Houston architects Bill Curtis and Russell Windham started their practice, Curtis & Windham Architects, more than two decades ago. Since, they have developed a strong reputation among the upper crust for designing stunning, traditional homes that dot the tree-lined streets of River Oaks, Memorial and other stately hoods. They respect the aesthetic of these historic areas, but they bring fresh, new touches. And now, with the release of an oversize coffee-table book, A Vision of Place, it’s possible to get a look at some of the duo’s most glamorous estates without ever leaving home.
The two native Texans—Curtis is from Longview and Windham hails from the Panhandle—met through a mutual friend back in the early ’90s after spending time working separately at major firms on the East Coast and abroad. “Once a Texan, always a Texan,” Windham quips when asked why he moved back to the Lone Star State. Curtis adds about Houston, “It’s warm and receptive to people who have ideas, talent and energy.”
After knowing each other for a little while, they decided to branch out and start a firm. Today, they both live in River Oaks—“Russell kept showing me houses across the street, but I said, ‘I’m with you all day long,’” Curtis says with a laugh—and their firm has started to pick up major civic projects that are transforming not just neighborhoods but entire towns and cities. They’ve done a sorority house at the University of Arkansas and helped with the expansion of a church in Abilene. And here at home, they most recently completed the St. John’s School’s new great hall. Next, they’ll be working with the prestigious prep school on a new art building.