My grandfather was a carpenter who taught me to set a finish nail when I was 8. My great grandfather was a stone mason. It's possible that my family has been in the building business for centuries... Architecture has intrigued me since I was a kid. I designed my first home when I was 13.
After a formal apprenticeship in the Carpenters Union, I started Creative Environments in Southern California. We built award-winning residential and commercial architecture until the FED raised interest rates to 20%. We pioneered green building, and worked with geodesic domes and experimental systems as a by-product of Stewart Brand's journalist genius.
Development involves the interconnectedness of architecture, construction, real estate brokerage, land planning, politics, law and finance. Accordingly, I explored these disciplines and returned to school in law, management, and finance. I joined Grubb & Ellis as a commercial real estate broker and pioneered mortgage banking to assist developers source capital for new projects. Looking for capital led me to London where I learned international approaches to project financing and development. During this time, I was hired by the Cosanti Foundation to prepare the first development plan for Paolo Soleri's Arcosanti based upon conventional methods of project finance. When Wall Street expressed interest, Paolo classified Arcosanti an "experiment," which precluded funding.
After working as a project manager and CFO for a commercial contractor, I joined FMI and worked with successful contractors on strategy, productivity, marketing and project management. I am ever grateful to Bill Langston's introduction to the Josephson Institute. After FMI, I consulted executive agencies of the Governor of Guam on infrastructure, organizational efficiency, and utilization of resources regarding education, power, transportation, and communication. My last assignment on island was a Department of Defense assignment on how to convert a nuclear submarine harbor into an eco-tourism resort destination.
While on Guam, my oldest son was chosen by the elders of the island to learn the ancient ways of building a Chamorro village. Returning to Arizona, I stepped back in my career to teach my son the building business from the ground up. After a stint as a Development Manager for Nakheel in Dubai, my son now works for Turner Construction. Priceless.
In the 70's I worked on adobe homes in Escondido and Rancho Santa Fe. I was fascinated by the primitive process of constructing a home out of mud bricks. An authentic adobe home is grounding. The Southwest is awash with faux adobe-- wood frame houses with a facade of thin plaster over foam...the house looks territorial but is not authentic.
With the influx of Mexican craftsmen, I began building real homes using Old World methods and assembled a talented crew of who knew concrete, tile, block, adobe, stone, stucco, and plaster. We quarried of stone on site to construct walls that were 24" thick, built artisan cabinets from discarded pallets and created our own paint finishes and Venetian plaster. We devised a unique way of staining concrete floors that complimented adobe and stone.
Our approach became a pattern language with a unique palette of materials and finishes-- the Fressadi 'Look.'