From the Austin Business Journal:
Journal Profile: Meet Stephen Levy, president, Levy Architects
The Gulf Coast has had a strong pull on Stephen Levy.
He grew up there and often returns to the serenity of the sea for refreshment and inspiration. Now, though, he’s one of the busiest architects in landlocked Austin with a bevy of premier projects — the highly anticipated Nland Surf Park under construction, SecureLink’s corporate headquarters in Bee Cave, the retrofit and remodeled 3100 Alvin Devane Blvd. building and the design of a corporate campus at 5301 Southwest Parkway. The last two projects are on behalf of Drawbridge Realty, a San Francisco firm.
Levy handles more boutique projects, too, such as the new Barley Swine and Bufalino restaurants that will open soon on Burnet Road. His company also is designing a park pavilion in The Domain mixed-use development and a manufacturing facility in Cedar Park.
The project closest to his heart, though, is the design of a sanctuary at the Community First project — perhaps the only mixed-use development in America specifically designed to meet the needs of the homeless. Austin nonprofit Mobile Loaves & Fishes is the developer.
“We’re doing that pro bono and that really is rewarding,” Levy said.
Since starting his own firm in 2010 — yes, he made the leap in the doldrums of the recession — Levy has gone from sole practitioner to a 14-person staff with seven licensed architects. The team works out of unconventional office space in the shopping center where Hopdoddy Burger Bar is located on West Anderson Lane.
Throughout the office, vivid artwork lines the walls — even masterpieces completed by his children, who also have that creative knack.
“We’re doing really great design with strong project management skills,” Levy said. “I just love design and the business of architecture.”
Was there a moment when you felt like you had made it as an architect? When I met with (developer) Lewis Robinson in 2002 to demonstrate my Rockport Harborfront concept. After our meeting he immediately provided me with a letter of intent.
What’s the best advice you can remember receiving? Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you — I learned that in first grade.
What’s the worst advice you’ve received? I don’t remember. Poor advice is not worth storing in my database.
What would be your final meal? Panjos Pizza in Rockport — pure childhood indulgence.
What object are you never without? My wedding ring and a bracelet my daughter Josie made for me when she was 3.
What makes you squirm? Changing my 3-year-old’s diapers.
Favorite time of the week and why? Monday because I get to start a new work week, and Friday because I get to be at home with my family.
If you could buy one art piece, what would it be?“The Counselor” by Bill
Worrell. It’s a bronze sculpture that is based on hieroglyphic paintings in West Texas. Bill stumbled across these paintings when he was fishing as a young man. They are the inspiration for much of his work today.
What’s your go-to source of inspiration? A letter my son wrote in his journal describing how proud he was of me. It was titled “My Hero.” My wife found it and framed it. It hangs on the wall where I see it every morning and evening.
Which celebrity would you love to be for a day? Mario Andretti.
Funniest comedian? Richard Pryor.
How about a movie that surprised you in some way?“The World’s Fastest Indian.” Burt Monro spent his life perfecting a motorcycle, overcoming its mechanical limitations. He subsequently set several world records. One speed record — four decades later after his death — is still unbroken.
If you weren’t an architect, what would you be? A professional race car driver.
What is your most vivid memory of childhood? Catching two trophy redfish back-to-back in the neighborhood fishing tourney. I have spent my adult life attempting to catch two more trophies like that. Every time I am on the water I remember those reds.