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Destined to Design

PHX Architecture’s Erik B. Peterson on Architecture, His Company and Market Trends

Erik B. Peterson has always been fascinated with design.

“It was basically all the way back to sixth grade,” he recalls. “I just had some infatuation with design, and I was artistic. I loved watching This Old House, and the programs that they had in school with technical drafting and mechanical engineering were interesting to me.”

In high school, he designed the sets for theater, which only cemented his love for architecture.

“That’s the thing that really let me see it at a very early age. … It was me drawing and designing something and then someone building it—all in a short amount of time—and then the curtain went up.”

Originally from Chicago, Erik arrived in Scottsdale and had a summer internship at Taliesin Associated Architects. It was there where he met architect Bing Hu, who would become a mentor and would own the firm where Erik would later work.

Then 16 years ago, Erik left that firm to open his own. PHX Architecture (originally named Pederson Architecture) was founded “with an empha­sis on deliv­er­ing excep­tional design with unpar­al­leled client ser­vice.”

Today, the award-winning, full-service architecture firm is known throughout the West for quality design. It specializes in luxury residential, hospitality, golf clubhouses and restaurant design and is licensed in seven states. Projects have included work with Pebble Beach in California, where they created a new restaurant in the historic lodge; a remodel of the iconic Wigwam Resort; remodels and renovations at L’Auberge Restaurant and the design of a 25,000-square-foot residence for former MLB player Randy Johnson.

Last year, the company expanded into Beverly Hills, California, (there is also a satellite office in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas).

Erik’s dream job? To design an opera house—and then also design a set for a major opera to be performed in that opera house.

“I love making an impact on how people live, work and play,” he says.

Golf Room

One of the new home trends includes incorporating golf simulators into a home space.

“They’ve finally gotten to the point now where they’re at the price point where you can integrate them into the home,” Erik says.

One thing to note is that the room must have the height available to accommodate its use.

In this room, the client wanted the design to be inspired by a 1950s diner and car racing, so it incorporates tufted leather around the base and stamped aluminum siding on the walls.

“There’s actually a secret door from the garage into this room. So you can actually drive your car into the space, have a drink, and play on your favorite golf course.”

Guitar Room

PHX Architecture built this room with a special lighting design that was created to highlight the owner’s collection of signed guitars. The door is an authentic safe vault door, and a combination is needed to open it. Leathered black Venetian plaster decorates the walls, and the entire room itself was built in block so that it’s completely fireproof.

“We don’t get to do rooms like these very often,” Erik says. “It takes a special client with a special need to display all these really priceless pieces. It’s just fun to be able to come up with these cool ideas and fun spaces.”