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THOUGHTBARN is an architectural practice in Austin, TX, committed to using design as a tool to enhance lives, foster connection and imagine new possibilities

Our work spans from housing and workplaces, to retail and hospitality, to civic spaces and public art. Across all projects we seek to craft inviting and inspiring spaces, informed by a spirit of invention, a clarity of purpose and a robust social and environmental ethic.

We do our best work in partnership with vision-driven clients who care about thoughtful design at multiple scales - from neighborhood context to site relationships to material systems to how the details come together.

Our approach & expertise

THOUGHTBARN is a tight-knit, collaborative team of designers, led by Robert Gay and Lucy Begg.  We value the exchange of ideas with clients and consultants, and the unique design outcomes that emerge from those processes.

Our core expertise is in creative urban infill projects that contribute to vibrant, livable cities.  Our clients range from developers and entrepreneurs, to private homeowners, to municipal and non-profit organizations.  Areas of particular interest include mass timber, adaptive-re-use and new housing typologies.  While many of our projects are within the Austin city limits, we work regularly in other municipalities around the state, and have been involved in design initiatives across the country.

We are also active in our community through pro-bono design work, participation in AIA chapters, and volunteer service with local non-profits.

Our services

Our Core Services consist of start-to-finish Architectural Design services, from Schematic Design through to Construction Administration. As part of these services we also help clients connect with builders and navigate permitting processes.  We typically perform Interior Design services related to building finishes and fixtures as part of our Architectural Design services; however we are always excited to collaborate with talented third-party Interior Designers. 

Our Ancillary Services include stand-alone Feasibility and Programming services for clients in the exploratory stages of projects.  We also enjoy Public Outreach work and have organized workshops, volunteer builds and exhibits to facilitate community engagement in projects.  Our past experience in Design/Build and Digital Fabrication makes us a good fit for select Public Art projects or projects with technically sophisticated elements.

We love to connect with people about their project ideas, whether modest, ambitious or eccentric. Please get in touch if you’re interested in a conversation with us!

Our history

THOUGHTBARN was born in 2007 with the intention of working on diverse projects which combined a strong conceptual approach with material experimentation and a focus on craft.  In the first decade we pursued public art and small architectural commissions, building many of them ourselves on limited budgets. We experimented with alternative working models, including design/build, temporary installations and digital fabrication consulting.  We worked in different cities around the country and at the same time built a body of work in Austin with repeat clients with whom we evolved over time.  

In recent years, THOUGHTBARN has established a track record of varied and high-quality built projects, which still retain the resourceful ethos of earlier work.  As part of this growth we formed an ongoing joint venture with Delineate Studio (as TB/DS) to take on larger-scale commercial projects in the city.  In 2022 we renovated and moved our studio into an old auto-mechanic workshop on a corner lot in East Austin.


THOUGHTBARN’s work has been recognized in many venues, including with awards from AIA Austin, the Architects Newspaper, Preservation Austin, the American Wood Products Council and the Urban Land Institute and in articles in AN Interior, Dwell, Texas Architect and Architect magazines.  In 2020 Lucy was the recipient of AIA Austin’s Emerging Professional Award.

We have presented the work of the practice at the University of Texas at Austin and numerous AIA conferences.  Our projects have included many firsts, including the first commercial building in Austin to use cross-laminated timber, the city’s first artist-led community garden, and a series of pioneering 3D-printed housing prototypes.
















Address: 2901 East 2nd Street, Austin, TX, 78702

Office Phone: 512.386.1579

Office email: email hidden; JavaScript is required (for project and press inquiries)
                         email hidden; JavaScript is required (for employment inquiries)

Visits to the studio are by appointment only; please contact us prior to visiting. Thank you, Thoughtbarn.

Around Town


Jan   Texas Architect / First Light Books and Thoughtbarn HQ featured in article in Jan/Feb issue - "Together Again"

Jan   AIA Austin Housing Advocacy Roundtable / Panel participant on City of Austin HOME Initiative update


Oct   AIA Austin Women in Architecture / Lucy featured in 'Profiles' 2022 video series

Aug   AIA Austin Design Excellence Conference / Panel Participant - “Housing Equity for a Growing City”

May   Austin Foundation for Architecture 'Architalks' / Talk on Thoughtbarn's residential work - "Other Ways of Making Houses"

Apr   Cite Magazine / 901 East Sixth included in article - "How Much Carbon Does Your Building Embody?"


Aug   AIA Tennessee Annual Conference / Keynote lecture - "Finding Orientation"

May   Texas Architect / Author of article - "Central Texas Chapter of NOMA Forms Amid Pandemic and Protest"

Apr   Architect Magazine / Tiny Victories featured in article - "Small Houses, Big Impact"

Jan   Texas Architect / Avenue C Fourplexes featured in article - "Under Pressure"


Oct   AIA Austin Homes Tour / Ridgeview House featured on annual Homes Tour

Oct   Architects Newspaper / 2020 Top 50 Interiors Firm

Sep   Austin Monthly Home / Article on Ridgeview Home - "A Contemporary House That Blends in with the Trees"

Aug   AIA Austin Design Excellence Conference / Panel participant - "Still Missing: Studies in Incremental Density"

Apr   AIA Austin Design Awards / Avenue C Fourplexes receives Design Award of Merit

Mar   AN Interiors / The Citizenry featured in article - "Crafty, y'all"

Mar   AIA Austin Honor Awards / Lucy receives Emerging Professional Achievement Award

Feb   US Wood Design Awards / 901 East Sixth wins Regional Excellence Award

Jan   Texas Architect / Author of article - "Austin Code Kerfuffle Continues Contentiously"


Dec   Architects Newspaper Best of 2019 Awards / 901 East Sixth and Avenue C Fourplexes awarded Honorable Mentions

Oct   Preservation Austin Awards / Avenue C wins a 2019 Merit Award for Addition & Infill category

Aug   Urban Land Institute Impact Awards / 901 East Sixth wins 2019 'Best Project Innovation' Award

May   ArchDaily / Ridgeview House featured

Apr   Dwell / Ridgeview house featured - "An Angular Austin Home Makes Way For Heritage Oak Trees"


Sep   University of Texas School of Architecture Fall 2018 Series / Lecture on Thoughtbarn's work - "Finding Orientation"

Aug   Art in Public Places 2018 ‘ Visionary Voices’ Series / Lecture on Thoughtbarn's public art projects

2017 & prior  

May 2016   University of Texas School of Architecture / Thoughtbarn awarded inaugural Silver Medal for Distinction in Design by Tau Sigma Delta Society

Dec 2015   Architects Newspaper Best of 2015 Awards / YMCA Community Garden wins Architects Newspaper 'Best of Landscape' Award

Nov 2015   Preservation Austin / Fair Market awarded 2015 Merit Award

Jun 2015   Texas Architect / YMCA Community Garden featured in article - "Colors In The Garden"

Jun 2014   AIA Alabama Annual Conference / Lecture on Thoughtbarn's work

Nov 2013   Tribeza / Santa Anna House featured in article - "It's In The Details"

Jan 2013   Americans for the Arts / Escaped Infrastructure wins 2013 PAN Year in Review Award

Mar 2004   Architect's Journal / Ola Mae's Porch Wins 2004 Small Project Award - "Sweet Home Alabama"

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