THOUGHTBARN IS AN ARCHITECTURAL PRACTICE BASED IN AUSTIN, TX, LED BY DIRECTORS ROBERT GAY AND LUCY BEGG. FOUNDED IN 2007, WE PURSUE AN AGENDA OF AMBITIOUS AND DELIBERATELY DIVERSE PROJECTS - BUILDINGS AND PUBLIC SPACES, INSTALLATIONS AND INTERIORS - WHICH SYNTHESIZE AN ECONOMY OF MEANS WITH INVENTIVE MATERIAL STRATEGIES AND A COMMITMENT TO SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS.
The name ('thought' + 'barn') is suggestive of the way in which we work, combining robust conceptual ideas with a research-oriented lens and a craft-focused sensibility. We have a special interest in the neighborhood scale, and many of our projects are infill or adaptive re-use typologies that imaginatively engage the particular nuances of place and community context.
The practice has experimented with numerous working models in addition to playing a traditional architect role, including design/build, public art installations, joint ventures, arts-based community engagement and digital fabrication consulting. These reflect our interest in expanding the agency of architects and make us a valuable partner in a wide range of contexts.
Thoughtbarn has been fortunate to partner with forward-thinking entrepreneurs, municipalities and civic organizations in Austin, across Texas and beyond, including the following:
[Civic/Municipal] Waller Creek Conservancy, YMCA Austin, City of Austin, The Thinkery, Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center, Fusebox Festival, Art Alliance Austin, The Contemporary, City of Tacoma, City of Arlington, Philadelphia Mural Arts, Grand Center Arts District.
[Commercial ] Endeavor Real Estate Group, Bunkhouse Group, The Citizenry, Guerilla Suit, Giant Noise, Pennybacker Capital, Pegalo Properties, Emergence Realty, Lincoln Ventures, Big Bend Brewing, KPG Hospitality, Vuka Collective
Our collaborations with Delineate Studio focus on speculative commercial projects in Austin that are responsive to the unique character and context of the city's central neighborhoods. The partnership joins the complimentary skill-sets and experience of the two companies and expands our collective resources to meet the demands of larger-scale projects.
The first project that Robert and Lucy collaborated on was a 2003 screened porch addition to a mobile home in west Alabama, as part of Auburn University’s Rural Studio Outreach Program. Robert founded Thoughtbarn after grad school at UT Austin, using it as a vehicle to build furniture and installation projects on limited budgets. We’ve grown since then but our ethos is still rooted in the resourceful, hands-on approach of those early projects.
4805 RED BLUFF ROAD, STUDIO A / AUSTIN, TX, 78702
Office phone: 512.386.1579
Office email: INFO@THOUGHTBARN.COM (for project, press and employment inquiries)
Our studio is located in East Austin, at the Red Bluff Amusement Park and Worm Farm (we are Studio A & B). Visits to the studio are by appointment only, please contact us prior to visiting. Thank you.
Orginally from Cusseta, Alabama / M.Arch from University of Texas at Austin (2005) and B.Arch from Auburn University (2000).
Robert founded Thoughtbarn in 2007. His diverse design and building experience focuses on material experimentation, building systems and refined details. He has an intuitive design sense, a sophisticated understanding of construction processes, and exacting quality control standards, making him an invaluable leader through all phases of a project.
He worked previously in the offices of Baldridge Architects in Austin, Adjaye Associates in London and Roth + Sheppard in Denver, and was a lead research member for the Plastics in Architecture project conducted by current Kieran Timberlake Research Group director Bille Faircloth. He was also a founding partner of BBIITT (Building Integrating Technology), a digital fabrication consultancy that collaborated with other design firms to create products, furniture and small scale works.
Robert has taught graduate and undergraduate studios at the University of Texas School of Architecture and is a regular visiting critic.
Originally from London, England / M.Arch from UC Berkeley (2007), B.Arch from Cambridge University, UK (2001) / Rural Studio Outreach Program (2003)
Lucy joined Thoughtbarn as Co-Director in 2010 and is a licensed architect in the state of Texas. A skilled communicator and organizer, she has a passion for delivering project excellence within complex urban settings and in partnership with diverse stakeholder groups.
Her background includes work for Austin architecture firms KRDB and Pollen Architecture, and London firms Simon Conder Associates and Eldridge Smerin Architects. One of her key interests is in the fusing of design practice with public-interest and advocacy work. She attended the Outreach Program in at Auburn University's renowned Rural Studio in Alabama and was awarded the Branner Travelling Fellowship from UC Berkeley, which enabled her to spend a year working with architects around the globe innovating with participatory design methods. She has also has a Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and Management and was involved in the start-up of the Austin-based housing non-profit Design Build Alliance.
She is currently a member of the Publications Committee of Texas Architect magazine, a board member of local non-profit Civic Arts and a regular visiting critic at the University of Texas, Austin.
Texas State license #26395
Originally from Moscow, Russia / BArch from University of Texas at Austin.
Andrei has been helping Thoughtbarn make easy projects 'complicated' since 2011. He is an avid cyclist with a tremendous skillset for mathematics, scripting, and dialing in the details of difficult technical projects.
Originally from Dallas, TX / BA from Bowdoin College / MArch from The University of Texas at Austin
Alex spent 9 formative years living on the rocky coast of Maine: she studied Visual Arts and Biology at Bowdoin College, followed by five years in Portland, Maine working in higher education, making art, and helping repair an old sailboat. During graduate school she was part of the 2015 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon team and interned at the New York City office of Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta. As the Texas native on the Thoughtbarn team, Alex appreciates the opportunity to design in her home state, confronting its unique challenges and opportunities (while satisfying her passion for live music here in Austin). Licensed to practice Architecture in the State of Texas #27814.
Originally from South Carolina / BA in Architecture from Clemson University / MArch from University of Texas at Austin.
Anna’s design work has taken her from Barcelona to Brooklyn. Outside of her own exploration, she loves hearing about architecture and cities from the perspective of others and has helped organize community mapping projects around Austin. Anna has worked in the New York offices of ARO and has a passion for community mapping research and its potential for collaborative environments. Licensed to practice Architecture in the state of Texas #28083
Felice is originally from San Antonio, TX. She studied Art History at TCU before working the attic of the Kimbell Art Musuem followed by the dungeons of the Royal Academy of Arts, London. Those gigs drove her back to school for her MBA. That in hand, she bounced around the Cable TV world before making the leap in logic to work as a Business Consultant in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. 2-years later, she landed back in (our beloved) Austin to work as a Project Manager at Cirrus Logic. She is now helping support Thoughtbarn's office & profitability models. She enjoys art, fresh air and tennis.
Originally from Amherst, Massachusetts / BS in Architecture from University of Massachusetts
A recent newcomer to Austin, Eli is excited to be a part of Thoughtbarn, working on projects at all scales within the Texas context. Eli has a passion for mass timber construction methods and participatory design, focusing his school work at UMass on these topics. As an avid climber and cyclist, he spends as much free time as he can exploring the outdoors around Austin while also getting to know the live music scene with his band.
Becca is a B. Arch student at the University of Texas at Austin, and a resident intern at Thoughtbarn.
Born in Fort Worth, she grew up in rural Texas on a 64 acre ranch. She loves the outdoors and has interests in photography, literature, music, furniture design and construction. As a side project, she is working to design her own line of greeting cards. She has wanted to be an architect for as long as she can remember, and is grateful to learn from Thoughtbarn team during her final year in school.
901 East Sixth wins Regional Excellence Award in 2020 US Wood Design Awards
01_20// Lucy covers the rewrite of Austin's Land Development Code in Jan/Feb issue of Texas Architect "Austin Code Kerfuffle Continues Contentiously"
12_19// 901 E6 and Avenue C awarded Honorable Mentions in Architects Newspaper Best of 2019 Awards
10_19// Avenue C wins a 2019 Merit Award from Preservation Austin
08_19// 901 East Sixth wins 2019 'Best Project Innovation' Impact Award from Urban Land Institute
05_19// Ridgeview House featured on ArchDaily
04_19// Ridgeview House featured on Dwell "An Angular Austin Home Makes Way For Heritage Oak Trees"
09_18// University of Texas School of Architecture Fall 2018 Series Robert and Lucy present Thoughtbarn's work
08_18// Art in Public Places 2018 ‘ Visionary Voices’ Series Robert and Lucy present Thoughtbarn's public art projects
05_16// Thoughtbarn awarded inaugural 2016 Silver Medal by University of Texas Tau Sigma Delta Society
12_15// YMCA Community Garden wins Architects Newspaper 2015 'Best of Landscape' Award
11_15// Fair Market awarded 2015 Merit Award by Preservation Austin
06_15// YMCA Community Garden featured in Texas Architect "Colors In The Garden"
08_14// YMCA Community Garden a finalist for SXSW 2014 Places by Design Award
06_14// AIA Alabama 2014 Conference on Design Robert and Lucy present Thoughtbarn's work
04_14// AIA 2014 Emerging Professionals Annual Exhibit in Washington DC Santa Anna House and Chromatic Confluence featured
11_13// Santa Anna House featured in Tribeza "It's In The Details"
10_13// Santa Anna House awarded 5* rating by Austin Energy Green Building Program
01_13// Escaped Infrastructure wins 2013 PAN Year in Review Award from Americans for the Arts
12_10// Lucy and Robert named '10 to Watch' in Tribeza's 2010 People Issue
03_04// Ola Mae's Porch Wins Architect's Journal 2004 Small Project Award "Sweet Home Alabama"