Robson Chambers (USC class of 1941), of Borrego Springs, Calif.; died June 18, 1999, at the age of 80. A career as an architect began during World War II, when Chambers, then in the U.S. Marine Corps, helped design Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, Calif. After the war, he established an architectural firm in Palm Springs, Calif., with the late Albert Frey.
In addition to many residences, they designed the Palm Springs City Hall as well as the former Tramway gas station with its massive flying and angular roof which is now home to the Palm Springs Visitor Center. It greets motorists entering Palm Springs from the east, and is near the entrance to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.
Chambers was later appointed campus architect for UC Santa Barbara. Upon retiring, Chambers moved to Borrego Springs, where he designed many residences, as well as the Episcopal Church, of which he and his wife, Helen, were active members.
Born in Los Angeles, Chambers lived his life in Southern California; he attended the University of Southern California, practiced for 20 years in Palm Springs, and moved to Hope Ranch Park, CA, when he was 47.
Robson C. Chambers's mother had the surname "Cresap." He was related to the architect, Harold Coulson Chambers. Robson had a brother, John A. Chambers.
Chambers married in 1943.
When surveyed in 1955, Chambers indicated that he had had two children. One child, Robson Cresap Chambers died at birth, 11/26/1952.
When surveyed in 1955, Chambers indicated that he had traveled in Mexico. Director, Palm Springs Kiwanis Club, 1953-1955; Vestryman, Saint Paul's Episcopal Church, Palm Springs, 1955; United States Marine Corps Reserve, 1942-1945.
The Third Man
Robson Chambers’ collaboration with Albert Frey and John Porter Clark created an enduring Desert Modern aesthetic
ROBERT IMBER JULY 15, 2015 MODERNISM
Robson Cole Chambers’ career was the embodiment of a Southern Californian architectural life. Chambers was born in Los Angeles in 1919, and after high school in Banning, California, attended the University of Southern California from 1936 to 1941.
There, he was distinguished among his peers by a Los Angeles Times article dated March 24, 1938, titled “Trojan Students Design New Type Desert Home.” In the article, Chambers’ work was cited as one of three chosen as “the best models” of the desert house “for people who live in a large city, with special attention given to the problem of outdoor living and recreation."
Robson Cole Chambers passed away on June 18, 1999. Archives of his work can be found at the UCSB Art, Design & Architecture Museum.
Read more at: Palm Springs Life Article
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