Excerpt from interview:
"What skills did you gain from architecture school, or working in the architecture industry, that have contributed to your success in your current career?
I most certainly use a lot of the skills I learned in architecture school – everything from ways of thinking about a problem, being able to separate form from function, structured and systems thinking, economy of means, the list goes on. I would say that I have quoted Vitruvius’ “Firmness, commodity, and delight” in more than 50 or so meetings with software engineers, investment bankers, traders, people who have no idea who Vitruvius was and would have no reason to know. But they seem to get it, that a good “anything” needs all three, as I work in an industry that only does 2 of those virtues well (firmness and commodity). I also catch myself drawing parti diagrams at the beginning of projects and no one seems to know what the hell I am doing since they mostly know the “program” part of the equation. I simply explain it as I am seeking some kind of organizing principle to net out all the competing priorities on the very complex projects I work on, and they seem to understand that. They just don’t really understand why I frequently draw a single straight line (spine) with boxes that grow off it. It certainly doesn’t look like a flow-diagram or a use-case diagram. I really just draw the same diagram over and over again, but in this case for software and not a floor plan…hence the power of the parti. Without it there would be very expensive chaos.
I am also a very good presenter. All those nerve-wracking final critiques in architecture school were worth something pretty valuable in the real world. Sometimes the merits of the design just aren’t enough. You have to sell it and sell it convincingly to bring it to fruition, especially when someone else is paying for it.
In the end, I owe a strong sense of ethics from my education as an architect. Architects truly value integrity – integrity of form, integrity of execution, integrity of conviction in problem-solving, integrity in the rigor of process. Architects believe in the honesty of materials, they believe in the basic goodness of Man, they believe in the power of design to shape human behavior (for good and bad). And I feel architecture truly is one of the most ethical professions – you just don’t read headlines about architects going to jail for cheating and lying."