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Wilt and Dave: Client and Architect

In the Beginning… It was quite by accident that I met and became the Architect for the great competitor, Wilton Norman Chamberlain.

A friend of mine, Gary Morris, had been given the task of finding a site for Wilt to build on; and Gary asked me if I had any idea where a really good hilltop parcel might exist.

I said no, but would be happy to provide my services, for the cost of time and such.Wilt agreed to retain me, and after renting a helicopter and scouring the Santa Monica mountains for open space, I found a big plot of land the had once been a Nike missile site during the cold war. It was a deal and Wilt had a place to build.

Wilt and I had, in the course of all this become friends, and I felt a real sense of connection and honest friendship with the Big Man. He was in my office one day when all the dust had settled and quite offhanded he said, “Hey! do you want to be my architect “? I replied, “ why not,” and the project was on its way. Ü


No Squares for Wilt… It is a truly a great and special thing to be an Architect, and I feel blessed to have this as a life work.The challenge and task is always to look for a new and exciting statement that reflects the uniqueness of the client, and fits the use of project. I have always believed the greatest source of inspiration for a special project is a special Client, and Wilt was the perfect catalyst for a new and different work.

The first task in a new project, aside from the basics of what rooms and spaces are needed, is to determine the geometry that fits the client and use.

We went out to the site, which has a breathtaking view out to the Pacific, and I drew shapes in the dirt, and Wilt stood inside each one. A square, a circle and a triangle were tested. I said “Wilt, this is your house, which one feels right for you”? The triangle was where Wilt felt immediately comfortable, and basis of the project was defined.

There is not an Architect alive who has not in some way been influenced by the great Architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and it was his concept of organic development of scheme out of a single geometric shape, that was the wellsping for the geometric and decorative nature of the final work. Ü
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A Stand of Redwoods…
Ursa Major: The Big Dipper
The Plan Checker Said, "I Give Up!"…

 David Tenneson Rich Architect
21552 Oakbrook | Mission Viejo, CA  949/458-6373