Why I am an Architect: Jeff Needles

Caveat: The world is changing and with it an opportunity presents itself. For the past seven months, we have perused online communications and discovered that while many in the architectural and design community emphasize and embrace the cult of personality/ celebrity persona, very few embrace the rough–often humorous edges–of their own humanity. Sixthriver Architects decided that if we entered the global conversation, we commit to a retrospective: really think and communicate who we are, where we’ve been, what we know, and why we do what we do. After all, every profession and every medium, especially architecture and design, is about people. We want to communicate the I and thou, not the it. This is the beginning of a series written by our individual shareholders about the events and episodes that moved them along to their respective professions… the good, the bad, and the funny.

My love of architecture came as a kid in Chicago with my father, an accounting professor with a passion for architecture.  He introduced me to Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies Van der Rowe, SOMHelmut Jahn, and others right outside our front door.  I drew every chance I got, having no idea that I was priming my own passion.

At Texas Tech University, I pursued Civil Engineering concurrently with Architecture and cultivated both artistic and technical interests, culminating in a multi-disciplinary Team Design Thesis.  I left Texas Tech in May of 1994 with professional degrees in Architecture and Civil Engineering and a great appreciation for the collaboration involved in the design and development of a building project.

After college, I engineered structures by day and tried in vain to satisfy my intense creative needs by drawing at night.  I eventually abandoned engineering and focused on architecture receiving varied experience.  I obtained my architectural registration in 1999 and never looked back.

  • Kurt Goll

    Jeff, I grew up in Chicago, and also got my Arch degree from Texas Tech. Now if you only played soccer we would really be alike.