Cramer & Simpson: The Next Architect

James P. Cramer (CEO, Greenway Group) and Scott Simpson (CEO, The Stubbins Associates) in 2006 co-wrote the Next Architect: A New Twist on the Future of Design. This slim forward-looking volume is filled with thought-provoking ideas. I’ve included a few of them below – if these resonate, read the book.

It’s clear that the design and construction industry is on the cusp of enormous changes. … Design itself is being redesigned. (p 13)

…designers need a language that can clearly express the worth of what they do, and in terms that are appreciated by the client world: no mystery, no fog, no missed expectations. Design goes far beyond aesthetics, and so metrics matter. Whether it’s in terms of higher utilisation rates, assistance with approvals processes, managing accelerated schedules, lowering capital cost, or designing for more efficient life-cycle cost, architects have a lot of influence in the outcome. All of it is part of intelligent design. (p 23)

One of the reasons that it takes so long to design and construct a building is that we’re accustomed to thinking sequentially rather than simultaneously. (p 89)

… it’s decision-making which is the essential act of design. The trouble with decision-making is that architects have yet to develop a language that is truly accessible to their clients. (p 105)

Cramer and Simpson see a combination of leadership, practice management and communication as being the right keys to becoming the “Next Architect”.