Designer Profile: Christopher Sanders

The Texan architect is acclaimed for paying homage to the surrounding sites of his striking residential structures

Living room, exterior, kitchen
(Image credit: Christopher Sanders/Sanders Architecture)

From an early age, Christopher Sanders has had a deep passion and love of the land. With his family’s roots in a natural resource-based economy, it is no surprise that sustainability stands at the forefront of his architectural creations. 

'Our design process leads to realization of spaces that address our clients’ programmatic goals and are responsive to the site context by incorporating locally sourced materials, natural light, and controlled interior-exterior connections,' says Sanders when asked about his design aesthetic. When you put the natural landscape first in man-made structures, you transcend time; and this is a goal for Sanders, rather than obsessing with styles and interior design trends.

Sanders grew up in Lufkin, Texas, in the heart of the Piney Woods. Time spent camping, canoeing, hunting, and fishing is when he began to appreciate nature and to understand humankind's effect on the environment. Captured by the beauty of Mother Earth, with each project through his firm Sanders Architecture, he looks for creative design solutions to integrate living spaces without disturbing the natural elements.

Here, we question Christopher about his work, past, present and future.

What is your design process?

Christopher Sanders

(Image credit: Christopher Sanders/Sanders Architecture)

'Our designs solutions arise from an understanding of the project site and our clients’ goals. We begin the process by carefully listening to our clients and becoming very familiar with the site and its unique characteristics. We allow for ample time for discussion amongst our team, and with our clients, and for development and iteration of ideas.'

Where does your inspiration come from?

lawn, brick walls, pool

(Image credit: Christopher Sanders/Sanders Architecture)

Where Does Your Inspiration Come From?

Travel and new experiences are influential, but simple observations in day-to-day life are most informative and inspirational. Paying attention to the environment around us every day provides so many lessons. Most of our work is local to central Texas, so these local lessons and observations continue to evolve and influence our design practice.

What is your process when approaching a new project? 

Wooden bench, tiled pool, glass walls

(Image credit: Christopher Sanders/Sanders Architecture)

'Beginning a new project means balancing rigor and creativity – often too opposing forces. We start with establishing a design schedule that we use to manage our design time and to coordinate milestones with our sub-consultants and clients. 

'I’m the type of person who needs to clean his desk and work environment to get into the right headspace for creativity. Building a schedule is part of this organization. The schedule allows for time to listen, observe, and immerse ourselves in the project, while also setting a professional framework for our interactions and progress with our clients.'

What advice would you give your younger self?

Stone wall, metal roof, fireplace

(Image credit: Christopher Sanders/Sanders Architecture)

'Don’t try to do it all. Take risks with bringing-on the right people to help build and shape your practice. Architecture requires wearing so many hats, and not all of them can possibly fit one person.'

Stone floor, pool

(Image credit: Christopher Sanders/Sanders Architecture)

What’s on the horizon for you and your firm?

Kitchen island, black backsplash, wooden cabinets

(Image credit: Christopher Sanders/Sanders Architecture)

'I’ve recently formed a partnership with three architects who have worked at the firm for years. The four of us are looking to the future to build and evolve around the four principals. More to come on that front. 

'Among other projects, we are working with a long-time client to design the first phase of a net-zero community in SW Austin. Ambitious design and sustainability goals are front-and-center with this project.'

Stone fireplace, black framed windows, orange lampshades

(Image credit: Christopher Sanders/Sanders Architecture)

Christopher Sanders / Sanders Architecture

Lucy Searle
Content Director

Lucy Searle has written about interiors, property and gardens since 1990, working her way around the interiors departments of women's magazines before switching to interiors-only titles in the mid-nineties. She was Associate Editor on Ideal Home, and Launch Editor of 4Homes magazine, before moving into digital in 2007, launching Channel 4's flagship website, In 2018, Lucy took on the role of Global Editor in Chief for, taking the site from a small magazine add-on to a global success. She was asked to repeat that success at Homes & Gardens, where she also took on the editorship of the magazine. Today, Lucy works as Content Director across Homes & Gardens, Woman & Home, Ideal Home and Real Homes.