2016 Leading Ladies: Leading Lady of Architecture

Leading Lady of Architecture
Lauren Strutman, Lauren Strutman Architects

By Melissa Mauzy
Portrait Photography by Colin Miller/Strauss Peyton


Lauren Strutman has specialized in the design of custom homes since graduating from Washington University in 1983. Lauren has a master of architecture and master of civil engineering in construction management and is a registered architect in both Missouri and Illinois. Lauren specializes in residential design as well as historic restoration, remodeling and additions. As a talented architect, Lauren has received the 2006 Excellence in Masonry Design for Private Residence from the Masonry Institute of St. Louis, Citizen of the Year for the city of Chesterfield for Historic Preservation work in 2000, Historic Preservation Award for excellent adaptive re-use by St. Louis County Historic Buildings Commission for the Hopenberg-Fick Store, plus many more awards and recognitions. In addition to her design work, Lauren belongs to the Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation and is the vice chairman of the St. Louis County Historic Building Commission. Lauren is a leading lady because she has been instrumental in the establishment of National Register Historic districts in areas that contain some of Chesterfield's and Wildwood's oldest buildings. 

SLHL: What gave you the inspiration to start your own business?
Lauren: I started as an employee, and then became a partner with another architect. Before too long I decided that I could do well on my own. My husband-to-be (Dick Busch) and I bought our current historic office building 17 years ago, my business partner retired, and the entire staff joined me in the new business.

SLHL:  What is your biggest challenge as a business owner?
Lauren: We design projects in many different municipalities in the St. Louis area. Each city has different codes, and their own amendments to the codes, as well as different planning and zoning codes, and zoning review processes. Some cities notify architects in advance of upcoming changes, others do not.

SLHL: What is most rewarding about owning your own business?
Lauren: Helping my clients to achieve their dreams whether it is a large or small project. Designing a new home, or remodeling or adding on to an existing home, is a big event in most people's lives, and I really enjoy being a part of the process.

SLHL: What advice would you give someone wanting to start a business?
Hire some wonderful employees and be dedicated to your work.