After years of planning, Ryan Faust finally realised his dream on January 13, 2020, when he opened his own architectural studio.
He said as much in a recent interview at BUF Studio’s headquarters in downtown Bentonville. We wouldn’t have done it had we anticipated a pandemic. I’m relieved that I was caught off guard. However, you were aware that there was no way to go back.
According to Faust, BUF Studio was able to overcome the obstacles and continue to grow.
He described 2020 as “like a jet taking off” in its first year. Moreover, we haven’t slowed down at all. “We know that in order to succeed in a referral-based industry, we have to provide excellent service, so we always do.”
Faust, now 41 years old, began his career as a project architect at Jack Ball Architects in 2005 after attending Drury University in Springfield, Missouri, where he majored in architecture, art history, and global studies. For his efforts in establishing a mentoring programme for young architects, he was honoured with a distinguished service award from the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) during his stay.
Faust relocated to Northwest Arkansas in 2011 to take a position with the Bentonville firm Harrison French & Associates. He was hired by Bates & Associates Architects, based out of Springfield, Missouri, in 2015 to head up their new Northwest Arkansas location. The firm was chosen for a $247 million expansion project at Mercy Hospital in Rogers, which operates in a number of sectors, including education and healthcare.
Faust was included in the 2016 edition of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 class.
In 2018, BatesForum was formed as a result of a merger. The Chicago-based design and architecture firm Clayco’s Lamar Johnson Collaborative merged with BatesForum in 2019.
Prior to establishing BUF Studio with a team of seven, Faust and Christophe Bouteille worked together at Lamar Johnson Collaborative. The company now has 21 employees and a branch office in Springfield, Missouri. The Greenway Office Park on Southeast Fifth Street is home to the Bentonville branch, which employs a staff of 13.
According to Faust, “Be a buffalo” is one of the company’s guiding principles, so the name comes from there. According to Faust, this story exemplifies how buffalo are able to swiftly and fearlessly overcome obstacles because they choose to face them head-on rather than run from them.
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The variety of projects undertaken, according to Faust, is largely responsible for the company’s success. BUF Studio is a full-service company that serves clients in the multifamily, healthcare, industrial, and academic fields, among others.
“To be a critical thinker as an architect,” he explained, “you have to apply yourself in many different areas.” Since we are a generalist firm, we are expanding into several different markets simultaneously.
BUF Studio’s design of the J.B. and Johnelle Hunt Family Children’s Safety Center of Washington County stands out among the firm’s other work. This past summer, construction began on the 15,200-square-foot building in Springdale, not far from Arvest Ballpark. Faust cited two reasons for the project’s high priority in his mind: its contribution to the nonprofit’s goals and its status as one of BUF Studio’s finest creations.
“Usually we work in smaller groups, or a project doesn’t need everybody, but that one needed everybody,” he explained. The fact that everyone on the team worked together to perfect the design is something to be proud of.
According to Faust, the company’s expansion plans aren’t based on concrete metrics or revenue projections.
‘We’re trying to expand the possibilities for our employees to serve our customers,’ he said. If we can accomplish that, the rest will fall into place. Our staff is second to none. Together, they accomplish a lot and have a great time doing it. All the other things you’ve implemented appear to be causing the growth we’re seeing.
Faust, who is married and the father of a son, 8, and a daughter, 6, is active in a number of community organisations. He is involved with the Mercy Health Foundation NWA Corporate Council and the First National Bank of NWA’s business development board.
Faust has also recently joined the board of the Excellerate Foundation, a local organisation that seeks to address social service gaps in the region.
Opportunity, as Faust’s mentor once reminded him, “comes with responsibility.” In terms of launching a business, I couldn’t have chosen a better location. This place has become my new home, and I feel a responsibility to contribute to the greater good.