Residential Design

Vol 4, 2017

A business-to-business magazine focused on the collaborative process and talented work of residential architects and custom homebuilders.

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PRO-FILE D Photo: Mark Woods Photography Above: Cantilever House wrestles with steep Seattle topography and a tight site to carve out pleasing indoor and outdoor spaces. A mother-in-law unit is on the lower level; main living spaces are above, where they can connect in a continuous sweep to patios and views. edge and explores the journey from life to death as a boat ride from one shore to another. Despite the highly personal origins of the Memory Houses, Rob's goal is to construct a framework for each that invites the public in. The Rome experience of net- working with professionals from diverse creative disciplines underlined the need for each "house" to have a narrative or alle- gorical story that's accessible to others. Hail, Fellowships Given how ethereal this current research project is, it's a surprise to learn that Rob's initial education and training was as an engineer. His first career was for a structural firm that specialized in ren- ovations to existing buildings, many of them historic. His favorite part of the job was the "reverse engineering" process it required of him before he could devise a plan for repair. In some ways, the detective work also laid down a narrative about the original construction. The work whetted his appetite for further immersion in architecture, and so he pursued a graduate degree at the University of Washington. His next move was to the stellar Seattle firm of Miller/ Hull, where he managed a variety of res- idential, commercial, and public projects at all scales. He continued his theoretical explorations on his own time, and eventu- ally founded a general practice firm with classmate Tom Maul, AIA. They split amicably in 2013 after 12 years together, in part so Rob could nur- ture his special mix of the theoretical and client-based pursuits without imposing upon a shared firm. Also in the mix is his work as an affiliate professor at his alma mater. "I started realizing that it wasn't fair to a partner to be doing other things focused on individual experience," Rob notes. "And I have an amazing family and wife excited about doing such thingsā€”in- cluding the travel." Real clients, conceptual architectural investigations, teaching at the university, and international travel for commissioned work and scholarly research constitute a gratifying recipe for 360-degree inspira- tion. Each inevitably informs the other, and the built work certainly benefits. "All this work ends up playing back into my practice on a realistic level," says Rob. 20 RESIDENTIALDESIGNMAGAZINE.COM VOL. 4, 2017

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