Our clients come to us from varied backgrounds, often outside the design and construction industry. For them, building is costly and can be very stressful – and for good reason! The stakes are incredibly high. The decisions made during the design phase of a project have rippling consequences that impact the long-term success of a business or organization, not to mention the lives of the people that inhabit the building. When the stakes are that high it’s essential that we build empathetic partnerships with our clients with understanding that cuts both directions. We’ve got to be able to clearly see things from the client’s perspective. On the flip side, they need to understand the design process and the implications of decisions being made. If we can get to that level of partnership you can evaluate all decisions against the owner’s goals and deeper values and the resulting space can propel the client’s mission – not just simply warehouse it.
What drives you?
I’m a tinkerer and problem solver by nature. My family is full of engineers and I have some of that mindset in me. I generally approach every challenge as a problem (or more positively, a puzzle) to be solved. Whether it be a design challenge, budget, schedule, regulatory – all can be approached with a mindset that seeks the best possible option within the constraints.
What determines a successful project?
My most satisfying moments at work have been not when we have total design freedom – but when we have daunting constraints and are able to find a way to creatively make something great out of it.
What makes Iowa unique?
There’s a quiet energy here that stirs deeply below the surface. A purposefulness of movement. I see this in the kind of architecture produced here too – there’s very little that’s pretentious or superfluous. Maybe it’s because we’re still so connected to our agrarian roots.
Iowa State University (BArch)