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Sidney R. Bowen III, AIA


I was fortunate to have grown up in what is virtually the only completed prairie school community in the U.S. Rock Glen/Rock Crest in Mason City, Iowa, that had Walter Burley Griffin as its landscape architect. He, his wife—Marion Mahoney Griffin—William Drummond, and Barry Byrne shared the Oak Park studio with Frank Lloyd Wright, and designed nearly a dozen buildings for the small enclave.

As a child, I was fascinated by the enthusiasm and energy of the young architects who knocked on our door in hopes of a chance to poke through our house. I was touched by the influence of this profoundly human architecture that created both a place in the landscape, and a place at the domestic scale.

Reflecting these early influences in my practice, placemaking has always been the essential goal. A committed collaboration of architects, landscape architects, engineers, and builders has been essential to achieving a harmony of natural and built environment that achieves this goal. The enduring quality, resulting from thoughtful, integrated design goes beyond the “wow” that too often seems the aim of modern architecture and, in our best work, I believe we make a positive and lasting contribution to the human experience. That is why I am an architect.

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