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Interview with Aaron Robinson, Owner and Principle Designer of re:design architectural studios from Santa Barbara

In 2005, Aaron Robinson established re:design architectural studios and since then has been offering bespoke architectural design services to his clients. I talked with Aaron Robinson about his career and his architectural projects.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Aaron Robinson

Aaron Robinson


by Meryem Aksoy

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Each client has different demands, some want to live in a fully custom designed house, while others prefer the more affordable projects. re:design architectural studios, which offer different solutions for the clients in both cases, design both bespoke residential projects and offer customizable stock plans with affordable budget. I talked with Aaron Robinson about his career and his architectural projects.

Aaron, before talking about re:design architectural studios, could you tell us about your educational background and architectural design experiences?

I have been in the build design industry technically since 1993, started framing houses and soon had my own framing company for approx. 10 years, we did single family and custom luxury homes, through natural attrition people leave and things change usually for the better, during the mid 90’s I studied architectural design in Canada at S.A.I.T Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, I moved on to management at some production builders for a number of years until about 2005 where I received a job offer for a restoration company out of Tampa Florida, Hurricane Katrina happened and I relocated to New Orleans for 10 years where I continued my architectural education at Tulane University, it was here that I took my past 12 years’ experience with building and design to open my own practice of residential design, which now life has taken me to the west coast of the US to Santa Barbara CA

re:design architectural studios

re:design architectural studios

Could you tell us about re:design architectural studios?

R.A.S, provides thoughtful and client-focused, efficient architectural home design that returns purposeful, beautiful and detailed oriented architecture. Based in New Orleans, LA. and Santa Barbara CA, with over 20 years of practice, both in Canada and in the United States, Re:design has prided ourselves on being responsible for the design of a wide variety of building types, for a diverse range of clients from Kelowna B.C to Johannesburg South Africa, from the hurricane-prone gulf coast areas, and earthquake and drought laden California. We design with the most engineered available resources available.

Our projects vary in scale from restaurants, historical residential, production homes, luxury mansions, and lite commercial. Utilizing alternative building methods such as shipping containers, precast concrete, SIP and ICF construction, from modest houses to oceanfront luxury getaways we can design to suit your needs.

We have always had a hands-on approach to; management, architectural / landscaping design and carpentry, along with an uncompromising and a forthright attention to fit and finish detail that has prepared us for the challenges and unexpected events associated with design, build and restoration.

re:design architectural studios

re:design architectural studios

What type of projects do you specialize in?

Well, let's be clear we will take on most projects whether a new home, a commercial tenant build out, renovation or custom luxury vacation home. But to quantize a specialty, that’s challenging, I like to think of it as designing to push our agenda and injecting some “redesign” source code. In the last year, we have started a sister company “NOMODO quarters” that truly encompasses our dream and focus on designing a technology, I will try and expand upon this later.

What does bespoke architectural design services mean?

Bespoke, in short means to make custom or unique, made to order, it's a renewed word from the 16th century, it has a unique connotation to that you have spent more quality time on the project because you care of the final output or result of your accumulated efforts.

re:design architectural studios

re:design architectural studios

What type of services do you offer to your clients?

As a design studio, we try an offer and promote services that not all firms will provide, that said we won't do or offer anything that we can't or is out of our comfort zone or reasonable scope of work. To clarify, services will typically include preconstruction consulting, develop schematic sketches and preliminary drawings and specifications to eventually obtain a complete set of plans the client reviews with us on an ongoing basis. Additionally, we provide and offer 3D renderings, 3D modeling, 3D model printing,

re:design architectural studios

Shannon Jordan - re:design architectural studios

How could you define your architectural design approach?

Our approach to design actually starts with the client and not with the actual project design, because we interview the client heavily to understand and engrain ourselves with their wants needs and desires, and we want them to understand the design process as it pertains to them so they have little doubt and the most confidence in us throughout the process as possible. Beyond that from an architectural point of view our design process is a simple 3 prong approach, 1) Will design and build concept fit clients budget, 2) Can we integrate technology and new modern building methods into this project. 3) How are clients wants, needs and desires being incorporated into the project.

What is your signature on your projects?

A simple answer is orange, an expanded answer is, I ask my self could I live in this design, if its no I start over, so….. I want a vision that embraces my philosophies, my historical aesthetics and includes my clients' educated vision of why they are building and designing a place in time for a portion of eternity,

re:design architectural studios

the GOTHAM - re:design architectural studios

What are you paying attention to make your projects unique?

I guess I don’t really think of it that way of “ I have to be unique” everyone, for the most part, is unique onto themselves, unless we have a client that gives us free reign like “the GOTHAM”.. this project is available on our website for viewing….

What is the customizable stock plan?

We have a continuing growth in our library of customizable stock plans, these are plans that are available to purchase from our website as is or if the client wishes we can adjust our plans to suit the clients and their family needs

Who prefers?

It is either clients whose budget isn’t entirely the main focus in development but the long-term living arrangement

re:design architectural studios

re:design architectural studios

Do you offer your services to abroad clients?

Short answer, YES we don’t actively seek out abroad projects, but we definitely embrace them as a challenge!

At which steps should your client have to be next to you after the first moment of the project?

If you mean physically next to me, I will be honest.. 80% of my clients we rarely meet in person, mainly because of technology today and our clients' hectic schedule. 10% of business is done in person. SKYPE, FACE TIME is the new millennial way of doing face to face business if necessary, barring that, email and texting is truly the way we do biz!

How many month does it take to complete an average residential project?

Well, from the design perspective a simple project can take 2- 3 weeks, a larger and structurally more complex project can take 2-3 months if everything is in place with the client and they don’t make additional or last-minute changes.

re:design architectural studios

re:design architectural studios

You have lots of completed projects. Could you tell us about them?

A lot of our projects are the bread and butter of what we do, single family projects with renovations and the occasional new home as gravy.

As architects, we would like to be the Harry Potter of designers… and create the perfect opportunity for a design that meets our cuckoo esthetics, and falls into the web of a family of designs for today and tomorrow

Which one is your favorite?

I truly don’t have a favorite, I love them all for different reasons… kinda like your children.. one is your favorite but you never tell.... but encourage growth from them all

Don’t ever give up your dream… no matter how long and how difficult...

What is the best advice you have received?

A few sage words of wisdom here .. from 2 of my mentors stand out, but I receive good advice all the time so it's hard to pinpoint one. 1. It's a basic truth of the human condition that everybody lies. The only variable is about what? Doubt all 2. Assume all business transactions you engage in will be litigious, document anything and everything! And you will have an ass at the end of the day.

And what advice would you give to young designers?

Build and frame a hundred homes first before you even think of designing for someone … will give you insight that school never will!

re:design architectural studios

re:design architectural studios

How can our readers follow you and your projects?

Like most businesses today, social media and our dedicated websites: https://www.redesignarchstudios.com/


What is coming up next for you?

We are focusing a tremendous amount towards our sister company NOMODO quarters, its goals and direction is what drives us currently.

Anything you’d like to add that I haven’t asked?

It would be interesting to find out how some firms finance their own projects with little or no collateral and obtain angel investors?

Thank you Aaron.

For more information, please click here and visit the website of re:design architectural studios