In 2008, Franco Folini, Novedge's coFounder, interviewed Anthony Frausto-Robledo, founder of Architosh, "the leading Internet magazine dedicated to Mac & iOS CAD and 3D professionals and students worldwide". Do you remember 2008? Many businesses were not on Facebook yet and Twitter was used by just a few of us. I followed up with Anthony to ask him about his work, technology and architecture.
Novedge: Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do
Anthony Frausto-Robledo: I'm a licensed architect in practice in the Boston area and the founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of Architosh.com. Over the past 14 years those two roles have dominated my professional time but I've also taught thesis studios at the Boston Architectural College, been a thesis adviser as well, and I speak at events and attend symposia. On a more personal note, I've been busy raising two kids and I love to travel when I can.
Novedge: Architosh is now a famous online publication and it has grown a lot over the years: what have been the rewards and challenges of running this site?
Anthony Frausto-Robledo: That's a great question. And it has many different answers. Well, I'd say the biggest reward personally for me is the sense of accomplishment of getting Architosh to where it is today. I am really proud of the reputation the site has earned within both the CAD and Apple news press markets. This year we ran our BEST of SHOW software awards at AIA Denver and the software industry has really taken to these honors. Earlier in the year I was reading a German software company's quarterly financial report to its investors, which is written by their CEO…and they mentioned Architosh's AIA BEST of SHOW honors and their subsidiary's garnering of honorable mentions. They didn't even win "best of show" but the significance of Architosh's strong brand and its software show awards was clearly important to mention to its public and private investors. That is deeply rewarding to me.
On the challenges side, unlike the vast majority of my rivals and peers, I didn't come from the print CAD world. So it was tough to learn how to run a publication business, and an online publication technically and to do all of this while practicing architecture nearly full time. In fact, juggling all the balls is quite challenging still, but every year it gets easier because of technology.
Novedge: How much time do you spend researching and curating the blog?
Anthony Frausto-Robledo: Well, that really depends on what is going on with my practice, and sometimes the rest of life. Depending on what phase a project I'm running is in, my hourly input into Architosh can sometimes approach 50 percent of its 'normal.' In general, I work on the site daily Monday through Friday but this doesn't mean something gets published every day I work on the site. And much of the content is scheduled now.
Novedge: What is a recent project you have worked on that you are very proud of?
Anthony Frausto-Robledo: Well, I am an associate in a firm that is mostly focused on custom residential architecture for high net-worth individuals. Their privacy requirements keep me from saying too much about those projects in general. However, a few years ago I was the project architect and designer of a waterfront restaurant called The Marshside on Cape Cod. I'm very proud of that project, which was a complete rebuild of an existing and very popular restaurant. The entire project was a huge success because their loyal customers loved the new space and they attracted new dinner time customers that they really never had before.
The two images above are courtesy of Morehouse MacDonald & Associates, All Rights Reserved.
The two images above are courtesy of Sam Gray Photography, All Rights Reserved.
Novedge: What innovations do you find most exciting in the field of architecture?
Anthony Frausto-Robledo: Well, that would clearly be information technologies, particularly software. I feel the BIM transformation holds great promise for the entire AECO (architecture, engineering, construction and operations) industry and will contribute greatly to more efficient structures. The global building industry only contributes 10 percent to the global GDP yet it consumes half of the world's global resources and raw materials. And 48 percent of the world's global energy supply. AECO is basically the worst offender industry and is ripe for transformative take-over. What will that take? It will take a superior process technology. BIM, cloud computing, the new mobile devices all conspire to transform the industry and traditional processes will eventually fall away. That's what keeps me excited about this field and my role at Architosh keeps me in the center of that transformation on the tools side.
Novedge: In your experience, what are the biggest challenges architectural professionals are facing today?
Anthony Frausto-Robledo: I think their long-term role and social value is their biggest challenge. I think the AIA and other global architectural professional bodies gets this but the vast majority of architects I know personally don't invest enough time thinking about the consequences of not planning for their industry's transformation and future. As a result, architects are not playing a big enough leadership role in the AECO's global transformation and mandates for change. How many architecture firms have pledged as adopters for the AIA's 2030 challenge? That answer is far too little. And that's just one example.
Part of the problem too is that architects are not genuinely technological people. But their industry has become immensely technological at both the practice level and in the science of buildings. I think in the future for the profession to survive the types of people that enter the field at the college level will need to have different attributes. Instead of teaching artistic people how to be technologists, schools of architecture will be teaching science and tech smart people how to be artists.
Novedge: If you could go back in time, what would you say to your younger self before embarking in your current career?
Anthony Frausto-Robledo: Oh that's easy. I'd tell myself to get a computer science degree. But I'd still go to architecture school, because I believe in the value of a studio-based education.
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