New designs on Jefferson City

After time spent abroad and outside Missouri, architect Cary Gampher brought a wealth of experience with him when he returned to Jefferson City.

After time spent abroad and outside Missouri, architect Cary Gampher brought a wealth of experience with him when he returned to Jefferson City. Photo by Ben Yarnell.

Cary Gampher doesn’t like to put his hands into other people’s mouths.

While this might seem like a random piece of information, one of the primary architects at The Architects Alliance said it was that very fact that helped him decide on an occupation.

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“My aunt told me I should either be an architect or a dentist, and I didn’t want to put my hands in other people’s mouths,” Gampher said with a smile. “So, architecture seemed like the right choice.”

Gampher, born and raised in Jefferson City, said that, despite the hygienic deterrent, the fact that architecture is just as much an art form as it is a business made the decision an easy one.

What wasn’t quite as easy, Gampher said, was the work in the Philippines he did with the Peace Corps starting in 1987. He took the skills he learned at Kansas State University to not only help people in the Philippines, but also Malaysia, Thailand, India and Nepal for more than three years. And it was during this time Gampher learned a very valuable lesson that he said still shapes both the kind of person and architect he is today.

“Just the cultural exposure is huge — how different cultures associate with one another, how they conduct business, how they build buildings opens up a whole new way of looking at things,” Gampher said.

“Being gone that long, you immerse yourself in other cultures, but you also never know how lucky we are here. We basically have every one of our needs met, as compared to other countries.”

After his time overseas, Gampher bounced around the country a little bit, including time spent in both Washington and Oklahoma. But when he got the call to join The Architect’s Alliance, a firm he interned with in college, the man tried to get “as far away from home as possible” returned to make Jefferson City his home once more.

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