Architect is an Enabling Orchestra Leader


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An Architect is an enabling orchestra leader not a distant composer. This is a transcription of a Business901 Podcast.

The tag line was part of a twitter exchange with @ingvald thanks!

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Architect is an Enabling Orchestra Leader

  1. 1. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systems A Good Architect is an enabling Orchestra Leader Guest was Zachary D. Evans Related Podcast: The Strength of an Architect is in their Collaborative Abilities The Strength of an Architect is in their Collaborative Abilities Copyright Business901
  2. 2. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsZachary Evans is an architect and partner at Kelty Tappy Design,Inc., a Fort Wayne architecture, planning, and urban design firm. A Ball State University graduate (Muncie, Indiana), Zach holds professional architectural registrations in Indiana and Ohio and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is an active member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Fort Wayne Chapter, and currently serves on the City of Fort Wayne (Indiana) Downtown Design Review Committee. LinkedIn: Zachary Evans Twitter: @zdevans A good Architect is an enabling Orchestra Leader, not a Distant Composer.Joe Dager: Welcome everyone. This is Joe Dager, the host ofthe Business901 podcast. With me today is Zachary Evans. Zachis an architect and partner at the Kelty Tappy Design firm whichis an architecture, planning, and urban design firm. A Ball StateUniversity graduate, Zach holds professional architecturalregistrations in Indiana and Ohio and is certified by the NationalCouncil of Architectural Registration Board. Hes an activemember of the American Institute of Architects and currentlyserves on the city of Fort Waynes downtown design reviewcommittee.Zach, Id like to welcome you and maybe a good lead-in questionis why did you choose architecture as your profession?Zachary Evans: First of all, thanks, Joe, for having me. Its anhonor to be on the podcast. Architecture is a very interesting The Strength of an Architect is in their Collaborative Abilities Copyright Business901
  3. 3. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsprofession. Its got several different aspects. I think at a youngage I admired a lot of the mystery involved in what an architectdoes and it took some digging to find out. I think a lot of thegeneral public has questions about what architects really doduring the day. Do they play with markers and design all day longor do they tour around and inspect construction projects? I thinkthats really what got me involved.Joe: Whatd you find out? Did you find out that they tooledaround, played with markers?Zachary: During the college years the education of an architectis a small sliver of what the actual profession opens up to you.During college you spend a lot of time in the programming andschematic design phases of a project where you either develop aprogram for a client or youre given one and you produce a fewconcepts and then start to refine those concepts. But, typically,you stop pretty quickly. You dont actually get to develop thewhole project or create construction documents or see a finalproduct. Its a pretty narrow view of what the full design processis. Once you enter the workforce, either on internship or followinggraduation, you have your first job, you find out theres a lot ofwork that goes on before I actually get to start any type of designwork. That can be picturing financing or meeting a client for thefirst time and how all that works, some contractual items.Then afterward, after you have a design concept thats agreedupon, there are several iterations of the design that you have towork through with the client and all the consultants that areinvolved in a project, which can be almost up to 10 or 12different consultants on a large project.Joe: Well, I look at Ball State is one of the leading universities inarchitectural design that you chose, theyve always had a greatreputation. How much time do they take in teaching you about The Strength of an Architect is in their Collaborative Abilities Copyright Business901
  4. 4. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsdesign? Did you take an art class to broaden your horizon thereand learn how to sketch and everything?Zachary: Sure. The program I went through was a 10 semesterprogram and every semester you had a design studio that youspent about 12 hours a week with supervision, with instructorsthere. Each semester there was a different focus on design. Therewere books and architects that you would study from differentperiods. There were courses on architectural history and theory.We took courses on different design mediums such as watercolor, model building, computer generated, four plains elevation,and 3D modeling.Joe: Is there a pattern to a thought process an architect has?Zachary: There is a little bit of a pattern. I think the biggestfactor and biggest item that youre taught is to not get stuck inone mode of thinking. There are three steps. You have to bewilling to take a step back and conceptualize and brainstorm onan item. If youre moving down the design path and youre notsure about whats going on or your client, if you have a client, isnot comfortable with where youre going you have to take a stepback, brainstorm multiple options, test those options, and thenmove to the next level of detail. Typically, the resulting designthat you have or concept is a combination of the options that youmade.Joe: What you explained to me, architecture incorporates a hugepart of the business aspect of the project and youre the frontrunner or the person that oversees everything. Is that true?Zachary: Every case is a little different, Joe. These days’architects work for contractors, we work for clients. There areeven architects that have become developers in their own right,create their own projects, they secure financing and secureproperty, and then they act as their own client and either build aspeculative building or maintain those projects down the road The Strength of an Architect is in their Collaborative Abilities Copyright Business901
  5. 5. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsafter theyre built. These days some architects are creating workfor themselves and theyre getting pretty creative with their ownbusiness model.Joe: During the design process where do people struggle increating the concept? How do you go about that?Zachary: Architectural design, just like any other creativeactivity, its not something that can be forced out. Although thereare many extremely talented designers out there nobody canexpect them to churn out ground-breaking designs all day everyday so some time needs to be taken for rest and inspiration.Joe: Youre not sitting there, lets say, in front of a computerand youve got to force yourself, youve got a deadline. Thatdoesnt really work well, does it?Zachary: No. We all have deadlines. There are things that we doto try to break a brain freeze, if you will, if were trying to comeup with multiple concepts. Sometimes we just need to open up abook or design magazine and go through and try to receive someof the inspiration from the pages of the magazines. Sometimeswe go out and just take a tour, either just walking around townor going to visit certain case studies or projects that we thinkmight provide us with some inspiration. A lot of times well callother designers in. Thats why collaboration is important. Justhaving one persons view or opinion of a concept can be limiting.Joe: I find it really interesting that designers have a tendency tocollaborate really well. Is that the reason for it, that they maybehave better receptors or something like that to try to stimulateideas?Zachary: Yeah. I think its part of the atmosphere and attitudeyou have on designing. If you think theres a right and wronganswer its probably not going to go very well for you and youregoing to stumble a little bit trying to develop concepts. If you The Strength of an Architect is in their Collaborative Abilities Copyright Business901
  6. 6. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemshave an atmosphere where its free to throw out ideas and allowothers to challenge those or build upon them I think youre in alot better situation to come out with a wide range of concepts todevelop the next stage from.Joe: You mentioned earlier that theres a lot of different ways ofcustomer involvement in recent years. Have you seen any trendsthat are happening that is different than maybe when you firststarted?Zachary: I havent seen any definite trends. I know that withthe increased use of the Internet and all the quality informationon the Internet our clients have become a lot more educated onthe design process itself and construction materials andtechniques. Weve had clients come in and tell us what structuralsystem they think is most appropriate for the building and we tryto back up from that, especially if we dont have any type ofdesign or design constraints set yet because thats somethingwell work out with our design team along with the client andinclude their input. We always enjoy hearing stories from ourclients about them wanting to be architects when they wereyoung. A lot of our clients enjoyed taking a larger role with thedesign team in creating a design for their project, to playarchitect. We always encourage that. The more customerinvolvement they have, the more involvement they have with ourdesign team, the better the results going to be. It makescommunication a lot easier because theyre trying 110 percent tounderstand where were going and theyre onboard with theultimate goal of the project.Joe: You really try to go out and create a co-creation typeatmosphere with them?Zachary: Sure. We dont want to just consult with them. Wewant to pull them in and engage them on the team. They need allthe consultants, the engineers. Typically for a job you have The Strength of an Architect is in their Collaborative Abilities Copyright Business901
  7. 7. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsmechanical, electrical engineers, you have a structural engineer,landscape architects. Sometimes you have artists who will designartwork. Interior designers that help us create the interioratmosphere, pick out furnishings. We encourage as muchinvolvement with the client as theyre willing to put in. We dohave some clients that hand over a specific task and they want usto call them when its finished and others that enjoy coming up tothe office every day, taking a role in the project and seeing how itprogresses.Joe: Is there a way that you set expectations of projects?Zachary: Absolutely. Thats why the early customer involvementis extremely important. We try to spend a lot of time educatingthe client on what our process is. Every architect and everydesign firm has a different process that they like to go throughand they involve different timelines. We try to lay all that outupfront, typically verbally and in written proposals so they cantake it home with them or take it back to their business andabsorb it a little bit. But managing expectations upfront is key. Ifyou get down the road in a design project and the owners upsetfor some reason because it took too long or they thought theywere going to get a different product at the end. Its really thedesign teams fault for not being outgoing and aggressive inengaging the client and making sure their expectations weremanaged properly.Joe: Im always intrigued the modeling concept of architecturebecause most people have a problem with visualization. I thinkthats what separates designers are that theyve got this idea.They can visualize the whole thing and a lot of people strugglewith that. How do you start with prototyping modeling? Can youtalk me lets say through a smaller project, a little bit of some ofthe modeling characteristics, steps that you go through with thecustomer? The Strength of an Architect is in their Collaborative Abilities Copyright Business901
  8. 8. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsZachary: Sure. Architects are trained to think visually and a lotof times young adults get involved in architecture because theyalways think visually. I think a lot of people who arent inarchitecture can do that but there are a many people that cannotvisualize a three dimensional space in their mind so modelingbecomes extremely important. We do drawings in two dimensionsand three dimensions. Typically, the two dimensional drawingsare for the construction drawings that are given to a contractorfor building purposes and the other type of modeling is donedigitally is 3D modeling. There are really two different reasons todo modeling. The first is for design intent. These can be digital orphysical models that we do early in the design stages, especiallywhen were doing the conceptualizing and brainstorming.We use cardboard or foam cord boards. Sometimes its as crudeas hot glue guns and cardboard to create something that you canturn, flip upside down, and hand to a client that helps us get asense of what that space might feel like if they were inside of it, ifit were a full-size structure.Digital models we use to convey design intent works well. Theressimple programs that can be used such as Google SketchUp andmore complex 3D modeling softwares that are out there that weuse. The real purpose of those is to allow the design team towork and coordinate a conceptualize design and convey thatinformation to a client.The second big type of digital modeling is typically use a little bitlater, after a design at least has been approved conceptually andmoves on to one of the middle stages of design that we calldesign development and is BIM. BIM stands for BuildingInformation Modeling and has become very prevalent lately and isreally the software of the future and process of the future whereall of the building systems are put into a single digital model. The Strength of an Architect is in their Collaborative Abilities Copyright Business901
  9. 9. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsThe structure is modeled, the mechanical system including all theductwork and air handlers are modeled, all the architecturalelements are modeled, the doors and corridors. Also all thewritten information, product information, design intentstatements, can be included in it. Its a single file, single modelthat contains all the information for that project. It can even beused by contractors to work off of during bidding andconstruction.Joe: Its not a 2K file is it?Zachary: No. They can be pretty large, Joe.Joe: It sounded pretty detailed.Zachary: It is and weve seen it being used the most inhealthcare projects, any type of project that is systems heavy.When I say systems heavy I mean all of the things in the wall. Inhealthcare projects, we typically see a lot of air and gas buried inthe walls. If youre working two dimensions its too difficult tochart every item in the wall or every item above the ceiling andbeing able to coordinate that prior to construction. What happensis the contractor gets up to the site, he pops a ceiling tile, andtheres a fire suppression line running right here his duct has togo. With the bin software, the vast majority of these problemscan be resolved before the contractor even gets on site. It is verybeneficial, especially for the systems heavy projects.Joe: Is there much virtual work nowadays where youre sittingthere collaborating on the screen with clients and contractors?Has that become a big part of your firms work?Zachary: It is. These days everything is moving so quickly thatthere are architects that work across state lines and even in othercountries. There just isnt a way to keep up with the speed ofbusiness without using virtual meetings. There are even firmsthat have offices in the United States that will work on projects all The Strength of an Architect is in their Collaborative Abilities Copyright Business901
  10. 10. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsday long and then send them to the cloud or send them over totheir other office over in Asia and have them work on them allnight. There are firms, worldwide firms that work 24 hours.Joe: Does this remove more of the personal things or do youthink that these things are enabling to create more of arelationship?Zachary: I think all this technology and the ability to collaborateis a great next step for design in general. Being able tocollaborate with engineers and other designers with other talentsand perspectives on the same project only makes the outcomebetter for our clients.Joe: Going back to the modeling, I always think aboutprototyping early and often. You use that feedback from them sothere arent any surprises. When you give them that foam gluedtogether piece and they turn it around in their hand, is that like atoy to the customer? Is he sitting there looking at it and turning itaround in his hands, is that a good feeling of accomplishment foryou when you see him turn it upside down and looking at it?Zachary: It really is, Joe. I think any type of model, whether itsa physical model that we create or a virtual model that we create,its like our baby. Its our way of conveying our design intent.There are some people that are able to see things visually andsome people that need to hear things verbally, but if you candescribe design intent along with either type of model I think youcover all bases and its the best way to get design intent across.Joe: Youre taking a step by step approach going through aclient. Its not necessarily linear its more iterative, I would think,that youre doing this, trying this, back and forth that you do withany collaboration. Youre reaching out and doing this with yourengineers and maybe other contractors and receiving feedbackfrom them. It seems like a pretty overwhelming task and a greatway to have scope creep. The Strength of an Architect is in their Collaborative Abilities Copyright Business901
  11. 11. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsZachary: We always try to take it one layer at a time. When wemake our first presentation of several different design conceptswe try to give general overviews of each design concept andspecifically highlight the key differences between the designs.Then we receive general feedback on those and work to come upwith a hybrid solution of those different concepts. Once we goback to the design team alone, work out a few other concepts,and go to the next layer. We do our best not to pile on all thisdetailed information during one of the early design meetings.That will come later once the client has a better understanding ofthe project goal and timeline.Joe: Walt Disney always had a thing where they went throughtheir design process, he had different stages and he never letsomeone go back two stages to something. They could influencethe stage before but they couldnt influence two stages back andthats how he stopped some of the scope creep.Zachary: Thats a great example. One thing we always stress inour office is if you get stuck, zoom up a level and take a look atwhats going on. Same thing with trying to determine what aclients challenge may be. If theyre out of space at their currentlocation, theyre packed in, they dont have room for employeesyou may take a step back and look at why is that? Is the spacethey have now inefficient? It may be that they dont need to addon, they just need to renovate the space they have and make itmore efficient for their use. Any time we hit a stumbling blockwith what were doing we try to take one step up and I thinkDisneys rule for that is pretty appropriate.Joe: When I think of design thinking I go to the marketing side,the Service Dominant Logic from Steve Vargo, but when mostthink of design thinkers most think of IDEO. How do architectsrelate to IDEO and Tim Brown? The Strength of an Architect is in their Collaborative Abilities Copyright Business901
  12. 12. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsZachary: I think Tim Brown and the IDEO organization does agood job of going through the three steps of the design process.If you boil everything down, you really have a prototyping stage,a testing stage, and then the refinement period and you repeatthat. You dont go through each step once. Each phase embracesall three of those steps and then you move to the next level ofdetail. If you hit a stumbling block you back up a step and repeat.I think the prototyping stage, testing stage, and refinement stageis really key to the design thinking attitude.Joe: Have funding projects changed a lot? Are you seeing wheretheres maybe a different type of funding, private funding moreso than public funding?Zachary: I think its stayed somewhat similar of the recenteconomic challenges here in the United States. Public/privatepartnerships are a little more popular. Were seeing some privatefunding maybe incorporated with public funding, either state orfederal funding, in order to get projects to go. Were starting tosee some of the private work increase again. Its been at a prettylow level for the past couple of years. The public jobs have beenmoving along at a decent rate. But I think the advent of thepublic/private partnership has opened a new era in gettingprojects completed.Joe: Is there a big difference when youre working for a publicversus a private? Are expectations completely different?Zachary: I think the expectations are usually very similar. Theway we go about what we produce as architects and engineersare different, the legal requirements are different for public andprivate jobs. For instance, bidding. Public jobs have to be publiclybid. I think the expectations and the goals are usually prettysimilar.Joe: An architect gets to be at the ground floor. He gets to be atthe beginning of the process. Most designers, as we discussed, The Strength of an Architect is in their Collaborative Abilities Copyright Business901
  13. 13. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsare at the tail end where they get to make the thing pretty. Wereseeing now, especially in service design, where that designer ismoving to the beginning now in the chain. Hes no longer the lastguy before it goes out to the market and I think a lot of thats gotto do with user experience, customer experience becoming soprevalent that you have to gather that information upfront. Thedesigner is the guy to do that. What tips would you give tosomeone thats moving from the tail end of the process to thebeginning of the process?Zachary: I think no matter what point a designer gets involvedin the project there are always some constraints. They may befewer and they may not be as noticeable. Say, for instance, anarchitect is on a green site there might be constraints with thatsite on where construction may occur, who owns the property,what the featured use of the property may be, zoning issuescome into play. I think no matter how open and free the canvaslooks I think there are always some constraints that should belooked at as opportunities. We were taught in design school thatany constraint should be embraced as an opportunity. It was a lotmore difficult to design without any context or feedback than itwas to have some constraints and parameters for a project.First step should always be brainstorming and throwing out asmany ideas as you can on the paper. We like to use a dry eraseboard. We have a wall thats all dry erase material and we justget out the markers and go to it and talk while were doing it.There are no wrong ideas. Usually we get several good ideas totake to the next level out of the brainstorming sessions.If they dont work out it never hurts to bring in colleagues orconsultants with in order to try to help out with that process.Joe: Explain that process a little bit to me. You gather a group ofpeople including the customer maybe, you go through some The Strength of an Architect is in their Collaborative Abilities Copyright Business901
  14. 14. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsideas, and you start doing it. How do you solicit ideas? How doyou get it started? How do you get the fires burning?Zachary: Usually its through verbal communications. We try toget as much information about the existing structure or existingsite, any site constraints, zoning information, just about anythingwe can. We lay it out all on the table. Usually at that point, wevealready had discussions with the client about what avenue theywant to proceed with. We bring as many people crammed intothe conference room we can. We get the markers out. Usually weencourage the client, also, and draw or write whatever comes tomind and then we always document it photographically and useall those ideas in the next iteration of the design.Joe: You brainstorm effectively throughout a project then? Areyou going back to that whiteboard three, four, five, six timesduring a project?Zachary: We do. Every project... You always hit a stumblingblock and we always try to take a step back, reevaluate the issue,and see if theres a better way to create a solution. We dontalways go and use the whiteboard. Sometimes its on paper, atour desk, or on the computer. Even when youre detailing aproject, trying to complete construction documents, you may getto a handrail detail, for instance, that just isnt working out andyou take a step back and reevaluate the constraints and theparameters you have and try to come up with a few differentoptions on how to solve that issue. Usually bring a couple extradesigners in to take a look at it is the best route to go.Joe: What have you found to be the most difficult thing being anarchitect that you didnt really realize going into it? Is theresomething thats like "Wow, this has been a tough road for me toget down?"Zachary: Personally, Im a pretty detail-oriented manager. Ithink thats a good way to define my characteristics and its The Strength of an Architect is in their Collaborative Abilities Copyright Business901
  15. 15. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsalways been a challenge for me to accept that something is afailure or it wasnt the best solution. Always having an open mind,always being willing to take input, take a step back andreevaluate the situation is key for any successful design project.Another one is collaboration. Theres a lot of pressure to have asingle figurehead on the design but every project has to have awilling client, a design team of many professionals, and a skilledcontractor in order to create the built piece of architecture. Ittakes a lot of people, a lot of different talents, and theres no oneperson that can do it all.Joe: What has been the funniest part? What have you comeback saying, "Im glad Im an architect."Zachary: Theres nothing better than spending a year or two ona design project and seeing it completed and seeing the userstake advantage of it, but really, Joe, the best part is to meet allthe people, learn what they do for a living, learn what they enjoy,and be able to play a part in their success.Joe: Thank you very much, I appreciate it.Zachary: Thank you, Joe. I had a great time and I hope theinformation is useful. The Strength of an Architect is in their Collaborative Abilities Copyright Business901
  16. 16. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systems Joseph T. Dager Lean Marketing Systems Ph: 260-438-0411 Fax: 260-818-2022 Email: Web/Blog: Twitter: @business901What others say: In the past 20 years, Joe and I have collaborated onmany difficult issues. Joes ability to combine his expertise with "out of thebox" thinking is unsurpassed. He has always delivered quickly, costeffectively and with ingenuity. A brilliant mind that is always a pleasure towork with." James R.Joe Dager is President of Business901, a progressive company providingdirection in areas such as Lean Marketing, Product Marketing, ProductLaunches and Re-Launches. As a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt,Business901 provides and implements marketing, project and performanceplanning methodologies in small businesses. The simplicity of a singleflexible model will create clarity for your staff and as a result betterexecution. My goal is to allow you spend your time on the need versus theplan.An example of how we may work: Business901 could start with aconsulting style utilizing an individual from your organization or a virtualassistance that is well versed in our principles. We have capabilities toplug virtually any marketing function into your process immediately. Asproficiencies develop, Business901 moves into a coach’s role supporting theprocess as needed. The goal of implementing a system is that the processeswill become a habit and not an event. Business901 Podcast Opportunity Expert Status The Strength of an Architect is in their Collaborative Abilities Copyright Business901