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John Binder Professional

It is bittersweet that we announce the upcoming retirement of KEPHART’s Senior Director of Architecture, John Binder, after a distinguished 48-year career as an architect, Principal, and friend. John has been a valuable part of the KEPHART team for the last 19 years and will still work with us in a limited capacity while he starts this new and exciting next chapter. John’s official last day in the office will be July 8th, as he and his wife, Barb, are preparing to move into the new home he designed for them in Washington state.

John joined the KEPHART team in 2005, leading our high-density studio as Paul Campbell took over as President when Mike Kephart retired. The journey to KEPHART and becoming an architect started with a high school art teacher who sparked John’s love of drawing and composition. John also excelled in math and decided to blend the two while attending Washington University in St. Louis, where he received his Bachelor of Architecture. He then gained experience with various firms working on single-family, townhomes, remodels, and more. Ready for a change, John saw an ad for a position at KEPHART, called the firm, and quickly met with Mike Kephart, Paul Campbell, and Doug Van Lerberghe, who were in the Washington D.C. area for a conference. It was a great fit, especially with John’s background in high-density multifamily communities, so he moved from the East Coast to Denver to lead KEPHART’s high-density team. Due to his leadership skills, talent, and hard work, John was quickly invited to become a Principal at KEPHART, and in 2019 he was promoted to the role of Director of Architecture overseeing the work of the entire firm.

John’s attitude towards projects is always “let’s make it happen.” His career is full of accolades, including designing the nation’s first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building, the first LEED Platinum-certified market-rate apartment community in Colorado, and the many other award-winning communities. But if you ask John to sum up his career, it’s not about the accolades; it’s about the lessons he’s learned along the way. In June, John shared a presentation for our office aptly named ‘If I Knew Then What I Know Now.’ It was not about design tips and tricks, but about the important relationships and interactions that impacted him. He told stories from throughout his career, the highs and the lows, and what he learned about himself, other people, and how to thoughtfully work with others. Those lessons in humanity helped John become a better architect, leader, and mentor.

John will miss Colorado and the community he’s built over the course of nearly 20 years, but is excited to start this next chapter in Washington. He designed his new home with aging-in-place in mind, incorporating many of the elements he has written about for articles on senior living. The ranch-style house has an open floor plan that allows for ample natural light and incredible views of the Olympic Peninsula from every room. The home is also accessible, with a separate suite on the lower level if a caregiver is ever needed. John designed a separate craft room for himself where he plans to keep his mind sharp by resuming his stained-glass art, learning to play the guitar, and taking Spanish classes. He is excited to enjoy a slower lifestyle surrounded by nature, where he and his wife can ride their bikes, sail on the peninsula (eventually), or walk around the neighborhood. They will also be a short bike ride away from their son, daughter-in-law, and new grandbaby.

All of us at KEPHART are so grateful for John and his many contributions as a leader and mentor. His passion for designing places for people to truly thrive embodies who we are as a firm, and we are thrilled that he will get to experience the joy living in one of his own designs for himself. Though he will be missed, we wish John and Barb all the best in this next chapter and hope they enjoy exploring their new home state. Thank you, John, for your countless years of dedication to ensuring EVERYONE has a well-designed place to live, work, and play. KEPHART and the built environment will be forever better thanks to you and your contributions.


This is the philosophy that drives KEPHART to create thoughtful homes and communities that positively change people’s lives.

KEPHART is a nationally recognized, award-winning architectural design and planning firm with 50 years of housing expertise. Our passion for designing well-designed places to live, work, and play has driven us to create more than 500,000 homes across the country, ranging from single and multifamily homes to workforce housing, senior living, LIHTC communities, and everything in between. We have a deep bench of talented staff to design and deliver innovative and practical solutions to meet the unique requirements of every project.

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