Wilt and Dave: Client and Architect, continued

Real World Size… Wilt wanted a place for friends, entertainment, and yet be at the same time a place to call home. He wanted everything to work for real size people, and in fact the only concession to size was the water closet in the Master Suite. “It’s just no fun to sit down with your knees in your face,” was Wilt’s sentiment.

The volumes, spaces, door heights and such were not designed for the tallness of the man, but rather the sense of self, and a love of openness and great spaces.

A Stand of Redwoods… My inspiration for The Great Room, the set piece of project, came from a photo I had taken when my family and  had visited Yosemite. Straight up through the Mariposa grove looking skyward, Ursa Major was to be a stand of trees supporting a great Redwood canopy.

My first suggestion for the compliment to the redwood was to use red brick. Wilt grew up in Philadelphia, and every poor neighborhood was one faceless brick monolith after another. The bricks disappeared, and we went over sample after sample of native field stone to work with the redwood. We settled on a great looking Bouquet Canyon stone we could get matched material for the whole house. Ü


Ursa Major: the Big Dipper After many model studies, the scheme was born. I went to my good friend and structural engineer Vincent Kevin Kelly and we put together a structural system that to this day has withstood all the seismic trauma provided in the years since construction.

The Great Room was designed with spaces interrupted by vertical “tree” elements that would work for many guests, and still feel intimate and comfortable for Wilt when alone in a such a lofty major space.

This was to be a great organic structure of natural materials, with water used as a building component becoming part of the concept — live water and reflection pools at the entry path, and the swimming section fitting naturally against the Great Room with a small peek inside just for fun.

The Plan Checker Said, “I Give Up!”… The concept was set, and each and every part of the structure was carefully designed by this Architect to reflect the basic design intent. The working drawings could finally commence. Sketches and exact design elements became paper real after incomparable hours of effort. I had a small office, and everybody turned to for this very special work.

The plans were submitted to the city for approval, and after meeting with the city engineer every day for two weeks solid, reviewing the most minute detail, the plan checker finally said, “I give up”. The work was underway, and the site, which was a geologic mess was excavated fifty feet down, and rebuilt to perfection and construction began. Ü
(click below for more)
Spending Time With Wilt
Wilt in (not-so-hot) Water…
Wilt's Legacy…
 David Tenneson Rich Architect
21552 Oakbrook | Mission Viejo, CA  949/458-6373
e-mail: dtrarch@sbcglobal.net