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KW News

A Company Built to Outlast Its Founders

KW Landscape Architects January 20, 2023


After several years of strategic planning and planting the seeds of growth for the firm through mentoring and development of several key employees, Thad Kudela will retire from the KW team as the company reaches their 30th year of business.

One of the Founding Principals of KW, Thad Kudela is retiring from his primary role at the firm. He will still be involved in both an advisory and mentorship capacity, continuing to share his unique skill set with the next generation of Kudela & Weinheimer designers. An award-winning designer, Thad spent the last 40 years designing master planned communities, multifamily developments, mixed-use spaces, retail centers, educational facilities, office buildings, hotels, hospitals, churches, public parks and theme parks. A registered Professional Landscape Architect and LEED Accredited professional, Thad strove to work alongside his clients, with the goal of capturing the shared vision in the built project.

With a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the Lawrence Institute of Technology, Thad quickly realized his passion for landscape architecture and found himself in the rapidly growing city of Houston. Leveraging his architectural background, Thad brought a unique approach to Landscape Architecture that focused on the harmony between the architecture, the site, and the landscape. Prior to founding Kudela & Weinheimer, Thad spent time at the SWA Group, SLA Studio Land, and Hobbs+Black, developing his passion for the profession.

Early in his career Thad partnered with a local developer to provide landscape architectural services for several new apartment projects in Houston, and an expertise was born. Long before multifamily was trendy, Kudela & Weinheimer began carving out a niche in the space as apartment developments blossomed throughout the Greater Houston Area. Since these early days, the firm has worked on more than 350 multifamily developments. Thad also developed a passion for planned communities and has partnered with a variety of builders/developers over the years including Friendswood Development, Beazer Homes, MI Homes, Johnson Development, KB Homes, Pulte and Perry, among others, assisting with place making and creating a unique identity for each community. Additionally, Thad has worked on noteworthy projects throughout Texas including Moody Gardens in Galveston, the Downtown Aquarium and One Park Place, the first residential tower built downtown in four decades. Led by iconic developer Marvy Finger, One Park Place paved the way for future multifamily developments in the area and took home a Houston Business Journal Landmark Award.

Over the years Kudela & Weinheimer has worked on numerous award-winning projects including Market Square Tower. This multifamily development features the highest glass bottom pool in the United States, designed by Thad, that cantilevers over the 41st floor, 500 feet above ground. The unique pool was featured on the Today Show, Travel and Leisure magazine, Business Insider, Buzzfeed, and CNN, among other national publications. Kudela & Weinheimer has a variety of projects currently in the works, including: 7600 Broadway, a luxury mixed-use development in San Antonio under construction with Embrey Partners; Chambers Creek, north Houston’s newest master-planned community with Caldwell Companies; Baylor St. Luke’s McNair Medical Campus, a $1.1 billion medical campus on 27.5 acres with HKS; and renovating Shriners Hospital in Galveston with Kirksey Architecture to accommodate for the Shriners Hospital Houston merger.

From renting the firm’s first office space in the Heights over 25 years ago to now leading a company of more than 40 employees, Partners Darin Weinheimer and Thad Kudela have been diligent to manage growth thoughtfully and continuously identify the next generation of leaders. Darin notes, “from the early days of founding Kudela & Weinheimer, Thad and I began discussing how to create a firm that outlasted us. We’ve been intentional about identifying and nurturing talented designers and project managers over the years and have prioritized mentorship within the firm. So, while we will greatly miss Thad’s innumerable contributions, his legacy will definitely live on through those he’s mentored.”

Kudela & Weinheimer is an award-winning landscape architecture firm founded in 1991 and boasting a variety of project expertise. Merging creativity and buildability, Kudela & Weinheimer is known for developing sustainable, thoughtful, and budget-conscious landscape design solutions.