It took Richard Landry and interior designer James Magni almost a decade to complete this 24,000-square-foot villa in Los Angeles. “It was a real collaboration,” says Landry of the partnership. “We share the same ethics when it comes to modern homes.”
Homes by Richard Landry are lofty yet grounded in humility. For the Los Angeles–based architect, creating residences that are grand but also highly personal to their owners means forgoing a signature style. “I come into each project without an agenda or a preconceived notion,” Landry explains. “Clients are welcoming me into their world. A great compliment is when they move into the house and say, ‘I feel like I have always lived here.’ That is so perfect for me.” And perfection Landry-style starts with introspection. “I encourage clients to do some soul-searching,” he says. “Trends are not relevant. A home will be here for a long time. It is about something more substantial. It is about how you want to feel when you come home. There is no right and wrong.”
Landry brings this mind-set (and the expertise of his 50-person staff) to each project, be it a château-inspired estate in Asia or a contemporary compound in Southern California. In discussing his process with Robb Report Home & Style, he revealed his passion for making each grand house a home.
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Where does the research for your homes begin?
I start with how [the owners] will live in the house. Once I know the style, I research within that. I study different rooflines, window surrounds, and I create things that are appropriate, but every time I do something different.
How do you keep large projects comfortable?
I pay equal attention to all six surfaces in a room. It breaks down the scale. A ceiling design broken into quadrants, paneling on the walls, or a very cool floor pattern all make a room comfortable.
From one house to the next, you switch styles.
I always admired architects with a signature look, but switching makes it interesting. One day I am listening to classical music and the next I am listening to jazz. I was born this way.
You also blend styles.
I don’t pretend to re-create the past. If you look at traditional architecture and study the floor plans, it will not work today. They didn’t have outdoor covered loggias with fireplaces or huge windows because they didn’t have the technology. You have to understand how people live today and create a hybrid. This is where I make it my own and have fun.
Is any one genre tougher than the rest?
In contemporary, you create your own architectural language. Listening to the client’s materials, textures, and colors becomes your vocabulary. There are no rules. In traditional, you have to understand the history, the rules, the proportions. Then you can create within that. The challenges are different, but none scare me.
Ultimate Winners Four of Landry’s projects received Robb Report’s annual Ultimate Home distinction in different years. Each project garnered the magazine’s top residential-design honors thanks to distinctive styling, over-the-top amenities, and intricate details. The details ran the gamut, from reclaimed, hand-laid bricks sourced from historic buildings for an owner’s dream garage to glass chandeliers from a French hotel for an art deco–themed billiard room. “Not everything has to be the same time period,” notes Landry. “Whenever you use artistic license, you ask yourself, ‘Does this feel right?’ It’s an instinct—a gut feeling. It’s knowing the periods that you are mixing and making an intentional gesture.”
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Different Strokes Landry’s current projects include a 25,000-square-foot modern fortress in the Middle East and a 180,000-square-foot château-style estate in China. The reach of his namesake firm is global, and perhaps nowhere is his architectural impact more evident than in Southern California, where he has built more than 400 homes, including two of his own. One of them—his 4,504-square-foot contemporary interpretation of a classic barn with a cistern-like pool in the Santa Monica Mountains above
Malibu—sold in November. “My new house [in Malibu] is a backdrop to its surroundings,” says Landry. “The ocean is the star.
It transports me in a different way than the barn. It makes me feel serene.”