I am very excited to announce that Andrew Hawkins, my partner in crime and podcast co-host, will start bringing his unique perspective to the written portion of Life of an Architect after spending the last year recording with me on the podcast. Other than a similar sense of humor, Andrew and I are about as different as could be so I felt it was time to allow someone else to come on the site and provide a different, and hopefully refreshing, point of view on all things architecture. Andrew will start off writing two blog posts each month in addition to the four I currently write each month. (Hahaha – You can’t get rid of me!)
Please extend Andrew a warm welcome, I am just going to sit back now and enjoy the show! Cheers ~ Bob
So as this is my first post here on Life of an Architect (well not 100% true) I wanted to give you some information about my background. If you have listened to the podcast you may know a bit about me already. I will try to make this a brief but in-depth summary. Also since I was not on the very first podcast episode that was all about “introductions”, this seemed like a good time.
We can start with my history with Mr. Borson. Bob and I met, as you can imagine, via the internet. We both started our online presence at about the same time. While I was active on social media and was writing a blog on my company website, I did not have the same production output as Mr. Borson here on LoaA. I was more of a Twitter guy and other social media outlets at that time. We finally met in person at a Texas Architects Convention in late 2011. We instantly shared a similar snarky sense of humor and a few other outstanding traits and thus … a friendship was started. We have been friends and colleagues ever since and have managed to collaborate in various ways over the years prior to our current coalition.
So now on to me and a little bit of my story, I am from Texas born and raised. I grew up in a rural environment outside of Waco. I would say I had a typical childhood of the ’70s and ’80s. I played sports in high school and was even voted as “Mr. High School” my senior year. After high school, I went to a smaller college in “Midwest” Texas, Angelo State University. I played basketball there for two years when I decided it was time for me to move on. While I was at ASU, I was an Art major and took a modern architecture history course. That class was the main spark that sent me to architecture school. I transferred for my junior year to Texas A&M University into the College of Architecture. It took me three additional years to complete my undergraduate degree. Upon graduation, I went directly into graduate school for architecture at the University of Oregon. I chose this school for its strong sustainability program. Believe it or not, that was a very small specialized area at the time. I completed my Master’s Degree during my two and a half years in Oregon. After that point, I moved back to Texas. This was not my intent, but my wife at the time had a paying full-time job and at the age of 25, that was a huge factor. So I ended up back in Texas.
The two photos above are just to show you how cool I was during my college days. I know that Bob has a few college images on here, so I thought I would also share. The sweater vest with collar-less shirt and tiny sunglasses put me well into the awesome category back then. The friends in the other photo are still my good friends to this day. All of us look much different now. Age is a cruel thing.
A few years ago I began teaching design studios at Texas A&M University in addition to my practice. I have always had a desire to teach. In fact, while in graduate school I intended to go straight through to get my Ph.D. and go directly into teaching. I never anticipated working in the profession. Funny how things turn out! Currently, I have taught every level of undergraduate design studio offered at TAMU. I am now a full-time instructor and teach two design studios each semester. I enjoy the change of pace and the level of interest and excitement expressed by my students. There is also something quite nice about being able to play in the imaginary world for parts of your day. I get to create projects, assignments, and challenges for my students based on my ideologies about the practice of architecture. That is becoming more and more enjoyable each semester. There is a great deal of freedom in that regard that I did not anticipate making such a difference. The above image is of some of my undergraduate work. The image below is my students’ work.
If you look closely you can see Mr. Borson in the above photo! He has been a juror for several of my studio classes.
I am an active member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). This is mainly at the state and local levels. I am currently starting a two-year term as a Vice President over Communications for the state branch of the AIA, Texas Society of Architects. This is a position on the board of directors for the volunteer organization. I have held various committee chair positions within this organization and also participated on multiple committees. At the local level, AIA Brazos Chapter, I was an officer from 2011 to 2015. I was the Chapter President in 2014. I am also still involved with my local chapter and feel it is my duty to serve my profession in ways to improve it for all practitioners. I have also been a public speaker for professional development since 2011. I have delivered seminars at architecture conventions across the country and a few in Canada. Most of those deal with technology in the practice of architecture and specifically mobile applications. I also spoke about social media in the early days. I have presented at AIA National Convention on several occasions and also authored a monthly series on their website to review mobile applications in 2013-14. So for a while, I was known as the App Man within certain circles of the profession.
Lastly on the more personal side of life … I am a fairly jovial person. I like to laugh loud and often. Sometimes with others and sometimes at myself and sometimes just too much. I have two daughters (16 & 11) who keep me busy in the spare time I have between the practice, teaching, podcast, and now blog. They are both the most wonderful things to me (at least 99% of the time). Both are into volleyball which keeps me extra busy year-round traveling to tournaments and shuttling to practices. I also consider myself an amateur foodie and professional beer snob. I have a few foods that I geek out on whenever possible: burgers, tacos, and BBQ. Seems pretty Texan to me. Yet for the most part, I would consider myself an atypical Texan in many ways. I am quite the geek in various other ways that relate to science fiction, superheroes, fantasy worlds, and a majority of those realms. I have most likely seen or read any content related to most things considered “geeky”. I will pull out movie quotes, song lyrics and just about any other pop culture reference with regularity. Sometimes those reach into the obscure and I have to reel myself back in. But it is all in good fun.
So that is the long and short of it for now. I am looking forward to contributing here on Life of an Architect and hope to provide enjoyable, entertaining and educational content. Definitely hit me up if you want to know any more about my experiences, opinions and whatever else. I am a fairly open book … with only a few secret chapters.
Until next time,