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Vern Swaback

Since 1986, Vern Swaback of Swaback Partners arrives each day at an office complex he designed just off McDonald Drive in Scottsdale. If you didn’t know it was there, you could easily miss it, but once inside, you’d wonder how you ever did.

The complex encircles an interior courtyard brimming with natural desert vegetation and calming water features. The sensation could be likened to that of a world-class spa in some far off destination because once inside, you find its Central Scottsdale location is no longer apparent.

“When I walk in through the portal gate every morning, I’m not coming to work—I’m coming to life,” Swaback says. “I’ve told employees here, ‘I don’t know how much you need this place, but this place needs you; I need you.’”

Swaback’s staff of 50 are scattered through out the 12,000-sq.-ft. office space. Their friendly faces peek out from around and above the maze-like dividing walls that dictate the flow of the setting. The web-like quality supplies character by making it impossible to turn in any direction without catching a glimpse of a past, present or future Swaback project.

Swaback’s personal office space reveals the classic natural colorings, contours and artwork of the architectural master, Frank Lloyd Wright, for whom Swaback served as an apprentice prior to Wright’s death. Distinguished by cherry wood, high ceilings and a vast library of architectural literature, Swaback’s space also features custom-designed furniture and accessories.

“You can visit certain architectural offices where the only part you might see looks like a law office or some other professional office,” Swaback says. “The minute you enter here, you are entering a workshop where everything we do is on display. There is no back room with people working away; the whole place is just who we are.”