Design: Good Partnership

To merchant builders, who buy land by the tract and sow it with houses, architecture is usually something to do without. Architects, they feel, are too prone to run up costs with perfectionists' details, and too preoccupied with niceties that are wasted on development customers, who don't care much what a house looks like so long as there are plenty of appliances in the kitchen.

A notable breakthrough has been made in this architect-builder standoff, and made by one of the top builders in the U.S. — California's Ross William Cortese, who is discovering that architecture is not only selling...

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