Since 1851, The New York Times has published thousands of obituaries. The vast majority chronicled the lives of men, mostly white ones. A new interactive project by the New York Times aims to highlight obituaries of women who left indelible marks on history but were nonetheless overlooked.
One of those women is Lilian Rice, who graduated from the architecture program at UC Berkeley in 1910. She was one of the first women to graduate from this program, and the tenth woman to receive a license to practice in the state of California. She is best remembered for her work on Rancho Santa Fe, a small residental community developed in 1922. Working throughthrough the San Diego firm of architects Richard Requa and Herbert Jackson, Rice oversaw the design and construction of the site, and designed around 60 homes for the community. The Spanish Colonial Revival style of the homes reflected Rice's design philosophy, which emphasized restraint in decoration, high-quality craftsmanship and harmony between a home and its site. The style would go on to become a a widespread style in California.
“With the thought early implanted in my mind that true beauty lies in simplicity rather than ornateness, I found real joy at Rancho Santa Fe,” she wrote. “Every environment there calls for simplicity and beauty — the gorgeous natural landscapes, the gently broken topography, the nearby mountains. No one with a sense of fitness, it seems to me, could violate these natural factors by creating anything that lacked simplicity in line and form and color.”
- Lilian Rice, “Architecture — A Community Asset,” in Architect and Engineer
To read the feature in full, click here.