Rodney Walker was a midcentury modern designer and builder who specialized in residential architecture in the Southern California area. He never became a licensed Architect, in fact, when he was offered a honorary degree he politely refused. Walker seems to have identified himself as a designer and found creativity as a builder. He contributed three designs to Arts & Architecture magazine's Case Study House program during the late 1940s (Case Study House #16, #17, and #18). Many of his homes were photographed by Julius Shulman for Arts & Architecture magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, Architectural Record, Sunset Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times Home magazine. His career was largely jump started by the appearance of his design for CSH #16 -- thousands of people flocked to the open houses.
Rodney Walker was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on September 15, 1910. He attended Pasadena City College for two years studying engineering before transferring to University of California Los Angeles to study art amd mechanic arts. He graduated with a degree in art in 1938. In 1938, Rodney and his wife Dorothea bought some land in the Hollywood Hils and built their first house in West Los Angeles. Soon after, he went to work for Rudolf Schindler as a draftsman, this work lasted nearly a year. Walker left Schindler to start out on his own. He bullt many homes along the top ridge of Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles and in Beverly Glen. Walker felt the creative act was in building and he ran a crew that built about 90% of his designs. He would frequently build a home for a client while simiultaneoulsy building a spec house for himself that he would later sell.
Walker built most of his houses after WWII. He focused on building low-cost homes for returning soldiers. Like Case Study House #17, many were smallish homes. He strove to build high-quality homes at a good value.
Over the next thirty years, Rodney designed and built some 100 homes in Southern California. One exception was a replica of Case Study House #16 built in about 1947 for a client in Louisville, KY, who had seen the original CSH #16 house in Arts & Architecture Magazine. The house still stands today and is in excellent condition. The is the only house outside of California designed by Walker.
In 2006, Rodney Walker's son, Craig Walker, built a replica of CSH #16 in Ojai, CA. The home was modified some to meet modern needs.
Rodney Walker died in 1986 at his home in Ojai, California.
(Source: Craig Walker, Wikipedia)