KEN NEWBERRY AIA, LEED AP
One of the guiding philosophies at Newberry is that architecture should be about the client, not the architect. It’s a core belief that comes from the very top.
“Most clients know what they want and what they don’t want, but they don’t know how to turn it into architecture,” said Ken Newberry, the founding senior principal of the firm that bears his name. “It’s our responsibility to make their vision a reality, not to force our vision upon them.”
His client-first perspective has its origins in the past, and has translated well to the present. “I would create wild and crazy things as a kid to entertain people,” he explained. “What I’m doing now is basically the same thing – creating architecture that helps our clients enjoy their lives. I believe architecture affects how we feel, and I want them to feel great about their space every day, whether it’s their home, their business, their bedroom, their office, everything.”
For that to happen, requires a willingness to listen. And listening is another defining value of Newberry Architecture.
“It is a huge part of the job,” Ken said. “What we do affects people’s lives, so we have to hear from them and understand them – their work and family dynamic. We have to know how their world functions, and that means paying attention to how they live and what they say.”
“So we put a lot of importance in communication. We talk to clients constantly to make sure we know what they’re thinking and feeling. We do the same internally. Design doesn’t happen in a couple of days, it takes time. So we meet about drawings and sketches, and we do them over and over until we have the best design and it reflects what the client sees.”
A University of Houston architecture graduate who also studied at the University of Rome in Italy, Ken is widely recognized for his progressive use of traditional and modern construction materials in new as well as remodeling projects. His experience includes work in custom residential, commercial, restaurant, and retail architecture.
Additionally, he is a licensed architect in Texas, Colorado, Florida, and Virginia, and a LEED-Accredited Professional for New Construction with the U.S. Green Building Council. As extensive as his personal background is, Ken is quick to note that Newberry has a deep roster of professionals. In a business where it’s not uncommon for a firm to be built solely for and around the name partners, Newberry is an exception. “As we’ve grown, the depth of our talent has grown, too,” he said. “We have assembled a strong leadership team, we complement each other effectively, and clients can have absolute confidence that they’ll get the same level of skill and service no matter who they’re working with. We are not, by any means, a one- or two- or even a three-person show.”
All of the client-centric principles that the firm holds deeply – communication, listening, teamwork, creating desirable and enjoyable spaces – are underscored by one thing that is very much a function of Ken Newberry: Passion. “I have a natural desire for changing and improving people’s lives,” Ken said. “If you have the talent and ability to make that happen, then I believe you have a moral obligation to do it.” His passion speaks for itself.
Ken is a founding board member of Starfish Kenya, a not-for-profit organization that assists children who have been orphaned by AIDS. He travels to Kenya, and the firm designs all building and facilities at the House of Hope, an orphanage sponsored by the organization.
As a founding board member, Ken also works with the Texas chapter of Boys to Men – an organization of men who guide, support, and mentor young, often fatherless boys. Furthermore, he has served on the Board of Harris County Drug Court Foundation, the executive board of the AIDS Foundation, and previously as a co-chair for the World AIDS Day Luncheon.
That passion, coupled with the professionalism of the Newberry team, has become a hallmark of the firm’s culture.
“We look for people who strive for excellence, who are committed to pursuing and creating the highest possible level of design, and who understand that architecture contributes to the lives and well-being of the clients we serve,” he said. “We encourage our team members to contribute in a meaningful way to something larger than themselves. Then we provide them the opportunity to do it. Everybody wins!”