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Architect: Ron Shaw

Why did you choose to become an architect?

Practicing architecture was not a choice; it was simply an extension of one of my natural born senses and yearnings. An architect is an artist who designs structures to enclose space for human shelter. My art started when I first discovered a pencil.

Who was your first mentor and how did he/she influence you?

My first mentor was a college professor by the name of Hans Miethig. He endured great hardship in the Second World War as a German soldier forced to fight in a war he did not believe in. Captured by the Russians, during his time as prisoner of war he vowed to repay society if he survived. I was blessed to be the recipient of his vow. He instilled in me the meaning and benefit of hard work, dedication, commitment and human decency. His dedication, teachings, and morals have benefited my career immeasurably.

How would you describe your design sense or style?

I do not have a particular architectural design sense or style. Rather, I pride myself in being a very good listener and delivering the design and style that my clients request.

What is your favourite building in the Caribbean?

At the risk of sounding pompous and selffulfilling, it is a project I designed in the Turks and Caicos Islands known as Emerald Cay, a 30,000 square foot, US$40M +/- single-family residence on its own island.Ignoring its enormity and palatial demeanour, I think it is an incredible accomplishment of good proportion, stimulating geometric shape, and a perfect marriage of form and function in technology, topography, detail and nature.

Fall_2010_Images_Page_68_Image_0003What do you think is the most misunderstood thing about your profession?

The artist side of our profession is God given, while scale and proportion (form) comes naturally to talented architects. I think many people do not understand this and should not meddle with the architect on form. On the other hand, function comes from life experience. In many cases, our clients may bring more of this to the table and we, as architects, must respect this and not meddle with the client.

What are you working on at present?

The hub of Providenciales is Turtle Cove and the related yacht basin. We have tabled and received overwhelming client approval on a commercial/residential concept for the Turtle Cove Marina. This aside, we recently had approval on a residential concept for an ocean front property in Long Bay that I am confident will be a contender at next year’s International Properties Award competition.

What do you dream of one day designing if money were no object?

This is a question to ask of a developer. I love creating architecture, but I leave the dreams to them. Turning their dreams around is what I do.

What inspires you to keep designing?

Two things: my passion for pencil sketching, and second; turning dreams into reality. The gratification of working with clients to determine their ideals, attaining approval of my concept, and then sharing in the excitement watching their dreams and visions come to life, is a privilege I am very grateful for. Each experience inspires me for the next.

If you could work with any other designer or architect in the world, who would it be?

Hands down it would be Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright preached the beauty of native materials and insisted that buildings grow naturally from their surroundings. As a very young child, I was awestruck with Wright’s Fallingwater, Kaufman House. Brilliant!

If you had a dinner party, name four people (living or dead) whom you would like to entertain.

Architecture – Frank Lloyd Wright; Business – Alan Greenspan; Politics – Ronald Reagan; Theatre – Meryl Streep. Oh! Can I invite just one more? My mother. She died when I was just 10; I have a lot to share with her.

Where would we find you on a Friday night?

As boring as it may seem I’m probably in bed. I am a runner who hits the road at 4:30am.

What is your favourite vacation spot?

New York City. What an amazing amalgamation of history, society, architecture, technology, culture and nature.

What is your idea of perfect happiness

Haiti, just 90 miles south of us, is in a desperate state. I have sponsored a young Haitian to attend College in Canada. Underprepared, the odds of his success are stacked against him, but if he succeeds I will be the happiest man on earth.

What is your motto?

Treat others as you would expect to be treated.

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