Although a designer’s first projects are often for family members, they inevitably will design a place of their own during the course of their career.  These include gardens, residences, vacation homes, remodels, and design-build projects. Designers also design for each other.  This exhibition showcases projects by architects and landscape architects for themselves and for their colleagues.

For Themselves

Looking through nearly a hundred project files for designers’ own homes,  it became clear that although they contain many sketches, few of them contain presentation drawings. The presumption is that presentation drawings are intended to “sell” a design to a client; therefore they are not necessary when designing for oneself. Presentation-like drawings are sometimes created after construction when the project is published, when the client is a colleague, or because the act of rendering provides clarity of concept or pleasure to the designer.

Design / Build

For a variety of reasons some architects choose both to design and construct their own homes.

Wives + Husbands

When the designers are also spouses their projects are both for themselves and each other.

For Each Other

Architects and Landscape Architects often work closely together on projects, so what could be more natural than contributing to each other’s personal design endeavors?

For some reason, the Archives contains many more examples of landscape architects designing for architects than the other way around.

Vacation Homes

In addition to designing their primary residences, many architects also embraced the opportunity to design vacations homes. California provided ample scenic locations perfect for relaxing— the beach, the verdant valleys, or the mountains. For a vacation home the site was often as important as the design.


Waverly Lowell, Curator