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EPISODE 85: Recreating the Essence Through Architecture with Erik Peterson

Ted speaks with Erik Peterson, President of PHX Architecture in Scottsdale, Arizona. Erik’s career working on bespoke properties has given him an incredible amount of stories to tell and knowledge to impart. 

Today, Ted explores the history of these properties and the indelible mark left by Erik and his firm as they renovate and recreate their purpose in the modern world. Listen in to hear the remarkable story of a kid from Chicago who made it big through perseverance, determination, and grit.


  • [1:30] Erik, Frank Lloyd Wright and The Arizona Biltmore
  • [14:05] How do you take an iconic property and update it without losing the essence?
  • [16:50] How do you recover from doing a restoration and move on?
  • [20:15] How do you feel about your iconic projects being renovated in the future?
  • [22:20] Persistence pays off, success doesn’t happen overnight
  • [24:27] How to build a special moment
  • [27:34] How do you guide young people?
  • [31:35] How does traveling affect your craft?
  • [34:45] Leaving an impression, but letting go of control
  • [37:15] Just a kid from Chicago
  • [39:30] Getting young people involved in the industry and transitioning to AI
  • [45:22] What’s different about what clients ask for now as opposed to 15 years ago?
  • [48:20] Current projects
  • [51:25]  What are you most proud of?


Erik Peterson


  • Yeah, 1929 is when the Biltmore started. Now, it was later in the 30s that Wright decided the depression hits, he’s got no work. He had been out here helping Albert Chase MacArthur, they were the developers of the Biltmore. The market crashed. He knew that Wright was in trouble. Wright didn’t have work. He was kicked out of Taliesin in Wisconsin because his ex-wife got it repossessed. He was living with his new mistress in La Jolla. And Chase McArthur, who used to work with him back in Chicago, calls him up and says, hey, me and my brothers are doing this hotel. I know you need money.
  • When I first was started and we were working at Taliesin, we went to California and we got to visit with an original owner that hired Frank Lloyd Wright to design the house. She was still in the house and she was a dancer and she had hired Frank Lloyd Wright and she said, design me a house that I feel like dancing in every single day. So here she was in her 90s, she could barely walk and she said, but I will tell you this,I still dance in this house every single day. And it just like sent those goosebumps up my spine. And I said, that’s what I want. I want to be that. I wanna do that for somebody. And that’s what keeps me going.
  • Yeah, you know you want we as architects always want control but that’s the thing that happens you’re done You give it to them and you walk away and make they can do whatever they want with it.


PHX Architecture

PHX Architecture is an architect firm based in Scottsdale and Los Angeles, specializing in Luxury Residential, Golf Clubhouse, and Hospitality design. Our design concepts continually evolve, conform, and most importantly – respond to each project’s unique characteristics. Our team defines “Living Architecture” as a space that harmoniously combines site, form, functionality, and the human scale, creating the connective link between the surrounding environment and the client’s goals and vision.


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