Poetry in Concrete: Fu-Tung Cheng sculpts a Zen, Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired compound out of wood, glass, and his signature material
by Zahid Sardar
WHEN BERKELEY CONCRETE fabricator Fu-Tung Cheng was first summoned to this site in Los Altos Hills—the future home of two electrical engineers and their three children—he was tasked with creating custom kitchen counters, a specialty of his. But one of the owners, a writer-artist and engineer of Indian descent, recognized a kindred spirit in Cheng, who was born to Chinese immigrants and graduated from UC Berkeley with a fine arts degree. “He clearly understood our chimerical world,” she says. “He, too, practices his art in unexpected ways.” The couple promoted Cheng from countertop fabricator to kitchen designer, then to principal architect of their entire 7,800-square-foot home.
Though Cheng isn’t formally trained as an architect, he has designed seven homes since 1993. He views architecture as a collaborative art. “Making buildings is like making movies, where one can be a playwright, a director, and even become an actor,” he says. After a week of rumination, meditation, and tai chi, Cheng devised not one building, but a modern compound of wood, concrete, and glass structures that seem to unfold like origami.
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