When you walk in, you don’t just think, ‘What a cool space,’ ... We build environments, not just buildings.
As a teenager, Robert Blaser ’89 chose Bucknell because he thought he wanted to be an engineer. “I knew I had an interest in art and drawing, and I also knew I had an aptitude in math and science. At the time I thought math and science would get me further,” he says. In his career as an architect, however, his design skills are what set his work apart.
As an associate principal at Michael Graves Architecture & Design based in Princeton, N.J., Blaser helps lead global projects that mix architecture, master planning, product design, branding and more. His largest-scale undertaking so far has been as project architect for Singapore’s massive Resorts World Sentosa, an island resort city consisting of six hotels, a theme park, a museum, a casino — and even a canal.
“We’ve done a lot of master planning in this firm,” he says. “To take it forward and not only plan, but actually execute everything we designed, down to the interior light fixtures — that was quite a project. It was once in a lifetime, if ever,” Blaser says.
Though his most renowned work has been in hospitality, Blaser stretches his talents into other architectural modes. For instance, he was showcased last year in Healthcare Design magazine for his work on Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Omaha, Neb.
“There the question was, ‘How can you make it less sterile?’ ” Blaser says. “How can you bring something from hospitality into the realm of medicine, which can otherwise be cold and uncomfortable?”
More recently, Blaser began work on new corporate offices for Fannie Mae in Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Dallas. In this case, he is focusing on the theme of transparency.
“When you walk in, you don’t just think, ‘What a cool space,’ ” Blaser says. “You think, ‘This is a cool space for Fannie Mae. It’s who they are.’ We build environments, not just buildings.”