Director of Plant Services
Clinton Community School District
Bishop Engineering Co., Inc.
frk architects + engineers celebrated 90 years of service in 2013 – making it one of the oldest architectural firms in the state. “Having such a rich history doesn’t happen by coincidence,” says managing partner Dave Briden. “We have always had a reputation of working very hard to serve our clients well and to build long lasting relationships with them. That’s the key to our success.”
In 1923 frk was started in Des Moines by three architects: Dougher, Rich and Woodburn, during a time when a set of blueprints was 12 or 15 pages and drawn by hand, Des Moines was just a small city and one of their biggest worries was getting the Model T started on a cold winter morning. Now designers create using computers, a set of drawings is 10 times larger and Des Moines is a major Midwest city. “To be able to stay in business for so long,” says chief operating officer Annette Dotts, “we have had to keep up with an ever changing industry. We have replaced drafting tables with computer screens and sophisticated software. Almost everything is different about our business 90 years later except our commitment to client relationships.”
Currently the firm specializes in designing educational facilities, serving numerous school districts and community colleges around the state. But over the years the firm has designed many public and commercial buildings including the B’nai Jeshurun Temple in Des Moines, Kum and Go stores throughout the Midwest, The Adventureland Inn in Altoona, the Colony Park and West Towers office buildings in West Des Moines, and the Cass County Courthouse in Atlantic. Throughout its history the firm’s design style can be described as reflective of the times, but always approached with care and attention to detail. “The famous architect Loius Sullivan’s quote, ‘Form follows function,’ can be described as a starting point for frk’s design,” according to Tom Wollan, a partner and project architect with the firm. “We have always had a reputation for listening closely to what the client wants in the building and making sure those needs are met. The aesthetic qualities follow the functionality of the design.”
After 90+ years in the business what motivates the architects at frk to come to work each day? Dave Briden explains it this way: “Creative yet functional architecture that serves the client’s needs has always been of utmost importance for me. The creative problem solving process that takes place each day is what makes this work so gratifying. frk's strong commitment to client satisfaction provides the foundation from which this style of practice can flourish.”