Ryan Hunter, AIA

Find possibilities in forgotten places
Ryan never met a building that didn’t have potential. Over his 15 year career, he’s spent much of it imagining new ways to renovate and adapt existing structures. He sees endless possibilities within a given framework and thrives on designing and building within the context of the current environment or neighborhood.

“There’s something great about having a framework in place and building off of that. I see endless possibilities. So many opportunities in reimagining a structure or project. Ironically, it fits with the definition of an “urban prairie” … finding new uses in forgotten places or structures.”

On the Urban Prairie team, Ryan brings an upbeat outlook, finding humor even in cases where things maybe don’t go as expected. Stay flexible but focused, and it’s much easier to course correct.

“I’ve always seen our work as a process—on one end is an idea and on the other end is something to be built. We need to be the bridge. Our job is to extract what can often be a fairly abstract idea from the project owner and translate it, communicate it into something that can be built successfully.”

The formula? Empathy. Understand the vision and how people will use the final space. Intuition. In the words of his colleague Barrett, design from your gut, then test and prove it. And last but not least, communication. It makes all the difference—whether that’s whipping up a sketch on the fly to make an idea more tangible or simply listening to and echoing the client’s vision.

Even on a typical Saturday, Ryan can’t escape renovation or improvement projects on his own home. Maybe reimagining the basement bathroom is a little less exciting than the day job, but it’s just a natural extension of who he is. A born competitor, Ryan coaches his son’s basketball team and enjoys hitting the holiday road with his family of six.