Session 04: Research + Data

Date:        June 3rd, 2022
Location: Knoll, Inc Showroom
                 1222 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20037
Led by:  Eva Kodouskova, AIA, NCARB, NCIDQ, LEED AP B+C and Emily McGee, Associate AIA, LEED GA
Session Sponsor:  Herman Miller, MillerKnoll, Redbrick LMD, Spectrum, Inc., HOK, SmithGroup
Session Downloads:  Session Program


This session was a hybrid session held at Knoll Inc. Showroom focusing on the importance and impact of Research in the design world – from furniture, to materials, to buildings both existing and new. Research and Data can seem like an excessive use of time and money to some, but it is essential for us as designers and for clients to realize the importance to help make data-informed decisions. We heard from various professionals explaining how their own work has been and will be impacted by learning from past information. Session 4 also focused on how to communicate research and data effectively.

Presentation #1

Lunch and Learn with HermanMiller
Speakers: Sheri Hurley

Sheri introduced the newly formed MillerKnoll – the merger of furniture giants HermanMiller and Knoll. HermanMiller has done extensive research on how environments can impact human interaction and well-being. Sheri shared some of these resoureces with the group, most of which can be found here:

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Presentation #2

Innovation in Design: Research and Data in Practice
Speakers: Deborah Wingler, PhD, MSD-HHE, EDAC

Dr. Deboarh Wingler is Associate Director of Research at HKS. Joining us from Singapore, Dr. Wingler described the wide breadth of research that HKS does and the value they find that it brings. Dr. Wingler believes research can contribute to meaning value to design and such should be treated as a service to a client. HKS has several avenues for conducting research, including applied research that investigates matters directly for a project, a non-profit arm that teams with industry experts, as well as HKS incubators and accelerators that staff members can use to explore topics of interest. A constant challenge of how to disseminate knowledge acquired through data and research, HKS has tools and training guides to help the larger firm use this information in other projects.

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Presentation #3

Sustainability in Practice
Speakers: Anica Landreneau, Assoc. AIA, HoK; Daniel McGee, PE, MBA, Redbrick LMD; Andrew Cronin, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, KieranTimberlake

Anica, Daniel, and Andrew each have unique backgrounds that use data as a decision-making resource in sustainability. As leader of HoK’s global sustainable design practice, Anica tracks energy use of buildings, both designed by HoK and others, to understand how benchmarking can lead to less energy use. With this data, Anica has used this information to advocate for local, state, and federal policies that reduce building energy use. Daniel McGee uses data as a sustainability-focused real estate developer. Andrew Cronin gave insight on how KieranTimberlake uses data to make design decisions considering embodied carbon. These topics have and continue to help in the development of hybrid buildings, understanding the carbon levels of materials, the environmental impact of materials in a building and more. With these backgrounds, scholars participated in a robust conversation about energy benchmarking, building codes, and data driven design.

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Presentation #4

Case Study: Integrating Tools and Data in BIM
Speakers: Mark Cichy, HOK

Mark Cichy joined us virtually from Toronto, where he shared all the ways HOK is using point cloud data in the renovation and restoration of the Canadian Parliamentary complex in Ottawa, Canada. As a high profile and historic building, it was essential that HOK and related partners document every existing detail during construction of the project. They did this through unprecedented use of 3D scanning, done footage, and point cloud data. Mark spoke to the importance of data coordination, data process, tool integration and the client’s commitment to the project.

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Presentation #5

Data Visualization
Speakers: Tina Banach, SmithGroup

Graphics are useful in quickly conveying an important piece of information to a group of people – but not all graphics are created equal and the difference between a good graphic and a bad graphic can depend on a few seemingly small choices. Tina specializes in information analysis and data visualization for SmithGroup and shared ways to ensure graphics are clear, concise and accurate. Through examples, Tina showed how a graphic can relay incorrect information or be deceitful if close attention is not given. Asking questions like “what are you trying to convey?” and “who are you trying to tell?” can help designers make decisions that can make or break the success of a graphic.

Session 01: Leading Together

Date:           March 4th, 2022
Location:    Zoom Virtual Meeting
Led by:       Malik Johnson-Williams, Assoc. AIA and Chen Zhao, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Session Downloads: Session Program


This event explored what leadership is and what impacts positive leadership can have on the individual, team and community with insights from various. The first session presented a general overview of the field of study.  The second session examined what it means to lead and how a collaboration can lead to lasting social change. Lastly panelists discussed the importance of diversity and equity within the design field and advocacy.

Presentation #1

An Introduction to Leadership
Speakers: Daniel Blair, AIA, NCARB & Sarah Wahlgren Wingo, AIA

Daniel and Sarah shared a combined presentation to give an introduction into leadership.  Daniel covered the physiological aspect of leadership by deconstruction and analyzing the qualities of other successful leaders.  Afterwards, Sarah built upon this analysis by discussing the difference between good leadership and bad leadership.

Presentation #2

Social Leadership Roundtable
Speakers: Ricco Hall & Melissa Rocco, PhD

Dr. Melissa Rocco and Professor Ricco Hall shared their perspectives on leadership from a psychological lens.  While their backgrounds are not in architecture, they spoke to the value that architects have in the community and the daily role we have as leaders.  To them, leadership is a multi-layered social construction with forces and factors outside of the leader’s control (ex. personality traits, circumstances and abilities).  Additionally, as we develop our identities, we also develop our capacity to understand, internalize and identify with more sophisticated perspectives on leadership.

We were also reminded as we continue to develop our leadership identities to start with our ‘WHY’ and move outwards.  Developing our ‘WHY’ gives us the motivation that ultimately leads to our ‘HOW’, which is the process in which we achieve our ‘WHAT’.  Leadership often takes being fluid and a positive mental attitude, not a particular personality.

Presentation #3

Leading in Practice Panel Discussion
Speakers: Fawzia Ahmedali, AIA, NOMA LEED AP, Filiz Basaran AIA, LEED AP, CDT & Courtney Rozelle

The final presentation was a panel discussion with well-established leaders from prominent firms and organizations in Washington, DC. Through personal experiences and knowledge gained over the years, the panelists provided the scholars with valuable insights into their views of leadership, how they got to where they are now and what they see as critical skills needed to advance in the world in which we live.

Session 03: The Art of Negotiation

Date:        May 6th, 2022
Location: HeyDay Properties
                 2000 Pennsylvania Ave NW Suite 7000, Washington, DC 20006
Led by:    Faith Broussard, LEED GA and Jenna Pye, AIA, NCARB
Session Sponsor:
       runningdog Architects
Session Downloads:  Session Program


Faith Broussard and Jenna Pye planned and executed an engaging and informative session on “The Art of Negotiation.” Like the previous session, it was a hybrid event that allowed scholars to attend in-person or virtually. Three presentations with five guest speakers gave scholars insight into the multiple ways we negotiate with ourselves and others daily.

Presentation #1

LSI – Lifestyles inventory: Negotiation within Myself
Speakers: Cable Clarke

Cable Clarke from Clarke Consulting led the first presentation of the session, the Life Styles Inventory. Prior to the session, scholars were asked to complete the Life Styles Inventory questionnaire. The presentation began by examining the difference between a firm’s “culture” and its “climate”, the former being the apparent organization and the latter being the ‘below-the-surface’ organization; one might think of the climate as the visible portion of an iceberg and the culture as the underwater portion of the iceberg. After this, the scholars were introduced to the LSI, a performance assessment where the results from the questionnaire are plotted on the “circumplex” across twelve patterns that fall into either constructive, passive / defensive, or aggressive / defensive styles. Each pattern was further discussed in detail and the presentation ended by highlighting that awareness of these patterns can lead to acceptance then action in order to promote more constructive styles.

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Presentation #2

Relationship Building & Conflict Resolution – Negotiation within my Team
Speakers: David Barritt-Flatt & Alix Lafronta

David Barritt-Flatt and Alix Lafronta from Carta Advisors led the second presentation.  Carta is a company of advisors that focus on stakeholder alignment, building solutions, and risk management for large capital programs and projects. An emphasis was placed on the inevitability of conflict, but that conflict is also an opportunity to demonstrate your skills to others and differentiate yourself. Working with others and with a team relies on trust and the drivers of trust are integrity, competence, alignment, and reliability. A case study of the alignment between two team members of a hypothetical project followed; CKLDP Chair Sarah Walhgren-Wingo and guest speaker Thomas Brokaw were the designer and the owner / developer, respectively. Understanding their top priorities, primary concerns, “hot button” issues, and “hidden forces” allowed scholars to examine potential alignments, which in a real project, could allow for greater cooperation between team members.

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Presentation #3

Roundtable Discussion – Negotiation within my Firm and Life
Speakers: Yiselle Santos Rivera, AIA, NOMA< NCARB, LSSYB, LEED AP, WELL AP
Thomas Brokaw, NOMA

The last presentation of the session was a fireside-like chat between Yiselle Santos-Rivera and Thomas Brokaw. Yiselle began by studying genetics and science in Puerto Rico, leading to an interest in environmental design and community, before making the switch the study architecture in Puerto Rico and the United States. To her, architecture allows for the creation of platforms for others to share their experiences. Thomas discovered architecture through a summer camp that followed band camp; his interests include how architecture can mitigate gentrification and how different cultures’ music affect architecture and vice versa. Prior to starting his own firm, he worked for the federal government, where his interest in development grew.

After talking about their journeys, ticks, and interests, Faith and Jenna led a moderated discussion that probed the speakers on how they’ve advocated for themselves, who in their circles has advocated for them, how they’ve discovered their worth, how they’ve developed their brand, and how they’ve managed a work-life balance. Common themes included staying on the cutting-edge of the architecture industry and using that knowledge to leverage your position at a firm, being vocal, always having a mentor or a team that can advocate for you when you might not be in the room, lifting as you climb, and realizing what kind of work-life balance is sustainable for you personally. A standout quote from the chat was that your value is not dependent on saying yes to everything that is asked of you.

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Session 02: Entrepreneurship & Management

Date: April 08, 2022
Location: Haworth – 600 Massachusetts Avenue NW Suite 200, Washington, DC 20001
Led by: Kiruthika Balasubramanian, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Thomas Masino, RA, NCARB
Session Sponsor: CADD Microsystems, Actalent, & Smoot Construction
Venue Sponsor: Haworth
Session Downloads: Session Program


Kiruthika Balasubramanian and Thomas Masino organized an amazing session focusing on the entrepreneurship and management. It was a hybrid event which was held both virtually and in person at the Haworth showroom. Six exceptional guest speakers, all of which have designed and developed their own unique career path and businesses, shared great insights on this subject. The scholars were able to learn different firm cultures, from small to large and business models that are cutting edge in the industry. 

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Presentation #1

Design Leadership & Project Management: Scales of Entrepreneurship & Management
Speakers: David Jameson, FAIA & Maryam Katouzian, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C

David Jameson talked about how to run a small firm which maintains design excellence and creates a close-knit team that promotes work-life balance. In doing so, he shared his business model and how being knowledgeable about construction has helped him to create innovative ways to serve the clients. By strategically assembling his own construction team from the best tradespersons that he worked with in the past, he is able to deliver high-quality projects and maintain the design intent. He also shared his perspective on the benefits of keeping the firm at a small scale and choosing the clients carefully. Finally, he touched on the fact that it’s important to find ways to get your name out there such as engaging in community activities or getting involved in the academia field.

Maryam Katouzian shared how critical it is to set a 5-year plan in your career and how that has helped her stay on track through the years. She also stressed on the importance of being passionate about the work and repeat clients. By showcasing several high-profile higher education and healthcare projects, she revealed the complex process of maintaining a good relationship with clients and different stakeholders. She also shared her mentality that the hard work can always be rewarded by seeing how well the design is serving its occupants.

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Presentation #2: Design, Construction, & Business

Architect-led Design-Build & Architect as Developer
Speakers: Thomas Gluck, RA

Thomas Gluck started the presentation by analyzing the history of architecture as a profession. During which, he revealed how there has been a divide between who does the drawings and who does the building: Professional vs Tradesperson. His insights and introspective comparison of the architects’ roles through history brought about the mindset that as architects, we tend to think we know better, but this is not always the case.

Diving into his firm’s business model, diagrams were shown to illustrate how their project teams wear different hats. From designing in the office setting to managing the construction site in the trail, their office was able to carry through the design from the beginning to the end successfully and effectively. With this model of consistent involvement by the design team, it ensured the design intent was realized. He also showed impressive examples of how materials are creatively used through architects’ involvement on the construction site.

Tom also introduced Architect-led Design-Build delivery method. Utilizing the knowledge and management that is already inherent in architecture, an architect should feel competent in taking on and performing GC’s work. He encouraged architects to learn from subcontractors since they are very knowledge about the most up-to-date products and techniques. He emphasized that by working together, we can find an effective solution very early on, which helps to make better design and knowledgeable profession.

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Presentation #3

Architecture, Education, & Content Creation: Hyperfine Academy
Speaker: Ben Norkin

Ben Norkin has shared his inspiring story of how he started his own business by sharing his knowledge with the public on his website, attracting and building an audience. He talked about the value of having different strategies to generate multiple revenue streams through knowledge sharing and how this could be beneficial. He also encouraged emerging architects to feel confident in what they know and find ways to share it. Finally, he shared what he believes are the benefit of being a sole practitioner.


Presentation #4

Business Management & Practice Operations: Charette Venture Group & Monograph
Speakers: Lucas Gray, Associate AIA, SEED & Robert Yuen, Associate AIA

Lucas Gray shared his career path and his journey working around the world.  He introduced the practice at CVG and presented a vivid case study of marketing and business development, leadership and financial assessment.  To him, designing a business is just like designing a building and explained how an architectural background helps.

Robert Yuen shared his own unique entrepreneur journey. From setting up Section Cut to co-founding Monograph, he used his architectural background to find his true passion. Partially rooted in the forward-thinking culture in the Bay area, he spoke about his ideology of ‘Do not wait for permission to do things’. He also shared his dream of helping firms to really understand and manage their business at a more proactive and easier to understand level in order to deliver shrewd business decisions.