Bachelor of Arts in Architecture, UNC Charlotte (2002)
Bachelor of Architecture, UNC Charlotte (2003)
Hometown: Albemarle, N.C.
Robby Johnston, AIA, worked for award-winning firms Michael Ross Kersting Architecture, Tonic Design & Tonic Construction, and Clearscapes Art + Architecture before co-founding The Raleigh Architecture Co. (RACo) and The Raleigh Construction Co. (RCCo) in 2012 with former UNC Charlotte classmate Craig Kerins. Although separate, the two companies “practice persistent interdisciplinary collaboration to generate critical architectural responses specific to site, client, and budgetary guidelines,” he says.
Robby and his partner Craig have established RACo and RCCo as leaders in single-family residential design, and their projects have won multiple American Institute of Architects (AIA) Regional Design Honor and Merit Awards, AIA NC Design Honor and Merit Awards, and Triangle Design Honor, Merit, and Homes Tour Awards highlighted by COTE Awards and LEED-Certified work. Recently, they have begun to expand into multi-family housing. (Pictured right: the Parks Residence).
“We find new project types to be important to our growth as designers and interesting as new conditions demand fresh solutions,” Robby says. “As Raleigh continues to grow, and in unison grows more comfortable with density, multi-family projects are becoming a mainstay.”
Their first such project, Clark Townhomes (below), took inspiration from the classic Brownstone typology and transformed those attributes into a thoroughly contemporary expression.
As a student at UNC Charlotte, Robby received the 2003 Best Architectural Design Project and Best Architectural Representation awards for his Comprehensive Design and Thesis Project, "A Hiker's Refuge," an examination of the built environment’s relationship with location. He says that his education at UNC Charlotte taught him “abstract and critical thinking, problem solving skills, contextual awareness, and design discipline – all day-to-day fixtures in the learning process that continue to influence the day-to-day design process at Raleigh Architecture and Raleigh Construction.”
It was also as a student that Robby took his first commercial flight, an architecture field trip to Chicago. He later traveled even farther, studying abroad in Belgium for a semester.
“I am especially fond of the exposure to new places and distant cultures afforded by annual field trips and my time studying abroad,” he says.
He encourages current students to likewise “take the time to travel” and to “take a step back, take note of what’s important,” and to soak up the creative energy of studio culture, which, he says, “offered relationships I continue to rely on for friendship, professional development, and creative inspiration.”
Robby and his partner Craig are the 2021 College of Arts + Architecture Distinguished Alumni in Architecture.