Member Spotlight – John C. Guenther

Nov 8, 2023 | Homepage Featured, Member Network

John C. Guenther, FAIA, LEED AP
Missouri Gateway Green Building Council Member since 2010

Description of your work in green building: My 47 years of practice as an architect have focused on design, aspiring to do the most with the least, advancing principles of Environmental Design learned from my college education, my teaching, and my practice.

Recent Green Building recognition: The 2023 Sustainability Leadership Award from The Center for Spirituality and Sustainability at the Buckminster Fuller Dome at SIU-Edwardsville, October 21, 2023.

John C. Guenther, FAIA, LEED AP has created an exceptional body of architecture that thoughtfully considers the physical, environmental, social and historical context of each project. His work has received over 50 national, regional, and local awards from the AIA and a diverse array of organizations and publications.

John designed a passive solar home at Lake of the Ozarks (1978 -1979) – the first in the area and his first independent project.

From 1979 to 2009, with the exception of two years, John was with Mackey Mitchell Architects, and was a design principal and partner. Since 2009, John has practiced architecture independently. His projects of note include the Alberici Corporate Headquarters, which was certified by the U.S. Green Building Council in 2005 as the highest rated LEED Platinum building in the world.

Through his commitment to good environmental planning, John fought for the City of Wildwood, Missouri’s incorporation in 1995, to help the community stop the environmentally-destructive practices allowed by St. Louis County government. His efforts led to cutting-edge environmental regulations and a master plan which have protected the new city’s 67 square mile area ─ one larger than the City of St. Louis. The National Building Museum in Washington, DC, selected Wildwood as one of ten case studies in an exhibition series entitled Reimagining the Suburbs: Smart Growth and Choices for Change. John was one of the City Founders, served on the first Planning & Zoning commission and founded and served on the Architectural Review Board, serving the City of Wildwood for its first nineteen years (1995-2014).

Sustainability passion: My designs are based upon doing the most with the least, and always start with orientation to the sun’s path, prevailing winds, the site’s topography and context.

Adaptive reuse of existing buildings is one of the greenest approaches possible, contributing to the triple bottom line of social, economic, and environmental value.

Most meaningful experience with MGGBC: More than any one experience, most meaningful to me are the monthly evening programs for continuing education to share valued insights, experiences and contributions to sustainable design by MGGBC members and national speakers.

What will most impact the future of green building: Our future generations are our most precious resource. Through their dedicated efforts, standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before, as we have, they will advance knowledge and understanding to enhance and improve processes of green building design and construction.

Favorite LEED (or sustainability) Project: Alberici Headquarters. It was a privilege to have designed this project (2000-2004), an adaptive reuse of a 1950’s-era former metal manufacturing facility into a new corporate headquarters building, which achieved Platinum level certification from the USGBC. With 60 of 69 points, the highest total in the world at the time, the team and client demonstrated an exceptional commitment to environmental design and conservation and set new standards nationally and worldwide. The company now enjoys a healthy, comfortable, beautiful environment which fosters teamwork, creativity and collaboration, and a then 50-year-old adaptively reused structure has new life.

Favorite place in the St. Louis region or Missouri Gateway GBC territory: The Missouri Botanical Garden. It was also a privilege to design the national Center for Plant Conservation building which links the Garden’s greenhouses and the Jack C. Taylor Visitor Center. 

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