Robert A. King

Robert Arthur King is a licensed architect and certified interior designer and the principal/owner of Robert Arthur King Architects, PC. In 2014, King was elected to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) College of Fellows, an honor awarded to architects who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession, and contributed to architecture and society on a national level. He has taught a broad range of courses during his more than 20 years at NYSID, including Basic Drafting, Construction Documents and Historic Preservation. King is currently teaching Codes and Building Systems classes.

What would you say is the best thing about teaching at NYSID?
I love the College. The students are bright and focused and many already have degrees, so they are serious about the profession. They are mature, they know what they want, and they really come here to learn. I’ve taught at a number of other colleges and you don’t find that everywhere.

I think NYSID has done a great job at changing along with the evolving profession. Compared to 20 years ago, today there is a better understanding of what interior design is and it’s taken more seriously.

Why is it important for students to learn about building codes and systems?
When you learn about building codes and systems, you are really learning about the heart of the building—the plumbing, the wiring, the air you breathe, and even accessibility issues for the disabled. Interior design is not just about making a space look good, it’s about how people use the space, and it’s about behavior. An interior space has to be safe and it has to work—it’s up to interior designers to think about that.

How do you bring your professional life into the classroom?
Most of the work I do at my firm is renovating and restoring historic buildings, mainly 19th-century brownstones, row houses, and some restaurants and retail spaces as well. I always tell my students about the projects I’m working on and, whenever I can, I take them to my job sites. You can talk about plumbing or wiring until you’re blue in the face, but you need to see it firsthand in order to really understand it. And when you get to see what’s behind the walls, it changes the way you see things and the dynamic of the room.