Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Clayton grew up watching his father practice carpentry, an experience that drew Clayton to buildings and construction at an early age. It ultimately drew him to architecture, although the path wasn’t so direct: In fact, as an undergraduate Clayton studied business management and marketing at Northwest Missouri State University. But architecture remained in his mind, and soon afterward he began a master’s program at the University of Kansas. As part of this program, Clayton studied in Southeast Asia and later in France at Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture Paris-Val de Seine. While in France he also worked for the Paris firm of Ibos+Vitart Architects, and he credits this time abroad with expanding his international perspective.
Following the completion of his master’s program and an internship at a Kansas City firm, Clayton moved to New York in November 2013 to begin work as a junior architect with JMA. In January of 2015 he became project architect, a role that encompasses project design and administration as well as marketing. His diverse background prepared him perfectly for this twin role.