A subterranean solution in Fresno

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Baldassare Forestiere knew exactly what he wanted when he arrived in Fresno in the early 1900s -- a farm to grow citrus. Forestiere bought a 70-acre plot with the hopes of cultivating fruit, but when he dug into the ground he struck hardpan. Rather than concede defeat, he picked up a pickaxe and then spent the next 40 years hand carving a phenomenal garden estate under the hostile soil, creating one of the most inventive and obscure architectural feats in the state. Forestiere’s innovation reminds us that ingenuity in housing rarely comes from following the rules.



Joe Mathews