The son of hardworking Italian immigrants, Eric Hamilton dreams of one day becoming an architect and owning his own firm. They're pretty lofty goals for a boy working in a sweatshop while his friends enjoy the freedom of summer vacation, but Erich is confident in his ability to succeed.
Despite opposition from his father, Eric leaves home and becomes a brew master at the Bad Brew Coffee House in Utah. There, he makes a meager $3.75 an hour plus tips, but he interacts with people that matter: Artists, poets, future designers, and architects who have come to the University of Utah to study their respective trades.
But it's his friendship with Jason Prescott that gives him the opening he needs. Jason is the scion of one of the principals of Prescott and Anderson Architects. Eric embarks on a career with Jason's family firm and proves himself quite capable as he begins rising through the ranks and develops a name all his own. Soon, he becomes one of the most powerful and respected architects in the world. But his achievement doesn't come without a price.