A client partnership is the kind of deep mutual understanding that can carry hopes, needs, goals, and dreams. ‘Architect’ is a position of honor that we must always work to earn, so we advocate relentlessly for the designs our clients have commissioned us to create. Design requires a conscious effort to create something that is both functional and aesthetic. While Design harnesses underlying principles of form and composition, it focuses on purpose and function. This focus is the key factor that distinguishes Design from Decoration. Decoration may very well make something beautiful, but Design makes something more functional precisely because of its beautification. Design and function are intrinsic to each other. My ambition for Neumann Monson is to continue our Design trajectory, to make every project transformational, and to foster our next generation (to become, in many ways, unnecessary).
How do you bring rigor to your work?
To me, rigor is a quest to find the simplicity—the essence—of a project and then relentlessly organize materials and systems in service of that essence.
Who has most shaped the way you think about design?
The older I get, I think the ‘education’ I received while growing up on a farm in Iowa instilled in me a passion to build, the sensibility to invent, and an ability to make.
What makes Iowa unique?
Iowa is one of the most heavily modified landscapes in the world. While Iowa may seem a natural landscape at first glance, a closer examination reveals that a full 99.9% of the Iowa landscape has been modified in some fashion. The landscape of Iowa, while generally organic, is almost wholly artificial/man-made. Cultivation of the land and the Jeffersonian Grid have layered the landscape of Iowa with a rigorous organizing module and industrialized its use and commoditization.
Herbert Lewis Kruse Blunck (HLKB)
Shiffler Associates Architects
Iowa State University (BArch)