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Getting to Know: Aaron Ruby
June 19, 2015
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Continuing our “Getting to Know Allison Architects” series, today we share an interview with Aaron Ruby. Aaron has been at Allison Architects since July of 2014, when he merged the firm he founded, Ruby Architects, with Allison.
Where did you grow up?
I moved around a little growing up. I lived in Grinnell, Iowa, Trumbull, Connecticut & Bloomington/Normal, Illinois, which is where I graduated from high school.
What brought you to Arkansas?
I moved to Arkansas in 1991, after high school graduation, to attend architecture school soon after Fay Jones had won the AIA Gold Medal—it put the program on the map. I visited Fayetteville and just fell in love with the place. When we drove down to visit for the first time, we didn’t know where the University was—we were hoping for signs would lead us in. Incredibly, as fate would have it, one totally random turn after another, we turned west onto Lafayette Avenue from College Ave. There on the Hill directly in front of us, and on axis with Lafayette was Old Main. I was hooked immediately. After graduation, I was offered a job in Little Rock—and been here ever since. I am glad I never left the state after graduation. Arkansas is a special place.
What is your favorite color?
Red (I'm sure being a Razorback fan has nothing to do with that).
Do you prefer to cook at home or eat at a restaurant?
Well given the fact that my wife has an unbelievable talent for creating masterpieces in the kitchen, I much prefer to eat at home. But we sure both enjoy eating out a lot too.
How do you take your coffee?
I like it bold with just a little cream added.
Where would you love to visit that you have not?
There are so many places I would like to visit its really hard to list them all, but at the top of the list are surely Maine, including going whale watching; Alaska; Greece & Turkey to see sites of early Christian churches, Germany; Northern Italy, Galapagos Islands… I could easily go on and on.
Do you prefer to draw with a pen, pencil, or computer?
What led you to pursue a career in Architecture?
My first exposure to architecture was in 8th grade shop class. We each received grid paper and had to draw house plans and elevations to scale. I was just hooked immediately. From that point on I knew the word "architect" and I knew it was what I wanted to do. The more I checked into it, the more I realized that I had some ability in the areas that architects needed to excel in. Just seemed to be a natural fit for me.
What do you like to do in your “free” time?
In my free time I like to read. I also volunteer quite a bit and believe strongly in the need to serve. I am currently the President of the Little Rock Visitors Foundation, overseeing the preservation of Curran Hall, which is currently the Little Rock Visitor Center. I am also Sunday School Superintendent at All Souls Church in Scott and serve as a group leader for Bible Study Fellowship. I am also a volunteer firefighter in Scott, where I live.
What is the last book you read (or last movie you watched)?
The last book I finished was "The Apostolic Fathers" which is essentially a collection of the earliest Christian writings in the first and second century (outside of the New Testament), translated by J.B. Lightfoot and J.R. Harmer. I am currently reading Moby Dick. We do like to go to movies--I think we are aiming to see Jurassic World next.
Do you have a favorite style of architecture or favorite architect?
Most people know I have a passion for old buildings. Honestly my favorite styles are probably any styles well executed prior to the age of Modernism. In real general terms, I have an affinity for the Colonial Revival. Paradoxically, I really enjoy buildings by Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright--and of course Fay Jones.
What is one of your favorite aspects of being an architect?
I enjoy the problem solving--that each project is different, which keeps it interesting. But I would have to say that my favorite aspect is learning--particularly when I'm involved in restoring or rehabilitating historic buildings. Though it just comes with the job, I get a huge lift from seeing what others have built--how those old materials came together, who was involved in its construction.
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