Lawrence Cheung's family has been in the construction business for three generations. Having spent much of his childhood
visiting his father's job sites in the San Francisco Peninsula, he knew he wanted to devote his life to architecture. He enrolled at Woodbury
University, and in 1999 he received his Bachelor of Architecture degree (with a minor in Business). Following graduation, he interviewed for a job
in rural New Jersey with Brandes Maselli Architects. He spent five years there as a project architect, learning about fine custom home building
ranging from the Shingle style to the Georgian Colonial. This was a period when Lawrence began taking an interest in
design build. In 2004, he decided to return to his native Bay Area to work with his father's construction company.
His fascination with design build has been influenced by the interdisciplinary roles of the master engineer (or master builder) during the
Medieval Period in Europe. In fact, the design build approach is often compared to the master builder concept, in which the design and
construction services are under the guidance and responsibility of one entity, the master builder. Although it is not as common as the design-bid-build
approach (where the client is involved with both the designer and builder as separate entities), design build has been in use reportedly for over four
millennia. Given his experience in both design and construction, design build offers Lawrence the opportunity to not only reduce project costs and meet
delivery schedules, but to see that his projects get built in the same rigor as they are designed. This is why his design build practice is design-led,
giving him more responsibility and control over his projects. By working this way, it helps him and other proponents of "master builders" educate clients
through a transparent design and construction process, which in turn allows them to make informed choices in every project phase.
From the beginning Lawrence has always been fascinated about the construction of cathedrals and other large stone structures. The use of
stone and the quality of cutting and laying of this natural material suggests permanence. No stone is alike and yet each one is joined carefully with one another
to form smooth wall surfaces and vaulting-stones of arch and vault. He respects the building traditions of craftsmen; how mouldings were chiseled out of the stone rather
than applied onto it. Timber cut down from the surrounding countryside, and massive stones chiseled from distant quarries, carefully sculpted, and dragged
for many miles to be finally laid in their eternal resting place.
Like Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn, he shares the same belief on the honest use of natural materials, and takes joy in the simplicity devoid of unnecessary
elements. He is drawn spiritually to the monastic aesthetic, celebrating solidity and mass while using a minimal amount of natural materials set against a backdrop of
white plastered walls and floor-to-ceiling glass. The natural landscape vista becomes the art itself. This appreciation of traditional building methods and materials, the study of
light, space, proportion, and the simple expression of beautifully executed details are some of the aspects he approaches sensitively in his work.
Through thoughtful contemporary interventions and historical restoration, Lawrence is particularly interested in conversions of barns, farm houses and other vernacular
and derelict structures which have been neglected over time. These adaptive reuse projects involve both old and new, rough-hewn and precise, bold and tranquil. He approaches
these types of projects like an archaeologist would, but with a minimalist architect's eye. He draws his influence from an array of architects and artists, such as Eugene Viollet-le-Duc,
Le Corbusier, Peter Zumthor, John Pawson, and James Turrell.
Trained as both an architect and builder for over 15 years, Lawrence brings a valuable asset of innovative design and functionality to each and every project. With an uncompromising
attention to detail, he enjoys collaborating hands-on with well-respected architects and contractors alike, interior and landscape architects, and highly-skilled tradesmen from
various trades in the building industry. As a conservationist it is his goal to incorporate sustainable design in his practice whenever possible.