It was only a turn of fate that David M. Schwarz became an architect at all. Having started his own practice (in his own words “too early”), with little success, he realized his dream of becoming an architect was as good as over and had all but given up hope. However, a chance encounter with a friend gave him an ‘eleventh hour’ second chance, when he was offered a project by the friends’ boyfriend. His career is now considered remarkable, and his architectural practice is established having received awards from a wide range of organizations, including the American Institute of Architects and the Art Deco Society of Washington.
Prior to this success, Mr. Schwarz received his B.A. at St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD, and Master of Architecture at Yale University. He also earned a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of California at Berkeley and a Bachelor of Science from Humboldt State University. As founder and CEO of David M Schwarz Architectural Services, Inc., Washington, DC and Fort Worth, TX, he now has over thirteen years of design, planning and landscape construction success.
“…It really is being exacting in your principles and sticking to them, even when it’s hard, that makes it possible to have real success”, explains David.
His environmental sciences background is a key in the development of site-specific landscapes that involve slope and soil stabilization, habitat restoration, and new vegetative management. His strength lies in his ability to focus on developing spaces that are artistic, suited to the client’s needs, and responsive to the surrounding environment. Perhaps his most iconic project, the Schermerhorn Symphony Center of Nashville is personification of Schwarz’s signature style, being wonderfully classic, with a modern twist.
In describing his philosophy of design, Schwarz explains, “Our architecture is what would have happened if modernism hadn’t happened. But modernism did happen”.
”We set out to create what we call the appropriate neoclassicism for 21st century Nashville,” says Schwarz ”The building and all its details are a lot less serious, a lot lighter, a lot friendlier, a lot less imposing than straightforward neoclassicism from, say, the 19th or early 20th centuries.”
One of the more interesting features of the 197,000 square-foot, 1,872-seat concert hall is the enormous amount of indirect daylight. Not normally found in performance spaces, after touring concert halls worldwide, in particular Vienna’s Musikverein, Schwarz decided natural light was an important element to include in the interior. Innovative features include a convertible seating system designed to give the hall unique versatility.
Schwarz describes Schermerhorn as “the most classically inspired building we’ve ever done”
Another classic design with incredible scope and utilization of space is the Dr Pepper Ballpark. Following its construction in 2003, the Dr Pepper Ballpark received the Texas Construction award for Best Architectural Design for 2003 and the surrounding sports complex received the Best Sports and Entertainment award.
Schwarz had a stated goal of creating a “park within a (ball)park” in the stadium. Nine interconnected pavilions, where concessions, restrooms, and luxury suites are located, are built separately from the main seating area.The concourse area, between the pavilions and the seating area, wraps completely around the ballpark featuring 360-degree views.
His Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex features “Florida Picturesque” architecture, with tall towers and seemingly endless archways in the field house and baseball stadium.
Other projects include the Tarrant County Family Law Center which is historically suggestive in design, and the Bass Hall critically acclaimed as “the last great hall built this century”, and voted by Travel and Leisure Magazine as one of the Top 10 best opera houses in the world.
Within his firm, Schwarz’s primary responsibility is that of director of design. In this capacity, he leads, orchestrates and reviews the design process of all the firm’s projects. . He is frequently asked to create unique, custom modern furniture to complement the firm’s interiors. Fine detailing, rich materials and a high level of craft identify Schwarz’s contemporary furniture projects, which have ranged from the straightforward, such as a highly-detailed, inlaid buffet of arts and crafts inspiration with an imaginative and protective floating glass top; to the technically adept, such as an art deco-inspired oval loggia table. The table can be folded in half lengthwise to be set against the wall and contains custom fabricated hinges and a device which automatically centers the half-top over the base, allowing the tabletop to convert between full oval and half-oval without sacrificing center of gravity. He has also explored elements in modern furniture design, such as a custom freestanding medicine cabinet and stool of stainless steel and glass. The variety and range in style, inspiration and material realize his vision, regardless of scope or scale.
Schwarz is committed to teaching and, participating at university level and lecturing to the public. He currently serves as Chairman of the Dean’s Council for the Yale School of Architecture, and serves on the Board of Overseers for the Corcoran Gallery of Art, located in Washington, DC.