Peter Pfau, a principal of Pfau Long Architecture, was born and raised in San Francisco, studied fine arts at CCA and architecture at UC Berkeley and Columbia (along the way he worked as a carpenter, contractor, and wood artisan). Since founding his firm in 1991, Pfau has earned a reputation as a modernist who balances conceptual rigor with a love for creating comfortable, livable spaces. We recently asked Pfau about his architectural inspirations, favorite travel destinations, and his dream bicycle. Go to Pfau Long Architecture to see more of his work.
RM: Who are your design idols?
Pfau: Aeronautical inventor Paul MacCready (above) and industrial designer Raymond Loewy.
RM: Seminal professional moment?
Above: Building my own house recently (and paying the bills) has given me a whole new perspective on my clients and their concerns.
RM: What is the most important thing you've learned in your career?
Pfau: To be a good listener.
RM: Must-read architecture book?
Pfau: Why Architecture Matters, by Paul Goldberger; $17.16 at Amazon.
RM: How do you get inspired?
Pfau: By spending time with my clients, spending time on the site, and doing in-depth research to understand the nature of the problem that needs to be solved (see above renovation in Stinson Beach).
RM: What are your favorite interiors stores?
RM: Favorite artists?
Pfau: Donald Judd (concrete works in Marfa, Texas, shown above), Chris Burden, and James Turrell.
RM: Where have you traveled recently?
Pfau: Japan (the countryside of Takayama), Tanzania, Africa, and Bali, Indonesia (Amandari Ubud resort, above).
RM: Define your aesthetic.
Pfau: Honest, sensual, tectonic, timeless, calming.
RM: Dream bicycle?
Pfau: A bicycle from A.N.T. Bikes, which are made by hand in Holliston, Massachusetts.