Strom Architecture | Profile: Jackson Strom | Midwest Nest Magazine

Profile: Jackson Strom

Midwest Nest Magazine
Tracy Nicholson
December 3, 2019

Just last month, Fargo architect and NDSU alum, Jackson Strom, took a big step toward one of his life goals, starting his own firm, Strom Architecture. Don’t confuse his youth for inexperience – at 34 years-old, he’s already earned a wealth of knowledge, working in the industry for the past 13 years. Strom has extensive experience in both high-end residential, remodel and commercial projects. This month, we sat down with Strom to find out more about seven of his featured projects and the vision for his firm.

Life By Design  

By the time Strom earned his Masters in Architecture at NDSU in 2009, he had already been working in the industry since the age of 21 for Helenske Design Group. After school, he worked there for another four years, then eventually made the move to Chris Hawley Architects, where he spent the past six years. 

Two years ago, Strom got married, and just four months ago, he and his wife, Lindsey, welcomed their first child, a son they named Sully. Last year, amidst his personal milestones, he also managed to become a licensed architect; it was finally time to take a pivotal step in the direction he’d dreamed of since college. 

“Growing up, I always had a sketchbook, and I was always drawing – not necessarily buildings, but people, sports stars, even basketball shoes,” laughed Strom. With a little nudge from his high school guidance counselor in Groton, South Dakota, Strom chose his path, pursuing the architecture program at NDSU. “After the first year of architecture school, you have to have a certain GPA to get into the second year, so I made it in and I’ve loved it ever since.”

Aesthetic Elements

“I don’t necessarily have a signature or favorite style – I like the idea of giving clients what they want, in the style they prefer. Whether it’s traditional, contemporary, or modern – then I really dive into the details of what makes a good home in that particular style. It’s looking at the playbook, in a sense, and picking up on some of those little subtleties that make that aesthetic really sing,” said Strom. “To me, it’s more about proportion, scale and massing – a lot of times, if you get that right, it could almost be in any style.”

“The plan needs to make sense as far as path of travel, symmetry, axis lines, and everything lining up – when you develop and play off of those rules, it starts to give the plans a direction.”

Structural Simplicity

When it comes to function and flow, Strom says, “The simpler the better. There’s a place for complicated designs, but a simple structure, designed really well, can sometimes achieve more; I feel strongly about designing efficient spaces. Some clients have preconceived ideas on room sizes, but they’re not sure why they need it that large. Sometimes it just comes down to asking questions about their needs, educating the client and talking them through the process. Interior 3-D models come in handy for this type of discussion; I’m doing that for the majority of clients right now and I think it’s a tool they really value.” 

“My ideal client is someone who is willing to trust the process and trust me,” said Strom. “Sometimes architects can end up just being the pencil for a client and that can take away from what we were trained to do.” Strom can work with any general contractor and has plenty of industry connections to make educated recommendations. 

From Floor Plan to Finishes

According to Strom, it’s often overlooked that some architects can also play a pivotal role in the home’s interior design. “When architects are designing a home, they’re taking a very holistic approach to it; when I’m drawing the floor plan, I have in my head what the kitchen is going to look like, what the fireplace looks like, and other aspects like the ceiling details,” said Strom. 

“When I do a 3-D model, that’s all included in there. A lot of clients think that anything done on the interior, must be done by an interior designer, but if the client has that request, I can take it a step further. I can select and detail the finishes; this includes anything that’s attached to the house, like the backsplash, plumbing, hardware, fixtures, countertops and cabinetry.”

Tour Strom’s Designs

With his roots in the small town of Groton, South Dakota, Strom had no shortage of personal projects, designing his dad’s home, brother’s home, a lake home for his dad’s farming partner and many others. “It really hasn’t been that challenging to work with family. They trust me, and they’ve trusted the process; they know that I’m going to give them the result they’re after,” said Strom.

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Portrait photography by Dan Francis Photography, architectural photography by Jill Ockhardt Blaufuss