Born in Evanston, Illinois, Alan Wanzenberg was the third son of Henry and Doris Wanzenberg. As a child, he would spend time on long walks in the neighborhood, admiring its architecture or visiting Art Institute of Chicago’s Thorne Miniature Rooms, which he called “a visual treasure of architectural history,”. In the summer the designer and his family would go to Castle Park in Michigan.
Its 19th-century rental cottages were one of the first inspirations that young Wanzenberg found in his life. Marvelous craftsmanship and vernacular forms which he saw back then are still important elements of his works.
At the University of California he started to study nautical engineering, however, understanding that his interests lay elsewhere, Wanzenberg switched majors and in 1973 graduated with a bachelor’s degree in architecture. He earned his master’s in 1978 at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Next years would be spent in the offices of I.M. Pei where he met Jed Johnson, a rising star of the design industry and his late partner: “Initially I didn’t pay much attention to him because he was quiet,” recalls Wanzenberg. Both designers started to work together and in 1982 opened their own company Johnson and Wanzenberg , which five years later would be split into Alan Wanzenberg Architect P.C. and Jed Johnson Associates: “We both had a hard work ethic,” says the designer “We didn’t see each other as tremendously talented. We weren’t conceited.”
Alan Wanzenberg Architect, P.C. and Alan Wanzenberg Design LLC are architectural and interior design firms with projects located all over the United States and abroad. With the staff of 15 talented architects and designers, the company handles a number of detailed and thoughtful designs for a wide range of clients.
Mixing time periods and styles, Wanzenberg creates unique spaces with an aura of elegance and serenity. While the works of his deceased partner, Jed Johnson, are still a major source of inspiration for him, the designer finds his ideas in the location of his interiors – be it town or country — and reinterprets it with a characteristic modern twist. Curiously enough, idleness is the best source of ideas for Wanzenberg: “Boredom has its benefits. For me, since I could understand and articulate its benefits, I’ve needed what boredom provides — long periods of unstructured time.”
The Alan Wanzenberg Architect, P.C. and Alan Wanzenberg Design LLC have been recognized for design excellence by The New York Times and publications that include Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, World of Interiors, Vogue and Modernism Magazine. Wanzenberg has been named many times in the annual Architectural Digest’s Top 100 Designers and Architects among other extremely talented and influential designers.