WILLIS PEMBER began his private practice in 1992 following a six year association with Robert Venturi and Denise Scott-Brown where he was a project architect and involved with several internationally recognized projects: the Addition to the National Gallery of Art in London, England, Fan Pier High Rise Apartments in Boston, Massachusetts, Laguna Gloria Art Museum in Austin, Texas, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and private residential projects throughout the United States.
He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Brown University as an undergraduate and pursued a two year graduate program of Fine Arts at the University of Wisconsin, and a Masters of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania in 1985. A Dales traveling Scholarship in 1984 was awarded to study traditional and modern housing in India and Nepal.
In 2011 Willis was named the recipient of the AIA Arthur and Florence Fisher Traveling Scholarship and recently returned from a tour of the Italian and the Swiss Alps to study specific works by Peter Zumthor and Carlo Mollino. Publicly, Willis has lectured not only about his own work, but on the subject of alpine architecture generally, presenting a critique of Aspen architecture and the rise of the vernacular in Colorado in the 80’s and 90’s at an AIA symposium at the Aspen Institute in 2011.
In addition to the practice of architecture Willis has been a guest studio critic at the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, and the University of Colorado, Boulder. He taught the Aspen Studio for graduate studies in Architecture from University of Colorado Denver in 2011 and 2012. He is a registered architect in Colorado and Pennsylvania, a member of the American Institute of Architects, and NCARB certified.
Community involvements include, Aspen Historic Preservation Commission Board Member, Red Brick Arts Center - Board Member, COWOP Board member - Obermeyer Place, COWOP Lead Designer- Aspen Center for Environmental Studies City Employee Housing, Residential Design Standards - Ord. 33 Participant and Volunteer.
WPA is an award winning and internationally published architecture firm noted for its innovative design and planning services. Founded in 1992, the firm is comprised of four professionals and is located in downtown Aspen, Colorado. Projects include the design of new buildings, renovations and reuse of existing structures, interiors, and planning and feasibility analysis.
WPA takes keen interest in positioning the practice of architecture within the terrain of history, theory and contemporary discourse through research, authorship and teaching. The investigation of three issues supports the design process in all WPA projects.
A belief that the intentions of the client's program can be translated into meaningful places that resonate to and from their occupants.
A belief that new or renovated structures have an obligation to acknowledge and complete circumstances created by history, landscapes, adjacent buildings or existing interiors.
A belief that architectural expression derive from sound construction, sustainable environmental ethics and agreement with natural processes over time.
These principals have given rise to over twenty-five design awards, including two national design competitions and publication of the firm's work in Architectural Record, the Wall Street Journal, an interview on National Public Radio, and numerous professional publications. A WPA project, the Ur.2 house, was selected for publication from a group of global practitioners in the Italian online design journal, Europa Concorsi in 2011.
Past and present clients include library districts, municipalities, arts organizations, corporations, television and radio, investors, commercial interests, housing authorities, developers and numerous residential clients. Projectsare located in Colorado, Utah, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Wisconsin.