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Inspiring Conversations with Tom Niemeier of SPACE

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tom Niemeier. 

Hi Tom, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers?
I started practicing architecture back in 1986 after graduating from Kansas State University. In 2005, I started my own design company known as SPACE. We have evolved from small design practice, into a premium-level service, with one source project delivery. Our holistic services include architecture, interior design, custom fabrication, and Construction Management. We determined early on if we wanted to be able to design with full creative freedom, we had to be able to control the custom fabrication and overall construction process. We are the only architect-owned design and build company in St. Louis, at least that I am aware of. We are well known for our award-winning restaurant design. We focus primarily on local St. Louis projects.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Owning and managing a design firm in St. Louis is never easy. There is a lot of competition, so it is critical to distinguish what sets your firm apart from the rest. We have tried to do that through our custom fabrication and construction side, which also creates both opportunities and challenges. The chemistry of the office is always a delicate balance as architects, contractors, and fabricators coming together is critical to our success. Our workforce is more diversified than the typical design firm with the addition of fabricators and builders, so we have a better understanding of different skill sets. Obviously, the financial meltdown of 2009-2011 was a huge issue which we barely survived, Then the pandemic has its own set of challenges. We have emerged better than ever in my opinion.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about SPACE Architects + Designers + Builders.?
We are a small but diverse firm that specializes in custom design and construction. We are virtually the only design-build firm in the metropolitan area that is architect-owned. This is key as we lead with design-based solutions and are not with a construction mentality of just get it built and move on. We are hyper-focused on St. Louis, and nearly all of our projects are locally based. We work as a team to solve issues quickly and efficiently, always leading with carefully designed solutions. We typically specialize in projects from $500k to $5M in construction cost. Many people know us for our award-winning restaurant design. We approach these projects senior level expertise, with myself as architect, my wife Shelley, Senior Interior Designer, and Dan Glidewell, our construction manager. With this team, we can quickly solve front end issues early to get the project moving in the right direction quickly. We get a lot of pride in seeing our spaces come to life after construction. We always focus on quality design and detailing with a simple timeless palette of honest materials like glass, concrete, wood, and steel. We are a design firm that specializes in custom modern design, and the biggest compliment we get is when people tell us when they enter a SPACE-designed place, they feel like they are not in St. Louis anymore. We want to take the STL to a higher place design-wise, and surprise visitors to St. Louis with our progressive approach.

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role, if any, you feel it’s played for you?
Luck has played a part in my life since I was born, both good and bad. I met the love of my life through a random encounter on Twitter, and she also turned out to be an award winning designer. I had a wonderful childhood with parents who deeply loved each other. When I was 16, my dad died unexpectedly of a major cardiac event, and this was a life-changing event for me. It changed me in that I realized no one knows when they will be taken, so make every minute count in your life. It has made me in a bit of a hurry all the time, but only because there is so much more I want to do. His death also has made me cognizant of how important it is to be present with family, here and now. Life has really been pretty fantastic, as I am doing exactly what I love to do, and working with a small like-minded group of passionate people, designing and building beautiful spaces for people to enjoy. Life is good.

Contact Info:

  • Email: tom@spacestl.com
  • Website: SPACESTL.com
  • Instagram: @spacearchitects
  • Facebook: SPACE Architects
  • Twitter: @spacearchitects

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