July 9, 1924, Sonoma, California, United States – December 6, 2017.
Thorne grew up in Piedmont CA. At age 9, he designed his first house near Auburn CA and helped his grandfather build it.
After four years as an Air Force pilot, Thorne studied architecture at UC Berkeley, graduating in 1950.
Beverly Thorne (1924) received a BA in architecture from the University of California at Berkeley, California, 1950.
This was followed by a job with David S. Johnson and a multi-year stint in Europe, before going to work for him in 1954 under the name David Thorne.
Starting in 1953 he worked for architect Roger Lee. Thorne met musician Dave Brubeck and designed Brubeck a house on the side while still employed with Lee.
In 1954, Thorne went out on his own as the Brubeck house catapulted him into mostly unwanted fame.
His notoriety attracted rich clients but distanced him from the kinds of clients he wanted – simple souls desiring inexpensive homes.
He deliberately dropped out of sight with an unlisted phone number and changed his professional name from David to Beverley.
In many of his buildings, Thorne used steel structures.
The architect designed the house for Dave Brubeck in Oakland, California (1954), on an inhospitable terrain on a rocky slope.
He thus he created a three-story building whose steel structure is partially anchored in the rocks.
The upper deck is at the height of the treetops and with its glass walls and huge windows offers views in all directions.
A part of the upper floor in projection houses the bedroom; the middle floor opens onto a large terrace.
At the Nail house in Atherton, California (1954), Thorne abandoned his usual form of modular construction.
As his client wanted to have views from the living room over the trees, the architect decided that the roof should protrude diagonally.
Below there is a garage for the car.
The Case Study House No. 26 in San Rafael, California (1962-1963), also designed by Thorne with a steel skeleton, rests largely on free piers on sloping ground with a cantilevered overhanging part.
The flat roof serves as a parking lot.
In the 1980s, he resurfaced and practiced primarily from Hawaii. His three children David, Stephen, and Kevin are architects or landscape architects.
Thorne was the last living contributor to Arts & Architecture magazine’s famous Case Study Houses, a project which introduced Modernist architecture to the public on a large scale.
He designed over 150 houses, most on steep hillsides and built out of steel.
Gössel, P. (2007). The A-Z of Modern Architecture (Vol. 1). Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag.