AIA Contract Documents Help RW Studio Turn Dreams Into Realities

About RW Studio

RW Studio is a full-service architectural firm, recognized for creating projects that have a soul, going beyond the conventional usages of dwellers and tapping into their psyches. The firm specializes in designing hospitality, commercial, and private residences through a collaborative creative approach where they truly partner with clients in a way that renders the most authentic version of their design needs.

“Successful projects begin with a contract from AIA Contract Documents. They’re the unquestioned industry standard, a trusted resource, and with them, every party knows that they’re being positioned for success.”


The University of Texas boasts one of the finest schools of architecture in the nation. With a history of turning out design creatives capable of producing innovative aesthetics while remaining grounded in discipline and sound fundamentals, the school annually sits at or near the top of the class when the time comes to grade programs. Situated in Austin — one of the most diverse and progressive learning settings in the world, it’s easy to see why this university churns out design leader after design leader, year in and year out. In the eyes of most, it’s simply a phenomenal learning environment.

Count Roddrick West in the number of those who view this fine institution in that manner. It was there in Austin that West, a graduate of the University of Texas School of Architecture, was first introduced to AIA Contract Documents. It was also in Austin where West, sitting in those hallowed classrooms, saw two of his lifelong dreams begin to take shape: becoming an architect and founding a design firm. “From as far back as I can remember I’ve always been enamored with the idea of being my own boss and an architect. The opportunity to meld these two passions is nothing short of a dream come true.”

Starting Out

Upon graduating, one dream was complete, but the dream of owning a firm was placed on hold, at least temporarily. “Entrepreneurship is in my DNA, but I knew before I set out on my own that I had to get some real-life experience working in offices amongst seasoned architects. At every step along the way, regardless of where I was working, ACD contracts were being used.”

Classroom exercises are great introductions for students as they try to gain a full understanding of the profession. The real value of a contract can only be felt in a real-life setting, as West found out during the early phases of his career. Seeing the documents and gaining a clear understanding of how they shaped and drove the industry cemented West’s already strong opinion on ACD.

“As an entrepreneur, I’ve faced a lot of uncertainties, but there was never a question as to who my contract provider would be. From the moment I opened my doors, ACD was the clear choice.”

Instant Credibility

There’s power in first impressions, and as the old saying goes, you only get one chance to make one, a harsh reality that has always stood at the forefront of Wests’ mind. A minority in an industry where only 10% are persons of color, West understood that the first chance might be his only chance. With that, when the time came for his firm to begin pursuing projects, mentioning RW Studio used contracts from ACD always made a favorable impression. “Instant credibility is the best way I can describe the feeling I felt when I saw the look in the clients’ eyes. The tone of the interaction changed, and any doubt they had in us as a firm was no more, simply by referencing our affiliation with ACD.”

What Donaghy does best is create a vision for the organization he founded. This means strategically procuring projects and being part of the management process from inception all the way through completion. “One of the first tools a student gets introduced to in architectural school is a contract from ACD. The documents walk with us through every phase of our learning process to the point where it’s literally unimaginable to not be able to see the value the documents bring as we enter our professional lives.”

Ease and Comfort

Most clients come to a project with some idea of what they want and where they want to go. Knowing how to get there is a different story and that’s where astute design professionals like West and his staff step to the forefront and contracts are an integral part of this process.

“Good designs aren’t sudden; they happen in phases, and ACD contracts allow us to operate within that construct. If we sense a client is lost or isn’t getting it, our role is to bring them in and immerse them into the fold in some sense, and it’s much easier to do this in phases than all at once. It’s important to design this way because when it’s over, it, whatever it is, is theirs, and as such, we want them to be proud of what we – our team and theirs, have created. All of this is possible because before we approach any opportunity, we’re comforted to know we have the right contract behind us.”

Since opening the doors of KGD Architecture, Donaghy has forged many professional relationships while working on myriad projects, but he’s only used one contract provider. “We use ACD contracts right out of the box. This is important to note because, with the size and scope of the work we’re involved in, we need to show integrity, gain trust, and build and maintain project momentum. Any re-writing or manipulation of the contract can stifle those processes. With ACD, the re-writing and manipulation are never an issue, so we remain committed to these instruments being a part of our toolkit. They’ve helped us build relationships that drive our business, and mirror the ideals we were founded upon, all while positioning us for lasting success.”