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Andrew Goodwin is a true renaissance man, incorporating a life-long love of people, nature, and creativity into his craft. Talk with Andrew for a few moments, and you feel truly inspired. Andrew is COO of ConsciousBuild, Inc., a company dedicated to bringing environmentally, economically, and socially responsible design and construction services to private and public clients around the world; he also serves as Editor in Chief of PUBLIC Journal, the humanitarian journal for the Public Interest Design movement.

Beth Fillerup from Native Trails speaks with Andrew about his ethos and design, and rainbow sandals.

NT: You started ConsciousBuild in 2006 with a group of like-minded professionals. Tell us about your company philosophy.
ACG: ConsciousBuild specializes in innovative and environmentally responsible design-build services for residential, commercial, and institutional projects. We use the collaborative project delivery models as a strategy to significantly reduce design-build costs.  We pay particular attention to the materials specified for our projects, insisting that it be an integral part of the solution addressing the long-term performance of our buildings. Our clients range from government organizations to non-profits and private investors to homeowners.

NT: You also have a humanitarian design studio. Tell us more about that.
ACG: ConsciousBuild has always believed in giving back to others in need. We feel that we have been blessed with our gifts, time, and finances. Therefore it is our responsibility to bless others. In 2009 we started a humanitarian design studio to help at-risk communities all around the world. From projects in Africa to Haiti, to Skid Row in Los Angeles, we have provided design and construction services through collaboration with academia. We tether university students to these projects in order to provide great service to our clients while providing one of the best educational experiences one can ask for. We even felt a fiduciary responsibility to these projects. So much that we created a model that takes around 3% or our time and profit every year and allocated to complete pro-bono and humanitarian projects.

NT: You speak passionately about humanitarianism and sustainability – it’s inspiring. What is your own source of creative inspiration?
ACG: I believe that creativity really just comes from keeping your eyes open, head up, and mind clear. It seems simple, but too many people walk around their daily lives with their head down and focused on the next task. But outside of that philosophy, I really love reading blogs, books, and articles on architecture – especially Pacific Northwestern design. I get great creativity from just seeing how amazing other people are with their craft.

NT: Do you have a signature style?
ACG: In architecture, it’s clean, modern lines, with natural and common materials. Personally? It’s rainbow sandals, jeans, button-up shirt, rolled-up sleeves, and a goatee.

NT: Maybe we’ll stick to your architecture. Tell us about a favorite project you’ve worked on.
ACG: I have spent a lot of time in the outdoors in my life, and one project that came across my boards was for a mountaineering outfitter at the base of Mt. Rainier in Washington State. The outfitter was looking for ideas to provide affordable housing for their mountain guides. We spent time creating these amazing prefabricated single occupancy units that could be duplicated and combined to create a communal residential facility. I really enjoyed creating a design that was so compact and spatially efficient. It was also right up my alley, because we provided Pacific Northwestern design.
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NT: I can see how that would be a favorite. It sounds pretty challenging as well. Tell us about the most challenging project you’ve worked on.
ACG: Believe it or not, the most challenging project I have ever worked on was a design for a developer for a mixed-use building in downtown San Luis Obispo. Challenging in this context has no negative connotation, but rather the project was so intricate that it really kept you thinking. When designing for urban context there is a lot of requirements and regulations that must be followed. So it becomes fun to try and keep everything straight as you maximize a development for a client. The ultimate form and design style was extremely pleasing to me and my staff, so even though it was challenging it was really rewarding.
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NT: Mixed-use has a residential component, but you also design and build a lot of custom residences. How does your company ethos fit with that type of clientele?
ACG: Many of our residential clients come to us because of our ability to bring our design and construction management team together to think outside of the box. We always approach a project from a sustainable viewpoint. We consciously “think before we build” and responsibly respond to the client’s functional and economic needs. Within these two constraints we then bring in the most sustainable products, materials, and design techniques that we can. Our ultimate goals in the custom home process is to 1) leave better friends with the client than when we started and 2) to educate throughout the process so that our whole team (including the client) understands why it is better to make decisions in a Sustainable manner.
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NT: You’ve used Native Trails copper sinks in your projects – what factors led you to selecting copper, and more specifically, Native Trails?
ACG: The quality of Native Trails products was clear to us when selecting sinks for our discriminating clientele. We like that Native Trails is San Luis Obispo-based and takes the stand you do for sustainability.

NT: ConsciousBuild recently started a magazine for the public design movement, PUBLIC Journal. What is the motivation for the magazine?
ACG: PUBLIC Journal (www.thisispublicjournal.com) is a quarterly journal that gives a platform to all the organizations that are contributing to architecture, design and construction with a social impact. PUBLIC takes a page from our ConsciousBuild ethos, and is organized to give back to the people and organizations that are making a difference.

NT: We’ll be reading! Thank you for sharing your time and insight.