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San Jose, CA—Allow us to introduce this month’s Studio W Spotlight team member – Steve Krapek, Senior Project Architect in our San Jose Studio. Steve is a talented hand sketch artist with 45 years of experience as an architect and has spent the past six years with Studio W Architects. A few of his notable projects include The Bayshore School, Round Valley High School Gymnasium, Dartmouth Middle School STEM Lab and Weaver Middle School Modernization. Learn more about Steve …

What is your hometown, or where do you live currently and what do you like about it?

Hometown: Mason City, IA (River City in the Music Man)

Current Town: Sunnyvale, CA. I’m a ten-minute bike ride to the South Bay bike trails I have been enjoying for over 30 years.

What is your favorite restaurant or food?

I am not a restaurant person, but I rarely miss going to the weekly Farmers’ Market. Salads are my passion in food.

What is your favorite song, movie or book?

Song: “Mr. Tanner” by Harry Chapin and “The Four Seasons” set by Vivaldi

Books: “Invisible Cities” by Italo Clavino and “Ishmael” by Daniel Quinn

Movie: “My Architect” and “Life is a House”


Who is your hero or a person that inspires you?

I got to spend a week with Buckmeister “Bucky” Fuller (American architect, systems theorist, author, designer, inventor and futurist) as a grad student. He was totally inspiring and taught me to think more deeply about the earth and our relation to it.

Greta Thunberg is a similarly inspiring advocate for mankind.

What is a typical weekend for you (i.e. what are your hobbies, interests, etc.)?

A few things you can find me doing on an average weekend …

  • Bicycle urban sketching and documenting the rapid changes in California I have seen play out in the past 10 years – both the growth and environmental devastation
  • A trip to the farmer’s market
  • Tending to a very compact urban garden

How did you find architecture?

I grew up in a town with several Frank Lloyd Wright buildings but started my university studies in veterinary medicine. Although it was fascinating to study, I found I had no strong interest in practicing veterinary medicine. I took a course in architectural history, saw Richard Meier’s Douglas House and was transfixed by the possibility of what a building could be.


What is a building and/or destination that inspires you and why?

For many years, I have traveled to Rome in the summer and buildings like the Pantheon, Meier’s Jubilee Church and Bramante’s Tempietto remind me of the ability of buildings to elevate the human spirit. Walking the original Camino de Santiago is an experience to which I aspire.

What is your most memorable project and why?

The Stigiitz Residence in Stanford, CA. The first big commission of my own firm and memorable in that I fought to keep the existing residence rather than tear it down. I managed to wed the old and the new components of the building in a way that seemed they belong to each other despite being totally different styles and spatial concepts.

What is your favorite aspect of working at Studio W Architects?

The commitment to be such strong advocates for school districts and the students, and to speak honestly to them about their constraints, are aspects I highly regard and are ones which I have not seen practiced as strongly in other firms I have worked with.

What project have you worked on at Studio W Architects that made you grow the most professionally? Why?

The Bayshore School. Meeting the timeframe for construction was challenging but being a part of a team that reinforced each other and pushed us all to find ways to work non-traditionally and still create a wonderful building without shortcuts was a rare experience.