Design is the lens through which architects view the world. We constantly ask, ‘Why would it be like that and not like this?’ An incessant inclination to tinker – to find out how things work and learn something new in the process – spurs us to constantly re-evaluate and improve our design and management strategies. This rigorous, dynamic way of practicing goes hand in hand with Neumann Monson’s emphasis on experience over appearance. It’s our job as designers to make sure we generate the right solution to realize each client’s goals and intentions. Neumann Monson is a leader in this domain.
What other designer do you admire and why?
To me, the most important principle among Dieter Rams’ 10 principles for good design is ‘good design is as little design as possible’. John Pawson, in the UK, applies this principle most successfully.
Describe your journey to becoming an architect.
I was born in Beijing, China and grew up in British Hong Kong. As a youngster, I dabbled in drafting and received training in pencil sketching and oil painting. In 1992, I came to the United States for college, and although architecture was not my initial major, it became the most valuable experience of my extra-long ‘foreign study’ program – my horizons were broadened, and I was hooked. While in school I worked as an intern in Des Moines and taught pre-architecture studios before becoming a full-time professional in 2000.
What determines a successful project?
The understanding, evaluation, and alignment of a client’s goals with our own are prerequisites for a successful project. This notion expands to all parties involved, as every discipline offers a unique set of abilities and knowledge. Successful projects are born from leveraging the team’s collective wisdom.
Iowa State University
Simonson & Associates
Iowa State University (BArch)
Iowa State University (MSc Arch Studies)