Driven by the desire to have a meaningful impact on both urban and natural landscapes, Rico works with organizations to positively influence communities through design. Since beginning his career in 1996, he has developed a keen awareness of the special requirements needed to make public and non-profit projects a success.
"Designers are beginning to move in the true direction of Citizen Architect, taking on the social issues that will shape the future for our children, our cities, our communities and our planet; social change through design."
Rico has extensive experience and knowledge in the adaptive reuse of existing buildings, and as project manager and architect for the Northwest African American Museum, he became well versed in the intricacies of historic renovation. Rico believes that existing buildings provide a rich context for our daily lives and that maintenance of this building stock, both in preservation and in adaptive reuse, is the ultimate expression of sustainable architecture.
"Be it carbon neutrality, affordable housing, or equity, we have the opportunity to see a vision for a better tomorrow through the lens of design."
Rico sat on the AIA+2030 national steering committee, a committee born out of AIA Seattle that has helped 24 cities provide curriculum for designers and engineers to help them meet the 2030 Challenge. Rico was a steering committee member for AIA Sustainable Scan, a national committee tasked with increasing architects' role in reducing our national carbon footprint and energy consumption through high-performance building design. Rico was a President of the American Institute of Architects Seattle Chapter; is a founding board member of AIA Seattle’s strategic initiative, Design in Public; and helped plan and develop the new Center for Architecture and Design in Seattle.
Rico was a mayoral appointment to the Historic Seattle Council; a founding member of the National Organization of Minority Architects Northwest Chapter; and is currently the chair of the Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority. He was appointed by the Mayor’s office to serve on two committees: the One Center City Advisory Group and the Key Arena Advisory Panel, both focusing on community development, density, and transportation issues in the City of Seattle downtown core and feeder neighborhoods.
With an emphasis on connecting academia and practice, Rico has maintained regular involvement with his alma mater, the University of Washington College of Built Environment. He has been an annual UW graduate design studio reviewer and thesis juror for the last 12 years. He was the practice advisor for 2019 thesis on The Black Spatial Imaginary in Urban Design Practice: Lessons for Creating Black-affirming Public Spaces. He was a professional practice class annual guest lecturer from 2012 through 2018; a guest reviewer for multiple CEP 460 classes; practitioner roundtable participant in UW Design Lab; and a collaborator with interdisciplinary design studios from 2008 to 2010. He is currently consulting with UW CBE, helping the Dean’s office and the college facilitation team develop a strategic plan which will be launched in 2020.