Peter Schwartz, AIA | NCARB | LEED AP

Founding Partner

Pete was born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri, then studied architecture at the University of Kansas. Part of his degree program included a semester in Denmark, with extensive travel through Europe and design studio taught by practicing Danish architects. Graduating from KU in 1997 with a Bachelor of Architecture degree, Pete returned to Saint Louis, working at M+H Architects, where he was given the opportunity to work on complex commercial projects, mostly in the education and industrial distribution spaces.

An interest in the design of sacred spaces led him to SLDA, where he was able to experience the full life of an architecture project, from site planning, through schematic design, documentation, and construction. Working with numerous churches, whose buildings are typically assembled in multiple phases over multiple years, Pete developed an appreciation for bold design work that brought order to the complexity of chaotically assembled spaces. Working with not-for-profits, which typically have multiple key stakeholders, helped Pete develop communication skills for leading groups of people to reach positive, meaningful consensus.

In 2004 Pete fulfilled a goal of starting a new architecture practice. In partnership with Brian Van Winkle, and with the help of some friends, they cleared out half of Pete’s house and set up Vessel Architecture’s first office. (Brian and Heidi were already married with kids, which ruled out their house as a candidate for the first office.) Pete and Brian had been friends since their time at the University of Kansas, and practicing architecture together showed that they had complementary skills that brought successful results for their clients and their growing team.

From Vessel’s founding, Pete and Brian sought to create an office of general practitioners; and Vessel’s portfolio has always included many project types, including senior living, retail, worship space, single- and multi-family residential, urban rehab, office-warehouse, and master planning.

Equally important was the goal of building an architecture practice with a healthy culture. In everything Vessel does, emphasis is on serving others to create environments where people flourish. This is as important to Vessel’s own office as to the new buildings they create for others. 

Personal Bio

Pete has been married to his wife Bonnie since 2005; they live in the Saint Louis area and love to play with their unbearably cute boy-girl twins and tie-breaking little boy, and their sweet but very stubborn Rhodesian Ridgeback named Penny. Pete is a USTA 4.0 rated tennis player and enjoys competeing in USTA leagues.


As a founding principal, Pete is responsible for providing primary leadership in vision, finance, and individual service for our clients.


American Institute of Architects

NCARB Certified

LEED Accredited Professional

Registered Architect in Missouri, Colorado, Oregon, Texas, Washington


Bachelor of Architecture | University of Kansas | 1997