Drafting a New Plan

Rebranding a successful business amidst an economic downturn might seem counterintuitive. But in 2010, that’s exactly what Peterson Architecture & Associates, Inc. did.




Peterson Architecture was founded in 2002 by architect Erik Peterson. A former Taliesin Architects intern, a “Young Gun” in 2003 and winner of four Gold Nugget Awards A MAME Award, a Masonry Guild Citation Award and a Best in American Living Award, Peterson and his 25-person firm made their mark on the local architectural landscape.


The firm had already proven itself, so why rebrand? The impetus was twofold: Three former employees joined Erik Peterson as equal principals. And the new name, PHX Architecture, enabled the company to broaden the scope of its business.


Nikal Conti, Scott Carson, Jeff Innes and Erik Peterson


In addition to Peterson, who is the “face of the company” to the clients, Nikal Conti runs the business and marketing side of the firm, Jeff Innes designs, and Scott Carson manages and oversees the work in the office, schedules and timing.


Together, they conceived their mission statement: Living Architecture. It’s simple, but their message is clear: Design is about living before it’s about architecture. “We’re passionate about what we do,” Conti says. “We know that architecture is a living thing. It’s always changing.”


“Architecture creates the environment,” adds Peterson. “We learn from the past. We build flexibility into our projects. As the owner changes, the house will adapt.”


The award-winning team have individually worked on high-profile projects ranging from the largest custom home in Arizona to an expansion of San Francisco International Airport to the Wickenburg Ranch Golf Clubhouse, Athletic Club/Spa and its related facilities.


The studio environment in which they work creates a valuable synergy. When clients work with PHX Architecture, they get the whole team.


Typically, PHX Architecture-designed homes are large to very large, but they also take on small projects, particularly if the request comes from a client. For 2012, the firm is starting design on six homes, four in Silverleaf, one in Phoenix Arcadia and one in Sedona. The homes range from 5,000 to 8,500 square feet.


PHX Architecture-designed Silverleaf estate in north Scottsdale (above and below)




While Tuscan style is very popular in the Valley, the PHX Architecture team also enjoys creating contemporary homes,

such as this one in north Scottsdale (above and below).


After the rebranding, PHX Architecture expanded its presence in the commercial market. Just a year later, in 2011, the company’s clients were about 50 percent residential, 50 percent commercial. In addition to high-end residences, PHX Architecture has designed banks, golf-course clubhouses and offices. And they have worked on some of the Valley’s most prestigious local icons, including the Wigwam, the Ritz Carlton and Royal Palms.


PHX Architecture worked with JDM Partners on the remodel of Litchfield’s restaurant at the Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park.


This year, they have also lined up a redesign/remodel of the Desert Mountain Renegade clubhouse and an addition of a golf academy. And they are working on the DC Ranch clubhouse remodel. 


“We picked up commercial projects within the same year we rebranded,” Peterson says.


Conti notes that they also have in the conception stage projects outside the area, even outside the country – a golf/residential area in Mexico and beachfront condos in Nicaragua.


In January 2011, the firm was on the cover of the Phoenix Business Journal. “Nothing was happening in the architectural world,” says Peterson, “except everybody was closing up shop. We had just finished the Wigwam and had a lot of great projects in hand."


Calistro California Bistro in north Scottsdale: The team is currently designing the second location in Hilton Village, opening in February.


Other attention has come their way. Carson was named a “2008 AIA Young Gun Architect” by the local AIA chapter, and his projects have been featured in Phoenix Home & Garden. Peterson led his team to a top ranking in the Business Journal’s A-List Architectural firms. And their projects have been featured in the Scottsdale Republic, The Arizona Republic, AZ Style, Desert Style, Luxe magazine and Design/Build magazine.


As it turned out, rebranding was exactly the right thing to do at exactly the right time.


 — C. Miller

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