: 338

1st Unitarian Church #2, Berkeley, CA1962BerkeleyCA
Arian House, Mill Valley, CA1947Mill ValleyCA
Bank of America, World Headquarters Building, 555 California Street, San Francisco, CA1967-1969San FranciscoCA
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) System1964-1967San FranciscoCA
Bernardi, Theodore, House, Sausalito, CA1951SausalitoCA
Boggs, James, House, Atherton, CA1952-1953AthertonCA
Capitol Towers Apartments, Sacramento, CA1957-1960SacramentoCA
City of Mill Valley, Public Library, Main Library #2, Mill Valley, CA1964Mill ValleyCA
Coleman, James V., House, San Francisco, CA1962San FranciscoCA
Emmons, Donn and Nancy, House, Almonte, Mill Valley, CA1947-1948Mill ValleyCA
Ghirardelli, Domenico and Son, Chocolate Company, Factory #3, San Francisco, CA1896-1898San FranciscoCA
Heller, E.H., House, Lake Tahoe, NV1950Lake TahoeNV
Huntley, Stirling L. and Roberta Baily, House, Pine Hill #2, Stanford, CA1962-1962StanfordCA
Kelso, James, House, Kent Woodlands, Kentfield, CA1952-1953KentifeldCA
Monterey Peninsula Junior College, Theatre, Monterey, CA1968-1970MontereyCA
Myers, Helen, House, San Francisco, CA1951San FranciscoCA
Nowell, Nelson T., and Marguerite, House, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA1946-1947Carmel-by-the-SeaCA
Nowell, Nelson T., and Marguerite, House, Stockton, CA1952-1953StocktonCA
Partridge, Gryffyd, House, Mill Valley, CA1947-1948Mill ValleyCA
Pope, George A., Jr., Ranch House, Madera, CA1958
Pope, Saxton Temple, House #3, Lafayette, CA1955LafayetteCA
Richmond-Chase Office Building, San Jose, CA1946San JoseCA
Ritter House, Atherton, CA1957AthertonCA
San Francisco Civic Center, Brooks Exhibit Hall, San Francisco, CA1956-1958San FranciscoCA
San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, Golden Gateway Redevelopment Project, San Francisco, CA1960-1966San FranciscoCA
Schuman, Isadore and Ida, House, Woodside, CA1949WoodsideCA
Sherman, Clay and Company, Piano Store, Oakland, CA
Sherman, Clay and Company, Piano Store, San Francisco, WA
Sperry House, Brentwood, Los Angeles, CA1953Los AngelesCA
Stanford Medical Plaza, Stanford, CA1959StanfordCA
Stanford University, Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, CA1953-1955StanfordCA
Terry House, Claremont Hills, Berkeley, CA 1949BerkeleyCA
Turner, John D., House Project, Stockton, CA1946-1947StocktonCA
United States Government, Department of State, Consulate Office Building, Hong Kong, China1958Hong Kong
University of California, Berkeley (UCB), Stern, Sigmund, Hall, Berkeley, CA1941-1942BerkeleyCA
Vallco Financial Center, Cupertino, CA1972
Editors of Architectural Record, "California Note: Good Teamwork, Good House", A Second Treasury of Contemporary Houses, 1959. "Columbia Lighting Incorporated Advertisement, 1977", AIA Journal, 66: 11, 26-27, 10/1977. "The 1969 Honor Awards", American Institute of Architects Journal, 51: 1969-06. "Good News To Transportation Planners, Automatic Train Control Successful", American Institute of Architects Journal, 56: 6, 12, 12/1971. "A seemingly artless vacation house gives well-directed views and three-way exposure to every major room", Architectural Forum, 91: 2, 80-82, 1949-08. "'Architectural Forum'is sponsored by Macy's in San Francisco", Architectural Forum, 91: 3, 14, 9/1949. "People", Architectural Forum, 91: 5, 16, 11/1949. Emmons, Donn, "Emmons, Donn Letter to the Editor", Architectural Forum, 91: 1, 34, 7/1947. "40 Stores", Architectural Forum, 88: 93-144, 1948-05. "40 Stores", Architectural Forum, 88: 93-144, 1948-05. "Wurster Portrait", Architectural Forum, 91: 3, 44, 9/1949. "Awards of Merit Ghirardelli Square", Architectural Record, 140: 1, 43, 1966-07. "Four Public Libraries", Architectural Record, 180-181, 09/1967. "California Note: Good Teamwork, Good House", Architectural Record, 119: 5, 144-147, 1956-Mid-05. "Recent Work of William Wilson Wurster", Architectural Record, 133: 1, 112-115, 01/1963. "Recent Work of William Wilson Wurster", Architectural Record, 133: 1, 107-111, 01/1963. "Genetrix: Personal Contributions to American Architecture", Architectural Review, 121: 341, 1957-05. Halprin, Lawrence, "A Statement by Lawrence Halprin on the Fountain Sculpture in Ghirardelli Square", Architecture / West, 16, 1968-05. "News +", Architecture Plus, 1: 10, 19, 11/1973. McCallum, Ian, Architecture U.S.A, 72, 1959. Ronchi, Lisa, "Profilo di un Architetto Americano, William Wilson Wurster", Architettura, 33, 1957-05. "Ariston Spiral Stairs for Residences", Book of Homes, 12: 4, Spring/Summer 1956. Peters, Richard C., "L'architetto Williiam Wilson Wurster", Casabella, 258: 21, 1960-04. "Wohnhaus Kelso:, Kentfield / Kalifornien", Deutsche Bauzeitung, 183-184, 1961-03. Venuti, Silvia, "Wurster and California", Domus, 777, 103-110, 12/1995. Barnes, Edward Larrabee, Edward Larrabee Barnes Architect, 18-19, 1994. Perini Land and Development Company, Golden Gateway proposal by Perini-San Francisco Associates, 1960. Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, "Medical Plaza", Guide to Architecture in San Francisco and Northern California, 160, 1985. "Mezzanine Houses", House and Home, 1: 2, 74-78, 02/1952. Bednar, Michael J., Interior Pedestrian Places, 92, 1989. "Newslines: Emmons Resigns as BART's Consulting Architect; Charges Absence of Architectural Considerations", Journal of the American Institute of Architects, 46: 5, 12, 11/1966. "Award of Merit Wurster Bernardi & Emmons", Journal of the American Institute of Architects, 46: 1, 46-47, 07/1966. Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, Los Angeles An Architectural Guide, 99, 1994. "Beau Peep Whispers: Emmons Brothers Capture Prizes", Los Angeles Times, D4, 07/03/1938. "The Bank of America, San Francisco, California", Marble Architectural Awards USA 1985, 27-28, front cover, 1985. Eckardt, Wolf Von, "Wurster, Bernardi and Emmons", Mid-Century Architecture in America, 194, 1961. Eckardt, Wolf Vonj, "Wurster, Bernardi and Emmons", Mid-Century Architecture in America, 214, 1961. Eckardt, Wolf Von, "A. Quincy Jones and Frederick E. Emmons", Mid-Century Architecture in America, 216, 1961. Mid-Century Architecture in America, 154-155, 1961. Eckardt, Wolf Von, "Wurster, Bernardi and Emmons", Mid-Century Architecture in America, 215, 1961. "Emmons House, Mill Valley", Pacific Architect and Builder, 15, 08/1956. Ritter, Paul, Planning for Man and Motor, 103-104, 1964. "Personalities", Progressive Architecture, 46: 7, 62, 07/1965. Ford, Katherine Morrow, Creighton, Thomas, Quality Budget Houses, 58-59, 1954. Eckbo, Garrett, Urban Landscape Design, 22, 1964. "Editorial", Western Architect and Engineer, 221: 1, 1, 01/1961.