Gordon Luepke was born in Clarkdale, Wisconsin in 1913. He was the son of Otto F. and Lillian Luepke and attended Clarkdale High School before moving to Tucson in 1930. He earned a degree in fine arts at the University of Arizona in 1939. Luepke worked closely with Josias T. Joesler in the 1940s. During WWII he was employed by the government doing special designing work and drafting.
Luepke was a member of the Pima County Planning and Zoning Commission from 1949 -1958 and he participated in developing early zoning and floodplain regulations. He was an advocate for regional and local Master Planning during the 1950s and championed the natural beauty of Pima County. He served on the Pima County Air Pollution Control Advisory Council from 1966-1975. Luepke was a member of the Arizona Chapter of the American Institute of Architect for over 30 years. He also served on the Arizona Board of Technical Registration from 1949 – 1956.
In 1949 Luepke was hired to design a new studio for Interior Designer Alfred Messner, the building was designed with the intention of “Carrying out the western atmosphere in architecture, the building will have an abundance of windows and an inter paio for showing fabric samples in natural light.” The project was constructed by M.M. Sundt Construction Co.
In 1950 Luepke designed the Peyton Glass House in the Catalina Foothills on Camino Escuela. The house responded to the natural terrain and typography. The construction was featured in the Arizona Daily Star on February 23, 1950 and Luepke was quoted describing the house “Nothing more than a roof over a shelf cut in a desert hillside.” the how was described as “shaped to the contour of the hill, which dictated the entire design […] a shelf was cut into the hillside, the floor was laid and the roof, which appears to be entirely supported by glass, was sloped to match the slant of the hills […] Luepke’s purpose in designing the home was to blend a shelter into the hillside. He succeeded so well that the Glass home appears to be wrapped around the hillside, a perfect blend of modern design with the timeless desert scenery.
In March of 1950 Luepke was elected vice-president of the Arizona chapter of the American Institute of Architects. On October 19, 1952 the Arizona Daily Star featured a house design by Luepke in their series House of the Week. The paper wrote “he has established himself as one of the outstanding residential architects of the southwest.”
In 1955 he was commissioned to design a major commercial project, the Casas Adobes Shopping Plaza. The million dollar complex was an integral part ofthe Casas Adobes Estates. The development was built in four phases and included a drug store, grocery, bakery and several small shops. The plaza, according to the feature story in Arizona Daily Star on March 27, 1955 was “constructed of burnt and mex-adobe distinguished by a variety of roof styles and materials.” Casas Adobes quickly became a hallmark of Tucson northwest side and stylistically sunaomons with Tucson. In the early 2010s re-development of the plaza destroyed some of the original building and design.
The late 1950s and 1960s was a productive period for Luepke his major commissions including Palo Verde High School, and the University of Arizona, Modern Language Building.
In 1975 he was awarded one of the first two Arizona Architects Medal. Luepke died on November 25, 1984.
List of Noted Projects
1946 Homer Boyd Building (Southwest corner of 6th and Tucson Blvd)
1947 Model Homes 2216 East Waverly Street, built by Harold Ashton Building Company.
Landscape by John Harlow.
1948 Arizona School of Photography Dodge and River Road.
1949 Alfred Messner Studio, 2300 Broadway Boulevard
1950 Mary Lynn Elementary School
1950 Peyton Glass House, Catalina Foothills.
S. Ullman House
O.W. Rugg House in Casa Grande
University of Arizona heating and Air conditioning plant
1950 422 North Forgeus, Tucson
1951 Wakefield Junior High School
1952 Tucson High School Theater and dramatic arts library. (with Clarence Torsell)
1953 Harvey Neiman House, 1220 North Tucson Blvd.
1954 Richey School, 2290 North 15th Ave,
1954 Presbyterian Church, Southwest corner Fort Lowell and Tucson Blvd
1955 Casas Adobes Shopping Plaza
1956 Corbett Lumber Company, 4545 East Speedway
1957 Palo Verde High School, East 22nd Street
1957 El Encanto on Calle Encanto
1958 Al Kivel House, 3424 Calle del Prado
1959 Rams Market at Fort Lowell and Dodge Blvd.
1961 Tucson National Golf Course Buildings
1965 University of Arizona, Modern Language Building
Louis Hirsch House, Catalina Foothills
Other Major Projects
Vail Junior High School
Pima County Superior Court Building
University of Arizona College of Education
University of Arizona Computer Center