Architects Talking to Architects: Stephen J. Elwood, AIA

Stephen J. Elwood, AIA, is an associate at Corgan based out of Dallas. 

Stephen Elwood, AIA – photo courtesty Stephen Elwood

Where did you grow up? 

I was born in Northern Ireland, but I moved to Oklahoma when I was seven years old. I was just a child, but I remember it being quite a culture shock. Growing up in Oklahoma was a great experience — looking back now I realize how lucky we were to grow up in this part of the country. My family still lives in Oklahoma, which is nice for keeping in touch. I still have family in Ireland and England and try to visit them when I can — I recommend that everyone make a trip to that part of the world at some point in their lifetime.

Pen, pencil, or computer? 

Definitely the pen. I am a big advocate of hand drawing. I worry that it is becoming more and more extinct in our line of work. Being able to draw by hand is essential to design at every level. The ability to produce an articulate communicative drawing in a client meeting or design charrette is a critical skill.

Do you listen to music when designing? What kind?  

I like listening to either classical or electronic music when designing. I realize that’s a broad range, but I find a lot of similarities in the two genres and enjoy their unique rhythms. Both styles serve as great background sound and allow me to think critically while designing. My go-to music sources are and

Beer, wine, or cocktail — what is your drink of choice?  

I am usually a beer guy, but I definitely enjoy a good whiskey from time to time. Jameson Irish Whiskey is my whiskey of choice. If you’re looking for a good pour — the Black Friar Pub in Dallas has one of the most generous selection in town.

Being a great designer, you must open yourself up to new learning opportunities. Elwood's course on metal sculture allowed him to not only learn a new skill, but understand the trade. – photo by Stephen Elwood

What type of advice would you offer to young professionals? 

Don’t be afraid leave your comfort zone. If you have an idea — suggest it. If you come up with a concept drawing — display it. If you want to use a new material on a project — ask someone about it. No one will know what a great designer you are until you show them.

Architect’s aren’t known for their hobbies … do you have one?  

I enjoy building furniture in my spare time, and recently took a metal sculpture class at the Creative Arts Center of Dallas. I enjoy getting out in the garage and making things by hand; it’s very rewarding. And in most cases, I’m the owner, designer, and contractor — so I find that to be a nice departure from my day job.

Elwood's furniture designs – photo by Stephen Elwood

"Architects Talking to Architects" is a column on the Texas Society of Architects blog that spotlights members from across the state at different points of development in their career. All participants are given the same set of questions with instructions to answer any six, giving them the opportunity to highlight the items they feel are most interesting. Is there someone you'd like to see featured in "Architects Talking to Architects?" Email to let us know!