Urban Design Associates | Luxury Home Architectural Design
Urban Design Associates, Ltd. is an architectural firm in Scottsdale, Arizona, specializing in custom residential home design. Lee Hutchison, A.I.A. is the principal architect, proclaimed as Master of the Southwest by Phoenix Home and Garden magazine, and has led his award winning staff to annual recognition by the National Homebuilders Association.
As tourists, it is easy to be drawn to the newest, shiniest, perhaps even tallest, building in the area. Of course, these structures should be sought-out and praised, but current architecture enthusiasts shouldn’t forget about the monuments left behind by ancient civilizations. These wonders would be a feat to construct today, and yet they were somehow erected ages ago with only primitive tools and techniques. The list of these places is long, but we managed to narrow it down to a few architectural highlights of the ancient world.
Perched at an altitude of over 12,000 feet, Sacsayhuaman is a walled Inca fortress located in Cusco, Peru. The large, rough-cut stones not only fit together perfectly, without using mortar, but some stones weigh more than 200 tons. At any point in recent history, this would be a marvel, but this fortress was built between 1438 and 1533!
Borobudur, the world’s largest Buddhist temple, can be found in Central Java, Indonesia. It consists of nine stacked platforms, topped by a central dome, and is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. Constructed in the 9th century, it was later abandoned in the 14th century and didn’t gain worldwide knowledge until Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles learned of its whereabouts in 1814.
Petra, also known as the “Rose City,” was originally the capital city of ancient Nabataeans, but is now in Southern Jordan. This rock-cut city was carved as early as the 5th century BC and grew wealthy through trade in frankincense, myrrh, and spices. By the middle of the 7th century, the city was largely deserted. We can all thank Johannes Burckhardt for rediscovering it in 1812.
Italy’s Roman Colosseum (also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre) is one of the finest examples of Roman architecture. Commissioned by Emperor Vespasian in 72 A.D., it wasn’t completed until 80 A.D., under his successor and heir, Titus. In its heyday, prior to an earthquake, it was four stories tall, with 80 entrances, and could seat between 50,000 and 80,000 people
The Parthenon, located on the Athenian Acropolis in Greece, was originally a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena. Construction began in 447 B.C. and was completed in 432 B.C. It is considered one of the world’s greatest cultural monuments and is a superb example of Classical Greek Architecture.
May 16, 2019, was a sad day in the architecture world. Revered,
modernist architect, I. M. Pei, passed away at the age of 102.
Born in China, Ieoh Ming Pei moved to the United States and earned his B.A. from MIT and his M.A. from Harvard. By 1955 he started his own architectural firm, and one of his first major projects was the Mile High Center in Denver, Colorado. Almost 30 years later, Pei was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize for his contributions to his field. He took the prize money and created a scholarship for Chinese students looking to study architecture in the United States.
The firm’s most well-known work is arguably the crystalline
extension to the Louvre in Paris, but it’s hard to say for certain. Other
influential works include the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong, the East Building
of the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, and the JFK Presidential
Library in Boston.
Mile High Center (Denver, Colorado)
The Louvre (Paris, France)
Bank of Chine Tower (Hong Kong, China)
East Building of the National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.)
From gourmet treats to high-end grooming, we spoil our pups from snout to wagging tail. Unsurprisingly, more people than ever are prioritizing their fur babies when designing their forever homes. Seeing this uptick in dog-centric requests inspired us to write an article about designing a home around your dog, and it can be found here and in the latest issue of The WAG Magazine!
From gourmet treats to high-end grooming, we spoil our pups from snout to wagging tail. Unsurprisingly, more people than ever are prioritizing their fur babies when designing their forever homes. As an architect, we have seen our share of dog-centric requests, but there are a handful of tips every pet owner can utilize when personalizing their abode. After all, luxury should not be sacrificed just because one family member has four legs!
Wedding season has officially begun, and it has UDA looking at buildings through a romantic lens. All across The Valley are stunning venues appealing to the structure enthusiast in us all. Pairing down the list was tough, but ultimately we settled on 5 AZ wedding venues for architects.
If architecture and the desert are held almost as close to your heart as your betrothed, than Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West should be at the top of your list. Once his winter home and Taliesin Fellowship headquarters, it is now a National Historic Landmark and school. Its deep connection to the southwestern landscape will give you a sense of calm when saying, “I do.”
Arizona Biltmore Hotel
The Arizona Biltmore Hotel has been an attraction of Phoenix, since it was constructed in 1929. People mistakenly attribute the design to Frank Lloyd Wright, but he was only a consultant for four months of the project. The true architect was Albert Chase McArthur, a former draftsman for Wright. The building was erected entirely of “Biltmore Block,” which were made from on-site desert sand and inspired by palm tree trunks. It has held countless, vibrant social events, so you know your special occasion will be in good hands.
Chapel of the Holy Cross
The Chapel of the Holy Cross is nestled between the red rocks of breathtaking Sedona. High on a hilltop, this church was designed and commissioned by Marguerite Brunswig Staude, and Richard Hein was the project’s architect. Stunning, panoramic views will leave everyone feeling spiritually renewed. Plus, having your ceremony in one of the Seven Man-Made Wonders of Arizona isn’t a bad way to start off your life as a married couple!
Arcosanti is an experimental town designed by Italian-American architect Paolo Soleri. The prototype demonstrates what can be created when architecture, urban planning, and ecology are fused. It’s easy to overlook this community, since the structures use colors and textures ideal for blending into the desert landscape. This hidden gem provides a unique backdrop for any upcoming nuptials.
San Xavier del Bac
Located in Tucson, the original mission was founded in 1692, but the current mission was built between 1783 and 1797. San Xavier Del Bac, also known as the White Dove of the Desert, is an outstanding example of Spanish Colonial architecture, and is the oldest European structure in the state. Massive mesquite-wood doors lead to a traditional Latin cross floorplan, and the entire church is ornately decorated with dazzling painting, carvings, frescoes, and statues. If you desire a venue practically oozing with history and charm, than look no further!
A couple from the east coast visited Arizona for years, in hopes of buying a home. Instead of finding the perfect home, they found the perfect lot. It was off the golf course, with amazing mountain and city light views. The problem was, on the lot was a 1980’s patio home.
This existing residence was an outdated, Santa Fe style home. It was very non-descript with boxy, closed-off rooms. The solution was to rearrange the existing spaces to create a flowing floor plan, and add a small addition to the rear patio. All the walls were stripped to the studs, and the sunken living room was brought-up to the rest of the structure. The kitchen was pushed to the rear of the house, so it could open to the re-imagined great room and back patio. It was important the indoor/outdoor living spaces flowed organically. The dining room was turned into an office and a guest bedroom suite was added.
The back patios and swimming pool mostly stayed intact, while a fire pit and outdoor kitchen expanded the outdoor living spaces. We were even able to add a small cigar patio with beautiful views. In the front of the home, is an elegant entry courtyard. It features a “secret garden” gate, trellis, and sculpture garden.
Sizing all spaces for intimate entertaining and everyday living allowed us to fit everything on the small site. This is a perfect example of “Jewel Box Architecture;” it might be small, but the special shines through every detail.
Growing up on the East Coast, Marion and Bob Auray were used to traditional architecture, the kind that depends on right angles and clean, classic lines. So when Marion walked into a home at an open house in Scottsdale, Arizona, that was designed by architect Lee Hutchison of Urban Design Associates, she was floored by a style that was unlike any she’d seen before. “I said, ‘What is this, and where can I get one?'” she recalls. “It was not big or showy, but it was finely detailed, with curved walls and organic materials. That day, my mind was blown, and my heart was set on building a house with Lee.”
In recognition of International Women’s Day, we thought we should take a moment to show-off our very own leading lady! Architect, Leader, Wife, Mother… Somehow this incredible woman does it all. She is an inspiration and a perfect example of what a motivated, talented woman can do when she puts her mind to it. You’re the best Jessica, and you make UDA proud!
For the fifth year in a row, UDA has won a Best of Houzz 2019 Award in design! We would like to extend a great big, “Thank you,” to Houzz, our fabulous team, and, of course, our clients. It’s easy to do what we do when we are surrounded by such amazing people!
It is with great sorrow that we announce
the sudden death of our beloved friend and colleague, Peter Bergsneider on
January 23, 2019.
He was a vibrant soul who not
only brought joy and passion to the office, but also bestowed each and every
one of us with a deep sense of caring and thoughtfulness. His spirit will live
on with his family and in our continued work at UDA.
December 16,1952 – January 23, 2019
Peter was a joyful man with many talents and artistic outlets. He was the first employee at Urban Design Associates, starting as a draftsman for Lee in the very early days. He worked closely with Lee and Jessica on the development of the client’s architectural program from the conceptual phase of the project through the schematic design and design development phases. He was a great team member who contributed to everyone’s daily routine.
When not in the office, he could be found honing his culinary skills, taking his grandchildren on adventures, and relaxing at the cabin with his sweetheart of over 40 years. He had been an avid bicyclist his entire life, and in 2017 he even participated in Levi’s Gran Fondo’s60 mile charity bike ride, at the age of 64!
Another one of his passions was photography. After over 40 years of studying architectural form, Peter felt he was in the unique position to notice and capture subtle flows, patterns, and complex relationships found in nature. He believed if one had a solid understanding of structure, then they would be able to spot these elements reflected in the natural world.
What isn’t noticed in our busy, hectic, daily routine can be captured by a photographer, and that is what I try to do… You have to have your eyes open to the possibilities afforded by the place.
“Peter was a lifelong mentor. He was passionate about sharing his gifts as a talented designer, illustrator, and artist. He was generous with his time and abilities, starting with ‘let’s figure this out’ rather than ‘this is how to do it.’ He touched many people’s lives through his work here, and I will think of him often as I sit at the drafting table, asking myself ‘What would Peter do…’ His excitement for life was contagious and sense of adventure inspiring. He is greatly missed.”
“Peter was a great friend, who was always ready to help. His extensive knowledge of every topic made him the go-to guy whenever you had a question or needed some guidance. As a bicycle enthusiast, he was always there for a ride either to work or 60 miles along the California coastline. I will miss Pete and think of him every day.”
– Aaron Suhr
“Right before I left for Spain, Peter let me borrow his architect’s guide to the Sagrada Familia that he bought the last time he was there. We joked about how he was assigning me homework, but in actuality, the gesture was extremely thoughtful. We used to always have conversations about history or design, and he knew how meaningful the book would be to me. Every morning on my trip, I would sit on the balcony, drinking my espresso, reading about the architectural and mathematical marvel the Sagrada Familia was. By the time we visited the church, I could have given the tour myself, and I was able to share all I learned with my husband. When we returned home, I couldn’t wait to discuss things further with Peter, knowing he would have even more insight to offer. I cannot express enough how much this gesture enhanced my vacation and how much I appreciated it. To me, this memory really captures Peter in a snapshot. He was adventurous, worldly, knowledgeable about everything, and even the smallest interactions with him left a profoundly positive impact.”