Alumni Spotlight: Ignacio Rodriguez

Ignacio Rodriguez, AIA, principal and CEO at IR Architects, graduated from Woodbury University’s Bachelor of Architecture program in 2007. He received a full scholarship to study architecture at Woodbury University in Burbank. While at Woodbury, Ignacio received the prestigious Degree Project of the Year Award. Upon graduating he developed his own distinct style as an architect and knew his goal was to start his own architecture firm.

Ignacio realized that dream and at the age of 28 in 2012 started IR Architects where he has quickly become a formidable force in the competitive world of Los Angeles Architecture. Since their inception, IR Architects has expanded rampantly currently averaging 30 projects per year. Ignacio has grown into a visionary architect who, at the age of 31, has designed over 250,000 square feet of luxury Real Estate throughout Southern California. Growing up in Southern California, Ignacio developed a deep appreciation and understanding for what designing in Los Angeles can be.

He has designed a slate of high-end, luxury homes ranging from 5,000 square foot contemporary new-builds to 40,000 square foot estates. Ignacio projects consistently garner an impressive $2,000+ per square foot catapulting him to rarefied air among those in his field.

Interview with Ignacio Rodriguez, AIA

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishments both personally and professionally?

My greatest personal accomplishment is my family. I love my two kids and my wife. We are a happy family, and I consider myself to be a lucky man. My greatest professional accomplishments have been obtaining my architecture license and starting my own firm. My license has created my credibility in the architectural community as well as the freedom of design.

Do you think your time at Woodbury University helped you to pursue this? If yes, how?

Yes, I do believe that  my time at Woodbury has motivated me to achieve my goals. Woodbury is where I met my wife and where I gained the knowledge and understanding of all aspects of architecture. In this industry, it is crucial to be more than just a talented designer. We must understand the business aspects of architecture because it allows for further development and growth of our organization.

How did you come to focus on residential design in the Los Angeles hillside in particular? What was the motivation behind this choice?

I have been interested in residential design since I was a child. The concept of a home has always been something that I found a passion in. Residential design allows for the most freedom, and design on the Los Angeles Hillside is the most challenging. For some reason I always find myself in tough situations, the obstacle and overcoming the challenges has always been a factor that I enjoy. Having previously worked within the civil work field I have a decent understanding of grading conditions and what it takes to build on a hillside.

And who or what is the inspiration behind your modern luxury design aesthetic?

I have always loved organic architecture, architecture that blends into the ground. One of my favorite projects is the Falling Water by Frank Lloyd Wright. The idea that you can take a water stream, run it through your home and have it exit so elegantly is beautiful architecture in my perspective. Another influence on me would be the Kappe House by Ray Kappe. I would say that the Kappe house was the greatest influence on my designs through my time at Woodbury.

What have been the biggest challenges in your career? Did your experiences at Woodbury University help you to overcome the obstacles you’ve faced?

The biggest challenge I have faced, in not only my career but also in my personal life, has been overcoming the misconceived notion of who I am as a Latino. However, when I attended Woodbury, the Latino population was roughly 30% which helped me realized the amount of diversity in the field.

What advice would you give to younger alumni or current students who aspire to follow a similar career path?

I would encourage students to minor in business, if they have the opportunity to do so. Having a business background, as well as being a talented designer, will lead to greater opportunities because it could potentially further your career.

What would you say to a prospective student who is considering Woodbury University?

When you attend Woodbury, you are not just a student identification number, you are an integral part of the student body. So, if you are looking for a personal experience where you get to interact with your teachers on a one to one level, Woodbury University is a great environment.

What is your lasting impression of Woodbury University?

Looking back at my experience, Woodbury had offered me so many opportunities as a student and now I want to give to back to the campus community. Woodbury is the kind of place that you remember forever. The relationships you build with your instructors and peers are ones that, more often than not, you maintain and keep constant contact with. This helps build your network and allows for firms, like mine, to hire and teach Woodbury graduated students.

Describe Woodbury University in 3 words.

Innovative, inclusive and open-minded

Images courtesy of IR Architects
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