On Architecture & Transcendence


My Phone Rang.

“I want to build a French house, not an American interpretation of a French house. Do you know the difference?” my caller asked me. “Yes!”…I said without the slightest hesitation.

Yes!” I said, without the slightest hesitation, and smiled. 


Though born in the US, I had spent my childhood in Paris, France, as the son of Protestant missionaries. I spent many evenings on the streets of the City, and weekends in the belly of the Louvre Museum. Great French architecture is one of my many passions.

This call was promising. My gentleman caller described a magnificent vision for a new home, soaring in its scale, authentic in its classical detailing, materials and craftsmanship, inspired by many years of vacationing in majestic France over a period of 25 years.  He now wanted to capture those transforming experiences that had given birth to his passion for post-impressionist art and the many wines of southern France. The transcending architecture of Paris had forever altered his way of seeing the world, and he wanted to bring it home permanently.

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“I have the simplest of tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.” – Oscar Wilde

…That day, as we traded our fondest memories of France, he decided to place his trust in me to carefully conceive, design and build a new and deeply personal work of architecture for him.

Today, peace reigns over his completed masterpiece, fully realized in a tranquil garden, shaped in its every gesture, detail and nuance by the finest master artisans and craftsmen. His love of fine art shines in the rare Nabis paintings and the Degas sculptures that ornament its rooms. His and his wife’s love of Paris and for each other, and their amazing life journey, is remembered in every room and detail in some way.  In a way, their home both transcends and embodies their life and story…bridging and connecting time and meaning, in a way that only a work of art can. As the whole transcends the parts, it is beautiful to behold and experience with them. It is a place that celebrates life, faith, family, close friends and their special guests. It is a fruit of seasoned accomplishment and a courageous journey, and an oasis of affirmation and beauty in the lives of those who are invited to enjoy it.

Are you an accomplished high achiever? Do you have a passion to invest in something meaningful and beautiful?

 What Do You Want to Build?

As you have worked and traveled around the world, you have likely seen amazing architecture, conceived and built by passionate visionaries of the past. Their work stood for something much deeper and lasting in their lives, and remains a rich part of our cultural heritage today, many centuries later. Their works endure as a meaningful testimony to their way of seeing the world, of their sacrifices, aspirations and achievements. Their values and vision of “how the world should be” still comes through in their artistry.

Perhaps you want to commission such powerful architecture of your own in our time – something deeply personal, distinguished and refined. Maybe a quiet internal voice has been pressing you toward such a noble undertaking for quite some time now. Your friends may often say that, at your core, you are a great builder of smart people, dynamic enterprises, and more.

Has your time come to build something lasting, a personal architectural statement, a more thoughtful place to stand and thrive in the world – a permanent home – a distinguished new place to be in the world?

Some things may appear to stand in your way right now.  Maybe you can identify with this client:

“I am deeply driven by all I want to accomplish in life. But, time is slipping by and much of what I focus on every day now will not last.  I now want to create permanent things, higher things, and leave behind a meaningful legacy in this world when I am gone.” – Jack W.

Does that sound like you? Be honest.

If so, you’re not alone. We have all felt this way at times.

I know How You Feel

For years, like many, I ran like a hamster on the success treadmill, moving my young family from city to city, and house to house as my career evolved. And those many career moves were often at the expense of what mattered most to me, my deep faith and family.

Eventually, when I settled down as the CEO of my own expanding architectural practice, I finally faced the reality that I needed to change. So I began to delegate more strategically, and focus myself where I was able to make the greatest impact for my clients, in my design work and care for them. I became a more centered person, closer in my relationships with my family, friends, health, and spiritual journey.

I Want Something for You

If you are ready, I want something really new for you – a new life chapter. As a trusted advisor, I want to help you focus, refine, express and experience the life you have always wanted to live, to become that person you want to become, through building a one-of-a-kind personal work of architecture. Its goal is to celebrate your personal world-view and unique life story in fine materials such as cut stone, chased bronze and hand finished mill-work. Both the process of doing this, and the results gained, will catalyze deep lasting changes in your life. The completed architecture will be a powerful sign to  the world, and an influential legacy for your heirs. It will broaden your influence in the world, accelerate your business success and, most importantly, lead you into a much deeper engagement with all of life, as you stretch and grow into the person you have always wanted to become.

If such a transformation resonates with you, then you are the kind of person I do my best work with.

This is at the heart of my work.

Step Forward

Start the creative process. Reach for the high prize. Turn this page in your life.

Whether building an amazing new city, home, urban office, church or college…

Dream about the world as it should be…and then build it!


Daniel Lee

– To think together, go here now.








  • About Daniel Lee


    Born in the United States, Daniel Lee spent his formative years abroad in Paris, France, where he was trained to see art, architecture and gardens as natural allies in the shaping of an imaginative and meaningful world. Focused exclusively on creating truly original works of design, he sees his clients as equal partners in shaping the world that should be. He loves to write, sketch, and read philosophy; is married to a musician, and lives and works in historic Alexandria, Virginia. For an introduction to his architectural philosophy, click the link below.

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"Daniel created beautiful architecture for my home, where i enjoy my life long collection of French Impressionist paintings. Every day has been enriched immeasurably by his talents and friendship."

- Spencer Hays, Chairman of Southwestern, & Commander of the French Legion of Honor