On the first day of this August, Michael Boerner is celebrating the ninth anniversary of Wier Boerner Allin Architecture with his two business partners, Jamie Wier and Jack Allin along with a dynamic team of 20 employees.
This is a dream realized for Boerner since he began imagining of starting a firm of his own one day while working at architectural firms throughout the Southeast. His story begins in Brookhaven, Mississippi, or actually on Hog Chain Drive in Bogue Chitto where he attended Brookhaven public schools until 1994 when he went to Millsaps on an art scholarship.
“…There was always a love and appreciation for artwork,” said Boerner, “but it wasn’t until after Millsaps that I fell in love with architecture.”
After graduating from Millsaps in 1998 with a degree in business administration (with a minor in Fine Arts), he adventured across Europe with a backpack, and soaked in architecture throughout the country in cities like London, Paris and Nice, Barcelona, Venice and Prague and Interlaken with a few smaller visits sprinkled in between.
“This Europe tour planted a seed that would soon direct me to the Architecture program at Mississippi State University,” Boerner said.
He became a fan of architectural styles like Classical, Greek Revival, Gothic, Federal, Mid-Century Modern, and Italianate Architecture, “to name a handful.”
“Each of these styles have a different, yet appealing approach to the building form that we can learn from and often look to in our work,” Boerner said.
While at Mississippi State and then at architectural firms in Dallas, Birmingham, and New Orleans, Boerner dreamed of starting his own architectural firm. He moved back to Jackson after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“The move was temporary until Michael Barranco convinced me to stay in Jackson to continue my architectural career,” Boerner said. “When the economy slowed down, Jamie Wier and I decided to open up our own firm.”
Jamie Wier is his friend and a former classmate who too had a dream of his own architecture firm. They teamed up in 2009 and worked out of their homes until opening their first office on Fondren Corner in 2010. Among their first projects was the Babalu restaurant, and the beloved restaurant is among Boerner’s all-time favorite projects.
Another of Boerner’s favorite projects is the firm’s office building located at 2727 Old Canton Road. They bought it two years ago and renovated the old building so its clean, sleek appearance stands out in Fondren. A few other of his favorites include the Brandon Amphitheater and the Dudy Noble Field at Mississippi State University.
Boerner said, “We have been blessed with great clients that bring fantastic projects so it’s hard to stop naming favorites.”
He is currently working on several projects including Dudy Noble Field, several assisted living home projects across the Southeast, and “a few surprise projects that will boost the Jackson economy, and a couple projects that are more regional in nature that we cannot release right now.”
Boerner approaches projects by listening to the client first and foremost.
“We like to say in our office that our projects are not our buildings, they are the clients’ buildings,” Boerner said. “We gather information from the client, then study the history of the project, site, industry, etc. and then work within the context of the project.”
In collaboration with the project owners Boerner and his team tackle the projects together.
“This helps with a fresh perspective,” he said. “We look at the setting of the project site. We learn what inspires our client, and what will inspire the user group of the facility we are designing.”
Boerner is confident in his staff at the company, saying that they are all energetic, full professionals who respect each other’s ability, working “extremely well” altogether. Most of them have this on common: “Most of us have moved away at some point but intentionally decided to invest our talent back into our home state of Mississippi.”
His story began in Mississippi, and now Boerner helps write Mississippi’s story with fresh ink in designing and renovating its buildings and grounds, forging the way for the state’s future. He realized his own dream, and now he works hard to craft others’ dreams into realities in Mississippi and throughout the Southeast.
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