Robert Cole, RIBA is a Principal of ColePrévost, a design firm he co-founded with Sophie Prévost, ASID, formerly a senior designer of Lehman-Smith | Wiseman (LSW, now LSM). Melding background experience and education in Architecture, Interior Design, Corporate Identity (Branding), painting restoration and furniture design, together with those of their employee skillsets, notably landscape architecture and interior architecture, they work closely with a variety of interesting clients and an array of consultant engineers, builders and specialty fabricators, addressing a range of projects types, at diverse scales and preoccupations. As the challenges of no two ColePrévost projects are the same, the work is linked singularly by an aspiration to make the ordinary extraordinary.
Recent projects include small designs: A bathroom, converting a floating dock into a boathouse for a deaf couple, and a pro bono design for Martha’s Closet- Martha’s Table thrift shop. And large: The common spaces of a 692 unit apartment building, the master plan and partial implementation of a 9,000 sf home that formerly was a Pre-Civil War Mortuary and a 400 m2 apartment in a Grade Two Historic Listed property spanning two 19th C townhomes in London.
Prior to starting ColePrévost in 1996, Robert juggled interests in practice, research and teaching: In NYC, he was Peter Eisenman’s intern (House IV) at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, while studying with Kenneth Frampton. In London, he worked in the field of corporate identity for Pentagram and WolffOlins until 1980 when he was invited to teach at the AA School. Thereafter, he was a senior designer at YRM while teaching as a Unit Master at the AA School. After a stint in Australia as a guest professor at the University of Sydney, he returned to the US and taught studio and furniture design, and theory at the University of Michigan. He was awarded a University of Michigan Rackham Fellowship to design sets for the Martha Graham dancer | choreographer Peter Sparling. Outside the classroom, he formed Robert Cole Associates. Working with a clutch of graduate students | contractors, they design | built a 903 sf house for Dutch homeopathic nurse, a jewelry shop on Madison Avenue, NYC, a shoe shop, amongst other projects.
In 1989 Cole joined the faculty of the Catholic University of America, where he taught studio design, theory, thesis and furniture design. For 2 years he was the Academic Director of the CUA Summer Program. In practice during this period, he designed an apartment in the former Chinese Legation building for which ColePrévost won a DC AIA award. During his sojourn at Catholic, he won a Bearings Award for his teaching and practice portfolio, and 2 of his built projects won ACSA design awards.
In 1985 he left CUA and focused on practice. After a hiatus of almost 20 years, Cole resumed teaching. He co-taught (with Brie Husted) the capstone thesis studio at the Interior Architecture Design Program at George Washington University and at the same time taught in the Interior Design Thesis studio at the Corcoran School of Art and Design. The following year he taught a graduate design studio at the Sam Fox School of Design at the Washington University in St Louis as the Ruth and Norman Moore Visiting Professor of Architecture.
After receiving an AB at Vassar College, Cole studied at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies (New York) where he worked with Peter Eisenman and studied with Kenneth Frampton. He did his graduate studies in London at the Architectural Association School of Architecture with Sir Peter Cook and Ron Herron and wrote his thesis on the Social and Technical History of the Bathroom with Robin Evans.
He is a Senior Lecturer teaching Arch 403.