1924 - 2017

William Krisel

Born in Shanghai, China, where his father served as a diplomat, Krisel returned with his family to California in 1937. He enrolled at the University of Southern California’s School of Architecture in 1941, but left to serve as a Chinese-language interpreter during World War II. He returned to school in 1946 and was mentored by architects Calvin Straub and Raphael Soriano and landscape architect Garrett Eckbo, earning his B.Arch. in 1949. Krisel became a licensed architect in 1950 and a licensed landscape architect in 1954. From 1949 to 1966, he partnered with Dan Palmer (Palmer & Krisel, AIA) to design many commercial and residential projects throughout Southern California. The firm is perhaps known best for the many Modernist homes it designed for the Alexander Construction Company in Palm Springs. While Krisel served as landscape architect on some of the firm’s projects, including Twin Palms Estates (1957 to 1958) in Palm Springs, he also collaborated with Eckbo in the 1950s on projects such as the Ocotillo Lodge, also in Palm Springs, and on Corbin Palms in Los Angeles.  From 1969 to 1980, Krisel  partnered with architect Abraham Shapiro under the name Krisel/Shapiro & Associates, working on commercial and residential projects. After the partnership was dissolved, the name of the firm reverted to William Krisel, AIA. Among Krisel’s many honors is the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Los Angeles chapter of the American Institute of Architects, bestowed in 2009. For his valorous service during World War II, he received the Bronze Star. Krisel’s designs have been featured in Architectural Record, as well as the books Modernism Revisited, Architecture of the Sun, and Forgotten Modern. A documentary film, William Krisel, Architect, celebrating his life and work was released in 2010.