Where were you born?
I was born at Fort Polk in Louisiana at the very beginning of the Vietnam War, when my father was drafted as a military doctor.
What is your design philosophy?
My design process/philosophy has always been to start at the end. Start with that perfect balcony with a view of the ocean and work backwards to create a solution for the site that makes it possible. Begin with the intimate, person-specific moments that you envision and then structure the entire project around these clearly created features.
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 found a deep affinity for building materials one summer when I was restoring a 600-year-old farmhouse in Tuscany. Italian roof tiles were made by laying a sheet of clay over your thigh (to create the barrel shape), and as I sorted through old tiles, you could see the faint impressions of leg hairs. I had this overwhelming feeling of connection to the clay, the medieval builder, the land, and the architectural legacy of these simple buildings. Ironically, I think I smashed the tile to use it as shims under a door frame.
What’s the most meaningful and enduring life advice anyone has ever given you –and that you live by to this day?
My father once told me that if I never look forward to anything, then I would always be pleasantly surprised.
Do you volunteer anywhere in your community—if so, where and doing what?
Through a connection with Catholic Charities, my wife and I have worked in the refugee community. Over the past six years, we have housed, tutored, and supported teenagers from Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Is cooking high or low on your list of priorities?
Cooking (and eating) is a daily favorite thing to do, especially for large groups of friends and family.