Our History


Stark Wilson Duncan Architects Inc (SWD) is a full service architectural firm with offices in the historic Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri.  SWD serves a wide range of commercial, residential and public sector clients, with an emphasis on master planning, multi-family housing, historic restoration, senior living, health care, office and restaurant design.  In 2015 SWD celebrated its 80th anniversary.

Founded by Herbert E. Duncan, Sr. in 1935, his early years included custom designs for the first 300 homes in Leawood, Kansas.  In 1957, Herb Duncan, Jr. joined his father’s architectural practice and began to expand its practice into other fields of architecture.  Residential design remained the firm’s focus with the addition of major commissions like the Rozelle Court enclosure for William Rockhill Nelson Museum of Art, Music building for William Jewell College, on-call services for Rockhurst College, St. Teresa’s Academy, and Lyric Opera of Kansas City.  The firm has designed a myriad of award winning multi-family housing projects since the early 1960’s.  Master planning designs have included Lakewood in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, the historic Robidoux Hill and Museum Hill residential communities in St. Joseph, Missouri, the first concept studies for a Black History Museum and the International Jazz Hall of Fame in the 18th & Vine Historic District.

In the 1980’s and 90’s the firm’s residential, historic and master planning experience was exemplified with the first multi-phased master plan redevelopment of the River Market in Kansas City.  SWD provided historic restoration and adaptive reuse designs for most of the buildings residing on Delaware and Walnut, new parks, a museum, and complete renovation of the entire City Market.  A residential community of 300 units was established with an additional 1,200 units added in the final phase.  SWD has been the architect for most of the phases and was the architect of record for the newest heavy timber framed building in the River Market, a 32 unit condominium building.

Since 1999, principals Paul Stark and Tim Wilson have led the design efforts of SWD and have been the architects of over 100 historic projects.  They also have provided design services for multiple existing and new construction projects.   Their focus and vision for rehabilitation of neglected buildings in urban settings has played a major role in creating new in-city neighborhoods, revitalizing existing deteriorated urban areas and the preservation of historically significant structures.

Stark Wilson Duncan Architects Inc has had several different names and a long list of clients throughout the years.  These clients have given us the opportunity to design many buildings for themselves and for others.  We look forward to the years ahead with the same dedication to each and every one of our clients, to each project, to architecture and to the pursuit of excellence.