Ralph Beiran of New York-based studio RMBA, recently met with Adler Windows to discuss his impressive career journey that steamed from attending daily job site visits as a child. Growing up in a family of builders Ralph naturally had an interest in construction, after some encouragement from his old man, Ralph soon began looking into a career as an architect. Fast forward to 2017 he now owns an award winning firm located in the heart of Manhattan. With a portfolio of commercial projects, corporate offices and luxury residences spread across the four corners of the globe, Ralphs international body of work has been acclaimed in major publications such as Architecture Magazine, Contract Magazine, New Yorker and New York Times.
Adler Windows: How did you break into the Architectural industry?
Ralph Beiran: I spent 10 years with a large multinational architecture and engineering firm. I was very fortunate to avail of an amazing opportunity to travel all over the world. I worked my way up to one of seven design directors. It was a fantastic experience and it taught me how much I value working directly with clients. Later, I took a two-year sabbatical to work in the construction field which provided me with unmeasurable experience when I formed my own firm in 2009. A lot of people approached me who I had previously worked with and they asked me to take them on as clients which was amazing. I really enjoy the scale of designing that my own firm, RMBA enables me to do. As of today, we have 10 very talented members of staff. I feel my career has now come full circle.
AW: RMBA places a lot of emphasis on design and construction being interlinked, why has this aspect played such a huge role in your company’s philosophy?
RB: My background from very a very young age is in construction, after my two-year sabbatical, I thoroughly got to appreciate the importance of responsiveness and concrete answers. Quick and conclusive responses between the entire design team are paramount for a successful project.
AW: Describe your architectural style?
RB: Leading out traditional. Modern with contemporary materials and finishes.
AW: Where do you draw inspiration from?
RB: I find myself feeling inspired at the most unexpected times. I often find inspiration outside of the world of architecture, for example, pop culture, fashion, art. However, I would say I draw inspiration from watching how people interact around beautiful buildings.
AW: Have you experience any particular watershed moments in your career to date?
RB: Without a doubt, my sabbatical. After ten years in the industry, I had learned so much but that experience put everything into perspective for me. The importance of documents, responsiveness and most importantly as a CEO, different personalities.
AW: You have worked throughout the United States, Europe, and Dubai if you could only work in one city forever, where would it be?
RB: Manhattan – it is extremely challenging but extremely rewarding. I don’t think I have a particular favorite, but I will say that clients in Manhattan are typically from different areas in the world and thus, they ultimately drag you around the world with them. Clients have the power to open so many creative doors.
AW: What are the unique challenges you face working as an Architect in New York City?
RB: Architecture is the easy part because that is what we eat sleep and breathe. It is what we know how to do. The challenging aspect is completing projects on time while trying to obtain different approvals and permits. Timelines are the shortest that they have ever been which an important factor to liaise with clients, thankfully we have an excellent track record.
AW: And the opportunities?
RB: Manhattan, in particular, is on the cutting edge of Energy Conservation. When you work in New York and you are up with the City’s regulations, you can ultimately work anywhere else in the world.
AW: What do you believe to have been the biggest attribute to your success?
RB: I am addicted to getting things right. I often work on a design until I would be happy working there. At RMBA we don’t stop until we get it right but we will still work to meet every deadline.
AW: What advice would you give to a young Architect who is currently trying to make it in the industry?
RB: Architecture is a labor of love that requires challenges, dedication and hard work. You need to enjoy what you do and work hard to be successful. Make sure you love what you do and the rest will fall into place.