Founder & Principal
“I’m most attracted to places that make strong connections to their site and environment. I try to create buildings that meet clients’ requirements and also respond in appropriate ways to the local climate and the natural and cultural landscape.” — Christopher L. Sanders
As the firm’s founder and creative lead, Chris Sanders oversees the design process for all projects and closely attends to client relationships. His collaborative approach ensures direct contact with clients from initial meetings through the design and construction phases—a personal imperative for Chris that dates back to his master’s thesis, which revealed a strong correlation between user involvement in the design process and positive outcomes.
Prior to founding Sanders Architecture, Chris served in project architect roles for Andersson Wise Architects in Austin, Texas; Ann Beha Architects in Boston, Massachusetts; and Baum, Freytag & Leesch in Weimar, Germany. Significant works completed include the award-winning Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Admissions Kiosk, Temple Ranch Pool Cabana, AWAY Spa at W Austin Hotel and Residences and Hawthorn Longfellow Library at Bowdoin College.
As an Edward J. Romieniec Traveling Scholar, Chris traveled through South Asia, studying the colonial influence on local architecture and city planning. Chris earned his Master of Architecture degree from Texas A&M University, which included an internship at Leo A. Daly Architects in Washington, D.C. In 2003, Chris served as an intern for the U.S. National Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (USICOMOS) at the Mediterranean Centre for Built Heritage in Split, Croatia.
Chris grew up in Lufkin, Texas, in the heart of the Piney Woods. Time spent outdoors—camping, canoeing, hunting and fishing—is when he began to appreciate nature and to understand humankind's effect on the natural environment. Trying to reconcile his love of the land with his family’s roots in a natural-resource-based economy provided early lessons in sustainability. These experiences may explain why Chris considers Lady Bird Lake the defining feature of Austin’s urban landscape. Between training for marathons, walks with his family, attending music festivals, biking to and from the green belt and canoeing with his kids, he has formed a personal connection with the lake and associated parkland.