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November 2009


MEET THE ARCHITECT

Bernard Wharton
by Meghan Pero

STRIPPING DOWN TO THE BARE BONES WITH ONE OF CT'S BIGGEST NAMES IN ARCHITECTURE

Click on any photo below for a larger view.

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SHINGLE SILHOUETTE (click photo for larger view)

What's currently inspiring you? Any particular forms or materials? Architecture that has taken responsibility for its environment and treads lightly on the land. What, in your mind, typifies quintessential Connecticut architecture? Like any place else in the world where we design houses, our architecture must respect that particular sense of place—and Connecticut is no different. What is your favorite type of project to work on? Houses. They are extremely personal, and to be successful they must reflect the clients' needs, not the architect's personal agenda.

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THE DESIGNER (click photo for larger view)

Are there characteristics that belie all your projects—what would first alert us to the fact that we're looking at one of your houses? They tend to have a sense of low-key elegance about them. The houses are defined by a high level of detailing. They often have moments of whimsy. They are client friendly, and they are respectful of the environment. What's on your plate these days—what are you working on? We are very busy designing houses all over the country. Each house has its own idiosyncratic challenges and rewards. However, just recently we have been selected to design a casino that will be completely underground at the Greenbrier Hotel and Resort in West Virginia. Very intriguing.

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In what decade would you have had the most fun being a residential architect, and where? Probably the '30s, but I must tell you that I have been blessed with opportunities to design wonderful houses in this decade. What is no house complete without? A sense of style and permanence that defies the passage of time.

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What's the style of your own house? My own house is a combination of styles and influences without being literal in its interpretations. There is a strong American Shingle-style influence as well as a strong bent toward the grace, discipline and beauty of traditional Japanese architecture. However, that being said, my house is a laboratory for my evolving thoughts about architecture and how it impacts our planet. If you could live in any one structure, commercial or residential, past or present, anywhere in the world, where would it be? A tent camp in the Masai Mara, Kenya. You've made a reservation for dinner with three other people. Who would you ask to join you, living or deceased? Jane Goodall, Nelson Mandela and Mark Twain.

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