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As detail-oriented architects, father, son ‘think a lot alike’

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Saturday, June 15, 2013, at 11:25 p.m.
  • Updated Saturday, June 15, 2013, at 11:36 p.m.

Bob Faires confessed that as a teenager he used to let his mind wander in church.

He said he would be sitting in St. Francis of Assisi with the rest of the family, half listening to the Mass. His eyes would wander, studying the shape of the building.

“I was always accused of being the only one in the room who was …,” he said as he looked up and his gaze roamed around the ceiling.

It was natural that he would become an architect. Bob, 54, has been a partner at Howard + Helmer Architecture since the mid-1990s. He even got to work out his fascination with churches by taking a leading role in designing St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and Church of the Magdalene.

So it wasn’t really surprising that when Bob and his wife, Maureen, took their children to church, their middle son, Andrew, would let his mind and eyes wander.

“Everyone would be following the service, and I’d be the one looking around, thinking, ‘How did they do that?’ ” said Andrew, now 26.

Andrew followed his dad to Kansas State University’s architecture program and then to Howard + Helmer. He is an intern architect, which means he has graduated but hasn’t yet passed all of his registration exams.

“He just wanted to do this,” Bob said. “I didn’t want to push him into it. I wanted to let him find his own way.”

Andrew said it came naturally. It was either architecture or veterinary medicine – and he discovered he couldn’t do chemistry.

“He and I think a lot alike,” Andrew said of his dad. “We’re both really detail oriented.”

They also share a playful competitive streak. They’ll point out each other’s mistakes, although Andrew admits he usually loses this game – for now, at least.

Bob said he doesn’t play favorites at the office, in fact just the opposite.

“I guess I’m a little harder on him than the others,” Bob said.

“Yep,” Andrew said with a rueful laugh. “He doesn’t mind pointing things out. … It’s good for me.”

Reach Dan Voorhis at 316-268-6577 or dvoorhis@wichitaeagle.com.

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