Session 7: Working Together

Date: March 7, 2014
Time: 12:00 pm – 5:00pm
Led by: Marek Hnizda, Associate AIA, LEED AP BD+C & Kathryn Slattery, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Session 7 PDF


Teambuilding Activity: Marshmallow Challenge

Moderated by: Kathryn Slattery

The kickoff activity was a team-building marshmallow challenge. Based on a friendly in-house contest started by employees at Intel, teams of four people are tasked with coordinating the construction of the tallest self-sustaining tower possible in 18 minutes. The structure, built using various building elements provided: strands of spaghetti, tape and twine, must support a marshmallow at its top. The clock started as soon as the challenge was announced and material were distributed, creating a sense of urgency as teams quickly strategized an approach to execute the design and construction.

After time had expired, only one tower was able to be self-supporting, coming in at 29 inches in height. Congratulations to Team Marek, Melinda, Danielle and Sean!


Facilitator Presentation: Partnering for Profits, Teaming for Fun

Presented by: Charlie Silver of M. Silver and Company

Charlie presented the concept of Partnering to get various construction stakeholders to work together harmoniously. Partnering is a formal management process in which all parties to a project voluntarily agree at the outset to adopt a cooperative, team-based approach to project development and problem resolution to eliminate — or at least reduce — conflicts, litigation, and claims. The process is typically used for large construction projects, but also applies for smaller complex projects. Partnering has been of proven benefit in improving the quality, cost effectiveness, and timeliness of projects using the process.


The Partnering process is organized by establishing four components: a Charter, Communication guidelines, a Problem Solving system and an Issue Resolution process. The first step is for the group to create a Charter with common goals and a clear mission statement (example: “Open Communication”). The Communication process is aided by individuals taking a DISC assessment test, a personality assessment tool, to help the group determine the most effective forms of communication for the project. The formal Problem Solving process is established by the group to identify issues that need attention and an Issue Resolution system is set in place to provide a fast and fair method to decide potential disputes.

Charlie presented and discussed case studies from that his company was involved in. As a Partnering facilitator, Charlie has to stay neutral and works for the project, not necessarily for the client who is cutting his paycheck.

After the presentation and a Q&A session, the class broke up into smaller groups and worked on team-building exercises, such as sharing little-known facts about ourselves and coming up with common group traits (ex: we are all wearing shoes).

Round Table: Large Project Team Complexities and Strategies

Moderated by: Marek Hnizda

Panel: Charles Wesberg of CEW Project & Development Services, John Grounds, AIA of HKS Architects, Michael Pittsman of Davis Construction, John Edwards, AIA of Bonstra/Haresign Architects, Robert Walker, PE of William H. Gordon Associates

The group is currently working on a large-scale design project in Arlington County for an undisclosed client. The design of the master planned campus, led by Bonstra/Haresign Architects with entitlements management by William H. Gordon Associates) includes the plans for a 30-plus story tower, directed by HKS Architects with pre-construction services provided by Davis Construction. The group discussed their specific roles and how they work together in the overall project.


As the owner’s representative, CEW Project & Development Services is in charge of coordinating all the consultants and maintaining the project schedule. This is established, among many other activities, by weekly meetings, documenting all decisions, and creating visual diagrams of decision paths and timelines, many of which were shown and discussed to the class. A very high level of detail is required to proceed quickly and to establish a sound cost estimate at early stages of the design.

Tour and Presentation: Commission of Fine Arts

Presented by: Thomas Luebke, FAIA, Secretary of CFA

Meeting in the CFA’s boardroom at the NBM, Tom discussed the history and current day influence of the Commission. Established in 1910 by Congress, the Commission of Fine Arts is charged with giving advice to the Federal and District of Columbia governments on matters of design and aesthetics, as they affect the Federal interest and preserve the dignity of the nation’s capital. The Commission consists of seven “well qualified judges of the fine arts” who are appointed by the President and serve for a term of four years. Within DC, the Commission advises on design matters affecting the Historic District of Georgetown, under the Old Georgetown Act, as well as other private sector areas adjacent to federal interests, under the Shipstead-Luce Act. The Commission also provides advice on the design of coins and medals, and approves the site and design of national memorials, both in the United States and on foreign soil.


The Commission reviews about 700 cases a year, the majority of which are design issues concerned with new construction or renovations to existing building. All federal projects get reviewed as do most private construction projects in Georgetown and areas that fall under the Shipstead-Luce Act. A separate commission, the Old Georgetown Board, reviews and articulates opinions on projects in Georgetown before they get to the larger Commission.

Large, recreated watercolor paintings from the McMillan Plan hung on the walls of the boardroom, where public meetings are held once a month.

This session illustrated many effective ideas of working together at different levels: within the internal team, as consultants coordinating on a project and at the regulatory level. Success is best achieved when operating across all these levels.

Session 6: Serving Communities

Date: February 7, 2013
Location: District Architecture Center
Time: 12:00 pm – 5:00pm
Led by: Gregoire Holeyman, AIA, LEED AP & Ricardo Rodriguez, Associate AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Session 6 PDF


On Friday, February 7, 2014, the sixth session of the Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program (CKLDP) was held at the District Architecture Center. Organized by Greg Holeyman, AIA & Ricardo Rodríguez, Associate AIA, LEED AP, the day focused on Serving Communities and emphasized the point that good design should be for everyone.

At the beginning of the afternoon, Steven Spurlock, FAIA, Principal at Wnuk Spurlock Architecture, presented a lecture on the importance of Pro Bono work and giving back to the community. Steven discussed the many benefits of pro bono work, from improving office culture, to getting your name out, to simply advancing the profession. He also stressed the important aspects to consider when taking on this kind of work, from the lessons he has learned throughout his career, including mixing non-profit and for-profit work. Echoing comments made by speakers throughout the day, Pro Bono work should be thought of like any other project in the office, and go through the same framework and processes, including a formal contract with the owner.

As a follow-up to the themes of the first lecture, leaders of local firms presented some of their own projects and discussed how they approach public interest design. While varied in their firm size and structure, Todd Ray, FAIA, Suzane Reatig, FAIA, Stefan Schwarzkopf, AIA, LEED AP, and Steven Spurlock, FAIA all presented significant examples of public interest design, ranging from local residential projects to a small school and housing complex in Haiti. The presenters discussed the significance of doing your research and evaluation on a non-profit organization and establishing ground rules with the client before committing yourself to a project. As an architect, there is a lot of value you can bring to any project, and it is important to not be taken advantage of. The phrase “Pro Bono” means “For Good” and is frequently mistaken to mean “For Free”, and there are many ways to offer your help at reduced rate and donated service.  


Jess Zimbabwe, AIA, AICP, followed the first roundtable with a passionate keynote on how architects can effectively use their abilities to serve in leadership roles within their communities. From her perspective, architects are uniquely suited to help given their skill set in identifying the problems at hand and a methodical approach to solving them. Using her own career as a case study, she discussed the organizations she’s been involved with in cities across the country, and recommended resources to follow up to become part of the movement.


The final event of the afternoon was a panel discussion on community engagement from an alternative perspective, the view of the client. Though repeating some of the points (and praise of architects talents) made by earlier speakers, Lawrence Huff, Andrew Huang, Kristina Castro, Josef Fuentes, RA, LEED AP, and Max Skolnic shared their own insight into successful Pro Bono work.  While encouraging general volunteering (Max claimed that he has probably made hundreds of PB&J sandwiches), skills based volunteering has a much better impact in the community. As the panel saw it, even the smallest Pro Bono project can enable an organization to reduce the amount of time spent on miscellaneous things, and more effectively focus on their core mission.


Public Architecture:

Washington Architectural Foundation:

Institute Guidelines to Assist AIA Members, Firms, and Components in Undertaking Pro Bono Service Activities:

Session 5: Practicing Professionalism

Date: January 10, 2014
Location: NCARB – 1801 K Street NW, Suite 700K
Time: 12:00 pm – 5:00pm
Led by: Kendrick Richardson, NCARB, AIA, LEED AP & Jon Toonkel, AIA, LEED AP

Session 5 PDF


The fifth session of the Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program (CKLDP) was held at NCARB’s Headquarters on Friday, January 10th.  The topic of discussion, led by Kendrick Richardson and Jon Toonkel, was Practicing Professionalism.  The focus of this session was to gain deeper understanding of the complex legal and ethical issues surrounding the practice of architecture, and how to integrate them into daily practice.

The session was kicked off by a presentation on Professional Ethics by Jay Stephens, Esq., Hon AIA – Senior VP and General Counsel, AIA.  Jay’s presentation discussed the development of the AIA Code of Ethics, the ethical duties of Architects and gave real life samples of how ethics can be applied through a series of dilemmas.

Jay Stephens presents the AIA Code of Ethics and poses ethical dilemmas to the participants

Jay Stephens presents the AIA Code of Ethics and poses ethical dilemmas to the participants


The portion of the presentation dealing with a series of dilemmas was very helpful to understand how the Code of Ethics applies to real life situations.  Some of the questions put forth were:

  • Can an architect take the work of another architect if approached by a client?
  • Can you take work with you if you leave a firm?
  • What credit do I need to give to others?
  • What is the architect’s responsibility with clients?
  •  What is the responsibility for the works of others?

Jay’s presentation concluded with a description of the process when someone behaves unethically and possible penalties that can be imposed.

The second presentation was given by Stephen F. (Hobie) Andrews, Esq., Hon. AIA with the topic of Law for Architects 101.  Hobie’s presentation gave the class a basic understanding of the legal duties and obligations surrounding the practice of architects.  The presentation was divided into two parts: discussion on the Law in general and an interactive session to work with contracts.

During the first part, some of the topics that were further developed are:

  •  Code interpretation
  • Standard of Care
  • Liability issues
  • Tort Law
  • Negligence
  • Contract claims
  • Defense in Contract claims
  • Dispute resolution
  • Intellectual Property /Copyright
  • Insurance

During the interactive session the class had the opportunity to review a series of contract provisions that had some of the text modified to change the way the contract was supposed to read.  This was a very successful way for the class to engage with what had been discussed throughout the day and to better understand how a few words can make a contract unfavorable for either party and set an unrealistic set of goals for a project.

Participants review mock contracts and propose edits to problematic language.

Participants review mock contracts and propose edits to problematic language.


The last portion of the day was a discussion panel between Stephen F. (Hobie) Andrews, Mike Heatwhole, Executive Vice President & Partner, Ames and Gough and Jeff Nees, CFO, WDG Architecture moderated by Kendrick Richardson and Jon Toonkel.  The dialogue that took place allowed the class to understand the different stakeholder’s interest within contractual language.


The panelists discuss their perspectives and experiences on contracts, ethics, and law as they relate to the practice of architecture.


The candid conversation between panelists and class interaction covered a range of topics such as:

  • Types of insurance
  • Amount of insurance
  • Attorney’s and insurance fees
  • Insurance for different project delivery options
    • Design / Build
    • Design / Bid / Build
    • Integrated Project Delivery
  • Error and Emissions provisions
  • What type of contract and insurance can a small firm benefit from?

Session 4: Future of the Practice

Date: December 6, 2013
Location: Gensler: 2020 K Street NW #200, Washington, DC
Time: 12:00 pm – 5:00pm
Led by: Danielle Lake, Associate AIA, & Luis Velez-Alvarez, LEED AP

Session 4 PDF


Round Table: Digital Tools and Technology Summary

Moderated by: Danielle and Luis

Panel: Erin Carraher, AIA, Zach Downey, RA, Jeff Gravatte, Hiroshi Jacobs, Assoc. AIA, and Phyllis Klein

The panel avidly promoted the use of technology to help facilitate collaboration and communication with the project team, consultants, client, and others involved. Several programs were mentioned such as Revit which help collaboration occur naturally through the software structure itself (software is collaborative inherently à inherently requires collaboration), although it was stated that no one program can solve all problems, nor should it! However, the question arose regarding liability: Can Information passed between parties be distilled to avoid liability; design liability?


Roundtable 1 Discussion


Through the discussion, the panel spoke of know general knowledge about as many aspects of a project & know the persons who know the person who know the specifics and can help you solve an issue that may come up. The current methodology of design drawings, created by the architect, and then recreated by sub-contractors in the form of shop drawings during the construction of a building was noted to waste time and money. With more collaborative project execution methods, drawings may only need to be drawn once.

Another question arose through this discussion: If a model uses contains “auto-building” to assist in constructing a project, how does one really know the details of the model (if one did not draw them)? The idea of the FABLAB was mentioned in its use to create better collaboration internally in a firm. And it’s validity has already struck the interest of other professions including contractors. Visiting any large construction site once will see how much construction uses technology. Now, As-builts are live! There is usually someone full time on the jobsite updating as-builts. As a result there a continuing race with BIM technology: Architects cannot make it an option by project managers. Rather people who understand the BIM process & how to use this type of software need to use it. Not just for marketing but to show the value of an Architect to a client: you don’t just show a client an image but energy calculations, cost analysis and more (this can show the benefit of the software and offset the initial software expense and learning curve).

As Architects we need to take risks or contractors will keep taking on more and inherently have more control of the outcome. “We need to stand firm and put our ass on line and take risk back!” Furthermore, the AIA Should be educating the Owners and not just Architects: what questions to ask Architects on a project, know what they should value (i.e. ask for energy modeling from architects). This then allows the project budget to include added research and energy calcuations.

Presentation: Role of the Citzen Architect

“It looks good from afar but far from good.” Keith and Marie Zawistowski presented a slice of their ongoing architectural practice and teaching experiences at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Set on having control of both the design and construction, they have set out to do it themselves. Learning through doing, they presented projects using old, reclaimed, re-used, or donated materials to create new shelters (public & private). They made a point to mention that old materials are reusable unlike materials of today which are not. Through their teaching experiences, they help students understand the processes of design and the cause and effect relationships of time and budget.


Keith and Marie Zawistowski

Presentation and Round Table: Integrated Project Delivery

Moderated by: Danielle and Luis

Panel: Graham Davidson, FAIA, Elizabeth Kinkel, Assoc. AIA, Bill Kline, AIA, Tom Krajewski, Tim McCurley

The AIA defines Integrated Project Delivery as leveraging early contributions of knowledge and expertise through the utilization of new technologies, allowing all team members to better realize their highest potentials while expanding the value they provide throughout the project lifecycle.

This presentation and round table presented current stats of design and construction:

-54% of work is delayed from when originally projected
-30% waste factor in construction
-20% result due to design, 10% by contractor
-3 deaths each day in nation in construction field

Versus prefabrication which allows the compression of scheduling time, but it was noted that it is important to experience the entire traditional process at least once. The MacLeamy Curve was introduced to graphically show the benefit of IPD.


MacLeamy Curve

One of the fundamental purposes of IPD is to push design changes to the earlier stages of the project (blue region). This reduces the changes made during a project to earlier stages and reduces costs associated with change orders. Remember, it’s cheap to change things in the beginning. In IPD, all persons (client, contractor, architect, main consultants and sub-contractors) sign the same contract.

With IPD, the Cash Flow Model is also different: main subcontractors are paid early on with all other persons involved because all are working congruently to design the project. This process is not cheap, but statistically provides the most value for dollar; it uses a shared financial model where each person is both at risk and paid hourly without any profit, but receives profits as well when milestones of a project are met, depending on the execution of the collective whole. However, sub-contractors are paid on a GMP method to give incentive.


IPD also uses the idea of co-location to design and discuss the project and any problems that may arise; this is a meeting intensive project model and the owner needs to drive the process from beginning to end. This is also a project model which requires trust; go into IPD with people you already know and have worked with! Usually with a core group of approximately (8) persons, IPD has so far been used for Hospitals and Historic Renovation projects; it is not always appropriate for every project type, because it requires unanimous agreement by all person in the core group. To help, each person needs to truly understand what the other core group members need to fulfill their responsibilities. The person of the core group need to be experienced and should direct the risk of a particular component into the hands of the person(s) who can manage it best. No longer is the Architect responsible for answering and resolving all questions, rather, the team works as a whole. This does not mitigate risk but instead manages it better. If the core group is to succeed, there must be at least one person in the group who can answer any question that may arise.