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Morning Workouts. Pereira's main office, starred by 60 architects and experts, is on Los Angeles' busy Wilshire Boulevard—a de luxe garret with a skylight in the peaked ceiling, black leather chairs, white marble coffee table, and a king-sized desk awash with reports, sketches and papers. He spends most of his time there in an interminable round of conferences and phone calls, always with a cup of steaming black coffee at his elbow. The hectic pace leaves him little time for riding or for sailing, which he used to love. These days his only exercise is at 7 a.m., when he staggers out of bed for half an hour of pushups and weight lifting. Breakfast is the only meal he regularly eats with the family, for his wife never expects him home for dinner. "There's always something prepared for me in the refrigerator," says Pereira, "so food is no problem."
For a man so successful in planning the lives of others, Bill Pereira's own life, he admits, "is not particularly well ordered. My personal plans get fouled up all the time," he says. He decided early not to design individual dwellings ("It seemed to me that the average house buyer must be a pain in the neck"). He made a notable exception when he designed his own home—and here one of his best-laid plans went completely agley.
Built on about a third of an acre in the center of Los Angeles only a few minutes' walk from his office, it is enclosed by a stone wall and designed around a sweep of palm trees—one of which grows up through the roof. There is a 90-ft. swimming pool, a dining area that can be three separate rooms or a single one big enough to seat 120 people. Each of the four bedrooms is designed to do double duty as a study, each has complete privacy, and each is near the kitchen. And the big thing about this investment of some $250,000 is that it was designed to be run without a maid. "With all those double-duty rooms," says Planner Pereira, "I thought we could each pitch in and do the minimum cleanup work that's needed." He thought wrong. The maid's name is Bertha.
Beasts in the Jungle. Pereira is head and shoulders above what one critic calls "the great beasts of California's architectural jungle—those cutthroat competitors who are grinding out one flashy banality after another." But Pereira is by no means alone. Several of his contemporaries are involved in outstanding examples of regional planning —most of it in California, with its wide-open spaces and zooming population.
Twenty-four miles east of Sacramento, Architect Victor Gruen has master-planned a 9,800-acre project called El Dorado Hills, which in 15 or 20 years will be a network of twelve villages with a combined population of 75,000 in apartments, as well as houses ranging in price from $20,000 to $100,000. Each village will be centered around a single recreational activity—boating, golf, riding, swimming.