Meet Pam Lamaster-Millett, Principal at Searl Lamaster Howe Architects in Chicago, Illinois

Pam Lamaster-Millett is one of three principals at Searl Lamaster Howe Architects in Chicago, Illinois. Pam was hired by the firm in 1998 after completing her architectural education at the College of Architecture and Planning at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Prior to moving to Chicago, Pam interned at Schmidt Associates in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in their education studio, and at John J. Rakauskas Architect in Cleveland, Ohio, where she worked under John on a variety of projects, ranging from residences, to day care centers, to an ice cream parlor.

Specializing in custom designed residential and commercial architecture, her current firm was founded in 1990 by Linda Searl, FAIA. After designing and managing a wide variety of projects including a health club, office interiors, a manufacturing plant addition, several showrooms, a restaurant and many residences, Pam was promoted to Senior Associate, and in 2007 to Principal.

She is currently working on expanding their firm into more institutional work, along with their third partner, Greg Howe. It has always been an important, albeit small part of the practice, and there has been much sharing of ideas between the commercial and residential palettes. Their past institutional projects have been imbued with the firm’s signature of natural materials and liveability. They are hoping the firm will now benefit from the stability longer term institutional projects can provide, allowing them to grow. Pam admits there is a definite difference working with private residential clients versus corporations and institutions, but it is more similar than one would think, and provides a more balanced experience for the staff. Expanding into the public realm also increases the firm’s visibility, allowing potential clients to access their work first hand. Most new business generated by residential work is through word of mouth. It is difficult to promote your work while maintaining the privacy of you clients. This is seldom an issue in the public or commercial realms.

Pam is currently also researching how they can apply the firm’s vast expertise in residential design to long term living communities for an aging population. She is fascinated by the ideas circulating about homes which can adapt over time to occupants’ physical needs, allowing them to stay in their homes longer, but remain marketable to other demographics. Pam believes that designing buildings with this adaptability prolongs the structure’s life, and therefore promotes more sustainable communities, truly “green” architecture. They believe good planning is truly the path to sustainable environments, and are working to steep the profession back toward its design roots.

Find out more about Pam at
Connect with her online at: