Meet Robert Blaser, AIA, one of MGA&D’s Associate Principals. He was the project lead on Fannie Mae Dallas and Sentosa, and his hands-on approach, running from schematic design through completion of construction and post-occupancy, brings a unique perspective to each of his projects. Get to know more about Robert below as he shares his wisdom, experiences, and past times outside of the office.
If you were not an architect, what would your alternate career be?
RB: Since I had to rule out professional baseball and basketball long ago, I’d have to go with screenwriting. It’s visual storytelling, with virtually no limitations… the ultimate creative experience.
When you are away from the studio, what can you be found doing?
RB: More often than not, it’s road cycling. I love the exercise, the wind, and the countryside. It truly clears my mind. I come up with many of my best design solutions while riding.
You just won a free trip, where would you go?
RB: A cycling tour of Europe with many architectural stops… the perfect vacation.
If you could make one significant change in the world, what would it be?
RB: I would love to help foster an understanding that the human race is better as whole because we are different… racially, culturally and otherwise.
What book(s) are you currently reading?
RB: “Moneyball” by Michael Lewis. I am a big baseball fan and have talked about this book for years but have never actually read it.
What are some of your favorite places in Princeton/New York City/DC?
RB: New York, the High Line. DC, the Adams Morgan neighborhood. Princeton, Small World Coffee café.
What songs are most listened to on your playlists?
RB: I was never all that in touch with the music scene. However, two of my sons are high school jazz musicians and I’m becoming a big fan.
What languages do you speak?
RB: Nothing exciting to report here… just English and the sliver of French I can remember from high school.
Who is your design idol?
RB: Michael Graves. He’s crossed so many design boundaries and has delivered unique design at so many scales. I am honored to be a part of it.
What is you favorite building?
RB: I have many favorites. Of late I talk quite a bit about the Minneapolis Institute of Arts expansion. Its façade is a very elegant representation of the proportion, abstraction and relief that our studio has striven to achieve.
When you need inspiration where do you look?
What do you believe is the most valuable trait as a designer?
RB: The perfect blend of creativity and maturity.
Why did you choose your profession?
RB: In many ways it chose me. I was interested in so many things and wanted a career that would provide variety. Architecture, particularly in a firm such as ours, has not let me down.
What words of wisdom would you pass onto your childhood self?
RB: Pursue your dreams, don’t rationalize otherwise.