As a Design Principal at CannonDesign, Ken Wiseman leads the firm’s creative process to conceive, refine and implement innovative, living-centered design solutions for clients. His creative leadership embraces visioning, programming, master planning, architectural design, and interior design. Additionally, he provides advice and consultation regarding the wide range of issues that inevitably arise when creating new places. While his primary focus has always been on design, he also served as President of the firm and was a member of the Board of Directors for over a decade. He was responsible for the firm’s design quality and process methodologies. He represented the firm at the AIA Large Firm Roundtable for over a decade and was a leader of the LFRT Deans Forum.
Ken has been named a Distinguished Alumni of The Ohio State University. He has lectured and taught at over twenty universities and has been a registered architect in multiple states and provinces. Ken served on the Recreation Access Advisory Committee of the United States Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board and in late 2019 completed his service on the NAAB ARC Steering Committee, which revised architectural accreditation standards and procedures. He is currently a board member of the Greater Washington D.C. Board of Trade, his local planning committee, and a member of the national AIA/AGC Joint Committee, which is focused on improving communication, integration, work force diversity and collaboration in the design and construction industries.
Ken has designed Olympic Sport facilities, mixed-use urban places, corporate headquarters, justice facilities, science and technology facilities, community spaces, health facilities, and virtually every type of building found on a college or university campus. His planning innovations resulted in new conceptual models and standards for sport facilities and campuses that have been adopted by institutions globally. His design innovations include the first precast dome ever constructed and the world’s largest wood roof.
His design work has been recognized with 31 awards for design excellence, including awards from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC). Five of his buildings have obtained LEED platinum certification. Ken’s work has been featured in a wide range of media outlets, from the NBC Nightly News and the Today Show, to Architectural Record, Architect, the Globe and Mail, Canadian Architect, Interiors, and USA Today.
His career accomplishments include the design of the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, which was described as “the finest center of its kind in the world” by IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch. Ken’s design of the Richmond Oval, which was the speed skating venue for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, received the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s Innovation in Architecture Award of Excellence, and the Green Building Practices Award from the Globe Foundation and World Green Building Council. The IAKS (International Association for the Construction of Sport and Leisure facilities) designated the Richmond Oval as one of the “50 Most Influential Sports Buildings Designed in the Last 50 Years”.
Where did you go to college?
-The Ohio State University – Master of Architecture
-The Ohio State University – Bachelor of Science, Architecture
Would you recommend studying architecture to a young person?
Absolutely, and I do that regularly.
What does it take to be an architect?
Creativity, curiosity, optimism, a desire to make or improve something, and love of life.
Was there an architect that particularly inspired you?
Ms. Patricia Swan, AIA: Pat was my first mentor. She evolved from being my supervisor to teacher, to collaborator, to friend, to inspiration. She was the first female Associate Partner at Skidmore Owings and Merrill. She was possibly the most complete and well-rounded architect I have ever had the privilege of knowing. I miss her.
What are you currently reading?
Several years ago my sister gave me a Kindle, so I now have multiple books in progress. My current reading includes The Peripheral by William Gibson; Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl; Atmosphaera Incognita by Neal Stephenson and Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness by Richard H. T Haler and Cass R. Sunstein.
What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
The best meal I ever had was at Tante Louise in Denver Colorado. It was my first date with my wife and I have no idea what we had for dinner.
Why do you volunteer with the AIA?
My motivation is to help improve the profession and increase our relevance in society.