Architects Talking to Architects: Steven Schloss, AIA

Steven Schloss, AIA, is an architect at The Arkitex Studio, a small, award-winning general practice firm in Bryan. He has worked on a wide range of projects, including homes, churches, schools, offices and labs, and has been involved in everything from master planning to construction administration. Schloss serves on the College Station Design Review Board and as the 2013 chapter president for AIA Brazos.

Steven Schloss, AIA

Steven Schloss, AIA – courtsey The Arkitex Studio, Inc.

Where did you grow up?

I was a hotel brat (like an Army brat, but my dad managed hotels). I was born in Santiago, Chile, and lived in Freeport (Bahamas), Acapulco, Los Angeles, Silverthorne (Colorado), and Mexico City before returning to Silverthorne for high school.

Acapulco

Image courtsey Steven Schloss, AIA

I went to college in California, then worked in Washington D.C. and Durham (North Carolina) before getting my Masters in Architecture from The University of Texas. We lived in Silverthorne for a year before returning to College Station, where we live now. 

Mountain Goats

Image courtsey Steven Schloss, AIA

Until I was 36, I had never lived any place continuously for longer than four years. Nevertheless, I never feel really comfortable unless I have at least one 13,000-ft mountain at my back.

If you were not an architect, what other profession would you have pursued?

I had a previous life as a web/interactive/graphic designer, but I felt I was a phony until I went through my formal architecture education. I have always enjoyed problem-solving and organization (puzzles, test-taking, and trivia) and fancied myself an “information architect,” but ultimately, I decided that I needed the specific corpus of knowledge of how a building comes together to have a credible skill. My graphic design background has come in handy, though, when The Arkitex Studio redesigned our logo, website and documents, and whenever we have the need for visualizations (such as rendering master plans as 3D "photorealistic" animations).

What sort of music do you like to listen to?

The Eighties are deeply imprinted on my brain. My Pandora stations include Broadway, Sappy Country, Frank Sinatra/Dean Martin/Sammy Davis, Jr., Irish Drinking Songs, Leo Sayer, English Beat, Styx, and Billy Joel.

Pen, pencil or computer?

Computer. I can’t freehand worth a damn.

Where do you find inspiration?

The problems I get to solve seem to involve more perspiration than inspiration. The hard work for me is in understanding my client’s motives and applying what meager skills I've accrued to solving their problems. When I designed my house, of course my daughters (ages 3 and 7) were my inspiration. I also looked to Christopher Alexander’s little red Bibles, “A Timeless Way of Building” and “A Pattern Language.”

Schloss' Daughters

Image courtsey Steven Schloss, AIA

What is your favorite city to visit?

San Francisco. Or Paris. Despite my peripatetic childhood, I feel that for an architect, I’m not really well-travelled. There are so many places to see!

What is your favorite time of year?

Spring is great anywhere. I (occasionally) miss Colorado winters. (Except for February, which they made the shortest month for good reason. I hate February with a white-hot, blinding fury!)

What is the next building you plan to travel to in order to see for yourself?

Daniel Liebskind’s Denver Art Museum, mainly because I’ll be in Denver for the AIA National Convention this year. I wonder if the cutting-edge forms work all the way down to the details.

"Architects Talking to Architects" is a weekly column on the Texas Architects blog that spotlights architects from across the state at different points of development in their career. All participants are given the same list of 10 questions with instructions to answer any six, giving them the opportunity to highlight the items they feel are most interesting. If you would like to join in this conversation and be featured in "Architects Talking to Architects," email communications@texasarchitects.org