Nick Luzietti | On Process

“We are trying to pull them out of the business world they’ve been in, out of what’s comfortable and accepted, into this free zone of alternative reality.”

Architecture is often presented as a finished product, but great design is ultimately the result of people and their process. Architects must consciously design a process that celebrates input from diverse stakeholder groups—which may include clients, end-users, contractors, developers, and the wider community. This series profiles a variety of architects and designers across markets and engages them in conversation about the design of process. [Interview by Dana Taylor]

An interactive process
The design is a derivative of who the client is, and thus our process must be interactive. I think the main model today is either to serve the client by responding quickly with exactly what they want, or to try and act like you already know the best solution. The design process shouldn’t be either of those—there should be a tug and pull; things should evolve and change; things should come to life, and die, and come to life again.

Creating alternative reality
Incorporating charrettes throughout the process is an important part of how we understand the client. We are trying to pull them out of the business world they’ve been in, out of what’s comfortable and accepted, into this free zone of alternative reality. The space we are creating should evoke the spirit of the client’s company. So in our vision sessions, we’re trying to help the client come alive. We want to understand the things that resonate strongly with them.

The boards around our own workspace keep us focused on what matters. We start pinning up the dream and building a room around us that holds the heart and soul of the project. It’s what lets the project come alive, and that’s what we’re supposed to be doing—creating space that is alive.



To wake up and come alive
We are engaging with emotions and connecting patterns of life to the world we aspire to create. Things die and things come to life, and we have to understand how to respect what is bigger than our own existence. So, pretend the building is a static thing, like a rock. But if we understand tectonics, we realize that rocks are moving. And the rock has something to do with the moss, the water, the air, the trees, the people. Nothing is separate and nothing is static. We need to employ light and respect hierarchy in reverence of all the things we did not create.

Design must be considered holistically, because everything is interconnected. Design doesn’t mean frivolous spending, or aesthetics without function, or forcing our ideas into acceptance. And it doesn’t just exist in an image or a resume. It exists in experience. Design has been deromanticized in the sense that it’s been dumbed down to business. We have to fight for the process and believe in the special things that we’re doing.

I have tremendous respect for the responsibility of my job as an architect. Very few things will ever take the importance of shaping an environment around you that will influence how you act every single day of your life. We have to be warriors. We have to know, without fear, that we need to fight for these dreams. But this has to be done with the ultimate respect. You can’t have a big head and think you’re an architect. You have to recognize what a special gift it is to wake up and come alive.

Stay tuned for more On Process interviews.

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