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Interview with Architect Lloyd Lumpkins, Founder of L. Lumpkins Architects, Inc. from Dallas

In 2007, Lloyd Lumpkins established L. Lumpkins Architects, Inc. which he defines as Boutique architectural firm. I talked with Lloyd Lumpkins about his career and his architectural projects.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Lloyd Lumpkins

Lloyd Lumpkins


by Meryem Aksoy

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In his college years, Lloyd Lumpkins decided to turn his passion for architecture to the profession. Lloyd Lumpkins knew that creating good architectural works is only possible if the architects and their customers communicate well. After decided to walk his own way, in 2007, he established his own boutique architecture firm aware of the importance of communication. Since the first day, he has been managing his firm and projects by adhering to this philosophy. I talked with Lloyd Lumpkins, Founder of L. Lumpkins Architects, Inc., about his career and his architectural projects.

Lloyd, before talking about architecture, could you tell us about yourself?

I grew up in East Texas and obtained my architecture degree and a master’s in business from Texas Tech University. Nothing special growing up except the freedom as kids we were able to experience. I wish children today could experience what we had.

L. Lumpkins Architects, Inc.

L. Lumpkins Architects, Inc.

When did you first become interested in buildings? How did you decide to pursue a career in architecture?

I didn’t really discover I had always been on a path for a career in architecture until my 2nd year of college. I always loved drawing and took drafting courses in high school. I was directed by mentors towards mechanical engineering which is what I began in college. I soon realize this was not for me and upon taking a survey course on architecture discovered my true passion. I had an uncle who was an architectural engineer and remembers being fascinated with drawings he had done in college. I can even remember sketching house plans when I only 10 or so. So here I am, doing what I was meant to do.

Please tell us about your architectural career. What inspired you to establish your own firm?

After college, I taught for a while both here in the states and in Malaysia. Deciding to work instead of teaching, I went to Southern California and discovered how cyclical employment can be. It was after a few years of this combined with some life changes that pulled me back to Texas and I ended up in Dallas at the beginning of some fabulous growth years. I was also fortunate to work under one of the best residential architects in the U.S. Unfortunately, it would not be a firm I would be a partner in. So, with great timing (2007) I left and started my own firm.

L. Lumpkins Architects, Inc.

L. Lumpkins Architects, Inc.

Could you tell us about L. Lumpkins Architect, Inc. and your team?

We are what I call a Boutique firm and only work on a select few homes each year. We employ only a couple of talented architects and want to make sure we can give each client our complete attention.

What type of projects does L. Lumpkins Architect, Inc. specialize in? What type of services do you offer your customers?

We have been strictly a luxury Single-family residential firm up until recently. This year we were honored with the opportunity to design an attorney’s office and owner’s apartment in a downtown area and a Luxury Condominium project in an upscale residential community. Our specialty though will always be classically inspired homes and Estates.

L. Lumpkins Architects, Inc.

L. Lumpkins Architects, Inc.

How could you define your architectural approach?

I try to help my clients “put form to their definition of home”. I advocate an approach that stresses listening carefully to my clients and understanding their preferences, lifestyles, hopes, and dreams. I guide and educate clients away from preconceptions and towards cohesive designs that respect the architectural style they’re pursuing. The homes I design integrate their personalities. Done right, they become a joyful place that perfectly reflects who my clients are - that place they call home.

How has the exposure to different Architectural cultures affected your architectural vision?

Living in Southeast Asia was a great experience. The ability to actually get to know and interact with another culture absolutely changed who I was. Seeing how family and culture were intertwined in the creation of their living spaces and how each living space was connected to the house and that to the community with respect to each other and the environment. It was here I was exposed to Fung Shui and was able to study it for a couple of years while I was there. It was this whole spirituality and interconnectedness of the culture to the architecture that affected me the most.

L. Lumpkins Architects, Inc.

L. Lumpkins Architects, Inc.

What are the advantages of being an Award-Winning architect? Could you tell us about the awards that you won?

I have never sought awards. I have been named one of the top Residential Architects in Dallas and credited for designing some of the most beautiful homes in Dallas but that is not important to me. My clients and their joy with their surroundings are what I find rewarding.

Where is the most popular location for new residential and commercial projects in Dallas?

The Park Cities and Preston Hollow neighborhoods will always be the most popular location for new residential projects in the Dallas area. I have done several Manors and Estates in the Old Preston Hollow neighborhood but there are other beautiful areas I like to work in as well. The Kessler Park and Bluffview neighborhoods are some of the most beautiful geographic areas in Dallas.

L. Lumpkins Architects, Inc.

L. Lumpkins Architects, Inc.

What are the main steps of residential projects? How many months does it take to complete an average residential project?

Great question. I am working on a brochure for clients that discusses this very topic. Something that helps clients understand what we do and how we do it. The basic steps for any construction project are:

1. Conceptual design
2. Schematic design
3. Design development
4. Construction drawings
5. Construction

The time it takes to work through this process depends on the size and complexity of the project. Our smaller speculative homes might get done in 12-14 months while larger Custom Estates can take 2-3 years or more. Think of the difference in time it takes to create Boeuf Bourguignon as compared to grilling a steak.

Do you offer turnkey projects to abroad customer? At which steps should your client have to be next to you after the first moment of the project?

I have never worked abroad but would not dismiss the idea. Many elements in the design process can be done remotely but the conceptual and schematic design phases must be done in person. It is critical for me to get to know and understand my client’s family, goals, needs, lifestyle, hopes, dreams, etc. before I could ever think about designing such a personal thing as a “Home” for them.

What are the most important factors that affect the project cost?

At the beginning of the project the size, complexity, level of finish, and site conditions are what affect project cost the most. The biggest issues with costs I observe is when the conceptual design process is skipped resulting in discoveries of basic design flaws during construction. When this happens the changes during construction can be extremely expensive.

L. Lumpkins Architects, Inc.

L. Lumpkins Architects, Inc.

What should your clients decide before contacting you? What is your first question in your first meeting with a new client?

I would say the first thing is “are you ready to discover what is possible with your living environment” and “do you want to create a “home” that works for you and your family”. It’s critical to understand why they want a new home. What has changed that is requiring this. What issues are they currently experiencing that’s driving this.

You have lots of completed and in-progress projects. Which one is your favorite?

That’s like asking which your favorite child is! Each one is different and special in their own way. We just completed construction on a small 500 sf. addition to a home originally built in the 20’s that feels as if it was always meant to be there. And we are currently working on a 12,000-sf estate that is exploring non-traditional room relationships that are very exciting.

What would you recommend to customers who want to work with an architect to build or redesign their home?

Seek out architects that you connect with. It’s a long-term relationship. Let them know the most important aspects of your project and ask how they will be incorporated into a process. Even though the Architect might have an attractive portfolio and good references you will still want to make sure their design process and approach is right for you and your project.

Don’t risk your investment trying to do it yourself or with inadequately trained “designers”. Architects are the best-trained design professionals in the country. The architect is the one professional who has the education, training, experience, and vision to guide the design and construction process. This broad knowledge helps the architect focus individual owners' needs to maximize their investment in livable square footage on time and within budget.

L. Lumpkins Architects, Inc.

L. Lumpkins Architects, Inc.

In your opinion, what is the relation between Low Budget - Short Project Time - High Quality? Is it possible to combine all in one project?

Absolutely, you must deal with these same elements on all projects. This is where a good team is essential, and the conceptual design process is critical. These elements and expectations must be defined at the very beginning and followed throughout for a successful project.

What is the best advice you have received, and what advice would you give to young architects?

An adaption from a movie quote - “there’s no crying in architecture” Check your ego at the door, focus on your client’s needs, not yours.

How can our readers follow L. Lumpkins Architect, Inc.?

We are thinking about starting a blog but currently, you can follow us on most social media platforms.

What is coming up next for you?

Growing our firm. Moving to some new office space that will allow us to bring on some new younger architects to help keep all of us more energized!

Thank you Lloyd for your time.

For more information, please click here to visit the website of L. Lumpkins Architects, Inc.