Thoughtbarn is a collaborative architecture studio in Austin, TX, led by directors Lucy Begg and Robert Gay. Founded in 2007, the practice has pursued an agenda of ambitious and diverse projects – buildings and public spaces, installations and interiors – which share in common an inventive materiality, an economy of means and a robust connection to place and social context. Our name is suggestive of the way in which we work, combining strong conceptual ideas with a research-oriented mindset and a hands-on approach to the construction process.
Thoughtbarn’s work has been recognized by the Architects Newspaper, AIA Austin, American Wood Council, Texas Architect, ULI Austin, University of Texas Tau Sigma Delta Chapter, SXSW Eco Places by Design, Preservation Austin, AIA National Chapter, Americans for the Arts and The Architects Journal.
Robert Gay / Founder & Co Director
Orginally from Cusseta, Alabama
M.Arch, Univeristy of Texas, Austin, 2005
B.Arch, Auburn University, 2000
Robert has sixteen years of diverse design and construction experience, with a focus on material experimentation, building systems and refined details. As well as being an agile designer, he oversees the construction of many of Thoughtbarn’s projects, giving him a sophisticated understanding of the build process and strong connections to a talented network of fabricators and craftsmen.
He worked previously in the offices of Baldridge Architects in Austin, Adjaye Associates in London and Roth + Sheppared in Denver, and has been a studio instructor and regular visiting critic at the University of Texas School of Architecture. As a graduate student at the University of Texas, Robert received an overall excellence prize for his thesis work on digital fabrication and participatory building systems, and was also a lead research member for the ‘Plastics Now’ book project, conducted by current Kieran Timberlake Research Group Director, Billie Faircloth.
Robert was also a founding partner of BBIITT, Building Integrating Technology, a digital fabrication consultancy that collaborated with other designers to create unique products, furniture, and small-scale works.
Lucy Begg / Co Director / AIA
Originally from London, England
M.Arch from University of California at Berkeley, 2007
B. Arch from Cambridge University, UK, 2001
Auburn University’s Rural Studio Outreach Program 2003
Lucy joined Thoughtbarn as Co-Director in 2010 and is a licensed architect in the State of Texas. A skilled communicator and organizer, she has a passion for delivering project excellence within complex urban settings and in partnership with diverse stakeholder groups. Her background includes work for Austin firms Pollen Architecture and KRDB, and London firms Simon Conder Associates and Eldridge Smerin Architects. One of her key interests is in the fusing of design practice with public-interest and advocacy work. She attended the Outreach Program in at Auburn University’s renowned Rural Studio in Alabama and was awarded the Branner Travelling Fellowship from UC Berkeley, which enabled her to spend a year working with architects around the globe innovating with participatory design methods. She has also has a Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and Management and was involved in the start-up of the Austin-based housing non-profit Design Build Alliance.
She is currently a member of the Publications Committee of Texas Architect magazine, a board member of local non-profit Civic Arts and a regular visiting critic at the University of Texas, Austin. In 2020 she was the recipient of AIA Austin’s Emerging Professional Achievement Award.