Our studio collaboration finds fulfillment in the ‘complete’ project, where intuition and imagination are realized in a final product that is beyond the expectations of the client. Whether in the intimate setting of a private residence or within a public institution, we strive to produce architecture that challenges people to see and experience materials and light in ways they never imagined. Furthermore, we are dedicated to assembling buildings that respect global environmental concerns and promote a clean environment. The act of constructing a building is the single greatest symbol of our ability to physically affect change in world, and we believe that responsible design and construction processes are as important as the end product. Our commitment to the environment is witnessed through the multiple projects that we have designed and submitted through the United States Green Building Council’s rigorous LEED accreditation process.
In addition to the physical and environmental changes that our work initiates, we believe that the resulting spaces and places allow occupants to see our world from a different point of view. Whether viewing a desert vista or engaging new friends in a civic setting, the spaces that we create enhance the personal relationships that an occupant experiences on a daily basis. Designing and constructing a building is the result of imagination, thoroughness, and execution. Living in a building is about discovering the daily reward of those efforts. At [merz]project we ensure that the discovery never ends.
Joe Herzog is the principal architect and director of the [merz]project design studio. He performed his undergraduate work at Illinois Wesleyan University, where he received a degree in International Studies and Studio Art. He received his Master of Architecture degree from the graduate architecture school at Arizona State University in 2001. His master's thesis design project entitled [merz]phoenix won the graduate thesis award and his thesis book also won top honors at the school. While completing his graduate work, Herzog began a full-time position as an apprentice under the internationally-acclaimed architect, Will Bruder. After four years of working under Bruder and Wendell Burnette, Herzog founded the [merz]project studio. Commissions to date range from single-family residences, residential mid-rise towers, city libraries, and a office/hotel tower in Abuja, Africa. Herzog's background in construction since the age of thirteen combined with his desire to create architecture that results from social and physical context has developed into a design process that continually inspires and innovates.
In 2004 I co-founded Merzproject with my friend and neighbor, Joe Herzog, with the belief we could inspire others to create bold projects, and change Phoenix and the world through architecture. Before I met Joe I never thought I would be in the architecture business. I come from a long line of small business owners in Arizona and was happy learning the mechanical contracting business from my father. I was very good at what I did. When Joe moved in across the street from me I didn't expect that only 11 months after meeting him, I would leave the family business and enter into a profession, opening a whole new world for me and my family.
While Joe was the architect who had practiced for five years, I was the one who asked him to start an architecture firm with me. It was literally a phone call that lasted a few minutes and led to Joe quitting his job to become a business owner. My wife and I decided to be Merzproject's first clients. After the renovation and addition of Hoover House, our home since 2000, we continued our extraordinary life change by purchasing an old warehouse along the future light-rail in downtown Phoenix that today houses Merzproject's office.
Not only did the process affect my everyday professional life, but it was important to learn architecture as a client and understand what being a patron of architecture truly meant. What better project than our new studio in which to discover a new profession, gain understanding of our clients, and create an inspiring world for our firm to inhabit every day of our lives?