In 1977, the four founding members of Neumann Monson Architects began work in a small office in Iowa City. Our goal was simple: promote design excellence and establish long-lasting client relationships. Over the next four decades, Neumann Monson has steadily grown into one of the most recognized architecture firms in Iowa—but we’ve never lost sight of our founders’ vision. By combining talent and expertise with a deeply collaborative, client-focused philosophy, we aim to create design solutions that drive positive change. We believe that thoughtful design has the power to spark inspiration and cultivate communities, and it is this idea that leads our team into the future.
When Roy Neumann, Kevin Monson, Rick Caruth, and Max Miller joined forces in the late 1970s, they understood the importance of a client-centric design philosophy and worked to deliver relevant solutions that met clients’ needs and budgets. Through this pragmatic approach, they built the Neumann Monson brand, earning projects with county governments, municipal governments, and public schools. These foundational projects cultivated our pragmatic approach, cementing in us the importance of maintaining budgets and incorporating the community into the design process. Throughout the 1980s and 90s, our team established client relationships across Iowa, took on larger projects, and expanded our impact. These successes were reinvested into fresh talent and new technologies, which allowed our team to continuously innovate and elevate clients’ needs.
A New Generation
In 2012, we began a firm-wide conversation about our mission and values to mature our brand and guide our process. With design excellence and client relationships in mind, our team established a fresh vision to keep pace with an ever-changing world. The result prioritized seven key criteria: service, relationships, mentorship, empowerment, excellence, execution, and responsibility. We incorporated these criteria into our 2017 strategic plan and made client relationships our top priority. Today, these overarching principles inspire our work and encourage us to deliver quality service while growing our talent and expertise. Feedback and collaboration—with both our team members and clients—is the heart of everything we do.
Looking Toward the Future
Equipped with a clear vision, we have steadily grown our brand throughout the last decade by opening a second studio in Des Moines and earning national and regional awards, along with recognition in publications. Since revamping our vision in 2012, we have doubled our number of recognitions with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) at local, regional, and national levels. Our collaboration with mission-driven clients has resulted in designs that make an enduring impact on individuals, communities, and the environment. Additionally, our members are emerging as leaders in our industry with speaking engagements across the country.
As we look to the future, our team pursues opportunities to make a positive impact on both our communities and our planet. We have formed close partnerships with non-profits and volunteer organizations to promote civic engagement and deepen our connections. Our non-hierarchal, team-oriented approach encourages continuous innovation and weaves design excellence and sustainable practices throughout our creative process.
Despite our growth, we have never forgotten the key values that guided our founders’ initial success. Long-lasting client relationships remain our top priority. By working closely with our clients and animating our work with responsibility and empowerment, we strive to make an enduring, positive impact on the communities we serve and the planet we inhabit.