We had the good fortune of connecting with Brian Laubenthal and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brian, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
I decided at an early age that architecture would be the medium for how I would make a positive impact. In 7th grade English class at Pennfield Middle School I was given the assignment to write a paper about ‘What career do you want to pursue and how can it help the world?’ I remember thinking deeply about what I could be… Since I was young, I have cared about the environment and helping others in need. That empathy coupled with intrigue for design, fueled my passion for architecture. I started ALINE Architecture Concepts in 2010 with my good friend, Brian Krob. My career has been highlighted by projects that make a positive impact on our environment and community; volunteering with the Green Schoolhouse Series to develop green/healthy environments for children, donating services to remodel the Phoenix Ronald McDonald House to give families a better community space and kitchen, working with The Rosie’s House to develop a school that gives underserved children an opportunity to learn and play music, collaborating with the Scottsdale Fire Department to build a new 9/11 Remembrance Exhibit, and donating services to help remodel the office space for Together We Rise and attend their events to benefit children in Foster Care. I also serve our community by volunteering with Feed My Starving Children, Live Love Chandler and attending fund raisers for groups like Chrysalis. To support our youth, we donated sports equipment to underserved schools, offer mentorships, job shadows, and started the Inspired Architecture Scholarship to encourage students to pursue their passions and make a positive impact. We are always working to save and preserve architecture with history and value here in the valley and using my passion to develop inspired projects that repurpose buildings and use sustainable methods. We received two international design awards in 2020 for adaptive reuse projects that demonstrate our values. I have now been a business owner 10 years, and always working towards my passions utilizing architecture.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
ALINE was created around the principles of craft, community, and collaboration. It is important to our values that we take responsibility for and respect the people in our communities and the environment in which we live and build. We believe nature should be in balance and integral to design and that our communities should be engaged by well-crafted architecture that act as hubs and encourage connection and synergy. We understand the need for architecture that builds a better world and encourages the next generation of architects to be inspired about what they can do to create positive change. In response to this year’s challenges we are excited to offer the Inspired Architecture Scholarship in partnership with the ASU Design School. This scholarship will help show students that architecture and design is a medium to improve the world. We are also excited to be collaborating with local businesses to create upcycled plastic wall tiles. The tile is made from local Phoenix area waste to limit plastics to Arizona landfills. Architecture is the background for us that serves a larger purpose. We want our projects to standout for helping people, the community, the environment, and more. We want people to understand that narrative when they experience our projects. Inspired architecture is about listening carefully to your surroundings. It’s fueled by deeply understanding people’s needs and then crafting a positive solution to those challenges using our talent, skill set, and the materials nature has provided us.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I believe to truly enjoy any new place you need to see it for its authentic character. Where do the local people visit over and over and enjoy about the city? Who are the local people working hard to support the community? These local businesses are people we support and many of them are our clientele. I would recommend staying at the new Arrive Hotel, which is Uptown Phoenix’s first-ever neighborhood hotel. The hotel was developed by Venue Projects, who genuinely cares about developing a better community. While in Phoenix I recommend a trip to Uptown Plaza Farmers’ Market. They are all about supporting local farmers and local businesses. In Tempe check out Fate Brewing Company for a local beer and pizza, then journey to North Scottsdale for an opportunity to sip wines from the Arizona region and more at Sorso Wine Room. Go to Arizona Wilderness in downtown Phoenix and sit on the richly landscaped patio that was once a parking lot and enjoy beers the use Arizona ingredients. Stop at Becketts table for an amazing meal crafted by local chef Justin Beckett and sit on the patio we enjoyed creating. One of the best parts about Phoenix is our amazing weather. Walk through the botanical gardens or take a bike ride along Tempe Town Lake and through ASU. Piestewa Peak is my favorite hiking spot. The trails put you right in our unique desert atmosphere while also giving you amazing views of the city. All these opportunities give you an experience of what Phoenix is truly about, the amazing community and our distinctive environment.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My business partner, Brian Krob, has always supported me and without him I could not have accomplished what we’ve been able to do together. The first two years of business we survived on deli sandwiches. We took turns on getting what was necessary to make incredibly cheap lunches. I still cannot look at deli sandwiches the same way, but Brian and I also brought each of our own ingredients to our business to make it all work. Together we balance our strengths and have always inspired each other. I have been incredibly fortunate to have mentors giving me guidance. Patrick Rehse, who owned Architectural Resource Team (ART), has been an important mentor from the time he was my professor to today as he helps guide me on growing our business or helps us overcome complications on a project. He encouraged us to set clear goals and create a strong team we can rely on. Another inspiring mentor has been Tom Frenkel, owner of Clayton Companies and developer in Scottsdale. Much of our success and connections have been due to Tom’s generous nature. He doesn’t hesitate to sit me down to talk over work or personal matters. He has encouraged me to look beyond any small issues and focus on the many great things happing in my life. Another amazing mentor, friend and client has been John Shoecraft. I’ve known John for about 15 years and have worked literally side by side with him to develop projects. He taught me a valuable lesson ‘people + projects = products.’ That it always starts with people and very important that it needs to be the right people. ALINE would not be successful without our team. Our Senior Project Manager Dorota Grodzinska brings her amazing talents, balanced design, and environmentally conscious approach to each project. Project Manager Jeff Graham develops and highlights the craft of materials, detailed construction methods, and thorough process. Heidi Grimwood drives quality in her work, passion to support community, and elevate design. Rani Sweis with Attic Salt has helped develop our brand identity and voice. Rachel Smak helps tell our brand story through photography. We are also thankful for all the consultants, reps and contractors who collaborate with us to make the projects a reality.
Roehner Ryan Photography, Rachel Smak Photography, Nick Laessig Photography