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Prominent local architect Mark Candelaria visited AIID on Wednesday, March 6th 2013 to speak about his knowledge and experiences to current students and graduates. Read more for our Q & A session with Mark.

Mark B. Candelaria, AIA
Mark founded Candelaria Design Associates, LLC in 1999 and is proud to have celebrated more than 25 years in the architectural design business. He believes in enhancing your lifestyle through his creative ideas and designs. Our team philosophy is based on the simple belief that the architectural design process should always be fun and rewarding.

His architecture career began under the tutelage of George W. Christensen, FAIA in 1982. After an 18-year career heading the residential branch of the Phoenix-based firm, CCBG Architects, whereby the firm grew to the fifth largest architectural practice in Phoenix, he opened Candelaria Design to be able to direct his time and talents towards working one-on-one with his residential clients.

Mark has the unique ability to see the inherent possibilities of custom home designs, both new and remodeled. He can sketch and create the spaces that are exactly as his clients envision during a single meeting. He also is a firm believer in doing all of his renderings by hand. Mark was named Master of the Southwest in 2005 by Phoenix Home & Garden Magazine, and was also named as one of the top 125 architects in the Western United States by Western Interiors Magazine showcasing his dedication and desire to quality architecture in the Western United States.

”I think that the client/architect relationship should be a positive experience, resulting from working so closely on a design. I enjoy getting to know my clients on a professional and personal level, and the friendships that often develop from our working relationship, continue on.” ~Mark Candelaria

Enjoy our interview questions for Mark below:


AIID: Who or what inspired him to seek a career in architecture?
MC: I loved to draw and when I was a child my Mom would take me to see model homes on the weekends. I loved seeing these homes and would come home and draw them and then build them with Legos.

AIID: Do you have a favorite architect?
MC: I love the work of Robert Stern and John Saladino.

AIID: Some of the architects we have covered in our interior design program are:
Donato Bramante
Andrea Palladio – MC: One of my favorites whose design principles guide me today! I have seen many of his villas in Italy.
Christopher Wren
Antonio Gaudi – MC: Definitely one of my favorites
Louis Sullivan
Frank Lloyd Wright
Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe
Le Corbusier
Phillip Johnson
Eero Saarinen
I.M. Pei
Frank Gehry
Rogers and Piano

AIID: Do you have a favorite building in New York City?
MC: I love the Flatiron Building – I just think it is such a unique and iconic building given its location and constraints.

AIID: Do you have a favorite building anywhere else in the world?
MC: I love the Pantheon in Rome. Its so simple and pure. I love the Villa Rotunda by Palladio in northern Italy – simply classic. The Sagrada de Familia church by Gaudi in Barcelona – totally insane creativity.

AIID: Do clients ever ask you to consider “feng shui” principles when space planning their homes or offices?
MC: Sometimes – although most of fend shui is just simply good design principles. Some of it is simply out there but the underlying principles are worthy and followed by most designers without knowing is good feng shui.

AIID: Do your architectural practices include working with interior designers?
MC: Absolutely – my best projects have always been those involving a capable and talented interior designer. I like to assemble my team right from the inception of the project – architect, builder, interior designer, landscape architect and lighting designer.

AIID: Do you prefer designing commercial or residential projects or both?
MC: I like both. They are SO different from one another. Residential becomes more personal and emotional for the client whereas commercial tends to be more about time and money.

AIID: What was your favorite architectural project and why?
MC: I really do not have a favorite. They are all so different. Generally, the most enjoyable have always been those with a great client who enjoys life and the process of designing a home, hires and assembles a great team of designers and builder, and lets everyone do their job. I am very proud of the El Chorro Restaurant Renovation where we took an old historic restaurant bar and brought it into the 21st Century. It is the first LEED restaurant in Arizona and we have won many awards for the project.

AIID: If you had not become an architect, what other field or career might have sparked his interest?
MC: Cooking – I love to cook and eat and I love the instant gratification preparing a good meal gives me as opposed to our homes which sometimes take years to create and build.

AIID: Do you have any advice for new Interior Designers as they begin their careers?
MC: Learn to draw by hand – so much focus is on CAD, etc. and the power of a pen and pad is amazing. It mesmerizes clients and allows instant input and reaction from a client. Plus it’s a lot easier to sketch on a napkin at a party than tugging your CAD station along with you everywhere. Also realize so much of what we do has to do with understanding, relating to and working with a whole assortment of people. From clients, to co-workers, builders, and tradespeople, to City officials, you have to be able to adjust to every possible combination and get your project done. Also, understand that it never goes exactly as planned and you as a designer are just one actor in the whole play of a project. You have to learn to take what is given to you and make the best out of it. You never have full control or say no matter how good you are. Keep your ego in check!!!

AIID: What about design TRENDS?
a. Tuscan – Santa Barbara – Desert Contemporary – could you tell us the difference between these styles? Which style is most requested? (MC) The hottest style right now is what many coin “Mid-Century Modern”. It is contemporary of the 20’s and 30’s mixed with reclaimed materials and traditional detailing. It’s a beautiful blending of the two. I love it. Tuscan – style and Spanish Colonial are still the most popular. We do a lot of French County and Hampton Cottage Style too. I love doing an Arizona Desert Contemporary with clean lines, metal, stone, concrete and glass.

b. Stacked stone – IN or OUT? (MC) Still in but seems to be subsiding. More prevalent in Contemporary. Mortar washed stone still popular in the traditional styles.

c. Cabinet finishes – LIGHT or DARK? (MC) Light for sure.

d. Counter tops – GRANITE, SOLID SURFACES or? (MC) Marble and Zinc! Granite has been overused.

e. Appliance finishes – STAINLESS STEEL or? (MC) Stainless or covered and hidden by Millwork

f. Lighting – (MC) we are very interested in lighting – I enjoy working with Lighting Designer. They know the products that are available and all the little filters, trims, lenses, etc….Lighting – just like in a movie or play can make or break the design. We spend a great deal of time on the lighting and love the process of integrating it into the interior and exterior of our designs.