Stephen Salazar

Stephen Salazar

Ann Arbor, MI, US



Architecture, for me, draws from the local culture of the place where the architecture is being designed, using culture as the catalyst to enhance that place.

Traveling has been an immense resource for me to influence this passion of culture and architecture. From 2004-2005 I studied in Berlin, Germany under the Congress-Bundestag Scholarship from the U.S. Government. Living in full immersion with a German family, this opportunity opened the world to me, and has led many following visits to Europe. Most recently I participated in a Summer Design/Build program in Ladakh, India under the BaSiC initiative led by my professor Sergio Palleroni. India exposed me to an entirely new culture, as well as a frame of mind. While working to establish a visitor center at the Druk White Lotus School for local Buddhist children, I came in contact with an environment of earthen materials and centuries old building practices. The people and culture of this region today still impact my life.


Quinn Evans Architects, Ann Arbor, MI, US, Architect

Sep 2015 - current

R2L:Architects, Washington, DC, US, Intern Architect

Sep 2011 - current

Dressler's Restaurant Birkdale Village, Fine Dining Server

Beginning my senior year of high school through my senior year of Undergraduate, I held a position at Dressler's restaurant. This experience in fine dining has taught me many lessons, and has added richness to my education in architecture. Aspects of architecture, typically not gained during education, are foundational elements to good service: client relationships, product knowledge (production as well as geography), as well as the ability to make recommendations and suggestions to offer the highest satisfaction to the guest.

I am an avid cook, as well as sommelier in training. Food and service are aspects, to me which tie people across the world together, and this experience in the dining world has helped me to build many relationships through fellowship and mutual love of food, wine, travel and architecture.

Dec 2003 - Sep 2009


Portland State University, MArch, Architecture

Deciding to continue my education and pursuing my Master of Architecture degree, I decided on Portland State University in order to learn from the world renowned urban design of the city, as well as begin their Master of Architecture program. Portland for me was an amazingly eye-opening experience. I lived within a 20 minute city, walking to school, retail and restaurants, and living without a car. I had the opportunity the summer between my first and second years of graduate school to participate in a summer design build studio in Ladakh, India under the study of professor Sergio Palleroni and the BaSiC initiative. India added a new volume of learning from local culture and traditions, building practices and methods. The people of the area have forever changed my life for the better.

For my design thesis in graduate school I chose to work on an 1901 U.S. Custom House in Portland, Oregon. This year long research and design study allowed me gain skills such as: in depth research of a historic building as it was designed, to its existing condition; compiling historic documents and drawings from the U.S. government and the Oregon Historical Society, communicating with a federal agency-the GSA, and creating drawings informed by original construction documents as well as the current condition of the building.

My Masters design thesis taught me that buildings all have an inherent personal narrative. This narrative can be amplified in order to find a new use for a building based on the original use, even with a 100 years between, a 1901 U.S. Custom House can become a Center for Cultural Exchange in 2011.

Sep 2009 - Jun 2011

University of North Carolina, Bachelors, Architecture

The University of North Carolina was an amazing starting point for my formal education in architecture. Having just arrived from a year study in Berlin, Germany architecture school became a great focus for all of the excitement for architecture I had gained form traveling throughout Europe.

During my undergraduate I gained many fields of expertise: sustainable design, daylighting strategies, as well as urban design. Urban design as it relates to the connection of the human form to the urban environment fascinates me. Towards the end of my undergraduate education I focused on residential design. First an urban Infill project in Charlotte, North Carolina where a rain screen, hung from the building, moderated pedestrian traffic on the sidewalk below. This project led to an interest of optimizing the grey areas of local zoning and code. Ultimately it was my interest in how the public would engage or choose not to engage with the building, day or night, that drove the urban response to the project.

Aug 2005 - May 2009


Faculty Book Award, Portland State Department of Architecture, Award

Award Script:

June 8, 2011

Dear Stephen,

Faculty Book Award

Congratulations! On behalf of the faculty, I am pleased to acknowledge that you have won the Department of Architecture's 2011 Faculty Book Award for Graduate Students!

The recipient of this award exhibits an insatiable curiosity about architecture, as reflected in their studio work, their seminar work, and their overall conduct and rapport within the Department. Your work in inaugurating the AIAS PSU Chapter, as the student body liaison, is also recognized. This award is given by faculty nomination and faculty vote.

The book that the faculty selected, in order to reflect your current interests, is "Bringing the World into Culture: Comparative Methodologies in Architecture, Art, Design and Science," edited by Piet Lombaerde.

Again, congratulations!

Very best wishes

Clive Knights
Professor and Chair


Congress-Bundestag Scholarship Recipient, Scholarship

From the Scholarship Website:

Initiated in 1983, the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange program was created to strengthen ties between Germany and the United States through citizen diplomacy. The program was founded in celebration of the 300th year anniversary of the first German immigration to the United States. CBYX is jointly funded by the U.S. Congress and the German Bundestag, and in the U.S. is overseen by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Over 17,000 students have prepared themselves for success in an increasingly global world by participating in the CBYX program.

The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) program is for motivated high school students who want to experience a culture and learn a language through a full immersion experience. Earn a competitive edge for your college applications. Learn about German culture first-hand by living with a host family and attending a German high school. Connect to an elite network of U.S. Department of State program alumni. Embark on an adventure that is unlike any other.


Areas of Specialization