Archive » August 31, 2006
Eye on Montecito
By John Watson
THE CORAL CASINO
Bay Area architect Gardner Dailey built the Coral Casino in 1937. Dailey was born in 1895 and was educated at UC Berkeley, Stanford and Heald's Engineering School. In 1926, after a grand tour of Europe, he returned to the Bay Area to establish his own architectural firm. While his early work was based primarily on historical reference, including the Mission Revival style, by 1937 Dailey had developed a keen interest in the Modern Style of Architecture. It was during his formative exploration of his newfound style that the Coral Casino emerged.
Described by some as the “Gem of the Pacific,” this building serves as a landmark for sailors and land lovers alike. The best part of this building is its prominent, unadorned tower that is crowned with a simple glass lantern. The Modern Style is often characterized as “man separate from nature,” which is carried to the extreme in this building where little landscaping is provided immediately adjacent to the building. But if one views the tower from within the nearby Biltmore Hotel’s luxuriously landscaped grounds, it can be seen that even an austere building can be tamed by and become one with nature.
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