Theodore (Ted) R. Zanders, Jr., AIA, LEED-AP
Director, Architecture

Post-occupancy site visits are both satisfying and surprising because people always adapt their environment to their individual style. Seeing the design dialog expand from the owner’s management team to the entire staff gives new insight into the operational side of our clients’ businesses.

Bachelor of Architecture
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Blacksburg, Virginia

Professional Affiliations
American Institute of Architects (AIA)
Construction Specifications Institute (CSI)
National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB)
US Green Building Council

District of Columbia
North Carolina
South Carolina

Trust is a big deal. Establishing beneficial relationships means building a level of confidence that we’re all exchanging information honestly. Clients want to know they can depend on you to look out for their best interests. That’s something we work hard on around here. Once that first job is a success, clients come back because they know we’re working with them towards a common purpose.

As a child in northern Virginia, Ted Zanders learned organically to appreciate the aesthetics and mechanics of design. A typical Sunday outing was a family drive to new neighborhoods, where his parents toured model homes to explore how they were built and decorated, and to take in the Washington, DC area’s monumental municipal projects, such as Dulles International Airport. His parents implemented many of the ideas they saw, and his do-it-yourself father expanded their ranch-style home and transformed its overgrown site to a half-acre vista of lawn and gardens.

When Santa brought him an S-Gauge model train set, Ted discovered design on a more personal scale. Afternoon bike rides to the local hobby shop fed his love of building models and layouts, and cutting neighbors’ grass funded his kits. Within a few years, one of those neighbors, an electrical engineer, introduced Ted to his own hobby, radio-controlled model airplanes so large and realistic they required a makeshift runway to operate. A new Saturday morning ritual – and a lifelong passion – was born.

Intending to follow in his neighbor’s footsteps, Ted enrolled in Virginia Tech’s electrical engineering program. Freshman year rekindled his innate preference to explore and modify the built environment, so he transferred into the School of Architecture + Design, a move that not only unleashed his creativity, but also allowed him to indulge his interest in philosophy, integrating his search for honesty in the creation of the physical world with his similar search for fundamental truths in the intellectual and spiritual realms.

After a decade in high-end hotel and hospitality design, Ted began to consider other options. Years of vacationing at Litchfield Beach inspired him to look to South Carolina for opportunities. He joined Carlisle Associates in 1991, became partner in 2005, was president from 2011 through 2015, and now enjoys the opportunity to concentrate on architecture rather than on the daily operation of the firm.

As director of architecture, Ted actively oversees the development of all occupied structures projects. His expertise in master planning and site design, coupled with his general experience in the construction of many building types and systems and his ability to work seamlessly with clients and contractors alike, builds in value, keeping schedules and budgets on track from project inception through final punch list. He brings a strong aesthetic yet practical sense to Carlisle’s projects, ensuring an overall focus on design, function and buildability.

A significant portion of Carlisle’s work is design-build, and Ted believes that collaborating with proven partners in an integrated design process is key to meeting owners’ time and cost constraints. Ted’s strategic vision anchors one of the fundamentals of our practice: Every facility – no matter how complex or closely regulated – can fulfill its purpose attractively, safely and sustainably for all its inhabitants and neighbors.

Clearly, Ted likes working from a plan and keeping projects on track. He’s active in the Atlantic Coast S-Gaugers’ Carolinas Division, where he collaborates to design, build, wire and show award-winning S-Gauge modular train layouts that are oriented toward engaging young modelers. He’s restoring a classic Volvo P1800S. He and his wife are converting their postage-stamp-sized yard into a secret garden of organic vegetables, flowerbeds and specimen plantings linked by walking paths and sitting areas, and they’ve hiked, kayaked and canoed in more than half of South Carolina’s state parks within a day’s drive of home.

He also keeps a few model trains and planes on hand, in case there’s ever a free Saturday morning.