Novedge: Tell us about your company and what you do. Safdie, Rabines: Our names are Taal Safdie and Ricardo Rabines, and we established Safdie Rabines Architects, a multi-disciplined, collaborative and service-oriented architecture and urban design firm, in 1994. Based in San Diego, CA, we work globally to create sustainable, site-specific solutions that are sensitive to their settings and highly responsive to the needs of their users. Along with Principals Eric Lindebak, Susan Richard, Scott Maas and Associate Principals Kevin Schiller and Colin McCroskey, we manage various project types and a 27-person team accomplished in all facets and phases of programming, design and construction.
Novedge: What is a recent project that you worked on?
Safdie, Rabines : We have a number of projects in the works right now. Our most recently completed project is The QUAD, which was just awarded an “Orchid” for architecture by the San Diego Architectural Foundation. Located directly across the street from California State University San Marcos Campus, the QUAD is a 5-story, 230,600 square-foot mixed-use student housing structure comprised of 591 dorm rooms housing 889 student beds, 12,000 square feet of academic, student life, and event spaces, and 20,000 square feet of retail/commercial space. It is the first completed development in San Diego’s new 204-acre North City a mixed-use community that we also master planned. We have just broken ground on the next North City project, Block C, another mixed-use structure with 197 market-rate housing units above multiple retail and restaurant spaces that will open to a main outdoor plaza. We are also working on Lusail Pedestrian Bridges currently under construction in Doha, Quatar, and a handful of other projects. Novedge: The Firm is known for its holistic perspective, can you give us some practical example in you work?
Safdie, Rabines: We do work across a variety of scales - from place-making concepts and extensive master plans to large civic, educational and multi-family housing structures to infrastructure and single-family dwellings, we are intently focused on how space is perceived and utilized, as well as the relationship between site and scale, and the blending of built and organic to provide an indoor/outdoor sensibility and natural flow to all that we design. Just a few examples include Scripps Seaside Forum at UC San Diego, the Baldwin Hill Scenic Overlook in Los Angeles and Lake Hodges Pedestrian Bridge and a private residence recently completed in La Jolla, CA . There are many more. Novedge: What is most important in developing and growing a successful team?
Safdie, Rabines: Nurturing the growth of emerging professionals, being open to new ideas, good communication and Beer Fridays.
Novedge: How did you find out about Novedge?
Safdie, Rabines: We found Novedge from a software publisher’s website on a list of reseller back in 2009, and have been using you ever since.
Novedge: What software do you use?
Safdie, Rabines: Software we’ve purchased from Novedge includes Bluebeam PDF Revu for PDF creation and markup, Rhino 3D for 3D modeling, Maxwell Render for rendering 3D images and a few pieces of pre “Creative Cloud"Adobe software. We keep coming back because we’ve found a good selection of software, competitive prices, and great customer service.
Novedge: How do you approach each project and its context?
Safdie, Rabines: We are not locked into a "process" or a "formula" for design. We put enormous emphasis on the site, more conjectural so we can shape from the outside in. We don't start with the form and shape until we know the "how" and what it wants to be. We bring no preconceived ideas and consider every element, from light to winds to anything else that may come into play. The program and the users are also a big influence. Not just from outside/in, but also from inside/out. Novedge: What is your approach to sustainability?
Safdie, Rabines: It is a given.
Novedge: Is there a bridge, a stadium or an airport you would like to design (but that you haven't been asked yet)?
Funny, we just had this conversation as part of a recent leadership retreat. Projects on our group bucket list (coincidentally) include an airport, as well as a museum, more hospitality/restaurants and much more multifamily housing, and we will always continue to build bridges - literally and figuratively.