Adore those villas you saw in Tuscany? That vintage château in France? Architect Richard Landry takes a page from the past and gives it a modern twist.When California native and designer Lorna Auerbach was shopping for an architect to design a home, she happened to attend a Christmas party at a Tuscan-style villa. But it was in the chic Los Angeles enclave of Brentwood, not in Italy. Not long after that, she went to a school-committee meeting at a French-country-style house in the same area. Next, a friend told her about her parents' place, a gorgeous French Normandy home in the Pacific Palisades Riviera.
The common thread in these uncommon dwellings? Richard Landry.
Landry is one of the most sought-after residential architects in the world, with clients such as NFL star Keyshawn Johnson, Eddie Murphy, and Sylvester Stallone as well as business moguls in Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Asia. The Los Angeles-based French Canadian is the go-to guy for überhomes inspired by a historical period or a country - especially England, France, Italy, and Spain. "Quite often, the homes I design are built around clients' most treasured travel memories," says Landry. "A Tuscan villa, a Spanish hacienda, or a French château brings back the feelings of carefree times in a familiar place."
Unlike many of the world's top architects, Landry can't be pigeonholed into a signature look. Equally comfortable with contemporary and traditional, he navigates design across many architectural styles with all the ease of a global traveler who speaks a dozen languages.
"After I met Richard, he took me to see Sugar Ray Leonard's home, an Italian villa loaded with beautiful architectural antiques, like 300-year-old door surrounds and columns, reclaimed doors, and old fountains," Auerbach says. "I thought: 'He's the one, an architect who designs totally for the client.'?"
With architectural degrees from the University of Montreal and the University of Copenhagen, Landry started his career in Montreal and later also worked in Edmonton. But after a building boom that went bust in 1984, Landry sold his few possessions, drove his Honda Civic to Santa Monica, California, and quickly found a job in theme-park design. A year later, he went to work for another firm, where he specialized in the design of custom residential estates. Then in 1987, Landry went out on his own, working at first from his studio apartment. Five years later, musician Kenny G commissioned Landry to design a 12,000-square-foot waterfront home in Seattle inspired by Greystone, a 1920s Tudor-style mansion in Beverly Hills, as well as a 5,000-square-foot guesthouse. That project was featured in Architectural Digest, leading to many prominent commissions from celebrities such as Rod Stewart, Leonard, and, later, hockey legend Wayne Gretzky and his wife, Janet Jones, for whom he designed a 14,000-square-foot red-brick Georgian manor house with a French-influenced interior. Landry's 10,000- to 100,000-square-foot homes typically run anywhere from $400 to $1,000 per square foot to construct - excluding the cost of the acreage.