Home / Esteban Chavez

Activation Capital

Richmond, VA

2 Years at SMBW


Phone: 804.622.2179

Notable Projects

One Canal
Activation Capital
Soda Flats
Blackstone Hotel
Arena Study

Esteban Chavez


Technical Thinker

With a broad range of design experience, Esteban enjoys working through the unknown and complex details that arise throughout projects, and is inspired by design work that plays with materiality and representation. Esteban is a detail-driven designer, who focuses on the technical aspects that make successful, sustainable, and long-lasting buildings.

Career Origins

A puzzle whiz, Esteban is drawn to the problem solving that comes with working out complex design details. Figuring how the tiny pieces fit together to make a greater whole is overwhelmingly satisfying. The biggest puzzle he ever solved was a very complex open central stair through a 7-story building. The goal in constructing the railing system was to waste the least amount of material and make it as repeatable as possible, for optimal constructability.

Cool Under Pressure

What is Esteban's favorite part of the design process? The final stretch. It is jam packed with action, between coordination and problem solving, as well as building a real sense of camaraderie among those involved. It’s also where he shines, under the pressure of a deadline, problem solving on the fly, and being a team player.

Personal Strengths

A coach at heart, Esteban excels at teaching, mentorship, and drawing out the best from others. From coaching youth soccer and TA-ing through architecture school, he learned how to work with, teach, and support a cross section of people. Today he serves on the Young Alumni Executive Council at UVA and the UVA Architecture School Admissions Committee, working to support recently admitted architecture school students and set them up for success.

After Work, Find Esteban...

Drinking a seasonal brew at The Veil, playing on his local rec soccer team, or cheering on Man U.


Phone: 804.622.2179