Alumni Profile: Charles D. Cadenhead

Senior Principal, FAIA, FACHA
WHR Architects
Houston, TX

Provide an educational background including professional experience.

Bachelor of Architecture degree from LSU. (1975)
I spent a fifth-year semester in Denmark which affected me in several positive ways – I came back energized for my final year, and living in another country, although only for a short time, instilled a cross-cultural curiosity that I’ve never lost. This experience had an important and lasting effect on my life, whether it was joining the Peace Corps after graduation, or for being known in my office today as the guy who will always be interested in the international projects.

Starting my second year at LSU, I worked my way through school doing graphics for a small healthcare consulting firm. This exposure to healthcare ignited an interest that remains strong today. After graduation and returning from the Peace Corps in the late 1970’s, I went back to work for the same healthcare company, eventually moving to Houston to work with a larger consulting firm.

I have enjoyed a specialized career in healthcare architecture for the past 25 years and enjoy being an expert within this highly specialized building type.

Why did you choose LSU for your education?

I grew up in Baton Rouge, near the LSU lakes. Going to LSU seemed to be an almost natural progression. After all, LSU becomes ingrained in many of us in Louisiana.

How did your LSU degree help to prepare you for your profession?

I met, learned from and benefited greatly from terrific teachers and mentors at LSU. Julian White, Ed Glenny, Art Kaple, and Jack St. Martin, among others, all have different reasons for being important in this regard, but they were all together at that time, in that place, when I was there. The faculty was an interesting mix of some that had gone to architecture school in the northeast and came to teach at LSU soon after; and others arriving at LSU following professional careers. There was a healthy camaraderie between faculty and students that made the learning experience enjoyable and collegial.

What current or past research and projects/exhibitions have you done?

Today, I am a senior principal and designer with WHR Architects in Houston, a growing 135-person architectural firm specializing in healthcare, research, and higher education facilities. Our firm, with offices in Houston and Dallas, is award-winning and recognized for outstanding work.

I direct the Tradewell Fellowship within our firm, a program for exceptionally promising architectural graduates with an interest in healthcare architecture. I regularly teach in healthcare design at the Harvard Design School Executive Education Program, at Clemson University’s graduate architectural program, and the University of Houston. While serving in the U.S. Peace Corps, I taught in the School of Architecture at the University of Nairobi in Kenya.

I am the chair-elect of the Design Committee for the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) and I serve on the Professional Advisory Board for the School of Architecture at LSU and the Dean’s Circle.

My clients and projects include the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX.; the Medical College of Virginia, Richmond, Va.; Morristown Memorial Hospital, the Atlantic Health System, Morristown, N. J.; Stamford Hospital System, Stamford, Conn.; Stanford University Medical Center, Palo Alto, Calif.; The Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX; University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX; and William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Mich. Internationally, I have worked in Russia, Turkey, Lebanon, Mexico, Haiti, Brazil, Antigua/West Indies, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, Kenya, and France.

Currently I’m working on projects that include a state-of-the-art 450,000 square foot out-patient center for The Methodist Hospital, Houston, Tex., a complex 500,000 square foot expansion to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune, N.J., and several master plans in Texas, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Please list any awards or special recognition that you have received.

This past fall I was named a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Architects (ACHA), an honor that means a great deal to me in that it comes from my peers within this particular concentration.

I had the honor of leading a group of interns in an international competition for the 773- bed replacement Hospital San Marcos, Braga/Portugal. Our winning design was selected out of a field of 20 international firms, including German, Spanish, Swedish and Belgian teams.