A Word With Boise Architect Rob TeBeau

Rob TeBeau is a Boise-based architect with more than 21 years’ experience designing and building residential, commercial and public projects. Currently Rob has his own boutique architecture firm, TeBeau Architecture, and is working as an architectural consultant for the team at The Architects Office (TAO) as well as for BEAR Consulting Services, a Portland, Oregon based building envelope evaluation consulting firm.

Rob has a Master’s Degree in Architecture degree and a Minor degree in History both from the University of Idaho.

Q. Why/how did you get into architecture?

A couple of things: As a young child, my aunt was attending architecture school. On a walk with her one day we saw a very impressive tree house and I asked her how people came up with ideas like that. She told me, “that’s what architects do.” Also, working construction during and after high school the contractors always commented when architects visited the job sites. One time an architect came on site at a concrete tilt up building we were constructing. He pulled up in a luxury sedan and put booties on his shoes prior to walking out onto the site. Several people scoffed and went back to work. Hot and tired, I thought “I want his job.” Granted architecture is not actually like that for me, but it definitely made a lasting impression on me at the time.

Q. How would you describe your design process?

The first step in any of my designs is communication to clearly understand the client’s wishes, uses, and preferred aesthetic. From there, I typically consider the basic uses and sizes and get into code and local jurisdictional requirements. Once we know a basic function will work on a site, I typically look at site opportunities and limitations. After these have been visited I will typically work with a client on a floor plan layout. After all of this we will work together to develop the overall aesthetic of the project and how the whole thing ties together.

Q. What do you like about architecture?

I love being able to be creative. Maybe even more so, I enjoy finding solutions to problems whether large or small. Architecture is really about solving a series of problems in a creative way while being cognizant of budgets and time frames.

Q. What is your favorite project you’ve designed?

I’ve been fortunate to work on a large number of different types of projects. From veterinary hospitals to churches to fire stations to homes and remodels. One that stands out is a Veteran’s memorial at the Veteran’s hospital in Boise. It was all volunteer labor and materials and means a lot to the Vets and their families who come and visit. When I started it, I was told that families only come and visit until their family member passes away and then never return. I’ve been told that since completion families still come after they’ve lost their loved ones to see their names on the memorial wall.

Q. What is your favorite type of project to design?

I enjoy being able to work on all types of projects. I’ve been fortunate to have worked for small firms so I’ve had an opportunity to take part in a broad spectrum of project types. As each project is unique, having worked on different types of projects tends to help my process with unique solutions, even on completely different types of projects, that may often be overlooked.

Q. Why do your clients keep coming back to you and to The Architects Office?

I think a big part of my successes, as well as TAO’s successes, are achieved because we are a group of experienced architects that are all capable of providing a quality product very efficiently.  In larger more traditional firms we collectively realized some inefficiencies with the work and communication which translated to the services offered to the client.  TAO has taken this into account with the current structure of their firm.  Using a staff of experienced, licensed architects, we work directly with our clients on all phases of their projects.  This helps us provide a better-quality product and ultimately, a more trouble free project.  This structure seems to be very compatible with many different types of developers and clients that have efficient and flexible businesses like ours.

Q. Why should a client you’ve never worked with before give you a shot?

As stated above, when you come to me to work on a project I won’t be handing it off to a staff architect or intern. I will answer the phone when a client calls and I will be on site for questions. It is very important to me to be thorough, thoughtful, honest, and kind. Also, I have an extensive background in construction so I’ve been able to “speak the language” with contractors and have developed many friendships in the industry.

Q. How is TAO different from other architecture firms?

I am currently working as a consultant for the firm with the potential to become a partner in the near future. I can clearly see that it is like no other architecture office I’ve ever worked with or even heard of for that matter.  Every member is a dedicated partner who is also a licensed architect.  Each member is available to assist with each other’s projects when necessary and also able to work independently if required.  Projects do not get “handed off” to inexperienced staff.  The best part of working with these guys, aside from having seemingly limitless resourceful experience in the office, is the lack of ego in the office. No project is “more important” than another and all clients are as important as the next.

Q. What technology do you use?

I utilize windows based computers and typical architectural drafting software. I also still do a lot of hand sketching and drawing. I find that I write a lot of different types of correspondence on a daily basis.

I had iPhones for years and recently went to a Samsung Note for more real estate, memory, and a stylus that I thought I’d use in the field. As it turns out, my new phone has been frustrating at times, whereas the iPhone was relatively seamless.  I plan on going back to Apple phones.  When I do, I’ll get the biggest, baddest iPhone available.

I don’t use a fax machine unless I absolutely must. Fax machines are obsolete. I haven’t used one in 4 years, other than for certain government jobs that require receipts for bid jobs. Even the government is getting away from this, however, with the abilities of modern email programs. I would much rather scan/ email documents and refrain from using paper where possible.

Music is important; I’ve used several programs for music but have always gone back to Pandora. It’s playing on “shuffle” right now.

Q. What design software do you use and why?

I use Sketchup, 3DS max, Illustrator, Photoshop, AutoCAD, Revit. For architectural design, I prefer Revit, a BIM program, because it allows for whole building analysis throughout the design process and during construction. I have been able to avoid costly change orders by finding a potential conflict during design that may have been hard to discover with traditional “linework” type software.

For more information contact Rob:

Rob TeBeau, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP
Architect
499 Main Street
Boise, Idaho 83702
o  (208) 343-2931 Ext. 7
d  (208) 639-6407
m (208) 794-1543
http://taoidaho.com/
rob@taoidaho.com
rob@tebeauarchitecture.com

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