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Scott Ziegler ’72

Building the Future

By Donna Parker

Scott Ziegler, a 1972 graduate who earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration, has spent his life designing beautiful buildings that both literally and figuratively reach for the sky. 

“My life is a tribute to the Trinity liberal arts program.  When I took an elective painting course from Bill Bristow, department of art, during my last semester, I realized my innate passion for the art world,” says this 2002 Houston Entrepreneur of the Year, who changed career course and secured his master of architecture from Rice University in 1976.  One year later, he founded Ziegler Cooper, a sustainable architecture firm dedicated to enriching lives and expressing the spirit of our time.

To that end, Scott who lives in Houston has directed the design of several grand-scale projects, not the least of which is the recently completed Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

“I think about what a rare privilege this project was, both profoundly challenging and rewarding.  The dedication was April 2nd, and more than 500 religious dignitaries from all over the world were in attendance.  The consecration ceremony was 3 ½ hours long, but I never once even looked at my watch.  We were all consumed by the spirituality of the moment.”

Scott says a fragment of the original crucifix of Christ actually became part of the altar cross.

He’s since moved onto other large projects, including the Austonian – a sustainable residential high rise, which is one of the largest, most visible in his firm’s history.

“It’s 56 floors of green.  The urban garden on top of the garage roof collects rainwater for irrigation to water that garden.  There is low-E glass, an energy-efficient chilled water system, and sophisticated air purification.  We’re even installing plug-in outlets in each garage for people who drive hybrid cars!”

And for those who remember the 1950s kitsch of Earl Abel’s in San Antonio, Scott’s firm is actually building a high rise on that former restaurant site called The Broadway.

Scott fondly remembers spending time there with Trinity classmates.

“I loved Trinity.  The campus was welcoming, I made so many good friends and, overall, it added to my self-confidence.

“My professors were all so great, too. ‘Herr’ Albert Herff-Beze, department of music, or ‘EZ Beze’ as we called him, opened my eyes to classical music.  Eunice Kitchell, department of business administration, taught us the principles of investing in the stock market.  She reinforced things my father had taught, furnishing insight into what I didn’t know.”

What Scott has learned through the years is that he is still passionate about architecture and giving back to his community, lending numerous hours to the arts and children’s charities.  Along the way, he and wife, Yvonne, raised daughter, Mary Katherine, a recent college graduate. 

“I just try to set a good example in whatever I do.  I work hard and love being around beautiful things.”

You may email Scott at sziegler@zieglercooper.com.