John Carl Warnecke was born in 1919 and raised in the Bay Area. He earned his degree from Stanford University in 1941, then went onto complete an architecture program at Harvard.
Architect Bernard Maybeck and the California Arts and Crafts movement influenced Warnecke’s designs, just like they did Julia Morgan’s. So he also favored buildings that emphasized functionality and a strong relationship with nature. This made him the perfect candidate for designing the new buildings at Asilomar.
You might have noticed another influence in Warnecke’s architecture: an island style. Surf and Sand are like Hawaiian low-slung bungalows or pavilions. Warnecke designed the capitol building in Honolulu, Hawaii, and the American embassy in Thailand.
Warnecke is perhaps most well known for his work in Washington D.C. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy appointed him to the Federal Fine Arts Commission. Warnecke developed a close friendship with Jacqueline Kennedy during this time. So after President Kennedy’s assassination, Jacqueline turned to Warnecke to design her husband’s gravesite. It was known among American architects as one of the most difficult commissions of their time.