Describe the moment in time when you knew you wanted to be an architect.
I always wanted to be an inventor growing up - I loved solving problems, investigating, and building tools. Growing up I spent most of my time in my father's woodshop and my mother's sewing room. These experiences informed my opinions on texture, craft, color, and pattern. When I was ten, I purchased a book from Eastwind Books in Berkeley on the drawings of architect Aldo Rossi. I was inspired by how expressive his drawings were and by the surprising austerity of the buildings that grew out of them.
What is your design philosophy?
I believe that successful architecture must start from a place of compassion. Compassion must be used in defining the parameters of the program, understanding the people it serves and protecting the environment it takes from.
Can you attribute your design or work philosophy to a single event in your life that, for whatever reason, had a lasting impact on you and your perception of the world?
I grew up in rural area amongst fields of corn, river deltas and old barns. I became hyper aware of the quality of light in landscape. The shifting of light and shadow completely transformed the mood of the place throughout the day. Farm equipment turning up dust from the fields contributed to brilliantly saturated colors. I am always hoping to create architecture that reminds people of the uniqueness of place.
What’s the most meaningful and enduring life advice anyone has ever given you – and that you live by to this day?
“Put stuff where it wants to be.” Initially it seems like that goes without saying however it gets at the very heart of what architecture is, the composition of special relationships (inside vs. outside, public vs. private, etc.). Designers must identify patterns, symmetries, and sequences. This how the logic of a building is fabricated but it is not necessarily how the spaces will be interpreted by its users. More succinctly put, “Is everything where it wants to be?”
What is your favorite cuisine?
Pizza is life. I wish my answer was less generic but can’t deny the truth.
At what moment do you know your project is or has become a success?
The moment that a design is inhabited in joyous ways that were never planned is the mark of success. This is the point at which memories are made, children learn to explore, and the actions of daily life are made to feel more meaningful.