F5: Mary Ann Schicketanz Shares the Things She Finds Most Inspiring

06.24.22 | By
F5: Mary Ann Schicketanz Shares the Things She Finds Most Inspiring

Austrian-born, founding principal architect of Studio Schicketanz, Mary Ann Schicketanz has been a practicing architect for more than 30 years. Her portfolio features the Western United States as well as Europe, with a practice of sustainable building and design. Mary Ann is known for designing classic simplicity with natural elegance, efficient floor plans, and easy flow. A leader in the integration of green design principles with strong thematic design concepts, her work is widely shared and she also speaks on the subject.

Mary Ann is a past president of AIA Monterey Bay and serves on the Board of the Philip Glass Center. When she’s not at work designing beautiful structures, she enjoys reading, art, nature, travel, and music.

Today, Mary Ann joins us for Friday Five!

light-skinned woman with blonde hair wearing a tan turtleneck and smiling

Mary Ann Schicketanz

1. Most Inspiring Artist: Andy Goldsworthy

Goldsworthy’s transitory creations, and how they connect to the coming and going of life in general, have always deeply touched me. There is no purpose to these pieces other than the temporary beauty to enrich and inspire and to pay attention to the moment.

ancient city in washed out browns built on a hill

Scenic view in the Sassi district of Matera located in the region of Basilicata in Southern Italy \\\ Photo: Adobe Stock Free license

2. Most Inspiring City: Matera, Italy

Unlike some contenders for the longest continuously occupied city in the world, when you come to Matera it is not about visiting ruins. Here you can witness how primitive people found calcarenite rock caves next to a river and started living there as a community about 9000 years ago. They then expanded their caves to larger dwellings, stables, churches, and eventually built on top of that rock formation. It has seen the Phoenicians, the Greeks, and the Roman Empire come and go – each century leaving its mark, but never ruining its beauty or fully depleting its resources. Matera is the only place in the world where people can boast that they’re still living in the same houses of their ancestors of 9,000 years ago – just think about that timespan!

3. Most Inspiring Poem: New Day’s Lyric by Amanda Gorman

It’s a most uplifting experience when Beauty, Intelligence, and Mindfulness come together. It is fascinating to me how a young person can come upon so much wisdom, it gives me hope for the future and the survival of beauty in this world.

light-skinned older man with greying hair playing a black piano

Photo: Philip Glass Center, Arturo Bejar

4. Most Inspiring Composer: Philip Glass

Everyone has experiences that deeply carve into one’s soul and memory, not life changing, rather life enriching. For me, that was having the accidental privilege to see the premier of the opera Satyagraha in Stuttgart, Germany. I have since seen it in two different productions in New York and Los Angeles, and it holds the same magic. Philip Glass’s early music alters time and space for me, I can become one with it. That’s particularly true for Einstein in the Beach – a five hour opera. I don’t think I moved in those five hours and got up refreshed and could not believe that I had been sitting in an all immersive experience!

three light-skinned people examing a set of blueprints on a light wood table

Photo courtesy Studio Schicketanz

5. The Most Inspiring Part of My Work: Providing Shelter

Not just shelter from the elements and the noise of this world, but providing a home or workplace that gives people refuge, providing them with everything they need to recharge, heal, and expand their minds and souls, and to be ready again to face our challenging world. Environments like that have important physical attributes like non-toxic surfaces, good daylight, and well-filtered air. But beyond that, I want to offer up the healing quality of well-proportioned and well-colored, textured, and balanced spaces.


Work by Mary Ann Schicketanz:

dinging and living space with large windows on both sides and a light wood slat ceiling

Mal Paso \\\ Photo: Joe Fletcher Photography

peeking through a neutral space into a bedroom doorway

Mal Paso \\\ Photo: Joe Fletcher Photography

tall wooden structure surrounded by trees

Henry Hill House \\\ Photo: Tim Griffith Photography

Henry Hill House \\\ Photo: Tim Griffith Photography

covered long outdoor porch with two seats

Teham 2 Residence \\\ Photo: Tim Griffith Photography

wall of windows with french doors looking out over the landscape

Teham 2 Residence \\\ Photo: Tim Griffith Photography

Kelly Beall is Director of Branded Content at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based writer and designer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, from Fashion Plates to MoMA and far beyond. When not searching out the visual arts, she's likely sharing her favorite finds with others. Kelly can also be found tracking down new music, teaching herself to play the ukulele, or on the couch with her three pets – Bebe, Rainey, and Remy. Find her @designcrush on social.