Louis John Gill

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Louis John Gill
Born(1885-05-09)May 9, 1885
DiedAugust 19, 1969(1969-08-19) (aged 84)
Alma mater Syracuse University
Buildings San Diego County Administration Building, San Diego Zoo, Sacred Heart Church in Coronado
St. James by the Sea, La Jolla St. James by the Sea, La Jolla.jpg
St. James by the Sea, La Jolla

Louis John Gill (May 9, 1885 – August 19, 1969) was a San Diego-based architect and the nephew and one-time business partner of another famous San Diego architect, Irving Gill. The San Diego Historical Society calls Louis Gill "one of San Diego's greatest architects". [2]



Louis J. Gill grew up in Syracuse, New York and graduated from Syracuse University in 1911. He immediately moved to San Diego and went to work at his uncle's architectural firm as a draftsman, becoming chief draftsman by 1913. In 1914 his uncle took him on as a partner. Their partnership, known as Gill and Gill, Architects, lasted five years. As his uncle's associate, Louis contributed to the design of several notable buildings including La Jolla Woman's Club (now listed on the National Register of Historic Places) and the Ellen Browning Scripps residence at 700 Prospect Street (now the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego). [1]

Entrance to San Diego Zoo San Diego Zoo entrance elephant.jpg
Entrance to San Diego Zoo

In 1919, he and his uncle dissolved their partnership and Louis struck out on his own. Louis had been taking on individual projects even before leaving the partnership. In 1916, the year of its founding, he was named to be the architect for the San Diego Zoo. [1] He designed the original buildings and enclosures for the Zoo and remained on the Zoo's executive staff for more than 20 years, designing and remodeling multiple buildings and exhibits. [1] [3]

In 1933, within hours of the 1933 Long Beach earthquake, Gill traveled to the scene in his role as president of the California State Board of Architectural Examiners. The results of his careful analysis of structural failures during the earthquake formed the basis for much of the subsequent California earthquake code legislation (Field Act for schools and Riley Act for all buildings). [2] [4] Those standards are now used in many other places throughout the world. [2]

Gill was a co-founder of the San Diego Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. He served on the California State Board of Architectural Examiners for more than 20 years, including two terms as president (193234 and 194749). [2]

In 1955 he retired. He and his wife lived in San Diego's Mission Hills neighborhood until July 1969, when he moved to Studio City. He died there on August 19, 1969. [2]


San Diego County Administration Building San Diego City and County Administration Building.jpg
San Diego County Administration Building
San Diego County Administration Building, detail of west entrance San Diego County Administration Center 2.jpg
San Diego County Administration Building, detail of west entrance

Louis Gill's works include (all in San Diego except as noted): [2]


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