Jan 15, 2013

Favorite Tools

Favorite Tools

How do you create?

With a new year comes new projects and an all new sense of ambition. This month was ask ourselves, “What is my favorite tool to use when I create?” This year will hold all new opportunities for design and fresh energy for projects ahead – each of us armed with our favorite tools to get it done!

Dec 10, 2012

Tribute to Oscar Niemeyer, Brazil’s Modernist Icon

Tribute to Oscar Niemeyer, Brazil’s Modernist Icon

Niemeyer was one of those few architects who is recognized and admired by people from all walks of life, especially by those in his native Brazil, where he is considered an icon. Always motivated to design for his fellow man, Niemeyer was a Brazilian first, and an architect second.

In Niemeyer’s words: “It is important that the architect think not only of architecture but of how architecture can solve the problems of the world. The architect’s role is to fight for a better world, where he can produce an architecture that serves everyone and not just a group of privileged people.”

This month, we want to pay tribute to Oscar Niemeyer. We hope to learn from his beliefs and designs and see his work forward far into the future.

Nov 27, 2012

2012 Biannual AIA Design Awards Exhibition

2012 Biannual AIA Design Awards Exhibition

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of a winning architecture project?  Well now you can get a glimpse of the processes that develop some of the regions best new projects!  This Wednesday is the closing night for the 2012 Biannual AIA Design Awards Exhibition at Drury on C-Street.  This exhibition features projects that won a 2012 AIA Award and the process drawings and sketches that made them possible.  To celebrate the exhibition there will be a closing reception and creative conversation from 6:00 to 8:00pm.  The panel will include our very own Mark Wheeler and Matt Thornton who will answer questions and discuss the inner workings of the design process.

We are proud to have five of our projects featured in this collection: Andy’s Frozen Custard (Citation Award), Reeds Spring R-IV School District (Citation Award), Missouri State University Cheek Hall (Merit Award), the Student Recreation Center for Missouri State University-West Plains (Honor Award), and the Glenwood Residence  (Public Recognition Award).

We would love to see you there!

Nov 2, 2012



Lebbeus Woods: experimental designer, writer, professor, and visionary architect recently passed away in his Manhattan loft. He was 72.

Over the years, Woods’ drawings have transported us to conceptual worlds where kinetic and alien architecture transcends our expectations and understandings of urban spaces, buildings, and other structures. Furthermore, his exploration of such heavy sociopolitical subjects as anarchy, death, destruction, crisis, war, and conflict, made Woods’ unique, thought-provoking drawing style influential to a wide range of viewers, including city planners, sociologists, policy makers, movie makers, artists, and architects. He helped found the Research Institute for Experimental Architecture, and his work has been exhibited worldwide in many important cultural venues. He will undoubtedly be an important influence for both designers and intellectuals for years to come.

Oct 16, 2012



Next week, Brandon will travel to Tulsa to speak at the AIA Oklahoma Annual Convention. This year’s conference is themed “Re-New, Re-Charge, Re-Invent”. Brandon will present “Re-Planning Joplin for a Brighter Future” on Thursday, October 25th at 10:00am. The presentation will discuss the collaborative efforts between the Joplin community, regional design professionals, and AIA National to help Joplin recover from the EF5 tornado that devastated 1/3 of the town on May 22, 2011. As the 2011 president of AIA Springfield, Brandon was instrumental in leading this movement. Throughout the recovery process he worked with members of FEMA, administration and officials from the City of Joplin, the Joplin Chamber of Commerce, and community leaders educating others about the value architects provide to their communities and the important role the AIA can play in recovery efforts.

So pack up your bags and head on down to OK! We’d love to see you there!


Oct 11, 2012



Last Friday, Andrew set out for Lincoln, Nebraska to attend this year’s AIA Central States Awards. We were honored to have received awards in not one, but two categories! A new practice gymnasium for Reeds Spring R-IV School District received an Excellence in Architecture Honor Award and the new Student Recreation Center for Missouri State University-West Plains received an Excellence in Detail Honor Award.

The jury members included Jury Chair, Ronnette Riley, FAIA, Ronnette Riley Architect; Guy Maxwell, AIA, Ennead Architects; and Rob Rogers, FAIA, Rogers Marvel Architects.

As Andrew put it, “We are quite humbled that these two projects were honored alongside projects designed by firms we consider to be the region’s best design firms.”

Oct 5, 2012

Monster Works of Architecture

Monster Works of Architecture

We often don’t think of architecture as a monster but it can create very powerful moods and evoke strong emotions. “Monster architecture” describes works at a monstrous scale, works that are imposing, unsettling or evoke some sort of heightened mood or feeling such as fear, worry, or insignificance.

Throughout history and the modern era builders have used architecture as a way to convey powerful moods and feelings in places of worship, assembly spaces, and government buildings. These feelings can be conveyed through scale, void, misdirection, weight or simply through color or sharp geometry. This month, we’ve chosen a group of works from around the world that we have confronted and have made us feel the fear!

Aug 1, 2012

8 Years.

8 Years.

Upon reflecting on the past eight years of our practice, Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra comes to mind.  If we had met Yogi Berra eight years ago, the encounter might have gone something like this.

Brandon: “Mr. Berra, you’ve been so successful over the years.  Do you have any good advice for a couple of young architects thinking about starting a new practice in Springfield, Missouri?”

Yogi: “When you arrive at a fork in the road, take it.”

Andrew: “Okaaaay, yeah. Whatever…I mean…I feel like we have so much to learn.”

Yogi: “You can observe a lot by just watching.”

Brandon: “What?!  –  Yogi, we’ve been working on a  business plan.  Do you think that’s a good idea?”

Yogi: “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.”

Sound advice for two greenhorns with nothing but a dream.  We began to gain work.  Then the bottom fell out in the fall of 2008.  Times were hard for a while.  We lost out on some projects when there just wasn’t much to go around.  We had recently lost a commission when a sales rep invited us to see a Kansas City Royals game.  We took him up on the offer, and who did we run into but our old friend.

Andrew:  “Brandon, I just don’t understand why we didn’t get that commission?”

Yogi:  “We made too many wrong mistakes.”

Andrew:  “Who’s ‘we’?”

Brandon:  “I’d call it a slump.”

Yogi: “Slump? I ain’t in no slump… I just ain’t hitting.”

Brandon:  “I said we’re in a slump, Yogi, not you.”

Yogi:  “We made too many wrong mistakes.”

Andrew:  “Oh, brother…”

Things started to turn around.  We began to gain new projects and receive acclaim for the design work we were doing.  Our practice began to grow.  So much has happened in the last eight years and we’ve tried to document much of it through our website.  Then, just last week, Yogi stopped by our office to see how things are going.  He was surprised to see that we now have fourteen full time staff.

Yogi:  “We have deep depth.”

Andrew:  “Who’s we again?”

Yogi:  “The future ain’t what it used to be.”

Brandon:  “I know!  Isn’t it great?  But we’re still working to make sure that people know that we exist.  Even with all of the national press we’ve received and the recent local media attention, it boggles my mind that there are so many people that don’t know about Dake Wells Architecture.”

Yogi: “There are some people who, if they don’t already know, you can’t tell ’em.”

Andrew:  “huh?  Yogi, I think all this heat is getting to you.”

Yogi:  “It ain’t the heat, it’s the humility.”

Brandon:  “Don’t you mean humidity?  Nevermind, nobody’s perfect.”

Yogi: “If the world was perfect, it wouldn’t be.”

Andrew: “What?!”

Brandon: “It’s not like our practice is a purely theoretical one, like John Hedjuk’s or something.  I mean, we definitely have a strong connection to theory based practice, but we’re interested in making the world a better place through design, not just some verbal gobbledegook.”

Yogi: “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.”

Andrew: “Finally!  I totally agree with you Yogi!

Yogi: “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

Brandon: “Be sure to come back and see us next year, Yogi, and we’ll give you the nickel tour of our new office space!”

Yogi: “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”

Brandon: “It’s like deja-vu, all over again.”


Thanks everybody for a stellar 8 years!  Here’s to at least 8 more!

Jul 9, 2012

Olympic Games and Urban Planning

We are getting pumped up for the 2012 Summer Olympics coming up this month. We find the worldwide event fascinating, especially from an urban planning and design perspective. The impact of the month-long event has on the host city can be positive or detrimental. With proper planning, the Games can positively boost the host city’s economy and boost urban development for the better.

To start a conversation about the influence of the Games, we have displayed diagrams of past host cities that highlight the main area affected by the Games in our windows for the month of July. Note that some Olympic parks are placed on the outskirts of the city, while others are incorporated within the main city fabric creating a more urban event –  that possibly has a better chance of being successfully repurposed.

(Go Team USA!)

Jun 29, 2012

417 Magazine Features AIA Springfield Design Awards

417 Magazine Features AIA Springfield Design Awards

417 Magazine featured the results of AIA Springfield’s Design Awards in their July 2012 issue. Among the award winners were several of our projects, making this year an exciting one for us locally (and it’s just June)!

Award-winning projects that were published include Andy’s Home OfficesCheek HallReeds Spring High School AdditionStudent Recreation Center, and Glenwood Residence.

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