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West Texas Retreat


Founded in 2016, Rivers Barden Architects is led by principals Joe Rivers and Kevin Barden. Joe and Kevin met as apprentices at The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, Taliesin in Wisconsin, as well as Taliesin West in Arizona, where they cultivated a love for integrating built and natural environments.

Ranging from urban to rural settings, our work strengthens the unique qualities of every project through an intentional use of daylight, materials, and proportion as well as a comprehensive understanding of site, context, and client needs.

We specialize in active listening and build relationships with our clients rooted in open communication and collaboration.

Company Core Values

  • Listening. Taking the time to listen to and understand our clients and colleagues.
  • Learning. Continual learning and growing in all areas of the process.
  • Collaboration. Believing that the strength of a team is greater than that of the individual.
  • Transparency. Communicating with openness and clarity of process.
  • Passion. Giving our all to each project to ensure the best outcome and design is achieved.


Joe Rivers, AIA, LEED AP bd+c

With the details and constructability in mind, Joe is an expert negotiator between the larger vision of each project and how it gets made.  Beginning as a laborer for a general contractor, he made his way up to carpenter before returning to school and finishing his architectural studies.

Joe holds a Master of Architecture from North Carolina State in Raleigh, NC; a Master of Construction Management from Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC; and a Bachelor of Environmental Design from Texas A&M University in College Station, TX. He apprenticed at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture for a year, and studied at the Prague Institute for a semester.  He is a licensed architect in the state of Texas.

Joe and his wonderful wife bought and renovated the house he grew up in, where they now live with their son and two dogs. He enjoys cooking and canoeing in his spare time.

Photo: Fil Nenna

Kevin Barden, AIA

With the larger vision and ethos in mind, Kevin constantly pursues the evolution of each project’s identity throughout its development.  Following a lifelong passion for architecture, Kevin has shared his love of architecture through teaching engagements at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, the Art Academy University in San Francisco, Prairie View A&M University, and the University of Houston.

Kevin received a Master of Architecture from the Chur Institute of Architecture in association with the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences in Dessau, Germany and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture with a Minor in Mathematics from the University of Minnesota. Prior to completing his undergraduate studies, he was an apprentice at Taliesin, The Frank Lloyd School of Architecture in Scottsdale, Arizona and Spring Green, Wisconsin. He is a licensed architect in the states of California, Texas, South Carolina, and Minnesota.

Kevin and his wife enjoy traveling near and far as well as playing with their young son and daughter around the house and at the park.

Photo: Fil Nenna

Awards and Publications

May, 2023

Modern Luxury Interiors Texas

River Oaks Renovation

June, 2022

2022 Architizer A+ Awards

Unbuilt Sports and Recreation: Special Mention

The Tree Farm

October, 2018

2018 Design Communication Association Biennial Juried Exhibition

Martha Van Rensselaer Gallery, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

2018 Design Communication Conference

March, 2017

ArkxSite – Site Dwelling Competition

Honorable Mention

Site Dwelling Winners

December, 2016

ArchDaily – 2016 Architecture Holiday Card Challenge


Holiday Card Best Submissions

Community + Nonprofit Organizations

Rivers Barden Architects works with and supports the following community and nonprofit organizations:

American Institute of Architects (AIA)
US Green Building Council (USGBC)
Kinetic Ensemble
Taliesin Fellows
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church

1% Giving

Each year Rivers Barden Architects donates 1% of our revenue to non-profit organizations. This is something we believe in strongly to strengthen the community around us. Below is a list of organizations we have given to:

Kinetic Ensemble
Al-Khidmat Foundation
The School of Architecture (formerly Taliesin School of Architecture)


718 Richmond Ave.
Houston, TX 77006

P.O. Box 1707
Minnetonka, MN 55345

(281) 845-9801


Photo: Fil Nenna