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Charles Laurence Martin

1940 - 2020

Charles Laurence Martin was born in Peoria, Illinois January 30, 1940 and moved with his family to Bellingham, Washington at a young age. His first business venture at age 15 was The Lake Whatcom Piledriving Co. which he started with a friend, building their own barge and driving pile for the docks during the summer months. Charlie's work ethic, ingenuity, and unconventional thinking earned him an architectural diploma at the University of Washington in 1962. Upon graduating he was one of the 24 graduating American architects selected to attend a seminar/workshop with Paolo Soleri in Scottsdale in 1964. After graduation, instead of waiting to be drafted into the US Army; he opted to join voluntarily and applied to Officer Candidate's School, Airborne School and Ranger Training, knowing that Vietnam was in his path. Charlie was the only member of his OCS class that received the prestigious assignment to Ranger School, under the command of the famous Major Charlie Beckwith, as an instructor in the tropical camp where he and his wife, Shannon, spent a year prior to his departure to Vietnam in the fall of 1966. He had reached his goal. He arrived in Vietnam as 1st Lieutenant Army Advisor to a Vietnamese Ranger Battalion. Not an ordinary battalion, but the 36th ARVN Ranger Battalion, headed by Major Ahn. He was cited and awarded two Bronze Stars, with Oak Leaf Cluster for Valor and the prevention of the overrun of his Company. He was also the recipient of the Purple Heart during his service in Viet Nam. The entire time Charlie served in Country he was in the jungles, proving his warrior ethos, fighting alongside Vietnamese Soldiers outfitted only with WWII era equipment and weaponry. During his time in the military, he forged the deepest connections with friends that would be in his life to the end.

He returned to the Northwest to open his first architectural office and concentrated primarily on commissions for private residences. In 1969, his design was chosen for the 20 story medical office headquarters of the Saint Frances Cabrini Tower, a structure which is still considered a landmark of the Seattle skyline. Martin moved to Southern California four years later, where a variety of commercial and residential design projects had evidenced an increasing concern for energy conservation; his widely acclaimed Williamson house was this country's first privately funded solar heated and cooled structure. Charlie can also be blamed for initiating the proliferation of adobe style houses throughout the valley, which he affectionately referred to as "Ranch Burgers".

Energy efficiency and innovative, functional design had likewise become Martin trademarks on an impressive number of commercial and residential projects which he had planned, designed, and/built throughout the Palm Springs area. In his later years, he formed Narkweather Architects. For a good look at his personality please go to
Narkweather.net, it's worth it. As funny as it seems, Charlie, our pragmatic, pantheist spirit spent the last 20 years designing structures that took your eyes to the heavens: The Saint George Greek Orthodox church, The Saint Garabed Armenian Apostolic Church of the Desert, and the enigmatic concrete structure you may glimpse on a drive up Hwy 74, with his final design ending on the Rancho Mirage Observatory. We find it appropriate that he went from the earth to the heavens in this lifetime. We are sure he is continuing to build his dream.

In lieu of flowers - go make something better!

His legacy continues through his two wild children, Erin and Walker Martin and his two granddaughters Ava Danger and Lauren Grace.

"On March 29, 2005 the first day I met Charlie I knew we would be a friends forever.  It is true that we have sustained a shock and a great loss by his passing, but the memories will last forever.  His many architectural designs are on display around the valley to remind us he will always be with us.  His sense of humor kept me laughing all these years.  Summing up Charlie in a few words is very hard to do, but I will try.  Charles Martin was “A Proud American, Friend, and a True Gentleman.”






Goldstein, O’Malley, Melendez and Chang

(appearances may be deceiving)


Narkweather Architects’ Incorporated, is comprised of four unheard of, and probably to remain so, architects/fishermen/woman.  They have no “mission statement”, not a “chess master” amongst them, and are not even household names. .They listen to their client’s wants, needs and dreams which becomes the “mission,” as no two clients are alike. The Gang of Four (no, not that Gang of Four) is also cognizant of today’s “green scramble”, along with the adroitly dropped catchwords’ (in English, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Irish, Spanish, Italian, and Hebrew) i.e., sustainable, eco friendly, recyclable, LEED, organic, and their favorite, (who makes this stuff up??) “environmentally friendly synthetics”. The Narkweather principals have for the most part eschewed the fads and hot topics, and relied on their “oh so pedestrian motto”, of “common sense” (handed down from some lost race). The following four projects (four only due to potential reader ADD) are examples of bringing to fruition the wants, needs and dreams of their clients. Three structures have been performing for years and one is still under construction. An Armenian church, and a Pasadena residence are dying to be included on the site.


WARNING:  this site has been determined by the California State Board of Architectural Licensing to be misleading, and a threat to cogent thinking and one’s attention to details. There is only one licensed architect in the mix, while the four principals are merely pigments of the architect’s imagination. When delving into a new project, the architect sometimes channels one of the Principals, and his sister in-law, a Hollywood make- up artist does the magic for press releases /photo shoots/whatever.



Rancho Mirage Observatory


Under construction



Click here for Progress Updates





Saint Francis Cabrini

Office Tower

The Tin House

Saint George

Greek Orthodox Church

Concrete House