Money Makes the World Go 'Round

Yeah, no one really likes to think about money- being materialistic offends our design sensibilities.  BUT, nothing gets built without incurring cost to both design and construct.  And if there is no money to operate the facility, that isn't going to help much either.   Fortunately, most healthcare projects have donors.  Donors can actually be a powerful tool if you can involve them in the design process and really get them excited about the ideas that are the basis for the design. The dreaded grim reaper that is value engineering can be kept at bay for more cherished ideas if they have a dedicated source of funding and if said source is really excited about seeing those ideas in action.  I have worked with thrifty hospitals who gave naming rights to every room in a new dapertment just to keep the design features they wanted in the project in a time of major construtcion escalation.  But to realize the bigger ideas in their full glory, start working from the beginning with your client to pull onboard some donors whose personal experiences/links to the organization will be a goof fit for your project and design approach.    They may even be able to bring some greater insights and buzz to what you are trying to accomplish. Cha-ching!

This Woman is my Hero

Robin Guenther is so amazing, both interms of innovation, design and research.  She owned her own firm in New York city and was so successful that Perkins + Will acquired it and made her a principal.  She has authored several books and also pioneered new strategies to incorporate sustainability and different design/practice models into the way that architects approach healthcare projects.  When I have heard her speak, I am blown away at how she manages to address things that I am just starting to think about and then takes them to the next level.  And if you have been following this blog at all, you know that I care about how projects are structured and the process of design to near-obsession levels.  I have participated in discussion groups with her and found her so receptive to the thoughts and ideas of others, which I also admire because the hallmark of a true leader is humility, not arrogance.  This is what I aspire to as an architect, to teach and to lead in order to build spaces that enrich people's lives.

Oh, and I also have always admired Laurinda Spear for being a powerful designer, leader of one of an influential inernational firm, and being an amazing product designer all while raising six children. 

Are You an Outlier?

What does it take to be truly innovative?  The most succesful innovators actually redefine the staus quo and move the bar for the rest of the design world.  These outliers and their seemingly fringe ideas catch on and displace  established expectations and ways of doing things.  They find a way to create new synergies between things that previously seemed unrelated.  They define issues that others just worked around as actual problems and work to solve them.    It's always a risk to be an early adapter because you might ride that wave head first right into the sandbar  but, really to make a difference as architects, we need to embrace our status as outliers.