john randal mcdonald's work started in the late 1940's & continued throughout his life, until his death in 2003. born in milwaukee in 1922 & serving in world war 2, mcdonald was an officer in the u.s.navy before pursuing a degree in architecture at yale & starting his own firm in 1954. mcdonald's work has often been compared to his comtemporaries work frank lloyd wright due to the organic approach - he emphasized the importance of a natural setting & the use of natural materials. mcdonald also encouraged homeowners to be aware of the elegance of the natural environment, thereby making them more sensitive to nature. mcdonald designed unique homes that not only appealed to the general public, but were also affordable.
initially, mcdonald's designs were predominately for private residences such as the john & catherine erskine house, the maloney house, the schirmer house, the richard j. christensen house, the elmer m. peterson house & the sjostrom house. to name but a few. the lathrop house was his first house & personal residence, located at 801 lathrop avenue, racine, wisconsin in 1949. mcdonald & his family lived in the house for several years before moving to another home he designed located at 1001 russet street, also in racine. in addition to racine, mcdonald designed several private, public, & religious buildings in milwaukee & kenosha. however, as years passed & his success & reputation increased, he was commissioned to design churches, monasteries, schools, hotels, factories, dormitories, banks & marinas across the u.s. and overseas. eventually moving to florida in 1963. mcdonald was successful throughout his life as he designed homes for various celebrities, such as bjorn borg, mickey mantle, perry como, jimmy connors, james garner, victor borge, raymond floyd (golfer), prince khalid bin saud al-kabeer of saudi arabia, maureen o'hara & sophia loren.