Staff Spotlight: Steve Anliot

Steve incorporates global design inspirations into a vibrant portfolio of development, higher education and civic work

August 29, 2022
Share via

Steve Anliot is an experienced designer passionate about working in the development, higher education and civic sectors. With over seven years of experience at past firms in a range of projects including high-end residential towers and mixed-use residential projects, Steve enjoys visioning and designing with the end user in mind. Steve received his bachelor’s degree from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, where he studied abroad in Rome. He also earned his Master of Architecture from the University of Michigan, where he served as a consultant for a project in Guangzhou, China including a 10-day trip to the city to present the project. Steve sat down with us to discuss his inspirations, advice for younger designers and share some of his favorite projects.  


Q: What inspired you to become an architect?

S: As is the case for many architects, LEGOs were a staple of my childhood. I spent countless hours both building specific sets and creating my own structures and vehicles. But my first real exposure to architecture, came when my aunt and uncle designed and built their own house. I vividly remember visiting the construction site and reviewing the floor plans and thinking that this was something I could potentially pursue as a career.

Additionally, I became enamored with the potential to leave your physical fingerprint on the world through the built environment. For me, part of the allure of architecture was that since every project has its own unique challenges/problems that need to be solved, the job would never feel monotonous.

Rocco Design Architect's Guandong Museum in the Guangzhou, Guangdong Province of China; Photo by Steve Anliot

Q: If you could give advice to a young designer what would you say?

S: My advice would be to try and get on site as much as possible. For me, physically seeing the details of how a building is put together is the most valuable experience. Also, trust the iterative process. Projects rarely end up looking like the first sketch or concept model.

Q: Any favorite projects you have worked on in the past?

S: At my previous firm, I worked on a beer garden along the Hudson River and directly across from New York City. Since I love to discover new breweries and beer gardens in my spare time, this project was a wonderful way to blend one of my hobbies with professional design experience.

Q: Do you have a favorite city to visit for architecture?

S: As an undergraduate, I studied abroad in Rome for 5 months. During my time there, I was lucky enough to tour the Vatican necropolis and grottoes directly under Saint Peter’s. To be able to see the foundations of the previous churches that the current basilica is built upon as well as the resting places for many of the previous popes was an incredible and unique experience. And I have to say, you never really get used to passing the Roman Forum and the Colosseum every day on your commute.

During graduate school at the University of Michigan, I was given the opportunity to travel to Hong Kong and China for a design studio. Downtown Guangzhou is home to many iconic buildings including Zaha Hadid’s Guangzhou Opera House, Rocco Design Architect’s Guangdong Museum and the Canton Tower, which all border an extensive public plaza. While all of these are beautiful during the daytime, they all have their own unique lighting schemes that give each building an entirely different presence once the sun goes down.

Zaha Hadid's Guangzhou Opera House in Downtown Guangzhou; Photo by Steve Anliot

Q: Do you have a favorite building or perhaps a favorite architect?

S: Picking a favorite building or architect is a truly difficult task. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater is such aniconic piece of American architecture and is so successful in marrying site conditions with the architecture, that it is probably the first building that I fell in love with.

I also really enjoyed visiting the Toledo Glass Pavilion by SANAA. The curving glass walls that comprise most of the building and the absence of immediately noticeable structure heighten the sense that the roof feels as though it is floating, which makes for a unique experience. I highly recommend visiting it if you find yourself in or near Toledo.

Toledo Glass Pavilion: Photo by Steve Anliot

Q: If you weren't an architect what would you do?

S: Given that I am a bit of a true crime junkie and I love all things involving Sherlock Holmes, I could see myself pursuing a career in forensic science/crime scene investigation.