Even if you’ve never met him, chances are you’ve come face-to-face with the many designs that earned him the title “visionary”. Jeff Hazard died after battling cancer. He had just turned 64. The architect and CEO of Koch Hazard Architects is responsible for the design and rehabilitation of many buildings in Downtown Sioux Falls and surrounding area.
The people closest to Hazard are still trying to process his death. Even though he was sick, he was still working on projects. His longtime friends and colleagues will tell you he was a man of few words. Instead, he let his designs do the talking.
“The thing that will ultimately have the greatest impact on the quality of architecture in our community is people’s desire to have high quality architecture. We can’t design things that people don’t want. We need clients who want great buildings and environments,” Hazard said to KELOLAND News in 2012.
“He was a quiet force and he really did set the tone for a lot of the look and feel of Downtown and some of our higher quality buildings in the region,” Jeff Scherschligt, friend, said.
Hazard’s resume isn’t just on paper, it’s all over. The Denny Sanford PREMIER Center, Raven Industries, and Cherapa Place. He was also behind the rehabilitation of Jones 421, the Orpheum and the Washington Pavilion.
“He truly loved this place and anytime you feel like you’re missing him a little bit, you can find comfort in going somewhere in Downtown Sioux Falls and experiencing, I don’t know, the love and vision he had,” Brooke Wegener, partner at Koch Hazard, said.
His coworkers say Hazard was meticulous and would fight for what was best for a project. He was here at work up until his last week. The man could fill up the room with his presence, and that’s why it’s so hard to see his office empty.
“I think his legacy is a much better place for him having been there,” Keith Thompson, principal architect at Koch Hazard, said. “He’s right up in that sort of Mount Rushmore of local visionaries, I think.”
“Even though his life was cut shorter than we’ve liked to have seen, his impact has been so great, I think we’ll see it for decades and decades to come,” Scherschligt said.
Jeff Hazard didn’t need to be a man of too many words, because the architect designed a legacy that speaks for itself.
“The three important elements of architecture are commodity, firmness and delight. Commodity is it has to meet its mission. Firmness is its need to stand up and endure. And delight, it needs to do more than provide shelter. It needs to uplift the spirit,” Hazard said in 2012.
“I think his legacy is Sioux Falls is a much better place for him having been there,” Keith Thompson, Principal Architect, Koch Hazard Architects said.