What’s your favorite project?

Whichever one I’m working on at the moment. Each project is a learning opportunity. With a cruise ship terminal, I have to understand the cruise ship industry, the size of the ships, the process for unloading, and the user experience. When we worked at the Grand Canyon, I had to understand the histories of the canyon, the Forest Service, the railroad, and the seven Native American tribes that consider it a sacred place. With each new project, I’m always amazed by how much there is to discover and how much that can inform decisions about the design.

How did you become an architect?

I studied fine arts at CCA and was a sculptor and a painter, then got into carpentry, then ran a contracting business, and then went back to school to become an architect. I’ve always been interested in the process of assembly and the honest expression of the process of assembly and the true nature of materials.

How do you define great architecture?

It lifts the spirit of its inhabitants. It alters your experience in a way that makes you consider the human condition, or your role with others, or the nature of the universe. And you feel more comfortable. You feel moved. You feel stimulated. And it could do that as effectively now as 30 years from now.

What artists inspire you?

My favorites are people like Chris Burden, Robert Smithson, and Gordon Matta-Clark. I connect with them because they’re operating in the realm of ideas, but they’re manifesting physical experiences in the world.

Passion outside architecture?

Bicycling. I ride every Saturday with a group of designers and developers. It’s a way of experiencing the world that is awesome and energy efficient. It’s an extension of my passion for green architecture.