Behind every building are stacks of drawings. While architects and interior designers are known to be glued to their computers, pen and paper are still part of their toolkits. A lot can be learned about someone just by flipping through pages of ideas. Sketchbook Interviews is a series that explores the sketchbooks found on desks all around the firm.
Katharina Stoll is a project architect by day, artist by night.
She grew up with brushes and pens in hand. In between art classes to hone her technique, she also developed a knack for design. Those early designs consisted of Lego homes, forts, and creations on the computer with The Sims. Eventually, playtime became a career.
Katharina discovered architecture was the perfect way to blend her creativity and technical skills as a student at the University of Texas at Austin. A semester in Italy sparked her love of travel. She lived in a converted monastery with other architecture students and traveled to nearby cities twice a week for a drawing class to sketch and paint local buildings.
The class taught her how to observe and appreciate the details by drawing intricate historic structures – a more meaningful exercise than simply wandering from place to place. Some people outgrow drawing, but not Katharina. It is an important part of her process. Years after that first trip, Katharina still brings the same curiosity to her travels and the office. Her focus on the details continue to influence her work every day.
Italy remains a constant source of inspiration with its long history of art and architecture. Katharina shares the beginning of a sketch in the streets of Rome.
This sunset painting moment at Michelangelo’s Plaza in Florence is one of her favorites.
The intricate craftsmanship of a 16th-century door in the Sculpture Gallery of the Louvre inspired this sketch during a recent visit to Paris.
A peaceful moment along the boardwalk at Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy, France.
Katharina’s latest collection of watercolor paintings, 100 Doors, includes subject matter from her neighborhood and her recent trip to France, Italy, and Vietnam. The paintings were hung up to celebrate the Seattle office’s Guerrilla Art campaign, an initiative to add creative inspiration throughout the office in surprising ways. She put them up overnight, so they magically appeared the next morning unannounced.
She is always looking for new ways to consolidate her travel-sized watercolor kit to make painting as accessible as possible.
The ZGF Seattle office’s roof deck is a great spot for a sunny lunch break or a quick sketch session.