Coda: Peter Dodge’s Bacci House

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[Originally published 1st quarter 2007 in arcCA 07.1, “Patronage.”]


Bacci House, Peter Dodge, photography by Peter Dodge (left) and Cesar Rubio (right).


Peter H. Dodge, FAIA, recently celebrated his fiftieth year with the firm he helped found, Esherick, Homsey, Dodge & Davis, now EHDD. Peter currently serves on the arcCA editorial board (his second such stint), and his fellow board members have taken this modest opportunity to honor his contributions to the profession and to the built environment.

We asked Peter to choose his favorite from among the many wonderful buildings designed over the course of a distinguished career. True to his principles, he chose this house not because it’s particularly photogenic, but because it is, as he puts it, “an extraordinarily pleasant environment. You like to go there.” He adds, “That would be my goal: to help someone to live a pleasant, elegant, satisfying life.”

The house was the second that Peter has designed for the owners of RAB Motors in San Rafael, whose Mercedes-Benz dealership he also designed (below)—striking evidence of his breadth of talent and his ability to match expression to purpose.

Because the Bacci House is so carefully tuned to its setting, it is perhaps not surprising that Peter’s favorite photograph is not of the house at all, but of its pool and patio tucked into the hillside (above, right), characteristically recognizing the contribution of a collaborator, landscape architect Mai Arbegast.

But it’s finally not about the pictures, which is a good thing for magazine editors and readers to recall from time to time. Thank you, Peter, for that reminder, and for everything.



Tim Culvahouse, FAIA

Tim Culvahouse, FAIA, is Editor-in-Chief of the AIA California Council and an architect specializing in the public communication of design ideas through his firm, Culvahouse Consulting.

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