Inspiring Design

This year, as we aim to create inspirational architecture and spaces, we thought we would share with you, our clients and friends, what inspires us. We start with R. Scott Ziegler, AIA, Founding Principal and Principal-in-Charge of the Urban Residential Studio at Ziegler Cooper.


Who is Scott Ziegler?

Scott lives and breathes Architecture day in and day out,  and in his spare time, Scott enjoys competitive one design sailing on Galveston Bay during the summer and downhill skiing during the winter.


When did you discover that you wanted to be an architect? 

Last semester of undergraduate Business School, during first art class required to graduate and discovered an artistic gene, which led to a Masters Degree in Architecture at Rice University four years later


A reference in architecture…

One of my favorite quotations by Antonio Gaudi “Beauty is the brightness in truth and it is this brightness that inspires mankind.”


If you had not been architect, you would have been?

Master builder


One defect and one virtue.

Obsession with detail and obsession with detail.


What is your house like?

A Sir Edwin Lutyens country house without the country, in the heart of Houston


Sunday is a day for…

reflection and refreshment


A place to look for inspiration.



What is the last book that you have read?

Building Art: The Life and Work of Frank Gehry


10 – 15 Years from now…

Producing my best work


When you think of architecture you think of…

The great cities of the world are measured by their quality of art and architecture.


Pencil or computer?

Prefer iPad and iPhone


How would you describe your work?

Grounded in context of its immediate environment and inspired by my client’s program and the influence of my life’s experiences.


One project you would like to do.

A world-class museum


Your opinion of Spanish architecture.

I am inspired by the old and the new, from Antonio Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia cathedral to Guggenheim Bilbao.


How do you keep your own style while meeting your clients’ needs?

It happens naturally through the design process.


In architecture, what are you better at and what do you have more trouble with?

I enjoy creating the vision for the team to follow and rely upon the expertise of my team to execute the vision. The creation of architecture is much like the role of a conductor leading a symphony, and it is up to the conductor to convey the concept of the music.


Your recipe for success.

Assembling the best qualified team for the project at hand.


What is the role of natural products in your projects?

We mix the use of natural and synthetic products in our designs. I am reminded of an expression used by my architectural history professor, “the illusion of reality, the reality of illusion.” It is becoming difficult today to differentiate between natural and synthetic materials.