Architects Talking to Architects: Christopher Ferguson, Assoc. AIA

Christopher Ferguson, Assoc. AIA, is a designer at Clickspring Design, co-founder of DO.GROUP DESIGN, and graduate of The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture. He has an 8-year-old Cornish Rex named Little Bit and enjoys telling bad jokes.

Christopher Ferguson, Assoc. AIA – photo courtesy Christopher Ferguson

If had not studied architecture, what other profession would you have pursued?

In first grade, I decided to become a bug doctor, and for a while I was pretty adamant about that career choice. My homeroom teacher urged me to become a veterinarian instead, but I knew that was only because she thought insects were icky. (That's right, Mrs. Janes, I'm calling you out!)

I would love to be a teacher someday. I've been lucky to have had many great ones at every stage of my education. I would like the chance to return the favor.

Pen, pencil, or computer?

All three! I usually sketch with a Pentel Stylo and occasionally take the more promising doodles or diagrams into Photoshop for tightening up. Obviously, when time is of the essence, you can't beat the efficiency of whipping out a pencil and paper. I like hybrid drawings, because you can straddle the line between ambiguity and clarity that can sometimes make a drawing pretty special.

A few excerpts from my sketchbook during a studio abroad trip to Europe in 2011 – by Christopher Ferguson

What is the one building that you just had to see for yourself?

In 2011, I took a solo trip to Bilbao, Spain to see Gehry's Guggenheim in the flesh. I went into it expecting to really despise the building, but when I arrived I just … couldn't. It was a confusing mix of awe and bewilderment that I still haven't been able to shake. It didn't turn me into a Gehry fanboy, but it challenged a lot of assumptions that I had held to be true about architecture and reinforced my belief that the only way to truly know a space is to visit it in person.

On that same trip, I was lucky enough to stay at Le Corbusier's Sainte Marie de la Tourette for three days. Exploring and living in that building was pretty close to architectural transcendence for me — if there is such a thing. It was very moving!

My prejudice againts the dizzying geometries of Gehry's Guggenheim Bilbao proved to be, for the most part, unwarranted. Its awesome materiality, scale, and abundance of natural light combine to form a space unlike any I've ever encountered. – photos by Christopher Ferguson

Our studio was incredibly lucky to be granted the chance to sketch on the roof of La Tourette. Looking back, I think of this moment as the the beginning of my slight obsession with rooftops. – photo by Maggie Graham

Beer, wine, or cocktail — what is your drink of choice?

I'll take a glass of Woodford Reserve any day of the week. On the rocks, neat, doesn't matter to me. I love their double-oaked version as well!

What type of advice would you offer to young professionals?

As a (very) young professional myself, I'd offer the advice a great mentor gave me:

Own your narrative. Work your ass off. Be playful. The rest will fall into place.

A laser cut chipboard stencil was the departure point that led to the creation of the Bundle Reusable Bag prototype, which in turn led to the birth of DO.GROUP DESIGN. The organization has ambitions to become a platform to empower young designers with the skills necessary to bring products to market. – photo by Christopher Ferguson

What community activities do you participate in?

I volunteered with AIA Austin's Architecture in Schools program in 2013 and fell in love with it. Lately, I've been contributing photography and prose to Raw Paw, an open-ended collective of young, ambitious artists and designers. The organization is all at once a publisher, record label, festival host, and more. It's been exciting to watch it evolve!

Not Gallery has become an East Side creative hub for up-and-coming and established local artists. It was designed, built, and is currently under the direction of Alex Diamond, Raw Paw's art director and another graduate of the University of Texas School of Architecture –photos by Christopher Ferguson

"Architects Talking to Architects" is a series on the Texas Society of Architects blog that spotlights members from across the state at different points of development in their career. All participants are given the same set of questions, with instructions to answer any six, giving them the opportunity to highlight the items they feel are most interesting. Is there someone you'd like to see featured in "Architects Talking to Architects"? Email to let us know.