Peter Jensen

Prolific writer for Sunset magazine, Jensen has authored books on San Diego and California. He wrote stories on local architecture for the Reader in the mid-1990s.

Articles by Peter Jensen

Peter Jensen and the Reader

Pat Welsh, Cliff May, Russell Forester, pick-up b-ball, San Diego's alleys, libraries, courtyards, bridges, towers, signs, stucco, 100-year-old buildings

A prolific writer for Sunset magazine, Jensen has authored books on San Diego and California. He wrote stories on local architecture for the Reader in the mid-1990s. Pat Welsh, the Julia Child of Gardening At ...

Pat Welsh, the Julia Child of Gardening

Why does San Diego have so many tropicals and sub-tropicals?

At lunch she is joined by her husband, Louis Welsh, whose parents, Frances and John Lloyd Wright (son of Frank Lloyd Wright), both now deceased, lived next door. Pat and Lou eat in the garden if it’s sunny.

The secret life of San Diego's alleys

Eyes put on the street

Today in Mission Hills’ neighborhoods a few blocks north and south of Fort Stockton Drive, Sunset Boulevard, and Juan Street, alleys have a different feeling than straight alleys in Pacific Beach.

The look of San Diego branch libraries

Sharp hiss for silence

“We narrowed the Mira Mesa branch down to a design we liked, one with a roof we thought was very attractive. But the community group didn’t like it: they thought it looked like a Quonset hut.”

San Diego pick-up basketball - heroes, courts, legends

George Young, Barry Alman, Glenn Plummer, Bruce Walton, Dwayne Burton

San Diego is one of the only basketball meccas where beach sand tracked onto the court is part of the game. At South Mission or Crown Point or in North County at Pillbox or Glen Park up in Cardiff.

Russell Forester, the architect of Jack in the Box

A weirdly honest approach to dispensing food

McDonald’s, once known for its exuberant golden twin parabolas flanking a glass-and-steel pavilion, is now the most boring recitation of mansardism. Only the Wienerschnitzel chain still clings to its defining, red-roofed mini-A frames.

Cliff May, inventor of the ranch house

Hugging the ground

"One of the county’s most appealing concentrations of ranch houses occurs in an unlikely place, the steep hillsides and winding streets of Del Mar…. several of these May mass-market houses were built in Del Mar as second homes.”

Stucco worked well for the Mayas, built much of Rome, and covers San Diego

Mexican plasterers don’t use a hod

Two factors helped bring the artistic use of stucco to a halt: modernism, with its emphasis on simple, unbroken planes, and the invention of the stucco “gun,” a machine process for blowing stucco onto walls.

Bridges of San Diego County: Cabrillo, Scripps pedestrian, San Luis Rey River, Lilac Road, Pine Valley

“We prestressed the footing to the ground"

Pine Valley is famous among bridge engineers. The first prestressed concrete bridge in the U.S., built using a particular kind of cantilever technology, it appeared to defy gravity during construction. It is located near two earthquake faults.

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