Best of the Best 2002: Home & Design: Best Architects

<< Back to Robb Report, June 2002
  • Adele Cygelman

Site for Sore Eyes
“Your neighbor is the enemy—who knows what he’s going to build—so I always tell clients to buy land at the edge of a national park,” says Hugh Newell Jacobsen, who has been practicing architecture from his Washington, D.C., office since 1958. What draws him to a site is a great view, whether it’s of a pond, a lake, or a village. “When I arrive at a site, I drive around in concentric circles for maybe a 50-mile radius,” he says. “I study the houses that have been there for years and see how they are positioned to deal with the light and wind and rain. That’s how I want my houses to look—not like isolated islands, but part of the community. My buildings belong; they aren’t dated like sliced bread. My houses have good manners; they don’t jump out at you. My job is to create houses that fade into the background. The people are more important than all of the furniture and the art. I have not done my job when the wife answers the doorbell and her guest says, ‘My dear, who is your architect?’ I have done my job when the guest says, ‘My dear, you look wonderful.’ ”

Hugh Newell Jacobsen, 202.337.5200, www.hughjacobsen.com

The Kings of Cool
The Santa Monica–based design-build firm Marmol Radziner + Associates has become synonymous with the restoration of cool mid-century modern houses, in particular Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann house in Palm Springs, which became a five-year archaeological dig. “If we get boxed in, being in a Neutra box is a good one to be in,” says Leo Marmol. “We learned so much from that restoration that we apply every day to our other projects.” Since the completion of the Kaufmann house, Marmol and Ron Radziner have tackled Tom Ford’s Neutra house in Bel-Air, and restorations of houses by other modern masters, such as A. Quincy Jones and Buff, Straub and Hensman. The firm was recently selected to produce a commemorative line of reproduction furniture from Rudolph Schindler’s house in West Hollywood. But historical restoration isn’t the firm’s only strength. The partners are currently creating from scratch a house in the modern Spanish style of Irving Gill. And they practice what modernism preaches: Use as few materials as possible to make as much as possible. “In a perfect world,” Marmol says, “we would never use paint.”

Marmol Radziner + Associates, 310.264.1814, www.marmol-radziner.com

From Around the Web...
Project Farmhouse
A Boffi-outfitted teaching kitchen at the new Project Farmhouse is serving up stylish...
The Armani/Casa store in Milan, Italy
The largest of the Armani/Casa stores showcases furniture, textiles, and home decor from its rich...
Custom designs abound high above Hyde Park…
From golden Champagne goblets to a copper palm-frond bowl, these pieces shine bright…
Ralph Pucci is known for his luxurious furnishings that celebrate quality in material and design
The furniture designer opens a new studio in Los Angeles…
Set on 300 acres above the Gallatin River in Montana, this home has sweeping views of the surrounding valley
A modern hunting and fishing retreat makes the most of Big Sky country…
Laufen opens a gorgeous new space that will inspire your dream oasis at home…
Robb Report tests the world’s most innovative new cookware…
The engineer converses about the risk, reward, and potential reality of moving at Mach 24…
Forget the endless amounts of work, it’s the design of the building that is really doing you in…