Profile

Piper-Wind Architects, Inc. is located in the Kansas City Crossroads Arts District. We are a full service, general practice firm whose focus is in the design of architectural projects of the highest quality. We specialize in the planning and design of livable communities, traditional neighborhood development, and commercial districts. Our interests lie in creating quality places for people to live, work, gather and play through thoughtful renovations, new residential, commercial and public projects as well as careful planning practices.

We are motivated by the fundamental idea that good design enriches and benefits the lives of those who experience it.

We do not promote a particular style of architecture. Rather, we look to the physical, programmatic and social influences of the building's context to guide us to an appropriate architectural design that creates a memorable sense of place.

Piper-Wind Architects...

The quality of our projects is evident in the spaces and details that we create. In everything we do we strive to have a creative solution that results in a heightened experience for the user. Whether it is town planning, site design, interior renovations, or new building design, the creative process of designing and getting built quality space is the central focus of our firm.

...we create places for people.

profiles

PEOPLE

Eric Piper and John Wind are the founding Principals of Piper-Wind Architects, Inc. Well before Eric and John started Piper-Wind Architects in 1996, they shared a common passion for architecture and how they conduct their lives in pursuit of fulfilling their professional goals.

Eric J. Piper, AIA, Principal

Eric-PiperEric began his architectural career in 1978 upon earning a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture, and, after two years of internship, earning a Masters of Architecture in 1982 with an emphasis on design, history and planning. Since that time, his professional interests have become increasingly broad while maintaining a focus on quality design, careful execution and personal service. It was a career-long goal to establish a firm centered on these three things within an office culture that fostered a balance between the staff’s professional and personal lives. He has always been interested in developing a diverse and multi-disciplined practice of committed and talented professionals, improving the quality of the built environment through good design and thoughtful planning, and directing the process on projects of all sizes and levels of complexity with a “hands-on” approach to ensure that this quality is achieved. 

One of the greatest pleasures Eric has is in mentoring fellow professionals. “As our firm continues to attract intelligent, talented, motivated and enthusiastic people, I get most excited about developing young professionals into great architects, learning from their own experiences and perspectives, while also attuned to their personal growth.” He spends a great deal of time keeping projects “on track” by being a very active member of the project team in his role as principal-in-charge or lead designer.  

When he’s not in the midst of directing a project, Eric always enjoys the opportunity to sit down and design.”I love problem solving in general, but to work out a design problem on paper still brings the greatest gratification. That’s what architects are first and foremost trained to do in a way that no one else is.”  With such diverse interests as - art, history, anthropology, preservation, urban design and revitalization, neighborhood planning, context responsive design, regionalism and interiors, there is a strong knowledge base in which he draws from in his work. 

For Eric, being a dedicated professional has meant striking the right balance between business, family and community, exemplified by his past civic, charitable, and professional leadership roles as President of the Kansas City Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, Planning Commission Chairman and as Church Elder. When not working, Eric divides his time with his family in restoring their 100 year-old house in Kansas City’s historic Hyde Park, and their shared interest in the fine and decorative arts.

John M. Wind, AIA, Principal

John-Wind

John began his architectural career in 1984 upon earning a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Kansas State University (which included a semester of study abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark). Since that time his daily focus has remained the same ...Work Hard, Be Creative, Listen Carefully, and Exceed Expectations.

For John, being a dedicated professional also means striking the right balance between family, business, and charitable work. "Being part of the community, whether it is attending my daughter's equestrian events, or participating as a Board Member for a Not-for-Profit organization, enriches my life and, I believe, makes me a better architect".

In the office, John loves to roll-up his sleeves and draw. It does not matter if he is developing a design for a custom house or working through a challenging construction detail for a multi-story building. "We expect the projects Piper-Wind gets involved with to be around for a long time, so, to best serve our Client's and anyone who may experience one of our buildings, we believe it is worth investing the time and energy to develop the proper solution."

When he is not drawing, John is most likely working with other Team Members overseeing and guiding projects. "I really enjoy the collaborative process and working as a Team. I have found that the combination of working with Piper-Wind's staff of very talented individuals, along with knowledgeable engineers and builders, where everyone on the team is working to deliver the best project possible, can result in incredibly well designed buildings that exceed our Clients expectations."

In his spare time, it would not be unusual to find John dabbling in Plein Air painting, tending to his yard and garden; or walking Daisy, the Wind's high energy dog. "I enjoy being outdoors; I enjoy the simple pleasure of a well manicured yard; and I value time to be alone with my thoughts... often times they are thoughts about something I am working on at the office."

Christopher A. Martin, AIA, LEED AP, Senior Associate

Chris-MartinChristopher holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Kansas State University. After graduation in 1996, he returned home to Kansas City to begin his architectural career. Since then, he has had extensive experience with locally and internationally recognized projects while working with a diverse range of public and private clients.

At Piper-Wind Architects, Christopher serves as both a Project Manager and Lead Project Architect on various building types to provide clients with comprehensive planning, design and construction services. He believes in the notion that the professional service of architecture is responsible for instilling value within its product; value to both the clients he serves as well as the community. To this end, Christopher remains involved in many aspects of a project from strategic development and programming to budget analysis, scheduling, design, technical documentation and construction administration.

When not at the office, Christopher can be found spending time with his wife and three children or many of the other friends and family he has throughout the local area.

Ken Low, AIA, Associate

Ken-LowUpon completion of a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Kansas State University in 1978, Ken began his architectural career in Springfield, Missouri. After spending five years practicing in southwest Missouri, Ken relocated to the Kansas City area. Through his years of experience as a project manager and a firm owner, Ken has worked with a wide range of public and private clients. Project types include governmental, commercial, educational, offices, health care, student housing, residential, and institutional facilities.

Ken views each and every project, no matter what size or complexity, as a new challenge to go above and beyond clients' goals and expectations. It is that challenge that helps Ken maintain his passion and enthusiasm for the practice of architecture, pushing the envelope to find creative solutions to meet client's needs.

Dedicated to meeting clients needs through exceptional client service, Ken is a firm believer that this begins by listening - listening to understanding clients needs and wants, being flexible and following through is the only way to "get it right". This allows Ken to provide the information required to allow clients to make the best informed decision.

Another of Ken's strengths is utilizing his unique problem solving skills to coordinate team efforts to address complex design issues and challenging budgets. "I enjoy managing projects by leading the entire team to work together toward a common goal - a successful project and a happy client. Every project is an opportunity to not only lead and mentor younger team members but to also learn from their perspectives and experiences".

Giving back to the community is also high on Ken's priority list. His public service includes his community as a member of the City of Westwood Planning Commission, his church as a member of the St Agnes Buildings and Grounds Committee, the Shawnee Mission East Band Booster Board, and the Boy Scouts of America, where he has helped many young men become Eagle Scouts, including his two sons. In his spare time, Ken enjoys spending time with his family, working on home remodeling projects, being outdoors and camping, boating, attending KSU football games with his family and exercising at the gym or cycling with his wife.

Tim Kline, AIA

Tim KlineWith over twenty-five years of experience in sports, entertainment, civic, institutional and commercial architecture, Tim has played an integral role in creating iconic landmarks enjoyed by people across the country and the world.  These destination projects have ranged from professional, collegiate and Olympic sports venues to museum galleries, collegiate facilities, educational exhibits and themed amusement park attractions.

Many of these projects have been technologically sophisticated, requiring specialized consultants and the ability to maintain the design integrity in spite of the challenges of programmatic constraints, budgets and schedules inherent with multiple phase and large scale projects.

As designers, Tim believes that the ultimate goal is to create a welcoming environment with a unique sense of place, where people may gather to learn, to be entertained, to relax or shop while enjoying an experience that is evocative and memorable.  The environments we design may narrate a story, engage us in dialogue or convey a message of sustainability and conservation.  Always the goal is to create an architecture that uplifts the human spirit, inspires us to greatness, celebrates our victories, and memorializes our achievements.

But as architects, Tim embraces the firm philosophy that we don’t simply design buildings; we build relationships with our clients, our community and ultimately the end users.  Understanding our client’s operations and business model is essential to develop a flexible and functional facility that can increase utilization, maximize revenue opportunities and optimize return on investment.  Every successful project hinges upon long term financial and environmental sustainability and ultimately client satisfaction with not just the facility, but also with the process of design and construction.

In his free time, Tim enjoys cycling around the Kansas City area and traveling abroad to experience life in different cities and cultures.

Michael D. Blackledge, AIA, LEED AP, Associate

Michael-BlackledgeMichael joined Piper-Wind Architects, Inc. in the spring of 2000 as an intern and currently enjoys the role of Project Manager and Job Captain on a variety of project types and sizes. Michael completed his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Kansas in the spring of 2000. He then joined Piper-Wind Architects, Inc. full time after working part time for the firm during his last year of school. Joining the firm just four years after it was founded has allowed him to develop and share in the collaborative and disciplined work ethic the firm puts into every project. Michael shares in John and Eric's passion to provide not only a quality product but quality service to their clients.

The problem solving nature of architecture has always intrigued Michael about the career of an architect. "Each project is a new puzzle to solve with a unique set of circumstances, so the work is always refreshing itself." Michael also enjoys the fact that a host of other skills and disciplines are inherent to the practice of architecture, so that politics, communications, the arts, community service, and a host of others are all relevant to practicing architecture.

While at Piper-Wind Architects, Inc., Michael has enjoyed experiencing all aspects of a project from initial space planning all the way through construction administration. "I believe being able to experience all aspects of the building process is essential to becoming a well rounded architect, and Piper-Wind Architects has been great at providing that opportunity."

Michael has received his LEED accreditation and enjoys reading articles and researching new materials and methods that can potentially be built in to the basic services architects provide. There are also growing opportunities to exceed these basic green building practices with more and more clients desiring environmentally friendly buildings. When not at the office, Michael enjoys taking in a good movie, or you can find him on one of the many mountain bike trails around the Kansas City area.

Sarah Kempf, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Associate

Sarah KempfSarah joined Piper-Wind in the fall of 2006. Sarah is a licensed architect, holds NCARB certification and is LEEDAP BD+C accredited. Since joining the office, she has worked on a variety of projects in the architecture community of Kansas City from commercial to residential. Sarah’s role in the office is to continue developing her skills and understanding of architecture while managing clients & consultants and passing along that knowledge to her co-workers.

Sarah received her education from Kansas State University. While attending the university she was involved in a handful of student organizations, had an eight month internship in San Antonio, TX and earned a Business Minor in addition to a Bachelor of Architecture.

Sarah believes that everything in the design environment should be thoroughly designed and thought through from the relationship to its surroundings to the smallest detail. The clients’ needs and environmental stewardship should be at the basis of all design. She appreciates the challenge of working with a variety of clients and interpreting their unique programs in to thoughtful design solutions.

Outside of the office Sarah is involved with the local AIA chapter and her neighborhood association. She enjoys educating and bringing awareness to issues within the design profession and the architecture community. Sarah also spends her free time with family & friends watching sports, cooking together or exploring the City.

Katie Zarate, AIA

Katie ZarateKatie has been with Piper-Wind Architects since 2014.  Since then she has worked on a variety of custom residential projects in the Kansas City area. Prior to joining Piper-Wind Architects, Katie worked at Robert A.M. Stern Architects in New York City on residential, retail, office, academic, and planning projects both domestically and abroad. Katie received her Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University.  During her time at Cornell she was involved in many design opportunities including participating as a team leader for Cornell’s Solar Decathlon competition entry in which students design and build a net-zero energy house, contributing as part of a 4-man team winning an international lighting design competition, and studying for a semester abroad in Rome.  In her free-time Katie enjoys tackling DIY home improvement projects and exploring the Kansas/Missouri area.

Jordan T. Elliott, Associate AIA

Jordan ElliottJordan joined Piper Wind Architects in 2014 after graduating from Kansas State University with his Master of Architecture degree. Having recently graduated, he brings a fresh view of what design can be, and how it can benefit both PWA’s clients and the community. 

Intent on finding the beauty in all aspects of life, architecture and design have provided him a way to do more than simply appreciate it, but to create it. Jordan believes that beauty in architecture is found in more than just the aesthetic, but penetrates through all levels of design. Recognizing that it is the details of design that drive an idea, he was excited to find an office that strives for the same goals, and gives the opportunity to gain experience in a wide range of projects. 

Outside of work Jordan spends time exploring the culture of Kansas City with his camera. Framing the vibrant life of this great city continuously inspires him to reimagine what architecture can be.

Danny Kliewer

Danny KliewerDanny joined Piper-Wind in 2014 after graduating from Kansas State University with a Master of Architecture degree. While at Kansas State, Danny spent a semester studying abroad at the Italart Centro Studi Santa Chiara in Castiglion Fiorentino, Tuscany, Italy. Danny believes that his time abroad was vital to his education because he was able to see first-hand the impact a culture can have on the surrounding architecture. He also participated in the Kansas City Design Center program where the collaborative project he worked on won multiple awards.

In the office he serves as an intern architect where he will work on a wide variety of projects ranging from renovations to new construction and commercial, residential and governmental projects. Danny is also working towards becoming a licensed architect. He says one of his favorite things about working in the field of architecture is that he gets to always learn something new which allows him to grow better in his profession every single day.

Danny enjoys watching and playing sports in his free time, especially golf, baseball, and football. He moved to Kansas City from his hometown of Moberly, MO in April 2014. He says he enjoys the urban lifestyle, but he will never forget his small town roots.

Tu Tran

Tu TranTu joined the firm in 2015 upon receiving a Masters of Architecture degree from the University of Kansas. At PWA, Tu serves as an intern architect where his work spans a wide variety of project types, affording him many opportunities to gain the type and varied experiences required to become a licensed architect. 

While at KU, Tu was involved in several projects and community efforts that specialized in community outreach design. Those experiences heightened Tu’s awareness of the value and responsibility architects are charged with relative to designing and building in ways that are focused to motivate social change and to serve public interests and needs. Tu’s notable accomplishments at KU included being a finalist for the annual 2015 Student Design & Planning for HUD Affordable Housing Competition, held in Washington D.C. 

Tu believes that great designs should evolve effortlessly, stemming from the results of research, experimentation, and observation and that the true beauty of design lies in its ability to stimulate growth and nurture in a community. He sees joining the team at Piper-Wind Architects, who share the same dedication and passion for delivering quality products and services to clients and the community, as an exciting opportunity. 

Outside of work Tu enjoys sports – as a spectator and participant - especially KU Basketball, the Royals, and the Chiefs. Having lived in the City of Fountains for over 20 years, Tu has turned into a true Kansas City native.

Annie Dear, Office Administrator

Annie DearAnnie Dear is a native Australian who has worked in the architectural industry for over 25 years. After leaving Sydney in 1999, she moved to Kansas City where she has continued her work in the field. She managed offices in Sydney, Australia for 12 years and in Kansas City, MO for a firm for 8 years and has recently joined Piper-Wind Architects.

Annie handles all of PWA’s accounting needs, and thoroughly enjoys the variety of managing an architectural office and especially the personal interaction this allows with everyone in the firm.

Outside of the office, Annie writes a weekly column for the Independence Examiner and Blue Springs Examiner; plays a mean game of bridge, and enjoys cooking and wine, not necessarily in that order.