Tucson Mayor, City Council Designate Kirby Lockard House as Historic Landmark

The City of Tucson Mayor and Council today voted to designate the Kirby Lockard House, located in the Richland Heights neighborhood, a HistoricLandmark. The property, nominated for the designation by the Tucson Historic PreservationFoundation, is a rare residential expression of the subset of Modern Architecture known asBrutalism or Heroic Architecture. Designed in 1968 by Architect Kirby Lockard as his own home,the project incorporated ideas introduced by architect Louis Kahn (1901-1974). Lockard derivedfrom Kahn an emphasis on architectural hierarchy, organization and physical materiality. Lockard differentiated between living spaces and sleeping rooms, circulation and utility whilecombining volume and forms. Lockard utilization of gray cast concrete blocks constructed with deep raked mortar gives the building a feeling of horizontal layers.

“This is an important designation that protects a rare example of Tucson’s modern architecture.” said Demion Clinco, CEO of the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation who prepared the historic landmark and rezoning applications. “The nomination of properties like the Kirby Lockard House rely on support from donors and property owners who are interested in ensuring our architectural heritage is protected for future generations. Without their partnership and support these designations would be impossible.”

Dr. Michael Fassett, Board President of the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation, noted “The building represents an important phase of modern Architecture and celebrates the contributions of an important local architect. As a result of this designation we hope owners of other Kirby Lockard buildings will work to designate their properties.” He concluded, “The Foundation is available to help owners of iconic historic architecture prepare local Historic Landmark designation.”

William Kirby Lockard was born in Cobden, Illinois on July 24, 1929. He attended Kemper Military Institute and served in the U.S. Army for two years. He was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Architecture in 1952 from the University of Illinois before moving to Tucson where he worked for the architectural firm of Scholler and Sakellar. The highly influential firm was noted for the use of progressive Modern architecture. Lockard left the firm to continue his education. He completed a Masters in Architecture from MIT in 1962. After graduating he returned to Tucson and was hired by the University of Arizona to teach in the College of Architecture. In addition to his educational work, Lockard maintained a private architectural practice and authored numerous books on architectural rendering. In 1965 he was selected to design the Dove of Peace Lutheran Church on Oracle Road. This major commission gave him the opportunity to explore architectural expression. The project was extensively published and resulted in Lockard receiving an award of merit from the Western Regional chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). In 1968 Lockard joined the leadership of the Southern Arizona Chapter of the AIA and designed the Historic Landmark home. Lockard retired as a professor emeritus from the University of Arizona in 1999. Lockard was a pioneer in multimedia education and created twenty volumes on architecture drawing, known as the Design Drawing Videotapes. Lockard died in 2007.

“Protecting our cultural heritage through historic landmarks is part of preserving our shared community values,” said Mayor Regina Romero. “The City is proud to protect outstanding and important examples of our community’s architectural identity, like the Kirby Lockard House. We are grateful to the owner and nominator of this property for protecting it for future generations.” The Kirby Lockard House was recognized in 2017, designated a Modern Architectural Classic by the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation, and determined individually eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places in March of 2020 by the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office.

Background

The Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization established in 1985 dedicated to preserving Tucson’s Unique Architectural Environment. More information on these and other projects available at www.preservetucson.org.

The City of Tucson Historic Landmark designation promotes the educational, cultural, economic, and general welfare of the community and ensures the harmonious growth and development of the municipality by encouraging the preservation and rehabilitation of significant, buildings, structures, sites, objects, and archaeological resources. These designations are intended to ensure the preservation of significant historic and archaeological resources, and to keep them in active use or management in their historic appearance, settings, and locations. The designation is a zoning overlay that places restrictions on the property that protect it and require approval from the mayor and council for future demolition.

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