Rodney Walker; Noted Designer, Home Builder

Rodney Walker, a home designer and builder who helped pioneer an architectural style of simple forms and extensive use of wood, has died in Ojai at age 75. His family said he had been ill with cancer for six years.

Walker, who was born in Salt Lake City Sept. 15, 1910, studied engineering and art at UCLA, then worked for a time for the late Los Angeles architect Rudolph M. Schindler. He preferred to be the builder of the homes he designed, in order to make certain that his ideas were carried out. He was known for being able to hold down construction costs.

Walker designed numerous "case-study" homes, exploring the adaptability of new ideas in small houses. Some of his work will be featured in an upcoming display at the Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Los Angeles.

He had lived since 1958 in the Ojai home that he designed and built and that he considered his masterpiece. After he discontinued home designing and contracting, he ran the Oaks hotel in Ojai for the past 15 years and operated a store in which he sold jewelry that he crafted.

He died Wednesday. He is survived by his wife, Dorothea; sons, Craig, Bruce and Mark, as well as twin daughters, Ellen Langston and Lisa Kaufman. He also leaves a sister.

Craig Walker said a memorial service will not be held until August to permit one of the sons to come from his home in Australia.

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