Brian Van Winkle, AIA | NCARB

Founding Partner

After completing his Bachelor of Architecture at the University of Kansas in 1997, Brian and his wife, Heidi, moved to Dallas. He spent four years learning design from Rick del Monte, FAIA (now Chief Design Officer at Beck Group) and professional practice from Kip Daniel (now Managing Director at Beck Group). That environment was a tremendous launching pad for a young architect, giving Brian unique opportunities to learn and grow very early in his career. At the same time, he applied his tremendous work ethic and discipline toward earning a Master of Arts degree in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary.

Four years later, in 2001, his family (Heidi and two little girls) moved to St. Louis to support him in pursuing specialized church architecture and practice architecture with his close friend from college, Peter J. Schwartz. They practiced architecture together at SLDA, specializing in churches and hotels.

In 2004, Brian made the decision to take his career in a challenging new direction by co-founding Vessel with Pete. They resolved to found their own firm built on their enduring friendship and complementary professional strengths. With help from friends, they cleaned and painted Pete’s house to get it ready to serve as the first office. Vessel Architecture & Design, Inc. made its official debut on May 4, 2004 in Pete’s Living Room, which was painted with Vessel’s signature crimson and blue accents. They completed their first projects with brand new laptops on desks made of doors and wire shelves. The firm designed churches, multi-family residential, boutique retail, industrial, and single-family residential projects. Clients came by word of mouth, and business expanded—as did their reputation for delivering large-firm quality with small-firm personal attention and fees. That winning recipe characterizes Vessel to this day.

Brian had always hoped for the opportunity to design for elders, and that opportunity came in 2008. Leveraging his experience in hospitality design with Marriott hotels, Brian helped Spectrum Retirement develop the prototype for their major national roll-out of Assisted Living facilities. From the beginning, he understood the importance of implementing processes to capture lessons learned and apply them on each successive project. Several additional clients and more than 40 projects later, Brian is an extremely well-connected industry leader with deep knowledge, practical experience, and sage wisdom in Senior Living.

Personal Bio

Brian married Heidi, his high school sweetheart, in 1995. They keep up with their five kids (most days) and love hiking and the beach. Brian is an avid tennis player and competes in USTA leagues throughout the year.


As a founding principal, Brian is responsible for providing primary leadership in vision, marketing, and individual service for our clients.


American Institute of Architects

NCARB certified

Registered in Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, New Mexico, Kansas, Indiana


Master of Arts | Dallas Theological Seminary | 2001 | emphasis in Communications

Bachelor of Architecture | University of Kansas | 1997 | emphasis in Communications