The beginning of Koch Hazard Architects

Forward originally written by Ralph Koch, Koch Hazard founder, for Plain Design: Architecture on the Northern Plains (2011).

I graduated from the University of Nebraska with an architectural degree in 1951. After spending two years in the Army, I joined Hugil, Blatherwick, Fritzel and Kroeger as a designer. I became a registered architect in 1957 and joined Howard Parezo and Associates for almost four years before opening my own firm in June of 1961.

Hospital for Chamberlain, South Dakota while Ralph Koch worked at Hugil, Blatherwick, Fritzel and Kroeger.

My firm was based upon providing the best service possible for the client, with the client being the most important part of the team. The team also included outstanding consulting engineers. Soon the number of clients increased. Included were the City of Sioux Falls, the State of South Dakota, Raven Industries, Lewis Drug, Sunshine Foods, various churches, the Sioux Falls School District, other school districts, Norwest Bank (Wells Fargo) and many other private and corporate clients.

Valley View Apartments
Valley View Apartments Sioux Falls, SD (1968)

Giving back to the community has been an important part of our firm. We became active in the Junior Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber, the Sioux Vocational School (Achieve, LifeScape) and other organizations and boards. Soon the number of employees increased dramatically. The quality of these employees had a big effect on the success of our clients projects. We were also active in local, state and national American Institute of Architects (AIA).

In 1969, my good friend and architect, Bob Hazard joined me as a partner and added additional expertise. The name of the firm changed to Koch Hazard Architects. The number of clients and firm members both increased. Some members have retired and some left to pursue other goals. I retired in 1992. I am very pleased that our firm continues to build upon the same principles on which we were founded and continues to advance with the changes in technology to best serve our clients. I am pleased to have been a part of this team for so many years.

Ralph Koch (1928-2014)

Northwestern National Bank, 6th and Main, Brookings, South Dakota (1974)
The new Koch Hazard Office at 630 South Minnesota Avenue in 1976.