Jerry D. Thompson, retired architect
Professional style: His Oklahoma State University training stressed the international style of architecture. “We were the school of ‘form follows function.’ If the ornament had no meaning to the structure of function of the building, eliminate it.” He wants his designs to serve the community as well as the client. When he helped expand the Missouri State Teachers’ Association building, “my approach was to treat the new addition as a background building to respect the beauty of the existing building.” The addition has a brick exterior, windows and skylights that emulate those components from the original. The interior provides a setting for historic furniture and photographs.
Personal style: The exterior of Thompson’s home features painted siding with stained redwood trim. He describes the house as resembling “a small cottage with a separate guest house” that serves as both garage and architecture/art studio. Sitting near the top of a knoll on 20 acres of land with a creek, the house has an abundance of trees, deer and other wildlife. Its simple, well-lit interior serves as a gallery for his artwork. A large front porch provides a place to sit, talk and paint and has a pattern of square vertical and horizontal redwood columns and railings. The front door is custom made of ash and maple.
What he loves most about his work: “Architecture has been a good mix of art and science for me. I enjoy the planning of spaces that have some complexity of user requirements.”
What he’d tell anyone considering building or remodeling a home: “Design to fit your needs, not to fit some architectural style. Respect the site and neighborhood. Use as little energy in the home as possible. Keep it simple. Strive for a good use of materials and the best function of the home.”
Columbia homes he likes: “I enjoy the older neighborhoods between Broadway and Stewart. I like a home that respects the neighborhood and the site where it is located, and that shows some innovative design thought.”
Nick Peckham, principal architect and CEO of Peckham & Wright Architects Inc.
Professional style: Architecture is not always about a specific style, but rather “thinking about the relationship of the building and the people who will be in it.” He’s also committed to sustainability.
Personal style: His farmhouse home sits on 53 acres of land. The home is adjacent to a small pond, facing south. He strictly adheres to sustainability, using wind-powered electricity from a windmill.
What he loves most about his work: “Helping people achieve their objectives and their dreams in a way that ensures a sustainable future.”
What he’d tell anyone considering building or remodeling a home: “Think of the immediate and the long term needs and the immediate and long term effects that a building may have.”
Columbia homes he likes: “The Chancellor’s Residence is an outstanding example of the architecture of the 19th century.” He also likes the Peden residence on Rollins. The home “invokes a stucco and metal roof feel that you might find in Mexico or Central America.” It also has a beautiful garden surrounding a 70- to 80-year-old tree.
Bill Howell, architect at Renner-Howell Architects
Professional style: He cites the Gaines residence, a home featured on HGTV, and the Pavillion Furniture Store on Buttonwood Road. The Gaines residence relies heavily upon an interplay of planes like those often found in cubism. Its international essence employs glass walls with intersecting stainless steel buttresses. The rest of the building is of stone. Certain dramatic materials, he says, may not be suitable for the Missouri climate.
Personal style: Howell renovated his small Victorian home and created a space with contemporary interior and traditional exterior. He opened the inside via multiple ceiling heights. Color, new trim and a skylight also provide a more modern feel.
What he loves most about his work: “You enjoy the creation of something.”
What he’d tell anyone considering building or remodeling a home: “Realize it’s going to be a lot of work.”
Columbia home he likes: The Gaines residence is really “one of a kind.”
Susan Horak, custom building consultant
Professional style: She looks for function over form, and a recent house for Sandy and Bill Stuby achieved exactly that. Mrs. Stuby wanted space for her ill sister and the sister’s son. So the wood/brick ranch house, set in Thornbrook Estate, has two master suites.
Personal style: “I deal with the public all day long, and I couldn’t be happier with my job, but I look at a home to be a retreat.” Her house’s natural design reflects its woodsy surroundings. Its brick front has stone corners for accent. The house sits on Lake Woodrail and backs up to the lake.
What she loves most about her work: Driving through a neighborhood, knowing she had a hand in its design. Her work then becomes a legacy.
What she’d tell anyone considering building or remodeling a home: “Think of a house in layers... How do you want the components relating to each other?” Decide how far from the kitchen the master bedroom or the laundry room should be, for example. Consider the family’s preferred spatial relationships.
Columbia homes she likes: The gothic style of Thornbrook’s Nauser residence. The Therman residence in Lake Woodrail. It’s by designer Gordon Thompson: “He has an amazing talent in design for space and volume. You feel the size of the room.”
Keith Miller, principal architect at Columbia Associates Architects
Professional style: “When you design for somebody else, you try to get inside their head and try to figure out what they want.” For renovations at the State Capitol, for example, “we did not inflict our idea of style in the building,” but maintained its historic values. The structure is early 1900s Romanesque, featuring numerous pillars and traditional dome top.
Personal Style Miller and his business partner/spouse, Kathy, like modern, ultra-clean and contemporary. Their house on a 50-acre lake in south Columbia employs glass and concrete. Its exterior is Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired Prairie with deep overhangs. Inside, it is very contemporary with maple, stainless steel and lots of glass.
What he loves most about his work: “One of the interesting things about being an architect is solving problems,” and, “going back through a building, knowing that I had a hand in on this is really cool.”
What he’d tell anyone considering building or remodeling a home: “Make sure that you have a strong relationship with your spouse before you decide to build on your own.”
Columbia homes he likes: Cliff Drive’s “really neatly done, well-planned 1950s” structures. And he likes the castle-like house that sits at the beginning of Country Club Drive so much he wishes he could have bought it.