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10 Things To Know About Hollywood’s Worst Architect

Richard Landry, purveyor of megamansions to the stars, started out designing theme parks?

Richard Landry is the favored architect of the uber rich and famous. Described by Curbed as the “king of the tasteless megamansion,” his multi-million dollar sprawling, opulent residences are home to the likes of movie stars, models, moguls, and Real Housewives all over the world. Though his homes get plenty of press, the architect himself is a little more of a mystery–how does a son of a carpenter in rural Quebec transform into L.A.’s most sought-after and critically lambasted residential architect? Here are 10 things we learned about him from his most recent New York Times profile:

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He got his start at a theme park design firm. When Landry first moved to Los Angeles, he was hired at R. Duell & Associates, an architecture firm that specialized in designing parks for clients like Six Flags. Landry describes the job as “pure fun, pure fantasy.”

His first solo commission was a fence for a condo project. “I said, ‘Yeah, absolutely.’ I was going to do the best possible fence I could,” he tells the Times.

Despite his reputation as a megamansion architect, he’ll design you a mini-mansion, too. Clients, he tells the Times, “think we only do mansions. They want a 5,000- or 10,000-square-foot house and think it’s too small. A 10,000-square-foot house is a big house.”

He looks like a tree. The man is, according to the Times reporter, “as tall and slender as a sapling.”

Like anyone in the business of catering to celebrities, he takes pleasing his clients to another level: “If the family sitcom you created was sold into syndication for big bucks and you’re all about having an in-home squash court, your architect has it covered: ‘I will start playing squash,’ Mr. Landry said, laughing.”

He’s willing to go to lengths to make sure his clients’ new houses look suitably aged:

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On an outdoor walkway connecting two guest suites, Mr. Landry touched his hand to one of several rough-surfaced stone columns: ‘These are brand new. We were beating them up with hammers and nails to make it look like it’s eroded over time.’ For the home’s interior, the ‘best plaster guy in L.A.’ was hired to make undulations in the walls, as if timeworn imperfections.

Some of his stuff doesn’t look that bad (reportedly). Of a 23,000-square-foot Beverly Hills mansion owned by a healthcare exec, the Times says:

O.K., the finished basement was designed to resemble the deck of a ship. But the rest of the rooms were well proportioned, with elegant finishes: travertine floors, exotic African woods, a handrail made of Italian portoro marble with cream veining. To achieve an Art Deco feel, Mr. Landry did scallop moldings. Rather than looking ersatz, the house felt authentically old Hollywood; a visitor half-expected Marlene Dietrich to descend the spiral staircase.

He lives in a house that was once owned by Hugh Hefner. He’s since redesigned the 4,300-square-foot Malibu pad to look…more like a club. “The interior is a bit Miami Beach nightclub: mirrors; lights that change from orange to purple to blue; a bathroom fixture shaped like a joystick; and, in the master bedroom, a cabernet leather headboard.

It’s not easy being in with the 1%. As Times points out: “Mr. Landry can no longer get replacement parts for his $100,000 electric sports car, because the company that made it went bankrupt.”

He can’t describe the common thread between his projects. “I think there’s something about it you can’t put a finger on,” he says. “A je ne sais quoi.” Alright, dude.

Read the whole story from The New York Times and see images of Landry’s work here.

About the author

Shaunacy Ferro is a Brooklyn-based writer covering architecture, urban design and the sciences. She's on a lifelong quest for the perfect donut.

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