substance is a collaborative design practice established in Des Moines, Iowa in 2001. The firm brings together the talent and expertise of some of the region’s most recognized design professionals engaged in the disciplines of Architecture, Interior Architecture, Master Planning and Design.
substance has a staff of fourteen seasoned professionals and can assemble and lead a diverse consultant team tailored to the demands of any project. As our name implies, we are committed to enduring architectural values rather than ephemeral notions of style. We are passionate about architecture and are committed to advancing the discipline in service to our clients.
substance is a team. We work together and draw upon the collective knowledge of everyone in our studio. This studio includes practitioners with over three decades of experience working side-by-side and in concert with recent architectural graduates and interns. The results are innovative design ideas tempered by experience and time tested techniques. Our team is augmented by respected consultants offering specific additional expertise. Moreover, our team always includes our clients as engaged, active participants.
substance takes pride in our commitment to collaboration – we listen. We listen to our clients and work with them to determine both their project’s functional needs and to discover their emotional aspirations and desires. In turn, we listen to our consultants and integrate their expertise to guide a design process which best meets our client’s requirements. This collaborative, communication-rich approach effectively addresses the needs of projects and project teams of all scales and has resulted in a broad portfolio of effective building solutions ranging from a $20 million urban park to a $20,000 interior intervention and a wide range of project types in between.
substance is defined as “the real or essential part of anything, essence, reality, or basic matter.” We are committed to searching collaboratively for the essence of our client’s architectural challenges. We believe that through finding and understanding the essential problem – we will identify the most effective solution. Working together with our clients we believe we can achieve architecture which exceeds their expectations and stands the test of time – this, for us, is work of substance.
Tim Hickman is a graduate of Iowa State University (BA 1985) and Yale University (MArch 2000). Prior to forming substance in 2005, Tim worked with Des Moines’ firms Shiffler and Associates, Baldwin White, and Herbert Lewis Kruse Blunck Architecture where he was named an Associate in 2000. Tim has significant experience working with higher education clients including leading roles in multiple projects for the Iowa Board of Regents. Included are the Multimodal Transportation Center at the University of Northern Iowa and award-winning projects at the University of Iowa including the Blank Honors Center, Melrose Ave. Parking Facility, and Newton Road Parking Facility, winner of a National 2002 Honor Award for Architecture from the American Institute of Architects. In addition, Tim led the design of the Pappajohn Higher Education Center in Des Moines and as well as the design effort for the new athletic training and practice facility for the University of Iowa Football program. He is a frequent Lecturer at the ISU’s Dept. of Architecture, where he has taught a range of architectural design studios. His architectural work is complimented by service to the community, with volunteer work for many cultural and non-profit groups including the Des Moines Art Center, the Playhouse, and the AIDS Project of Central Iowa.
Paul Mankins is a graduate of Iowa State University (BA 1985) and Yale University (MArch 1991). Prior to forming substance in 2005, Paul worked with Smith–Miller + Hawkinson in New York City, Kaplan McLaughlin Diaz in San Francisco, and Herbert Lewis Kruse Blunck Architecture where he was named a Principal in 1999. Paul has directed the design of projects recognized with over thirty-five Honor and Merit Awards for design from the Central States Region, Iowa, and San Francisco Chapters of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Major projects include the Meredith Corporation Expansion in Des Moines, winner of a National 2002 Honor Award for Architecture, Des Moines’ Central Library, and significant interiors and residential projects nationwide. In addition, he has served as a Lecturer at ISU’s Department of Architecture for over a decade and is a frequent academic and professional design awards juror. In recognition of his contributions to the profession, Paul received the Design Achievement Award from Iowa State University in 1998, the Young Architects Award from the AIA in 2003, and in 2004 he was elected to the AIA’s College of Fellows. As a complement to his architectural work, Paul serves as Chair of the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation and is a member of the National Board of Directors for the American Institute of Architects.
Todd Garner has over 20 years of experience leading the design team efforts on projects of varying scales and complexity. His deep understanding of the construction process informs his approach to design and has allowed him to lead significant projects for Wells Fargo Financial, ING Insurance, Barr Nunn Transportation, as well as other private and public sector works throughout Central Iowa. In addition, Todd has designed a number of award-winning interiors projects including offices for ZLR Advertising and a retail space for Avon. Educated at Kansas State University, he returned to Des Moines in 1989 to start his professional career with Herbert Lewis Kruse Blunck Architecture where he was named Principal in 2002. In 2005 he and his Partners formed substance. Todd currently leads the design team for the new Des Moines Area Regional Transit (DART) facility and recently completed the restoration effort of the Federal Courthouse in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In addition to his professional commitments, Todd serves on the City of Des Moines Urban Design Review Board (Chair 2006-07), the Steering Committee for the Downtown Plan for Des Moines, the Rebuild Iowa Cultural Heritage and Records Retention Task Force & Resource Group, and the Professional Advisory Board for the Department of Architecture at Kansas State University.