"We’re building homes today that will be around in 150 to 200 years, preserved as pillars of the communities in which they are built, historical by nature of their connection to the Silicon Valley technology pioneers whose imprints have been made locally and extend globally."
– Maurice Camargo
Silicon Valley architect, Maurice Camargo, A.I.A. Architect, was born in Mexico City in 1964. He attended the University of Mexico’s Architecture School and completed his Bachelor of Architecture Degree from The California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. He obtained his California State Architectural License in March of 1983. Mr. Camargo is a member of the American Institute of Architects and has been practicing Architecture in the Silicon Valley, San Francisco, and South Bay areas since 1979 specializing in the design of single family residences for this community.
Question: Maurice, when people meet you for the first time at a party and ask you, “What do you do?” what’s your answer?
Maurice: I say “I design homes for the rich and famous in Silicon Valley!” People usually laugh. Then I tell them “It’s true!”
Question: What’s it like for you to be involved in a project that’s so personal and intimate with clients who are industry titans and technology trendsetters?
Maurice: I find that families who have the means to design and build an estate home have the same kinds of desires and dreams as most people for their home life. Everybody wants to come home to a comfortable place where they can live their personal lives with their loved ones. They invite me into their journey of realizing their dream home – I become a member of their “dream team”! Many clients remain good friends after their project is completed. It’s a wonderful part of my work and very satisfying!
Question: What kind of things do you see people seeking to express through their homes?
Maurice: For my clients, they have the financial means to express themselves through the homes they build in a way most people can’t afford. You might think opulence and grandeur would be a popular theme, but I find most people, even the wealthy, seek to create a warm and inviting tone in their homes.
Question: What kind of ideas do people come to you with? Do they usually have an idea of what they want?
Maurice: With one family, the wife told me in their first meeting with me that she wanted a house made of red brick. I probed a bit to see what was behind her request for that kind of exterior. I learned that she had grown up in a wonderful neighborhood where the houses were made of red brick. I was able to take that idea and present a design that incorporated a sophisticated stone material that conveyed a similar sense of security and idyllic memories as the red brick of her childhood home, but with a dramatic and unique use of a newer construction material.
Question: What’s a request that stands out in your memory?
Maurice: I remember a woman told me she wanted large slate tiles in the home plan. When I inquired the reason, she said her husband’s boss had hosted a Christmas party at his home and she had seen the slate floor in his home. Now that her husband had become a CEO and they were building a new home, she wanted the tile floors, too. That’s a great example of how personal people’s reasons are for the homes they create. Those tiles were much more than slate to her.
"The right architect can be a homeowner's best friend. His or her knowledge of energy use, building materials, and labor costs can save you more than enough money to cover their fee, and an original, well designed house — one that is strong, functional, and responsive to its site — is a daily joy as well as a good investment."