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Perspective: Nicolai Fechin [1881-1955]

With an unconquerable spirit, the artist endured chaos and tragedy, ultimately bridging two cultures

Allen + Philp Architects collaborated with David Michael Miller Associates in designing the Eaton residence to make the most of a challenging site straddling two mountainous slopes. The strong geometry of the structure won the 2009 Gold Nugget for Best Custom Home in the 5,000-7,000 square foot category.

Rendering: Building Legacies

From luxury homes to award-winning public structures, Linthicum leads with innovative and aesthetic excellence

Written by Lydia E. Plunk  
Fall | Winter 2010

Visions of paradise with buildings both aesthetically pleasing and intellectually stimulating fill the dreams of men successful in the present and confident of the future. Linthicum transforms these dreams into legacies, lasting and real, by building them. 

From corporate headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, and with an office in Hawaii, CEO Eric Linthicum leads his core team to live by its credo, “How we build is who we are … what we build is up to you.” The amassed body of Linthicum work has garnered a bevy of industry and environmental awards matched to their array of discerning clients. 

 Vice President of Project Development Art Jordan explains the framework of the firm’s strategy of uncompromising excellence. “We position ourselves to work with the best architects and interior designers working on buildings that are high design and high finish.” The goal on every project is to take planned precision to execute lasting luxury, “To be beautiful 100 years from now.” 

The panorama of specialized structures includes luxury homes, spas, golf clubhouses and libraries. Matching the breadth of Linthicum’s award-winning portfolio is a masterful navigation across style divides. President/COO and partner Jeannine Doyle explains each assignment comes with unique contingencies. “Each project requires matching capability to style.”

 From Old World countryside through aggressively urbane cutting-edge modern, each project requires a deliberate matching of artisans to construction. Importing salvaged French antique beams, a rural Mediterranean-inspired clubhouse echoes authenticity. Hand selected, shipped and checked through customs, the inexact timber sizes require restoration and accommodation for their charm to work its magic. 

In contrast, a modernistic home’s precise geometry and polish is as unforgiving as the desert’s midday summer sun. The structure’s emotional appeal requires exactitude of the highest order. 

Ms. Doyle voices pride in every Linthicum-built structure. “Every project has something unique and challenging. We take pride in the craftsmanship of everything we do. By making this process enjoyable to everyone on the team, from subcontractors through the client, we build relationships.”

When the firm entered the luxury home market, Jeannine Doyle believes the company’s early roots in the commercial market blessed the company with a certain “horsepower.” More complex, exacting and schedule-driven than standard residential building, the firm’s highly organized, hands-on, customer-driven approach, from pre-planning through completion, helps “plan the work and work the plan.” On-site guidance helps. “Clients make wise decisions in cost, time and quality,” maximizing owner investment value, explains Doyle. 

Client Kevin P. Knight confirms, “The team at Linthicum always represented our best interest and demonstrated a level of professional management that allowed us to enjoy the building process and not worry about it. The quality of the craftsmanship is second to none.” 

When the time arrived for Mr. Knight to build a home in Hawaii, he and his architect insisted on the superior artisanship and exceptional service of Linthicum. With the successful completion, the firm’s always-appropriate building vernacular now includes open-air opulence. 

After the successful collaboration on the Silverleaf Clubhouse and Spa in North Scottsdale’s exclusive DC Ranch, community resort developer DMB brought Linthicum to build Kukui`ula Plantation House and Spa as cornerstones to Kauai’s first legacy resort.

These projects became part of a carefully executed expansion beyond the finer environs of the Sonoran Uplands. Treading lightly upon the California desert, Linthicum’s grand vision now stands firmly established across the Pacific Ocean in Hawaii’s most luxurious locales. 

What the Academy Awards are to the movies, the Gold Nugget Awards are to the building industry of the 14 Western states. Voted on by industry peers, these annual awards represent more than a nod to commercial success. Presented at a posh gala in myriad categories, these awards recognize excellence in aesthetic and innovative achievement. Since 1997, Linthicum projects have prevailed nine times in a multitude of categories, leaving a legacy to singular focus on building with uncompromised integrity. 

The boutique builder’s vision of a better future includes active community participation by the Linthicum employee “family” and participating in wisely planned and constructed public facilities. Working within the constraints of municipal financing, Linthicum proved physical beauty and sustainability are economically compatible when constructing two LEED-certified Phoenix-area libraries. As with their blockbuster private endeavors, function, beauty and comfort elevate what might have been merely a repository of books to a higher standard.

The Desert Broom Library premiered to a throng exceeding 2,000. Attendees marveled at how desert colors and textures resonate: The broad use of stone encased in rusted wire gabion cages, sustainably harvested woods and walls sheathed in steel panels patinated a rusty brown combine to mesmerizing effect. The extended roof canopy offers respite from the harsh Sonoran Desert. Most open hours, sunlight filtered through low e-glass brightens the interior. An equally stylish and sustainable sequel quickly followed.

In 2007, the Cesar Chavez Library opened to critical acclaim. The library’s brilliance begins with earthen berms hugging its butterfly shape into the landscape’s bosom; insulating the collections and people from climatic upheaval. Overhead, the extended winglike roof is more than a purveyor of desert-desired shade. It is an architectural interpretation: an ode to the importance of agriculture in local history. An elongated glass expanse offers views to the panoramic oasis provided by a pre-existing lake. 

The library acts as a community family room. A full range of cultural activities by all ages is encouraged through spaces arranged with logical flow. The cinched center points patrons to the service desk. In 2008, AIA’s Committee on the Environment, COTE, recognized the library as one of the top 10 green projects in the United States. The building continues to garner accolades.

“The invariable mark of a dream is to see it come true.” This wisdom of Ralph Waldo Emerson is woven with Mr. Knight’s further praise, “I know firsthand the quality of their product, the integrity of their people and the value of their service. I believe it to be best in class.” Buildings to last through the ages are Linthicum’s legacy. 

 

Southern Californian Lydia Plunk is a former planning commissioner and newspaper editor. The Great American West, its creators and creations, fuel her search for truth through beauty. With intention, Lydia swerved, steering straight into the headwinds of freelance writing. Traditional and new media provide her an audience of fellow sojourners. 

For the Phoenix suburb of Laveen, appropriate building design and construction requires mitigation of outside temperature extremes. To this end, architects Line and Space LLC designed the Cesar Chavez Library with center-scored concrete masonry and earth berming as a design element that provides thermal mass.

Of working with Linthicum on the Eaton residence, David Michael Miller observes: “[Their] attention to detail, and understanding the nuances of the architect and designer’s vision was key to the success of this project … The completed project embodies both the exacting details and the careful balance of material compositions — to outstanding effect.” Photos: Bill Timmerman

Strands of rebar at the Desert Broom Library hang like undulating ribbed curtains in one example of playful articulation Richärd + Bauer Architecture created to define space in the 2005 Sustainable Commercial Non-Residential Project Gold Nugget winner. Photos: Bill Timmerman

Across the Pacific in Kukio, Hawaii, ocean breezes waft through expansive telescoping glass window walls at the beachfront setting of a luxurious 12,200-square-foot island home. A collaboration with architect Bing Hu, the crisp design is uplifted with merriment when grandchildren fill this family retreat. Photo: David Franzen

For the 50,000 square foot Silverleaf Clubhouse and Spa, renowned architect Don Ziebell imported 70 container loads of antique wooden beams, doors and stone flooring from France to integrate the resplendent aura of authentic Provence into the 2005 Gold Nugget Award Best Public/Private Recreational Use Facility winner. Photo: Oz Architects Inc.

The Sonoran Desert palette of colors glows on a moonlit night at the award-winning Donmoyer residence by Bing Hu of H&S International located within Silverleaf at DC Ranch. Photo: Bill Timmerman

For the 50,000 square foot Silverleaf Clubhouse and Spa, renowned architect Don Ziebell imported 70 container loads of antique wooden beams, doors and stone flooring from France to integrate the resplendent aura of authentic Provence into the 2005 Gold Nugget Award Best Public/Private Recreational Use Facility winner. Photo: Oz Architects Inc.

For the 50,000 square foot Silverleaf Clubhouse and Spa, renowned architect Don Ziebell imported 70 container loads of antique wooden beams, doors and stone flooring from France to integrate the resplendent aura of authentic Provence into the 2005 Gold Nugget Award Best Public/Private Recreational Use Facility winner. Photo: Oz Architects Inc.

The Sonoran Desert palette of colors glows on a moonlit night at the award-winning Donmoyer residence by Bing Hu of H&S International located within Silverleaf at DC Ranch. Photo: Bill Timmerman