We had the good fortune of connecting with Cavin Costello and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cavin, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Focus. From early on we had a vision of what we wanted to be doing 5-10 years down the road and have tried to make the best decisions at each step of the way to achieve those goals, knowing that it would take small, incremental steps forward to achieve them. When you start a business you want to do everything and you want to do it now, and I think that eagerness can you too thin and lead in a direction you don’t want to go. In our industry, projects take a very long time, often years, so opportunity cost can be really high. Being focused on the future while working smart in the present has helped us immensely.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Becoming an architect was not easy. Most people outside the industry aren’t aware of the amount of work and time it takes to become an architect, including a minimum of 5 years of college (often requiring a master’s degree ) roughly 3500-5000 hours of working in the field, and 6, 3.5-5 hour exams that have an approximately 55% average pass rate to just be able to get your license. The good part of all this work and time is that it gives you time to craft your skills and views on the world before you really start, During this time I read voraciously about the history of architecture and the history of how people live. As Isaac Netwon famously said “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” My work is focused on creating spaces that honor the past while challenging the norm and hopefully inspiring the future. I attempt to do all the 3 in every project.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
For architecture I would take them to Taliesin West, Cosanti, Phoenix Public Library, check out some of the historic districts downtown and some of the midcentury work by Ralph Haver and Al Beadle to start. Too many food spots to name, so it would depend on my friends taste, but Pizzeria Bianco, Ingo’s and Rokerij are a few of my favorites. Other places to visit would be the many amazing hikes around town, including the Phoenix Mountain Preserve, Camelback Mountain, and Spur Cross.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to give a shoutout to Jason Roehner and Dan Ryan of Roehner + Ryan. Almost all of our work is for private clients, so the only way most of the world can experience these places is through the lens of a photographer. Fortunately, one of our houses was shot by Jason in 2013, and I was blown away by the quality of the photos. Architecture photography isn’t just about capturing a moment in time. Good architecture photographers capture what has led up to that moment in time and convey what will happen there in the future. This range, that captures ideas and craft of the past while simultaneously portraying how it will shape our lives as we move froward, is what I look for in photographs. I think Jason and Dan have the largest range in the industry right now. We have been exclusively working with them for over half a decade now, and they have been massively instrumental in our business.
Roehner + Ryan