Ari Rodriguez Boog says she found an underserved niche in the architecture industry, where needs of power and energy companies are not being met.
So, the entrepreneur decided to start her own architecture firm dedicated specifically to the architectural and design needs of those types of companies — all in the name of sustainability.
This month, Rodgriguez Boog will celebrate the first anniversary of the day she started Archifootprint, a Lenexa-based architectural firm. The self-titled architect/chief executive officer leads her staff in design and architecture of power plants, electrical sub-stations, energy storage and the like.
Archifootprint’s first location was in Overland Park; but the company moved its headquarters to 11245 Strang Line Road in Lenexa last fall.
Born in Michigan, Rodriguez Boog spent most of her childhood in Venezuela but moved back to complete her education and training in the United States. She’s lived in Kansas the past five years, around the time that she noticed the gap in her field.
“I don’t want to call it my own thing because you never really are doing your own thing; you’re fulfilling a need,” Rodriguez Boog said, adding that she noticed that energy-related buildings and structures are underserved around the world. “I’d been thinking about this for a few years and then finally decided to take the plunge.”
Making sustainability a top priority in architecture
The gap makes sense to her: Most power plants and substations sit empty. Absent of people, the buildings merely keep and protect machines that are constantly moving. As a result, the building itself becomes second thought during the design phase — the opposite case would be a house or even an office building, where the actual users’ needs and comforts are generally top priority.
“The building is not considered as a first thought, so a lot of things that come as last-minute decisions affect the building,” she said. “I want to change that.”
Half of her team’s work is educating potential and current clients on the long-term benefits of sustainability. By getting involved early in the design process, Rodriguez Boog hopes Archifootprint can help companies achieve sustainability as well as certification in Leadership for Energy and Environmental Design.
Archifootprint started with one client and many projects; the company now has other projects on the horizon with three other clients. She attributes her growth to her staff, including her long-time colleagues Michele Dawson, Barbara McGuire and Viki Labrou-Betts.
“It’s not by design that we’re all women,” Rodriguez Boog said. “It happened to be that way, by chance.”
Rodgriguez Boog has plans to hire additional staff in the near future, including an architect and architectural technician.
While the company’s entire client base is outside of Kansas, Rodriguez Boog hopes to changes that.
“My intent is to become thought leaders in the community, to become a presence in the Kansas City area — especially Lenexa — and go from there,” she said. “I think that right now, nobody knows who I am, who we are, and I think that’s done through service. I don’t expect that tomorrow we’re going to say, ‘Hey, here we are,’ and everybody will come. We’ll do it through service.”