RAW Architects

6/29/2012 | Amy Tibbals
Cody Derrick

Kinley discovered us, which is both flattering and exciting because we COLLECTIVELY adore being pursued. Given our presence at as many 'modern' functions as possible, it's no surprise he found us at last week's St. Mary's Modern Tour. Truth told, we're glad he did -- in our humble opinion, we've just met with a soon-to-be player in the Salt-Lake design world. Trust us when we advise you to keep an eye on RAW. And if you have a design job in the chute, now would be the time to hire them. If popularity dictates price increase, both will be soaring soon. Read on below...

You're a new firm on the scene in Salt Lake, but you already have a few interesting projects from the past. Tell us about Design Build Bluff. The Design BuildBLUFF program works with local universities and provides architecture students a chance to design and build sustainable homes on the Navajo Reservation. The homes are designed for a local family that is in need of a better place to live. I was fortunate to be able to work on the Whitehorse residence. The entire home was a collaboration of 18 students; everyone's ideas, hardwork, and talents made it a sucessful project. The home is suspended off the ground between 8 telephone poles that act as the structure. The exterior facade is made of used wood pallets and recycled aluminum panels. The "home-made" windows capture amazing views of the site in every direction. It's an amazing program and it was very influential in my architectural career. It showed me that design can meet both a physical and ephemeral need, while still meeting a tight budget. It also made clear to me that architecture and design can be of great benifit to both individuals and communities.

What's the most interesting project you're currently working on? We're working on two interesting commercial projects at the moment. The first is a medical clinic in Monroe, Utah, and the second is a pro shop for the Eagle Mountain Wake Park. The client for the pro shop has asked us to use shipping containers for the building, and we've been coming up with ways to make that project a real destination. The building and amenities will make it worthy of a drive to Eagle Mountain. It's been a really fun project to work on and it should be a great building once it's complete.

Who is your ideal client? Our ideal client is someone who is not afraid to push the limits of what is typically built around here. We consider ourselves to be an experimental, boutique architecture firm and we want to collaborate with clients and professionals who share our passion for design. We love to work on residential and small, public projects. We feel we these projects help us be more involved in the design process.

I like your name. How literal do you plan on staying with the concept of raw materials? One of the tenants of our design philosophy is honesty in materials and structure. This doesn't mean that we won't use finished materials in our projects. Rather, it just means that we prefer material and structural selections that are true to the function of the building. The name Raw Design also refers to us; we wanted a name that portrayed a young, excited team that won't conform to the standards of the building industry, but rather will push the limits to create something fresh, new...RAW.

If you could get your hands on a building in SLC, which one would it be, and how would you have your way with it? We would love to work on a project of cultural significance, such as a museum, a library, or a preforming arts center. Mostly, we want to create a unique space that a lot of people can experience...something that will get people in Salt Lake talking about architecture and design. For instance, it would be great to see an experimental arts center built in Salt Lake City -- a space that can highlight current works from local artists.

Lastly, any visions for where our local design community is heading? In the past few years, there seems to have been significant growth in the art and design community of Salt Lake City. We're starting to see new and interesting buildings pop up, like the Library, the Museum of Natural History, or the Kimball Art Center. People are beginning to understand value of good design, and are willing to take risks with their new projects. We're excited for the future direction of design in Salt Lake City. At Raw Design, we don't want to just be along for the ride...we want to help this trend continue...to move it forward.

RAW Architects


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