Robin Washco, AIA never imagined she’d be designing entire buildings from scratch.
Growing up, she demonstrated talent in both mathematics and the arts, and struggled to find her path. In the 11th hour as a graduating high school senior, she experienced a classic “lightbulb moment” when her mother suggested studying architecture, a field that marries both strengths, and went on to graduate from Virginia Tech’s School of Architecture, Art and Design.
Today, as CPL’s Southeast Region Design Leader, Washco applies her keen eye and variegated project management expertise toward elevating designs for projects spanning the firm’s diverse practice areas. She leverages guiding principles to promote a highly interactive and thoughtful design process that is both client-driven and concept-focused, resulting in superior project outcomes.
“To deliver successful projects, we first need to understand the client’s goals and assess the desired community impact, and we dig deep to determine what that might look like,” Washco said. “Asking questions and brainstorming with our clients is the best way to execute their vision – collaboration is truly the lifeblood of our projects.”
The FirstHealth Cancer Center in Pinehurst, NC is one great example of Washco’s design narrative and leadership at work. To plan and deliver the highly anticipated 120,000 sq. ft. facility, she led CPL’s project team and partnered with other team leaders to facilitate robust visioning and concept sessions with the client’s design and executive steering committees. The group collectively produced site, exterior and interior design elements that would promote feelings of hope, caring, safety and comfort not for only patients and their families, but for staff as well.
“Transparency and idea sharing have been key drivers to ensure that the Center is thoughtfully designed to support treatment and healing. In opening the floor for discussion, we broaden our perspectives to develop the most innovative solutions,” she said.
When she isn’t designing, mentoring junior team members or meeting with clients, Washco showcases her passion for architecture as an active member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and by competing alongside her CPL Charlotte colleagues in the city’s regional A/E volleyball league.
She says the firm’s support has been instrumental in shaping her career.
“What I love most about CPL is that we celebrate unique growth trajectories. The path to success here is not linear,” Washco explained. “You’re never boxed into one role and your team will actively help you find your industry niche. To me, that sense of support and opportunity makes all the difference.”