Donald Rowe


Professional Summary

Meeting Diverse Design Challenges

I am a construction document specialist with expertise in building technology, specification writing, and drawing production. My earlier work proved to be a vital contribution to projects that were transformative to the institutions they housed and neighborhoods they served. They include renovation of culturally significant historic properties, millwork interiors for cultural institutions, respectful design of a renovated social-service care facility providing crisis intervention, sensitive renovation of collegiate buildings, and shepherding the design aspirations of numerous homes throughout the Upper Midwest. I was exposed early in my career to real estate property management and residential/light commercial construction as a project manager, building contractor, and carpenter.

Tactical Project Management

I have  provided strategic and tactical project management support to architectural firms since I founded Rowe's Work over 25 years ago. I have experienced a wide array of building design challenges—over 200 engagements—in service to over 30 Twin Cities area firms. My unique mix of design and technical skills are particularly valuable to the small and medium-sized firm that otherwise lack the resources available to others. I am well know for my highly productive work habits, attention to client aspirations, and persistence in driving projects toward their design objectives. I am widely recognized as the go-to person who can bore into a problem, advance a solution, and get the job done.

Work History

Work History
Jan 2011 - Present

Knowledge Resources Developer


Architect with advanced liberal arts education offering 25+ years of strategic and tactical project management, skilled detail design, and technical experience. Focused today on enhancing architectural practice by facing the transformative realities of new technologies, social and professional ethics, materiality, and sustainable futures. Means of achieving goals include research, reporting, training, mentoring, and development of educational materials engendered by the vital issues confronting the design professional daily. Award-winning, proficient communications skills.

  • Co-produced and facilitated AIA presentations covering concurrent urban design issues 
  • Editor five years local chapter Society of Architectural Historians
  • Award-winning Master’s capstone project  
  • Lead investigator/reporter for major Foundation supported, multi-agency feasibility study
  • Assistant Program editor for U of Wisconsin LMS course
  • Designed residential construction guide specification modeled on CSI’s "UniFormat"
Jan 1985 - Dec 2010

Principal Architect & Project Manager


Founder and project management consultant, construction document and building technology expert, recurrently engaged by over 30 Twin Cities architecture firms as a component of 5-15 member teams.

Client / Engagement List:  Sampled from among 200+ engagements since 1985.

SALA Architects (46 engagements since 1997)   

  • Private Lodge: 8,000 s.f., $1.2M, detailed complex log and timber frame envelope.
  • Private Retreat Compound: 5-building, 8,300 s.f., $2M private retreat and artists’ studios; detailed architectural concrete, timber trussed construction; sensitive site.
  • Private Residence: 7,000 s.f., $1.2M; detailed architectural concrete/timber frame; “Home of the Month” award. 

Charles Levin Architects (32 engagements since 1985)   

  • 3036 University: Designed and detailed $500K former office building for prominent Minneapolis social services institution. 
  • Minnesota Population Center: Design and CD consultant for 18,200 s.f., $1.2M challenging university office build-out beneath auditorium construction. 
  • The Center: Feasibility study lead, publishing  67-page report critical to the future of 5 social service institutions.

Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Inc. (3 engagements since 1997)

  • Ridgedale Library, Bakken Museum, Ft. Smith Library: Charged with developing the Millwork Package for these library and museum expansion/remodel projects.

Helgeson, Desnick, Isenberg (35 engagements since 1990)

  • First Integrity Bank: Project Architect for $500K bank remodel; designed interiors,  managed CD production and construction administration.
  • Dilworth Weigh Station: Supervised CD production, detailed architectural concrete, aluminum curtain wall, and masonry construction. 
  • American Brake Service: Designed prototype for auto-service retailer, producing construction documents for 2 sites.

Ralph Rapson & Associates (2 engagements since 1993)

  • SSU Athletic Facility: Consultant in design-development phase,  detailed major building components for a new arena and sub-grade athletic facility. 
  • University of Minnesota Parking Garage: Detailed major components of this standout East Bank facility.

Buetow & Associates (2 engagements since 1990)

  • Anoka County Government Center: 276,000 s.f., 6-story, $25M office building; Oakdale City Hall:  Detailed curtainwall/masonry exterior envelope, skyway connections.

KKE Architects, Inc. (1 engagement since 1997)

  • Calhoun Beach Club Apartments: Team member responsible for layout of concrete floor plates and exterior masonry wall details for fast-track constructed, 10-story, 336-unit, apartment building.

The Lander Group (7 engagements since 1995)

  • 280 Summit: Design consultant responsible for transforming stalled development of a townhouse mansion on premier historical avenue. Design critique and renderings presented to HPC,
  • Irvine Ave Townhomes: Design consultant and CD production for 3-unit duplex homes in historic district.

Bowers, Brian & Feidt Architects (3 Minneapolis and Cincinnati engagements since 1990)

  • The Swinford and Garfield Commons: Project Architect for CD phase of $3.5M renovation of historic apartment building projects. Received AIA-Minnesota award. Project architect detailing restoration of historic, former school, converted to housing.

TEA Architects (12 engagement since 1985)

  • Private Residences: Engaged in all design phases for new and remodeled residences for this award-winning firm; construction values ranging between $500K to $1M.


Sep 1991 - May 1997

Master of Arts

Hamline University

Awarded "Outstanding Critical Synthesis" for capstone project in 1997. The two-year project titled "Between Myth and Moral" explored three concepts of love as it is understood in Western culture:  The Romantic Tradition (the "myth"), Agape Love (the "moral"), and Therapeutic Love (modern reliance upon personal growth). 

Jan 1973 - Jun 1977

Bachelor of Architecture

University of Minnesota, College of Design

The B.Arch. program, at the time, granted a 5-year professional degree. The School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture merged with other design departments to become the College of Design.

Prior to my matriculation at the University of Minnesota, I accrued several credits of undergraduate, pre-architecture coursework at the University of Hawaii, and the University of Maryland.

Skill Strengths

Construction Document Technologist
Certified by Construction Specifications Institute (CSI). Extensive experience detailing myriad building components, interiors, millwork.
Specification writer
Edited and created new sections for several residential projects. Authored two guide specifications. Experience editing for institutional projects.
Proficient writing skill
Skilled in technical, copy, specification, and creative writing. Copy and marketing consultant experience. Former newsletter editor.
Timber and log frame construction
Expert design experience over several projects, detailing for movement, shrinkage, connections.
Green building technology
Experience in practice with many aspects of sustainable construction detailing. Developed self-study program for knowledge update.
Code and zoning expert
Assisted several owners and developers with building code and zoning challenges.
Facility and Site Analysis
Pre-design assessments, zoning, future values
Professional ethics
Ethical practices consultant in design, bidding and construction phases. Confidant in situations with challenging clients and project situations. Guided by Tom Fisher's "Architectural Design and Ethics"


MA Monograph


May 2007 - Present

Construction Document Technologist

Construction Specifications Institute
Rigorous training to realize the relationship between all elements of construction documents and the delivery of design and building projects.

Selected Portfolio