Tucson architect Rob Paulus on heading up Architecture Week, building things with cans, and his jamming alter ego.
Why is there an Architecture Week? “It is our chance, as architects, to reach out to and connect with the public. There is a relatively small population that appreciates the built environment and it is our goal to expand that population. Our profession is guilty of not communicating well to the general public, so by putting on Architecture Week and the many events within it – from Kidstruction, Canstruction, bike tours and walking tours, lectures, to the Home Tour – we are showing people what quality design is, and what it can do for them. ”
The theme of Architecture Week this year is “Arizona Centennial – Looking Back to See the Future”. How did you settle on this theme? “Fellow AIA director, John Price, came up with the theme to tie into the State of Arizona’s Centennial. There is a lot to be learned from the historic, built environment here in Tucson, especially the scale of our downtown and how they dealt with our climate without air conditioning. Back when Arizona first became a State, there was a mule-drawn trolley running through downtown. Perhaps we have come full circle with our desire to once again make a thriving urban downtown.”
What is your favorite part of Architecture Week? “Definitely it would be the Home Tour. My firm has had our projects featured on the Home Tour for the last 10 years. (I have personally been involved in AW for the past three years.) The Home Tour gives the public a chance to be a voyeur with someone’s private house while also giving a glimpse into the mind of the architect. The demographic of tour participant is quite varied but they all seem to share a love of high quality design.”
Tell us about Canstruction. “It’s a fun and fruitful event that we do in partnership with the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, with all the cans used going to the Food Bank. The inspiration for our own first Canstruction sculpture was the Community Food Bank itself. I was overwhelmed by both the enormous need, and the scope of the operation that is the Food Bank, caring for people all over Southern Arizona. It was after meeting with them for the first time that I came up with the idea to build a heart out of cans.”
Are you an early bird or a night owl? “Definitely a night owl.”
Favorite accessory? “A black felt-tip pen.”
Favorite faux pas? “Continuing to play tennis against my wife after she suggested that it was time to stop. She proceeded to hit a low ball over the net, I dove for it and tore my Achilles tendon. Its not the first time I should have listened.”
Your dream client? “Someone who has an appreciation for abstract concepts and for nature, and a willingness to explore and ‘play in the sandbox’.”
“If I wasn’t an architect I would like to…” “Be a full-time musician. I play bass guitar and violin and I’m in local jazz/R&B band Genevieve and the LP’s. My wife Randi Dorman is a singer and my 8-year- old-daughter Skye plays the drums and jams with my band.”
Find Rob Paulus Architects at www.robpaulus.com.
* Architecture Week, organized by the American Institute of Architects Southern Arizona Chapter, runs from Sept. 29 – Oct. 7, 2012. For our full story click here. Learn more about the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona here.