Firm: Marmol Radziner
From this project two distinct lessons were learned. The first lesson relates to how an architect is in the business of selling a lifestyle. In establishing a style and brand of architecture, the architect sells more than a building, but a lifestyle and way to live. The second lesson relates to the production and quality of final deliverable.
This house is located in Lake Tahoe, California. The Lake Tahoe region receives a significant amount of snowfall each year and is known for excellent skiing conditions. It was not until the general contractor called me explaining with excitement the construction of a contemporary home with a flat roof did I begin to understand the significance of this building on the landscape. The client sought the architect out for more than a home, the client sought a lifestyle that was not the typical Tahoe ski chalet, but Southern California contemporary. As the contractor explained, “It is not everyday you build a ten thousand foot single family home employing a steel structural system with a flat roof in snow country.”
Despite this location being suited for specific building vernacular, the client's desire for this architect's design and branding superseded conventional building practices. It is a relevant lesson in understanding the power of design and branding.
The second aspect of this project that had great impact was the thoroughness and discipline that exists in the production of construction documents. I have seen architectural documents for custom homes range from four to ten sheets (pages). The document set for this project for architecture alone was fifty-two sheets. The entire set with consulting documents came in a eighty-two sheets; an astounding number when most residential sets never go beyond ten sheets.
The attention to detail and craft are the standards by which all should strive independent of business or profession. However, from my experience with this project a new understanding of professionalism and craft were defined. The craft of architecture is thought to culminate and be evident in the final product, the building. Reality is that craft begins at the inception of the project and all phases in between need as much reverence as the final build product.