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Narrative Architecture

Sign up. This course covers our evolutionary history across more than seven million years, from our origins among the apes up to the biological changes that are still unfolding today. Dan Noble: Leadership and organizational structures will be flatter. Things like limited partnerships or connected types of peripheral work to our traditional core business have an enormous potential in our industry. For example, we developed a group, LOGE, which is a limited partnership that helps us perform financial and operational feasibility studies and potentially tap into funds to help these large complicated, institutional, PPP consortiums get off the ground.

We can also organize and manage long-term operational and life cycle performance aspects of these structures that sometimes go on for fifty years. I think younger people are looking for ways to have ownership or skin in the game without the long-term commitment we were expecting. If they have the goods, they want opportunities to challenge their talents—now.

We can channel this talent and energy into startup initiatives and skunk-work type exercises for one-off projects that bring value to our clients and amplify our revenue stream. Architecture attracts creative types that are also grounded with a pragmatic sensibility; a kind of person that can push creativity and innovation and do it with their head in the skies, but also with their feet firmly planted on the ground. DI: What is your view of centralized versus decentralized leadership in the multi-office firm? DN: There are pros and cons.

The centralized leadership format is very efficient and provides a unique ability to control quality and disperse innovation across the enterprise. We have people in Dallas that leverage efficiency through technology, a culture of communication and a concentration of talent.

Future evolution of Marine Heatwaves in the Mediterranean Sea

We also have people in our other 23 offices, so we average about 40 people in our other offices. So, we are able to do more, almost anywhere. This requires a culture of trust, teamwork, and open communication. For us, the ideal structure is this centralized operations group with distributed strategic leadership, one that encourages autonomy and an entrepreneurial spirit but has loose protocols in place to maintain quality and our brand.

Also, our overhead and rent in Dallas are inexpensive compared to many of our other offices. Plus, you can get anywhere from Dallas very quickly. Being centralized with a low overhead structure makes financial sense. The flip side of this is that we sometimes get labeled as a Dallas firm even though fifty percent more of our firm is from outside Dallas. DN: Hopefully they will find value in a more strategic, innovative, research-oriented relationship with the design team.

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I think firms will be less about designing just buildings and more about design thinking which will include buildings but also be connected to a more robust solution that includes financial analysis, demographic studies, population-based planning, operations, life-cycle costs, building performance, analytics research, feedback and artificial intelligence.

I think the shared economy will play a larger role as well. When we start getting into bigger things, such as the shared economy of cars and office spaces, what are you going to do with things like parking garages? Do you need them?

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Do you need them part-time? Will they be repurposed? Many unintended consequences and opportunities will spring up from innovations born of the shared economy. DI: What is the future of service offerings and business models for an architecture and design firm?

Natural selection sidelined by medical science?

DN: Firms will need to rise above the fee-based commoditized world where the front-end capital cost and building structure is the end game. We will need to develop a relationship with our clients where the dial is pointed to the long-term life cycle cost and the value of performance for the buildings but, more importantly, for the people who interact within and around it. The building could become less relevant than the people inside the building and how they use it through time.