Staff Spotlight: Rob Law

Rob Law, AIA, NCARB reflects on his 22 year-long career thus far, recalling the catalyst for his love of architecture, to his current projects and what he is most proud of in his journey.

August 23, 2021
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We are pleased to release this month’s installment of the Finegold Alexander Staff Spotlight, where staff share their personal stories and offer inspirations. Our spotlight this month is on Associate and Architect Rob Law, AIA, NCARB. Rob is a talented designer with a keen eye for detail, often managing projects with great technical complexity and stakeholder consensus. Internally Rob also heads the Quality Control / Quality Assurance group, reviewing projects for constructability, code and design issues. He is also co-chair of the Production Standards committee. Rob graduated from the Wentworth Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering Degree.

Q: What inspired you to become an architect?

R: My friend and I watched the movie Weekend at Bernie’s and we loved the contemporary house in that movie, and we would draw floor plans of our own designs after watching. That and Legos and these plastic sets called Construx which was a late 80’s/early 90’s version of an erector set.

Q: Are there any architects that inspire you in your design process or inspired you to become an architect?

R: In college I became very enamored with Sverre Fehn. He was very influenced by what most consider the father of Scandinavian modernism, Architect Alvar Aalto, and designed with the same modernist style that connected directly with nature and used natural materials in a very unique and sustainable way long before it was commonplace to do so.

Sverre Fehn’s distinctive method of design.

Q: If you could pull one thing from your career as an architect, what would you say?

R: The key to being a well-rounded Architect is learning how a building is put together. Take every opportunity you can get to be on a construction site, ask questions and talk to the people building it. 99% of the time these people love to explain how they build our projects because they are craftsman in so many ways and take a lot of pride in what they do.

Q: Do you have any favorite projects that you have worked on so far?

R: The Boulevard 110 Broad Street was my first high-rise, first post-tensioned concrete structure, first automated robotic parking project and first time I was really asked to step up and manage a project. It will forever have a place in my heart.

110 Broad Street.

Q: If you could give advice to a young designer what would you say?

R: Moe Finegold told me during my interview 11 years ago that there is design in everything we do and every decision we make on a project no matter how modest. That has always stuck with me.

“Moe Finegold told me during my interview 11 years ago that there is design in everything we do and every decision we make on a project no matter how modest.”

Q: What inspires you and pushes you forward in your design process?

R: Well, I have never been a big picture concept type of architect, however I think over my 22-year career to date, I made a big jump as a designer when I got to Finegold Alexander Architects, specifically in how I think and approach a particular design problem. The talent level at Finegold Alexander in design thinking continues to push me to be a better designer and designing in a way that I didn’t know how to before working with this extraordinary group.

Q: Do you have any guiding design principles in your process?

R: I put myself in the shoes of the person building it and ask two questions.  1. Is this buildable? And 2. Will the person building it strongly dislike me for designing something that is unnecessarily complicated or without enough direction?

Q: Do you have a favorite city to visit for architecture?

R: My wife and I visited Rome, Florence and Malta during our honeymoon and like everyone, I was amazed by the beauty of those places. It’s interesting to think that in Boston we consider our nation's original buildings from the 16 and 1700’s really, really old, and these places in Europe were built in 70-80 AD and still standing. The design, engineering and craftsmanship in those structures is almost unbelievable that it could be done with primitive tools. I really would love to see Paris, Giza and Greece at some point.

Photo of the Colosseum, taken by Rob on his trip.

Q: Do you have a favorite building?

R: Although I have never seen either in person, I have always loved Frank Gehry’s Dancing House in Prague which is an extraordinary blend of contemporary and historic, and my first love in architecture was Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater.  I hope to see both in the future.

Frank Gehry’s Dancing House in Prague

Stay tuned for next month’s Staff Spotlight!