Where are you now and what kind of work/projects are you currently working on?
I am employed as a senior designer at a design-build firm named Hoffman, located in Appleton, Wisconsin. I serve Hoffman, and our clients within the early conceptual design and planning phases. I dive deeply and rapidly into projects to uncover a conceptual theme that can serve to steer design solutions. The process consistently begins with prototyping, iterating and testing ideas. I work on enhancing the overall user experience of conceptual design services, with a heavy interest in Adobe InDesign’s most recent digital interactive tools, and interactive on-line publishing. I also enjoy being an independent graphic artist.
How did SAIC prepare you for where you are today? What particular classes/projects/approaches to subjects influenced you?
SAIC prepared me to enter the architectural field with a mindset geared towards self-critique and the value of a project’s conceptual design basis. The main theme of my education was to understand that design is more than visual. SAIC taught me that architectural design thinking involves social science, human factors, and financial models that guide large-scale projects. I learned this through my internship at The Art Institute's Department of Design and Construction during the Renzo Piano museum addition. Internship-based learning became a theme throughout my education.
The personal dynamic within the Interior Architecture studio was collaborative and competitive. My classmates witnessed each other’s design thinking development. A key influence was my love of production. All of my design drafting was generated line-by-line in Adobe Illustrator, and I created physical models from my apartment in Uptown. SAIC pushed and challenged me to re-create and evolve through rapid prototyping and iterating. Interior Architecture at SAIC was less about a final perfect product in a classical sense, and more about the ongoing evolution of a project while transitioning between design modes.
My advice to current students is to always elevate critical thinking and conceptual design skills. Ask for feedback frequently and listen to it. Become familiar (and as comfortable as possible) with moving through early design ideas. Projects demand you will find yourself in pure production, but don’t let production distract you from the big idea. Embrace production as a necessary step in solution development.
With whom did you study at SAIC or who influenced you?
Anders Nereim and Carl Ray Miller were mentors of mine because they vocalized and displayed the basis for design thinking skills while being fully engaged in every day life at SAIC. They expected academic rigor and continually raised the bar for me. They shared a consensus on design approach that balanced the values of physical modeling and working-through design problems while pushing my skill in emerging digital platforms. They continue to influence me even twelve years after my graduation.
Trevor Lord is a multi-disciplinary design professional living in Appleton, Wisconsin. Trevor’s design process is based upon discovering key conceptual design drivers, ensuring alignment with a project’s conceptual basis throughout its various phases. This dedication to concept has allowed Trevor to participate in a wide variety of project types, from high-end law Firms, Corporate Headquarters facilities, to mixed-use and single family residential properties. These projects expanded his view of how Architecture and Design Thinking facilitate project efficiency, and increase the overall value of design services. In all his work, there is a thoughtfulness in the visualizations that render each project unique. Peter’s depth of graphic design understanding is leveraged to facilitate user-responsive design processes that respond to the challenges of each project. Trevor is certified by NCIDQ, is a LEED accredited professional and associate member of the AIA.