Hello! We are excited to kick off this new semester’s first interview with Randy Brown, FAIA, of Randy Brown Architects. Randy Brown Architects’ researchinvolves discovery based systems to learn the client’s unique blend of users, content, and context. Usability testing, creativity, marketing, competitive analysis, environmental systems, green design, and sustainable materials are some of the areas in which they research. Check out their website to see more.
Images courtesy of Randy Brown Architects.
VT: Randy BrownArchitectsplaces emphasis on on-going dialogueswith clients. Howdo your projects combine each unique dialoguewithyour consistent hand-crafted approach?
RB: Our work sets out to explore new territory. We see each project as an opportunity to learn and grow as designers by continually pushing the limits and creating fresh solutions to our clients’ challenges. We like clients that not only want great design and but also understand that great design has measurable parameters; these parameters can both improve how businesses work and improve how people live. Architecture also has the ability to create experiences that move the soul. That’s what I am really interested in — creating new spaces, forms, and light that wow people as they move through it. Great architecture moves people!
Finding clients that really want great architecture takes much time and patience. Once you find a fully committed client it is a joy to work with them. They have real needs and they want a great design to solve those needs; they have problems and they look to us to create remarkable solutions. Great clients want to be involved in the design process, which typically involves weekly and sometimes daily communication via phone email or face to face. These types of clients are true collaborators, and we always end up with a built project that I would never have conceived without their vested obsessive interest. These types of clients are the ones I become personal friends with.
VT: The landscape tends to serve as an inspiration for much of your work. How do the“farmer’s perspective”, craftsmanship, andother landscape concerns tie into your design process?
RB: The place in which we build is central to the design solution. The site, views, and existing spatial relationships become the guide posts for the project. We believe in “local”, so materials that are available locally determine the building structure and the material palette. There are so many factors that influence our projects: culture, history, clients’ objectives, budget, zoning, and finding the hidden opportunities in each project.
The farmer’s perspective has been burned into my brain by my grandparents who were raised on farms. Farmers understand the land and make their living from it. They are very in-tune with their place; farmers know the climate, understand the wind directions, the seasons, sun rises and sun sets, the snow and the rain. They have a do it yourself mentality and know they have one chance to get it right, so they design and build their buildings to make them as efficient as possible. Everything on the farm has purpose. Even trees are strategically planted to create wind breaks. I was born and raised in Nebraska, so it is only natural to look to farming culture as inspiration for making architecture.
VT: Randy Brown Architects shows its value in community through projects that address communities’ needs and concerns. Does this value manifest itself in other projects? Do these community-based projects inspire aspects ofyour residential and commercialprojects?
RB: All our projects are located in the public realm. When we build for clients we have an obligation to create architecture that improves the neighborhood in which it is built. For example, we strive to improve the landscape and to create experiences for the public. We are interested in creating dynamic artistic innovative places, and we believe in building great cities one project at a time.