Coffee Talk with Ryan Richards, AIA
American Institute of Architects Florida Southwest
October 2021 – Ryan Richards, AIA
Title at your architecture firm:
Partner at RG Architects, P.A.
Briefly describe your role at the firm:
Project and client management for select projects. Team player and quality control for projects executed by others.
What’s the one problem you love solving for your clients? Why? Space management. It is most satisfying showing a client the potential of otherwise mundane spaces.
How is your work making a difference for your clients?
We meet our clients’ needs in an inspired and effective way allowing them to focus on their business model at hand.
Can you tell me a specific skill that helped you to develop your early practice?
Work ethic. Trial and error. It’s important to understand that perfection is not achievable, but you must put the time into it anyways. Every job, every time. You can’t draw a line that say this is a low budget project, so the client only gets low budget design. All projects should be fully analyzed, explored and executed -not to perfection, again not possible, but to the highest degree available.
What is a business philosophy that has served you well?
Let go of Rigidity. When in a position of leadership, come in open to other ideas, validate their opinions and work towards the goal of collaboration. Being too rigid can get in the way of this.
Hot sauce or no hot sauce?
No hot sauce.
What project or activities at the firm are you most proud of being part of, and why?
Our community involvement and culture of giving back. We are all in this for the long haul.
What influenced your development most once you started practicing architecture?
Contractors, managing the business side of the profession and managing different personality types. First coming up against these aspects of the profession was a challenge but I found that staying laid back, staying calm and learning to listen were good tools.
What is your design process? Can you describe
Come in super early, crank up Beethoven, turn off the light, and just play with digital space.
What inspires your work?
The simple desire to transform the spaces around us into the spaces we want to be in.
So... I’m not going to be able to answer that because it changes 4 times a day.
How long have you been doing what you do?
20 years (okay 21)
What sparked your interest in architecture?
Childhood dreams and toys.
Where did you study architecture?
University of Miami, LEED AP.
What is the biggest challenge you have run up against during a project?
The perception of time. Some clients don’t understand how much time it takes to get things done in our profession, so in order to manage expectations it’s important to educate the client about what the architectural process and what the reality of project schedule is going to be.
Where do you find inspiration for your work as an architect? The successes and failure of those before us.
What skill or talent do you possess that makes you particularly good at what you do?
The ability to think clearly and be level headed in the face of advisersity.
What surprises people about you?
I don’t play in a band.
What are some of the challenges your office faces now?
Digital signatures and Mediterranean revival arches.
What advice do you have for running a practice?
Focus on a slow, steady, growth process. I recommend doing business planning in 1-2 year intervals, but also keep your eyes forward have a larger 5 year goal. When you think of the 5 year goal think about how many people you want to have, where you want to be. You should reevaluate every step of the way and keep your long and short term goals in tuned in.
What do you want to be remembered for?
Inspiring the next generation. I mentor in the community whenever I can. 4th grade through high school, I want to make the profession known, put it on the radar as an option for kids in the community.
Anything else you'd like to add?
I'm the immediate past AIA Florida Southwest Chapter President and a terrible golfer.