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About Tony Robins


Tony and his firm have received awards from Paris to Japan. Robins is a recipient of the prestigious Prix de Rome in Architecture, a winner of the Lieutenant Governor of BC/AIBC’s Special Jury Award for the Kits Beach Restaurant and Lifeguard Project, as well as recipient of Canadian Architect Magazine Awards of Excellence since the firm’s inception and first project in 1981. Publications include work in Objekt, The Plan, Architectural Digest, Azure, L’Architetura,  International Architecture and Design, several interiors hardcovers such as ‘World Interiors’, and an inclusion of fiction and art in Rizzoli’s “Morphosis: Buildings and Projects ’93 -’97.” Robins won the 2014/15 Western Living’s "Architect of the Year", “Interior Designer of the Year”, and “Eco Designer of the Year”. An unprecedented hat trick. He is cited in "Canadian Achievers" and his work is seen in over 85 publications.

Robins runs a design studio occasionally as an Adjunct Professor at the UBC School of Architecture. He has been invited critic at architecture schools worldwide, including SCI-Arc.

The architectural projects are enriched by parallel success in screenwriting, fiction and art.

                                                                                                           
 About the Studio


The small, design-oriented studio handles work of varying scales from single family homes to university faculty buildings. Over a period of thirty years, the firm has established itself with an international reputation, gleaning major awards and publications from Canada to Japan. Very few projects are taken on at any one time, ensuring Principal Tony Robins’ entire dedication to the design and overseeing of every aspect of a project. The team varies from three to ten architects/interns, depending on the scale of the work. Amidst serious artistic exploration, the pragmatic needs of programme, site, client’s desires and community consensus are paramount.

The focus of AA ROBINS architect is holistic, in that it involves the design of almost all aspects of the building, including always the interior, custom furniture, lights, sometimes fabrics, and in the case of a restaurant in Japan, the writing of the ambient music, artwork, and design of the graphics and waitress’ costumes.

It is also contextual, with more emphasis on the appropriate character for the client and site than a ‘brand’ style. For this reason there is very little stylistic cross referencing, other than an interest in the modern and often minimal (as well as their Japanese roots in Western architecture). The projects are in fact wildly different, from the restrained rectilinear modernist house at UBC, to the flying volumes at Tofino on galvanized steel stilts, matching the thin grey cedar trunks, to the Gulf Island 180’ origami-like sculptural form, in a copper alloy precisely the colour of the surrounding arbutus trees.

Robin’s interest in green building methods and more quality control led him to start a prefabrication factory: Preform Construction. Since then, they have placed high end pre-made architecture, delivered by barges on remote island properties as well as by cranes on city lots. The Tofino Residence and Gulf Island Residence, both over 6,000 sq ft and extremely fine custom homes, were both manufactured in the Port Kells factory, down to the final bathroom plumbing and tiling in most cases, and assembled on site. Robins closed Preform to concentrate on his architecture practice and art career. More recently, several Passive House projects are actively being designed in the office.





Curriculum Vitae



Professional Affiliations

Member of the Architectural Institute of British Columbia  1986- present
Member of the Royal Institute of British Architects             1981-present
Member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada       2006

Academic Positions

Adjunct Professor at UBC School of Architecture (SALA) 1981-94, 2010-
Thesis Committees member: 1981-2019
Invited Guest Critic: Fargo, North Dakota State University 2015
Invited Guest Critic: University of Calgary 2014
Invited Guest Critic: Southern California Institute of Architecture, Los Angeles 2013, 2014
Guest Critic: School of Architecture, University of British Columbia 1981-2015
Guest Critic: School of Architecture, Waterloo: Rome Semester: 1995
All School Charrette, University of B.C., with Thom Mayne 1994

Media and selected Guest Lectures

‘The Cutting Edge: Design Trends’ Gray Magazine's forum panel member at IDS West 2017
CBC Radio Interview regarding Gulf Island House June 2017
HGTV ‘Great Canadian Homes: 150 years of Canadian Architecture’: Gulf Island House June 2017
'Merrick House' book launch reading and conversation with Paul Merrick 2017
Global News interview on Point Grey House 4, 2016
CBC News interview on Point Grey House 4 2016
Gulf Island residence in www.houseporn.ca 2015
‘Where design comes from’ 4 UBC Intro Session lectures, 2014
Ron Thom and the Allied Arts Panel Discussion Member: Inform2013
CHEK TV Interview re Pender Island House2013
‘Research and practice’ University of BC2013
‘Architecture on the Leading Edge’ AIBC Conference: ‘Prefabrication of High End Architecture’2011
‘Prefab today’ Journal of Commerce online video2011
Interior Design Show West: ‘Add to Cart’ Prefabrication Today2010
Pecha Kucha Public talk2009
CBC TV Interview2005
‘Current work’ University of B.C. 1993
‘Architecture and Glass’ The Glass Arts Association of Canada 1990
Independent Broadcasters. Radio Interview on work in Japan 1990
‘Current work’ The Japan Society 1990
CKVU Radio Interview1989
‘Current work’ League for Studies in Architecture, Vancouver 1987
‘Architecture as Craft’ Canadian Craft Council Conference 1986
CBC TV Interview1986

Hardback Publications

'Canadian Modern Architecture: A Fifty Year Retrospective -1967 to the Present' Hardback. Kenneth Frampton, forward. Elsa Lam, ed., Graham Livesay, ed. Adele Weder, Writer. Princeton Architectural Press. 2019
‘Mona Lisa': High resolution image transmediated to Base 64 text and bound in 20 volume hardback edition. Elan Fine Art
'Paris Match' Novella 2015
‘Merrick House’ UBC Publications: 2017 ORO Editions
‘Wallpaper Guide’ to Vancouver2010: Kits Point Restuarant and Lifeguard Facilities
‘A Guidebook to Contemporary Architecture in Vancouver’ C. MacDonald. Douglas & McIntyre2010
‘The Prix de Rome’ Marco Polo Ed. Coach House Press2006
‘Taking Off and other Stories’ Contract with Bannf Centre Press 2001
‘Morphosis Monograph’ Short story/ collage, with relation to work of Morphosis Rizzoli, New York1999
‘Fic'tion’ Collection of short stories. Zum Press, Vancouver 1999
‘One Hundred Years of Architecture and Design’ E/P/A Editions, Paris, France1992
‘Canadian Achievers’ Drew Publications, Vancouver 1991
‘World Space Design’ N.I.C. Publications Ltd. Tokyo, Japan1989
‘Worldwide Interiors’ Riknyo-sha, Tokyo, Japan 1987

Catalogue Publications

‘Transmediation' Gallery catalogue of solo show at Elan Fine Art 2018
‘Beyond a Formidable Shadow’ Ron Thom and the Allied Arts Exhibition Catalogue essay2013

Awards, Magazine and Media Publications

Objekt International Quarterly 'Cube House' Spring 2019
Architectural Digest Mexico Edition: Gulf Island House 2019
Vancouver Sun article on 'Cube House' August 2018
Mercedes Magazine ‘Future Forward’ Tofino House Spring/Summer 2018
Western Living Online ‘Cube House' article 2017
Dwell Online ‘Cube House’ article August 2017
Globe and Mail article on 'Cube House' June 24th 2017
Global News TV on 'Cube House' June 23rd 2017
CTV News on 'Cube House' June 23rd 2017
Vancouver Sun article on 'Cube House' June 23rd 2017
Maison Global (Dow Jones magazine) article on 'Cube House' June 23rd 2017
"Ocean Home" magazine article on the Gulf Island House June/July issue 2017
International Property Awards: Gulf Island House: Best Single Family Residence in Canada 2016/17
Vancouver Sun article on retail strategies including RYU December 2016
Globe and Mail article on Point Grey Road House 4 August 2016
National Post article on Point Grey Road House 4, August 2016
Province article on Point Grey House 4, August 2016
Vancouver Sun article on RYU Store, August 2016
Vancouver Sun article on Point Grey Road House 4, August 2016
‘Hauser’ Germany. May 2016 issue: Gulf Island Residence
Winner of the WGSN Global Fashion Futures Awards - RYU: Best International Store Design 2016
‘The Plan’ magazine article on the Gulf Island House May 2015
World Steel Association: article on use of steel 2015
World Steel Association: Gulf Island Residence selected for world publication, including The Guardian and Archdaily 2015
‘Vancouver Sun’ Cone House 4 March 2015
Azure October 2014: Gulf Island Residence
Western Living Magazine's 2014 "Architect of the Year", "Interior Designer of the Year" and "Eco Designer of the Year."
Objekt International June 2014: Gulf Island Residence “Globe and Mail”
‘Ron Thom and the Allied Arts’ Exhibition Catalogue essay 2103
Interview re Vancouver Planning changes 2013
‘International Architecture and Design’ Tofino House 2013
‘Globe and Mail’ “Prefabulous” Hadani Ditmars 2013
‘Canadian House and Home’ Kirsh Residence 2012
‘Globe and Mail’ “A space of Movement and Beauty” Seeff House 2010
‘Vancouver Sun’ “Fab Prefab” 2009
‘Azure’ Sunshine Coast House 2007
Vancouver Construction Association Award of Excellence: Innovation Award (under $5m.) 2006
Lieutenant-Governor of BC Award Special Jury Prize: Innovation Award: Kits 2006
‘Vancouver Magazine’ Restaurant Design of the Year: Kits 2006
‘Vancouver Sun’    Robins Residence 2006
BC Steel Association Innovation Award: Steel Building of the Year: Kits 2005
‘Vancouver Magazine’ Review of Kits Beach Restaurant Building 2005
‘Globe and Mail’ Review of Kits Beach Restaurant Building 2005
‘Vancouver Sun’ Review of Kits Beach Restaurant Building 2005
‘Azure’ Article by AA Robins on architecture and aging 2004
‘Mobile Architecture’ ‘A’ Grant, Canada Council for the Arts 2001
Denver Art Museum Competition 2nd Prize with Morphosis Architects, L.A. 2000
‘New York Times Magazine’ Time Capsule Competition, finalist with Morphosis 2000
‘Design Exchange’ Ottawa Interview on influence of Italy on design 1999
‘Vancouver Magazine’ House in Tsawwassen 1996
‘Insight Magazine’ Interview by AA Robins with Thom Mayne 1996
Canada Council of the Arts Prix de Rome Canada’s Architecture Prize
Includes a one year residence in the Rome Studio 1994-5
‘Western Living’ Details section 1995
‘Western Living’ Cover and Lai Residence kitchen 1995
‘Architectura’ Preface to monograph on Morphosis: fiction 1993
‘Homes’ Toronto Cunningham Residence 1993
‘Step’ "Five who make Vancouver a better place" 1992
‘Western Living’ Alexander Street Loft 1991
‘Home’ New York Taylor Residence. Cover and article 1991
‘Pacific Northwest’ Taylor Residence 1991
‘Canadian Architect’ Tokio Restaurant 1990
‘Equity Magazine’ "Design Vancouver" Cover and feature article. 1990
‘Western Living’ Trethewey Penthouse. Cover and article 1989
‘Western Living Interview 1989
‘Canadian Interiors’ Irori Restaurant 1989
‘Canadian Interiors’ Teppan Village Restaurant 1988
‘Canadian Interiors’ Shijo Restaurant 1987
‘Canadian Architect’ Award of Excellence Tssawwassen
Shopping Centre. With Cornerstone Architects 1986
‘A Measure of Consensus’ Catalogue: Exhibition of Canadian Architecture. UBC 1986
‘Western Living’ Own house renovation 1985
‘Western Living’ Feature on 'Tony Robins' 1984
‘Architectural Drawings’ Catalogue of Exhibition 1984
‘Progressive Architecture’ Own offices. With E.H.Cavanagh 1984
‘Canadian Architect" Own offices and Ice cream parlour 1982
‘Canadian Architect" Award of Excellence 6 Townhouses,
Cover feature. With E.H.Cavanagh 1982

Gallery Shows

Two works in Gallery Show at Elan Fine Art Fall 2019
'Vertical Desire' Summer Group Show 2019 Elan Fine Art
'Rust/Base 64' and 'Mata Hari:' Winter Group Show 2018 Elan Fine Art
Solo Exhibition: 'Transmediation' Sept-Nov 2018 Elan Fine Art
Roundhay Garden Scene. Group Show 2018 Elan Fine Art
One and Three Chairs. Group Show 2018 Elan Fine Art
Copper/Base 64. Group Show 2018 Elan Fine Art W 1st Ave Vancouver
‘Monopoli’ Place des Arts, Concourse Montreal. Kits Building 2006
‘New York Times Time Capsule’ Finalist with "Morphosis"
Metropolitan Museum of Nat.History, New York 2000
‘Collages" Italinteriors, Vancouver 1997-99
‘Roma Collages’ Open Studio. Prix de Rome Studio 1995
‘Montaine's Addiction’ Installation combining fiction, furniture and collage
Canadian Craft Museum 1994
International Exhibition of Drawings S.C.I.A.R.C. Los Angeles 1993
‘The Media’ Dianne Farris Gallery, Vancouver 1992
Gallery resident Dianne Farris Gallery, Vancouver 1991-7
‘Emily Carr Series’ Dianne Farris Gallery 1991
‘A Measure of Consensus’ Exhibition of Canadian Architecture.
University of B.C. Traveled internationally 1986
‘Architectural Drawings’ Charles H. Scott Gallery, Emily Carr College of Art 1981

National Committees and Conferences

Member of the National Sectorial Council for Culture, Ottawa 1992-1994
Guest at Canadian Craft Council "Visioning" Conference, Banff 1991
Member of the Cultural Sector Training Committee, Ottawa 1991
Guest at Canadian Craft Council Conference, Vancouver 1986

Selected Non-residential Architectural Projects

  • 50 unit luxury spa hotel in Northwest Territories
  • Commercial/Residential project in Cranbrook BC
  • Large commercial block at Burrad and 1st Ave 2018
  • RYU Apparel Store Inteiror Newport Beach. LA concept 2018
  • RYU Apparel Store Interior S Abbot Kinney LA, concept 2018
  • RYU Apparel Store Interior Brooklyn concept 2018
  • RYU Apparel Store Interior Metrotown concept 2017
  • RYU Apparel Store Interior Toronto concept 2017
  • RYU Apparel Store Interior Park Royal 2017
  • RYU Apparel Store Interior Thurlow St 2016
  • RYU Apparel Store Interior West 4th Ave. 2015
  • 2 Multi use six to 14 storey projects in Kerrisdale 2015- date
  • Large commercial project on Grandview Highway 2015
  • Large commercial project in Richmond 2015
  • Naturo Group Offices, Vancouver 2014
  • Trace/Miller Springs Plant additions: Osoyoos BC 2014
  • Spencer Interiors Furniture Showroom, Vancouver 2011
  • Partnership BC Classroom Competition with Oliver Lang (LWPAC) 2010
  • UBC Faculty of Education Building New $100 million facilities. On hold pending funding 2007
  • Restaurant Building, Port Moody` Competition winner for high profile waterfront building in Rocky Point Public Park 2005
  • Kits Beach Restaurant/Lifeguard Facility Public/Private Venture in Vancouver Park $6m 2002-5
  • ‘Mobile Architecture’ Research and design. CCA $80,000 per unit 2001/2
  • Denver Art Museum Invited competition with Morphosis, L.A. 2nd place $65m 2001
  • Sushi-Go Restaurant/ sushi restaurant $75,000 2001
  • Dr. Monty: Dental Offices Vancouver $120,000 2000
  • Asakuma Restaurants 12 restaurants, including interior design
  • Nagoya/Tokyo/Dalien, China $500,000 each 1996-1998
  • U.B.C.Faculty Club Interior design renovation, including design of furniture, rugs, lighting fixtures, menu graphics, plates, etc., plus structural improvements, handicap access, seismic and fire exit upgrade.
  • Jointly with Henry Hawthorn Architect, $4.5m. 1992/3
  • Performance Works Granville Isle. Multi-use theatre space. Renovation of /addition to a works shed.
  • Jointly with Barbara Dalrymple Architect $1m. 1992
  • Asakuma Restaurant Prototype
  • (Contract for 200 restaurants over 5 years) $1.2m 1991
  • Silva Bay Resort Master Plan for new ‘village’ and buildings including restaurant, pub, hotel $7.5m 1990
  • Tsutaya Restaurant Vancouver $500,000 1989
  • Tokio Restaurant Vancouver Published nationally $450,000 1989
  • Teppan Village Restaurant Whistler. Published internationally $500,000 1988
  • Zonda Nellis Fashion store Vancouver Published nationally $50,000 1988
  • Marsh & Mclennan Insurance Brokers. 20,000 office interior, $1.2m. 1988
  • Lazy Gourmet Granville Island store $65,000 1987
  • Shijo Japanese Restaurant. Published internationally $350,000 1986
  • York Avenue Townhouses With E, H, Cavanagh Award of Excellence $500,000 1981

Residential Projects: Clients

  • 6 hotel interiors Whistler 2019-
  • Ronald Roadburg Residence Vancouver 2019-
  • Michael and Sandy Hayden Laneway House 2019-
  • Jody and Amy McInnes Residence in Cranbrook 2018-
  • Tony Wu: Multi-unit apartment building; Steveston 2016
  • Martin Warren: New house on Sunshine Coast 2016-
  • Tyrone and Beverley Robinson New house on King Edward, Vancouver 2016-
  • Deanna Sandrin New house on Lake Huron, Ontario 2016-
  • Mark Lumley New House on Lake Huron 2015-
  • Ronald Roadburg New House Vancouver 2015
  • Matt and Natalie MacIsaac Renovation of heritage corner store into residence above a cafe 2014-
  • DJ Edwards New House in Calgary 2013-
  • Dr. Michael and Sandy Hayden Sunshine Coast House renovation 2014
  • Michael Kirsh and Marta Trigener House renovation 2013
  • Rodney Graham Deck renovation 2013
  • Shannon Oksanen/Scott Livingstone House addition 2013
  • Heather Jones New House on Point Grey Road, Vancouver 2015
  • Brent Lokash New House on Point Grey Road, Vancouver 2013-
  • Stephen Spencer New House on Atlin Street Vancouver 2013-
  • Sandy and Michael Hayden Apartment renovation Tel Aviv 2012
  • Albert and Winnie Li Extensive 5,000 sq ft House renovation,Vancouver 2012-
  • Joan McEwen & Irwin Nathanson Repeat clients. New House on N.West Marine Drive 2013
  • John Xinos New House on West 16th Ave Vancouver On hold 2012
  • Teresa and Alan Hottel New House in Whiterock 2011
  • Karen Konzuk/ Dwayne Dobson New House Pender Harbour Completed 2011
  • Michael Bendall/Celeste Sundquist New House in Whitehorse 2500 sq ft Completion scheduled 2013
  • Eleanor Anderson New House in Squamish 2700 sq ft 2010
  • Dale and Caroline Corman New House on Sunshine Coast BC 6,000 sq ft Completed 2012
  • Trustees for the (withheld) New House on Gulf Islands, BC 6,000 sq ft Completion 2013
  • Matt MacIsaac New House in Tofino, BC 2008 8,000 sq ft Completed 2011
  • Judith and Andrew Standley New House at Pender Harbour BC. On hold 2007
  • Lawrence Seeff and Maya Adam New House near UBC, Vancouver 7,500 sq ft. Completed 2010
  • Dr. Isabelle Van De Meer Extensive modernist renovation Vancouver 2006
  • Dr. Michael and Sandy Hayden Repeat clients. New House on Sunshine Coast 3,500 sq ft. 2006
  • Joan McEwen & Irwin Nathanson Repeat clients.Design for large House on NW Marine Drive 2003
  • John and Laura Swift New House on Deering Island
  • Mr. and Mrs. Renzo Pederzani Repeat clients. Townhouse and New House in Kerrisdale
  • Dr. John and Carrell Bayne New House in Tsawwassen
  • Dr. Michael and Julie Shum Repeat clients. Renovation in Shaughnessy. New House 2012
  • Michael Bolton and Liz Walker Repeat clients. Two house renovations and Michael’s 2 Law Offices
  • Bill and Deborah Gibson Repeat clients. Three house renos and New Island House
  • Andrew and Helena Lai Extensive SW Marine Drive renovation
  • Trethewey Family Repeat clients. Derek’s house renovation, his apartment and previous house renovation, his offices. his brother’s house renovation, his mother, Vivienne Trethewey’s, penthouse
  • Sandy Cochrane/ Wendy v. Riesen Major renovation in Deep Cove
  • Seiji and Mrs. Kondo Repeat clients. Houses in Hawaii and Nagoya, Japan
  • Earl Cunningham, Repeat client. Several low cost houses

Mark
office: 604.221.0122    |    www.aarobins.ca    |   tony@aarobins.ca