A Conversation with Peter Guidetti, Lead Design Architect
1. Tell us about yourself.
I am an architect with a passion for the study and practice of traditional, classical, and modern residential architecture. I grew up in the New York City area, met and married my high school sweetheart and have three amazing children, two of which are grown, and one is currently in high school. Although architecture touches almost every aspect of my life, my second passion is cooking – I love to share meals with my family and friends!
2. Tell us about your architectural design journey. How did you get started and how did you get here?
My architectural journey started way back in the first grade! I saw a picture of the Taj Mahal in a book about India – I remember being captivated by it; I began to draw it and study its shapes and interesting
forms. I have continued that process of drawing and studying architecture to this day. I was introduced to the work of Purple Cherry Architects through social and print media. The beauty and elegance of the projects and the visions that Cathy and her team have created inspired me instantly.
3. How would you describe your design philosophy?
My design philosophy is rooted in the study of architectural history. I love learning from the masterworks of the past; often solutions for design problems can come from this inspiration. I love the axial arrangements of Beaux-Arts architecture, and because of this I try to incorporate longer and thinner compositions into my design work. It creates connections through rooms and infuses natural light to all aspects of the plans.
4. How do you work with a client to understand their needs?
To truly connect with a client, you have to be a dedicated listener. Listening carefully to their thoughts, ideas, vision, and dreams creates a magical relationship where beautiful designs can be brought to life! I also hand sketch while we are meeting to quickly test ideas and design concepts.
5. What is the best advice you have ever received (either personally or professionally)?
Treat every person you meet as if they are the most important person in the world.
6. What inspires you?
Architecturally, history and older homes of the past inspire me. They have so many interesting and quiet lessons to teach if you slow down, pay attention, and listen. Personally, I am inspired by my family and my faith.
7. What is your favorite architectural design book?
To an architectural book collector, this is an impossible question to answer. But if I had to choose, there would be two: A Monograph of the Work of Mellor, Meigs & Howe from the 1920’s and Robert A.M. Stern Buildings and Projects 1987-1992. A Monograph of the Work of Mellor, Meigs & Howe is so amazing and it teaches me something every time I open it! They brilliantly combined elements of English country houses and French farmhouses into picturesque and uniquely American compositions. Robert A.M. Stern Buildings and Projects 1987-1992 was my first and most important book in my architectural collection. The work depicted had such a profound impact on me and taught me about so many architects that were inspirational to Mr. Stern — I will be forever grateful for his inspiration and in admiration for his talent and knowledge of history.
8. Which architectural design rule or concept do you refer to over and over?
While each project is unique, I think I try to create plans and elevations that are more linear or axial in their compositions. Thinner buildings have more picturesque rooflines and allow natural light to touch more of the plan. I also try to incorporate distinctive vertical elements that define important plan changes (such as stair towers and turrets). Porches tend to add layers of indoor/outdoor “rooms” which help anchor a house to the landscape and gardens.
9. In your opinion, what is one thing that will never go out of style?
Honest materials like real stone, real heavy wood timber, and slate roofs will never go out of style as they tend to look a little better as they age — the patina that makes you want to hand down a home to a future generation.
10. What are five things you can’t live without right now?
1. I love to read English literature, so any work from Dickens or the Bronte sisters. I am currently reading Bleak House by Charles Dickens.
2. Derwent Graphitint Pencils – I love sketching with them.
3. Moleskine soft cover plain journals travel with me everywhere.
4. National Hockey League playoff games. I am a huge fan of the New York Rangers!
5. Really good dark chocolate.