architecture

/

photography

Hello

My name is Steven. I am a Belgian born, Midwest raised, designer and photographer, living and working in New York City. I can't think of a better place to call home. I am passionate and fastidious. I give a damn by default.

 

I've been hooked on architecture since I was old enough to pick up a pencil and trace house plans from a model home catalogue. And the first time I saw a print develop in a bath of chemicals I knew photography would be a life long interest. I'm drawn to craftsmanship and the creative process. I love to dive in and learn as much as I can about something I don't know anything about. Example: when I was 24 I had never gone camping before - so I took a two week solo backpacking trip to Montana to figure it out.

 

contact me at steven.grootaert@gmail.com

The last few years...

I graduated from the University of Minnesota with two masters degrees, one in Architecture and one in Sustainable Design. I worked professionally in Minneapolis gaining experience with residential and commercial projects. After several years I was ready for the next step in my life...

 

...Sight unseen I bought a one way ticket to New York City - I packed two suitcases and left in the night.

 

Shortly after arriving I began working for an award winning architectural firm designing the USA pavilion for the 2015 Milan EXPO. While that was under construction, I was the project manager on a Lower East Side restaurant expansion. This experience gave me a deep understanding of the inner workings of the NY Department of Buildings and managing a project with many moving parts; keeping the client informed, coordinating our consultants, and producing various sets of permit drawings for approval. It's given me the confidence that I can meet any challenge.

The next few years...

I'm taking the necessary steps to become a licensed architect. I have completed the majority of my internship hours and I am taking the Architectural Registration Exams. My goal is to be finished this year. I still doodle houses for imaginary people in imaginary places - it keeps me sane and that's how I know I'm doing the right thing.

I gave a TEDx talk...

In 2011 I was nominated by Dean Tom Fisher to give a TEDxUMN Talk about my thesis projects.

More...

I miss the smell of a darkroom, the sound of a table saw, and the feel of axle grease between my fingers - I'm hands on and love the analogue as much as I embrace the digital. At the moment I spend my time working on various little projects and taking walks with my camera. I also just learned to sail and love finding reasons to be out at sea.

 

I find the intersection of human and industrial intervention fascinating. I am driven to design honest places that feel good while maintaining a scale that is environmentally responsible.

 

I can loose myself and research for hours about nearly anything that peaks my interest - which can be a lot of things; sustainable energy, technology, trains, typewriters, cameras, guitars, records, traveling, making maps, organizing other people's messes...

 

I am equally at home in the countryside as I am in the middle of urbanity - I enjoy them for what they are.

I prefer the best versions of extremes as to the one size fits all middle-ground.

I am at times a maximalist, sometimes a minimalist - I make room for both.

I am a problem solver but I don't mind starting over from another angle.

I am at ease with silence although I suffer from tinnitus.

I believe in a good hand shake and being direct.

I usually take the scenic route.

I do my best to not have any regrets.

I love the details and doing it right the first time - even if it takes 100 times.

But you don't have to take my word for it...

"Steven came to us just out of graduate school and as part of our small office was involved in a wide variety of work. His architectural experience included measuring and developing as-built drawings for pre-construction, working on a number of institutional projects during Design Development and Construction Documents and taking a small residential project from Schematic Design through Construction Documents and bidding. Steven showed real commitment to doing quality work and would be a wonderful addition to any architectural firm."

— Paul Udris and Mark Burgess

Principals of U+B Architecture and Design

 

"Steven, who I had in my theory class and who I worked with on his thesis, was one of the most mature, hard-working students I’ve known. His thesis, involving a rethinking of the U.S. rail network to deliver services to small-town America, shows his creative and systematic approach to design, and his understanding of sustainable design goes deeper than many of the students I’ve worked with. I recommend him very highly."

— Tomas Fisher

Professor and Dean of the College of Design

University of Minnesota

 

"I worked with Steven during his Masters of Sustainable Design final project as he was doing research on renewable hydrogen production. He has the ability to research unfamiliar topics and present clear, accurate, and relevant information both verbally and graphically. His thoughtful process explores the many facets of sustainable design both technically and experientially. He is a dedicated and passionate individual and I would recommend him."

— James Lutz

Co-director MS Sustainable Design Program

University of Minnesota