ISSUE 81  |  Best of Architecture

10 Questions for SF Architect Peter Pfau

July 18, 2013 11:00 AM

BY Janet Hall

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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. Back in 2010, we asked Pfau about his architectural inspirations, favorite travel destinations, and his dream bicycle:

Visit Pfau Long Architecture to see more of his work.

Remodelista: Who are your design idols?

Peter Pfau: Aeronautical inventor Paul MacCready (above) and industrial designer Raymond Loewy.

RM: Seminal professional moment?

Pfau: Building my own house (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; available from 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?

Pfau: Arkitektura In-Situ in San Francisco and Martin Showroom in St. Helena (shown above).

RM: Favorite artists?

Pfau: Donald Judd (concrete works in Marfa, Texas, shown above), Chris Burden, and James Turrell.

RM: Favorite travel destinations?

Pfau: Japan (the countryside of Takayama); Tanzania, Africa; and Bali, Indonesia (at Amandari Ubud, shown 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.

N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on November 28, 2010.