University Architect @FrankCunhaIII Earns #ExecutiveMBA from @BizFeliciano at @MontclairStateU

On May 21, 2019, Frank Cunha III, graduated from the Executive Masters in Business Administration program at Montclair State University, where he has served the students as an outside consultant from 2001-2007 and as an employee in the Facilities department since 2007. Most recently Frank has served as the University Architect at the institution which is the second largest public university in the state.

Frank Cunha III, University Architect, has been with the University Facilities team since 2007. Since graduating from the New Jersey Institute of Technology School of Architecture in 1998, he has obtained licenses to practice architecture in 9 states. 

Frank is passionate about strategic planning, architectural design and constructing of complex projects in a challenging and ever changing environment. He considers the environment, energy, and the health and wellness of the occupants during all phases of the project while addressing the programming needs to ensure the stakeholder’s program requirements are met and align with the organization’s mission, vision and values. 

Frank has led various teams over the past 20-years, both with the American Institute of Architects, serving on local, state and national level committees; he has worked on various charity projects over the years; Through collaboration and enhancement of his expertise as a Registered Architect through practice, research and innovation he has dedicated his life to serving others. 

With the assistance of his design and construction teams, Frank has been responsible for many projects of various size and scope around campus. Some project highlights include: Student Recreation Center, Center for Environmental Life Sciences, Cali School of Music, School of Nursing, the Center for Computing and Information Science, Sinatra Hall, School of Business, Schmitt Hall and historic renovation and addition to College Hall, to name a few.  Click Here for more information.


The More You Serve the More You Earn

Friends, I have been thinking more and more how I can add value to the people I serve. I have also been trying to figure out how to scale up what I am currently doing (that which I love), so that I can impact more lives and serve more people. When I came across this Dave Ramsey video I had to share it with my audience. I hope it gives you a different perspective on how we measure our wealth and well-being.

We would love to hear from you about what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,

FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


Facebook’s Carolyn Everson @CEverson Responds To Tough Questions At Feliciano Center Fireside Chat @BizFeliciano #NJTech #NJBiz #MBA #Facebook #ilmaBlog

On April 9, 2019, Carolyn Everson the VP, Global Marketing Solutions, at Facebook joined us at Montclair State University to discuss her role at Facebook, and her career path that includes stints at Microsoft, Viacom and other companies. The event took place at University Hall Conference Center, 7th Floor (Click here for event information).

The following is an article written by Esther Surden and Frank Cunha III for NJ Tech Weekly.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

We would love to hear from you about what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,

FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


What Will Higher Education Look Like 5, 10 or 20 Years From Now? Some Ways Colleges Can Reinvent Themselves #iLMA #eMBA #Innovation #Technology #Planning #Design #HigherEducation #HigherEd2030 #University #Architect

Introduction

Change is a natural and expected part of running a successful organization. Whether big or small, strategic pivots need to be carefully planned and well-timed. But, how do you know when your organization is ready to evolve to its next phase? Anyone that listens, watches, or reads the news knows about the rising cost of higher education and the increasing debt that education is putting on students and alumni and their families.

At a time when education is most important to keep up with increasing technological changes, institutions need to pivot or face imminent doom in an ever increasing competitive environment. Competition can come from startups or external factors in the higher education market therefore it is increasingly necessary for institutions of higher learning to take a different approach to their business operations.

This post will focus on:

  • Current Trends
  • Demographic Shifts
  • Future of Higher Education (and impacts on University Facilities & Management)
    • Changing Assumptions
    • Implications for the Physical Campus
    • Changing Trajectory
    • More Trends in Higher Education (Towards 2030)
  • Driving Technologies
  • External Forces

Current Trends

  • Online education[i] has become an increasingly accepted option, especially when “stackable” into degrees.
  • Competency-based education lowers costs and reduces completion time for students.
  • Income Share Agreements[ii] help students reduce the risk associated with student loans.
  • Online Program Manager organizations benefit both universities and nontraditional, working-adult students.
  • Enterprise training companies are filling the skills gap by working directly with employers.
  • Pathway programs facilitate increasing transnational education[iii], which serves as an additional revenue stream for universities.

Demographic Shifts

According to data from the National Clearinghouse and the Department of Education[iv]:

  • The Average Age of a College/University Student Hovers Around Twenty-Seven (Though That Is Decreasing as The Economy Heats Up)
  • 38% of Students Who Enrolled In 2011 Transferred Credits Between Different Institutions At Least Once Within Six Years.
  • 38% of Students Are Enrolled Part-Time.
  • 64% of Students Are Working Either Full-Time or Part-Time.
  • 28% of Students Have Children of Their Own or Care For Dependent Family Members.
  • 32% of Students Are from Low-Income Families.
  • The Secondary Education Experience Has an Increasingly High Variation, Resulting In Students Whose Preparation For College-Level Work Varies Greatly.

Future of Higher Education (and impacts on University Facilities & Management)

The future of higher education depends on innovation. 

University leaders who would risk dual transformation are required to exercise full commitment to multiple, potentially conflicting visions of the future. They undoubtedly confront skepticism, resistance, and inertia, which may sway them from pursuing overdue reforms.[v]

Change is upon us.

“All universities are very much struggling to answer the question of: What does [digitization[vi]] mean, and as technology rapidly changes, how can we leverage it?” . . . . Colleges afraid of asking that question do so at their own peril.”[vii]

James Soto Antony, the director of the higher-education program at Harvard’s graduate school of education.

Changing Assumptions

Until recently the need for a physical campus was based on several assumptions:

  • Physical Class Time Was Required
  • Meaningful Exchanges Occurred Face to Face
  • The Value of an Institution Was Tied to a Specific Geography
  • Books Were on Paper
  • An Undergraduate Degree Required Eight Semesters
  • Research Required Specialized Locations
  • Interactions Among Students and Faculty Were Synchronous

Implications for the Physical Campus

  • Learning – Course by course, pedagogy is being rethought to exploit the flexibility and placelessness of digital formats while maximizing the value of class time.
  • Libraries – Libraries are finding the need to provide more usable space for students and faculty.  Whether engaged in study, research or course projects, the campus community continues to migrate back to the library.
  • Offices – While the rest of North America has moved to mobile devices and shared workspaces, academic organizations tend to be locked into the private, fixed office arrangement of an earlier era – little changed from a time without web browsers and cell phones. 
  • Digital Visible – From an institutional perspective, many of the implications of digital transformation are difficult to see, lost in a thicket of business issues presenting themselves with increasing urgency. 

Changing Trajectory

University presidents and provosts are always faced with the choice of staying the course or modifying the trajectory of their institutions.  Due to failing business models, rapidly evolving digital competition and declining public support, the stakes are rising.  All should be asking how they should think about the campus built for the 21st century.[viii]  J. Michael Haggans[ix] makes the following recommendations:

  • Build no net additional square feet
  • Upgrade the best; get rid of the rest
  • Manage space and time; rethink capacity
  • Right-size the whole
  • Take sustainable action
  • Make campus matter

More Trends in Higher Education (Towards 2030)

  • The Rise of The Mega-University[x]
  • ; Public Private Partnerships (P3’s) Procurement Procedures Will Become More Prevalent
  • More Colleges Will Adopt Test-Optional Admissions
  • Social Mobility Will Matter More in College Rankings
  • Urban Colleges Will Expand[xi] — But Carefully
  • Financial Crunches Will Force More Colleges to Merge
  • The Traditional Textbook Will Be Hard to Find; Free and Open Textbooks
  • More Unbundling and Micro-Credentials
  • Continued Focus on Accelerating Mobile Apps
  • Re-Imagining Physical Campus Space in Response to New Teaching Delivery Methods
  • Transforming the Campus into A Strategic Asset with Technology
  • Education Facilities Become Environmental Innovators
  • Ethics and Inclusion: Designing for The AI Future We Want to Live In
  • Visibility (Transparency) And Connectedness
  • Sustainability from Multiple Perspectives
  • Better Customer Experiences with The Digital Supply Chain
  • Individualized Learning Design, Personalized Adaptive Learning
  • Stackable Learning Accreditation
  • Increased Personalization: More Competency-Based Education They’ll Allow Students to Master A Skill or Competency at Their Own Pace.
  • Adaptation to Workplace Needs They’ll Adapt Coursework to Meet Employer Needs for Workforce Expertise
  • Greater Affordability and Accessibility They’ll Position Educational Programs to Support Greater Availability.
  • More Hybrid Degrees[xii]
  • More Certificates and Badges, For Example: Micro-Certificates, Offer Shorter, More Compact Programs to Provide Needed Knowledge and Skills Fast[xiii]
  • Increased Sustainable Facilities – Environmental Issues Will Become Even More Important Due to Regulations and Social Awareness; Reduced Energy Costs, Water Conservation, Less Waste
  • Health & Wellness – Physical, Spiritual and Metal Wellbeing
  • Diversity and Inclusion Will Increase
  • Rise of The Micro-Campus[xiv] And Shared Campuses[xv]
  • E-Advising to Help Students Graduate
  • Evidence-Based Pedagogy
  • The Decline of The Lone-Eagle Teaching Approach (More Collaboration)
  • Optimized Class Time (70% Online, 30% Face to Face)
  • Easier Educational Transitions
  • Fewer Large Lecture Classes
  • Increased Competency-Based and Prior-Learning Credits (Credit for Moocs or From “Real World” Experience)[xvi]
  • Data-Driven Instruction
  • Aggressive Pursuit of New Revenue
  • Online and Low-Residency Degrees at Flagships
  • Deliberate Innovation, Lifetime Education[xvii]
  • The Architecture of The Residential Campus Will Evolve to Support the Future.
  • Spaces Will Be Upgraded to Try to Keep Up with Changes That Would Build In Heavy Online Usage.
  • Spaces Will Be Transformed and Likely Resemble Large Centralized, Integrated Laboratory Type Spaces. 
  • Living-Learning Spaces in Combination Will Grow, But On Some Campuses, Perhaps Not In The Traditional Way That We Have Thought About Living-Learning To Date.

Driving Technologies:

  • Emerging Technologies – Such as Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, And Artificial Intelligence – Will Eventually Shape What the Physical Campus Of The Future Will Look Like, But Not Replace It.[xviii]
  • Mobile Digital Transformation[xix]
  • Smart Buildings and Smart Cities[xx]
  • Internet of Things
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI), Including Natural Language Processing
  • Automation (Maintenance and Transportation Vehicles, Instructors, What Else?)
  • Virtual Experience Labs, Including: Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality Learning, And Robotic Telepresence 
  • More Technology Instruction and Curricula Will Feature Digital Tools and Media Even More Prominently
  • New Frontiers For E-Learning, For Example, Blurred Modalities (Expect Online and Traditional Face-To-Face Learning to Merge)[xxi]
  • Blending the Traditional; The Internet Will Play Bigger Role in Learning
  • Big Data: Colleges Will Hone Data Use to Improve Outcomes

External Forces:

  • [xxii]: Corporate Learning Is A Freshly Lucrative Market
  • Students and Families Will Focus More on College Return On Investment, Affordability And Student Loan Debt
  • [xxiii]
  • Greater Accountability; Schools will be more accountable to students and graduates
  • Labor Market Shifts and the Rise of Automation
  • Economic Shifts and Moves Toward Emerging Markets
  • Growing Disconnect Between Employer Demands and College Experience 
  • The Growth in Urbanization and A Shift Toward Cities 
  • Restricted Immigration Policies and Student Mobility
  • Lack of Supply but Growth in Demand
  • The Rise in Non-Traditional Students 
  • Dwindling Budgets for Institutions[xxiv]
  • Complex Thinking Required Will Seek to Be Vehicles of Societal Transformation, Preparing Students to Solve Complex Global Issues

Sources & References:


[i] Online education is a flexible instructional delivery system that encompasses any kind of learning that takes place via the Internet. The quantity of distance learning and online degrees in most disciplines is large and increasing rapidly.

[ii] An Income Share Agreement (or ISA) is a financial structure in which an individual or organization provides something of value (often a fixed amount of money) to a recipient who, in exchange, agrees to pay back a percentage of their income for a fixed number of years.

[iii] Transnational education (TNE) is education delivered in a country other than the country in which the awarding institution is based, i.e., students based in country Y studying for a degree from a university in country Z.

[iv] Article accessed on April 16, 2019: https://er.educause.edu/articles/2019/3/changing-demographics-and-digital-transformation

[v]Article accessed on April 16, 2019: https://ssir.org/articles/entry/design_thinking_for_higher_education

[vi] Digitization is the process of changing from analog to digital form.

[vii] Article accessed on April 16, 2019:  https://qz.com/1070119/the-future-of-the-university-is-in-the-air-and-in-the-cloud

[viii] Article accessed on April 16, 2019: http://c21u.gatech.edu/blog/future-campus-digital-world

[ix] Michael Haggans is a Visiting Scholar in the College of Design at the University of Minnesota and Visiting Professor in the Center for 21st Century Universities at Georgia Institute of Technology.  He is a licensed architect with a Masters of Architecture from the State University of New York at Buffalo.  He has led architectural practices serving campuses in the US and Canada, and was University Architect for the University of Missouri System and University of Arizona.

[x] Article accessed on April 16, 2019:  https://www.chronicle.com/interactives/Trend19-MegaU-Main

[xi] Article accessed on April 16, 2019:  https://www.lincolninst.edu/sites/default/files/pubfiles/1285_wiewel_final.pdf

[xii] Article accessed on April 16, 2019: https://www.fastcompany.com/3046299/this-is-the-future-of-college

[xiii] Article accessed on April 16, 2019: https://www.govtech.com/education/higher-ed/Why-Micro-Credentials-Universities.html

[xiv] Article accessed on April 16, 2019: https://global.arizona.edu/micro-campus

[xv] Article accessed on April 16, 2019: https://evolllution.com/revenue-streams/global_learning/a-new-global-model-the-micro-campus

[xvi] Article accessed on April 16, 2019:  https://www.chronicle.com/article/The-Future-Is-Now-15/140479

[xvii] Article accessed on April 16, 2019:  https://evolllution.com/revenue-streams/market_opportunities/looking-to-2040-anticipating-the-future-of-higher-education

[xviii] Article accessed on April 16, 2019: https://www.eypae.com/publication/2017/future-college-campus

[xix] Article accessed on April 16, 2019: https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2019/02/digital-transformation-quest-rethink-campus-operations

[xx] Article accessed on April 16, 2019: https://ilovemyarchitect.com/?s=smart+buildings

[xxi] Article accessed on April 16, 2019: https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2018/04/college-online-degree-blended-learning/557642

[xxii] Article accessed on April 16, 2019: https://qz.com/1191619/amazon-is-becoming-its-own-university

[xxiii] Article accessed on April 16, 2019: https://www.fastcompany.com/3029109/5-bold-predictions-for-the-future-of-higher-education

[xxiv] Article accessed on April 16, 2019: https://www.acenet.edu/the-presidency/columns-and-features/Pages/state-funding-a-race-to-the-bottom.aspx

We would love to hear from you about what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,

FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


What About Public Private Partnerships? #ilmaBlog #HigherEducation #P3 #PPP #University #Architect

Example of Stakeholder Team (Source: Servitas)

Background on Public Private Partnerships (P3’s):

Many institutions of higher education are facing mounting pressure on their mission to deliver high-quality, affordable education to students and perform world-class research. Reductions in public funding support and concerns about overall affordability present substantial near-term and longer-term budget challenges for many institutions.

Public institutions are predominantly affected, having been constrained by suspensions or reductions in state funding. State appropriations across the US grew by just 0.5% annually between 2005 and 2015. State funding has still not recovered to 2008 levels, the last year in which state funding decisions would not have been affected by the Great Recession.

(Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) — state appropriations revenue divided by total fall enrollment, 2005–15)

Public-private partnership models are continuing to proliferate as cash-strapped colleges and universities seek to replace or update aging and outdated infrastructure amid tight finances.

(Source: Proliferating Partnerships)

What is the P3 Delivery Model?

A public-private partnership, or P3, is long-term agreement between a public entity and a private industry team that is tasked with designing, building, financing, operating and maintaining a public facility. The past decade has seen a steady increase in the use of P3 structures, both inside and outside higher education. In 2016, something of a watershed year for P3, multiple high-profile projects came online in response to a variety of public needs, including a $1-billion-plus water infrastructure project servicing San Antonio, and a $300-million-plus renovation of the Denver International Airport’s Great Hall.

(Source: A Few Lessons About Public-Private Partnerships)

“Public” is a non-profit institutional or governmental entity that engages a “private” for-profit entity to pay for a particular project.

The “private” partner provides funding (and often expertise) to deliver (and often operate) the project used by the “public” entity to meet its purposes.

In return for its capital, the “private” entity gets a revenue flow from the asset it has paid for.

(Source: Should your University enter into a Public/Private Partnership – the Pro’s and Con’s)

The emergence of the P3 option is happening where it matters most: projects that would be otherwise unattainable under the traditional public-improvement delivery models. For instance, 10 years ago, only a handful of higher education P3 projects were up and running; today, we are approaching three dozen such projects.

The biggest challenge is, of course, the financing component, but P3 teams bring much more to the table than money — they give public entities access to expertise and innovation that can add significant value to projects at each phase of development.

(Source: A Few Lessons About Public-Private Partnerships)

Motivations for P3 transactions vary widely, but include:

  • Supplementing traditional debt instruments. These include private capital, using off balance sheet or alternative mechanisms.
  • Transfer of risk. Historically, universities have born all or most of the risk of facilities-related projects themselves. A P3 is a way to either transfer or at least share the risk.
  • Speed and efficiency. A P3 allows for a faster development process, and time to completion is generally shorter and on schedule. The sole focus of the private entity is to complete the project on budget and on time. University infrastructure tends to have competing priorities across all-campus facility needs.
  • Outsourcing provision of non-core assets. Outsourcing allows institutions to focus investment of internal resources and capabilities on those functions that are closer to the academic needs of its students.
  • Experience. Private partners often have much more experience and skills in a particular development area (e.g., facility architecture and infrastructure, student housing needs) and are able to better accommodate the needs of students, faculty, administrators, etc.
  • Planning and budgeting. Private partners offer experience and know-how in long-term maintenance planning and whole life cycle budgeting.

(Source: Public-private partnerships in higher education What is right for your institution?)

The four types of P3s:

  • Operating contract/management agreement. Short- to medium-term contract with private firm for operating services
  • Ground lease/facility lease. Long-term lease with private developer who commits to construct, operate and maintain the project
  • Availability payment concession. Long-term concession with private developer to construct, operate, maintain and finance the project in exchange for annual payments subject to abatement for nonperformance
  • Demand-risk concession. Long-term concession with private developer to construct, operate, maintain and finance the project in exchange for rights to collect revenues related to the project

Pro’s and Con’s of P3’s:

Since their emergence in student housing several years ago, P3s have become important strategies for higher education institutions because of the many benefits they offer, including:

  • Lower developer costs
  • Developer expertise
  • Operational expertise
  • Access to capital
  • Preservation of debt capacity
  • More favorable balance sheets and credit statements
  • Risk mitigation
  • Faster procurement and project delivery (It can typically take a university about 5 years to get a project built. With a P3, that process can be reduced to just 2 years. Additionally, P3s can save approximately 25% in costs compared to typical projects.)

Beyond the above, the indirect advantages of P3s in student housing are numerous, such as they:

  • Provide better housing for students
  • Expand campus capacity
  • Create high-quality facilities
  • Expand the tax base for both a city and county
  • Provide an economic boost to surrounding areas, which likely lead to private growth and other improvements

It is important to note that, while there are many benefits of P3s for higher education institutions, these agreements also have disadvantages that need to be considered, including:

  • High cost of capital
  • Reduced control for the university
  • Complexity of deals
  • Multi-party roles and responsibilities
  • Limitation on future university development

(Source: Student Housing A Hot Sector For Public-Private Partnerships)

A LOOK AHEAD

Where Are We Heading?

  • More political involvement and pressure to consider P3
  • Pre-development Risks – Many projects failing to close
  • Issues with Construction Pricing & Labor Shortages
  • An increasing number of developers are getting in the on-campus business; however, developers are being more strategic on which projects/procurements to respond to
  • Exploration of other sources of funds like tax credits, USDA, and opportunity zones
  • Shared governance continues to grow
  • Larger, more complex P3 projects including long term concessions, availability payment models, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • Bundling of Procurements (food, housing (including faculty), academic buildings, hotel, energy, facility maintenance, etc.)

Further Reading:

We would love to hear from you about what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,

FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


X Factor of Design

Better design, better experience

The design of physical space proves to have a significant, quantifiable impact on the quality of people’s experience.

Experience FrameworkEveryone is doing everything, everywhere

The traditional uses of space are blurring. People are working, eating, socializing, exercising, having fun, taking classes, and shopping everywhere.

Single-use spaces are becoming obsolete

People who do more than one activity in a place rate their experiences significantly higher and are more likely to report it as their “favorite place.”

Gensler-Hyundai-HQ

Gensler’s Hyundai HQ

Ignore social space at your peril

Places that support community and social connection perform better—from higher job satisfaction in the workplace, to a greater likelihood of recommendation for retail stores and public spaces.

In-between time isn’t wasted time

People who take time to reflect and unplug have better experiences, with direct business benefits: employees are more satisfied, and customers frequently end up making purchases despite not originally intending to do so. College campuses have a way of encouraging intellectual pursuits in different places by making better use of real estate by equipping in-between spaces. Adding wireless connectivity, comfortable seating, and room to spread out your work and almost any space becomes useful work space.

Technology matters, but not in the way you think

Technology may be more about impression than direct engagement— people see it as a powerful symbol of innovation.Gensler's Experience Framework Wheel

The multipurpose space should be able to handle several forms of technology, just like any large lecture hall or classroom. Video, data, and electrical outlets should be spaced along the perimeter of the space, as well as at the edge of the stage. A sound system, video projection system, and cable and satellite capability also should be available. Also, operationally, users will need to know how to use the equipment properly.

Every place and space today is ultimately competing on the experience it delivers. As a new generation of consumers shifts spending and attention toward experience-based consumption, the need to deliver a differentiated experience has never been stronger. The human experience must be the driving force behind every element of a space—from the design of physical space to the qualities of interaction, expectation, and intention.

(Source: https://www.gensler.com/uploads/document/552/file/Gensler-Experience-Index-2017.pdf)

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


Our Exclusive ILMA Interview with Jeff Venezia, AIA of @DIGroupArch

Who is Jeff Venezia, AIA?

Jeff holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Virginia and has practiced in New Brunswick since 1981. He is presently a Principal Owner and President ofDIGroupArchitecture, a 32 person firm specializing in K-12 Education, Higher Ed, Senior Living and Healthcare. He heads the design and marketing efforts of the firm as well as the Academic Studio which includes K-12 and Higher Ed.

About the Firm

DIGroupArchitecture is a process-centric architecture and design firm. We work tirelessly with our clients to understand their priorities, evaluate the physical and budgetary constraints, and communicate potential options. As a result we create distinctive design solutions that help our clients achieve their vision, with unwavering attention to detail at every scale.

It is our unbiased approach to scale that helps us evolve in the changing climate of contemporary architecture. As many of our clients’ priorities have shifted away from ground-up architecture to renovations and adaptive reuse, our interiors studio has flourished and our graphic design studio has developed a diverse portfolio of projects in environmental graphics, signage and wayfinding, and brand identity.

80% of our business comes from repeat clients.They appreciate our “whatever it takes” approach and principal involvement at every level of every project. Our goal is to make every client a “legacy” client doing project after project and improving the experience of those who occupy the facilities we have created together as partners.

         Memorial Elementary School

         Phillipsburg High School

         Remsen Ave. Firehouse

         Jonathan Dayton High School Media Center

 

Click to Follow the DIGroup: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

ILMA INTERVIEW

When and why did you decide to become an Architect?     

I’ve wanted to be an architect since I was about 12 years old.  I loved model building, drawing and construction and just knew from that time on what I wanted to be.

What were some of the challenges of achieving your dream?

I think the biggest challenge has always been living up to the level of trust your clients place on you to deliver a project that meets or exceeds their expectations.

Any memorable clients or project highlights?  

Most clients are memorable in their own way.  Since a lot of our work is for repeat clients we get to know them extremely well over time, both professionally and personally.  The best highlights of any of our projects is the reaction of the end users as to how we’ve improved the quality of their everyday lives.  That occurs most often in our Healthcare, K-12, Senior Living and Community Rooms projects.  One of our top highlights was having our Memorial Elementary School in East Brunswick receive the 2013 AIA New Jersey Honor Award for Excellence in Design, the first NJ public school to be recognized with that award (see photos above).

How do Architects measure success?     

We measure success by how a project meets the goals established in the very beginning, especially with regard to program, design, budget and schedule.

Good design does not have to cost more – it requires patience and commitment to doing it right.

Grow the business, develop a transition of ownership strategy, continue to focus on improving our architectural, interior and graphic capabilities.

Who is your favorite Architect? Why?  

Unquestionably Alvar Aalto.  I love the way his buildings embrace the landscape and often look to him for inspiration.

What is your favorite historic and modern (contemporary) project? Why?  

My favorite historic building would be the Pantheon in Rome.  Favorite contemporary – the Kimball Art Museum in Texas by Louis Kahn.

Where do you see the profession going over the next few decades?

We need to reverse the trend of being considered by the public as a commodity.  We need to educate the public and our clients on the value added in what we provide in the services we perform.  We are not copy or toilet paper. 

Who / what has been your greatest influence in design?      

The greatest influence on my design work was my 3rd year architecture professor who demanded only the highest quality work from me and forced me out of my comfort zone to continually strive to learn from every project, to grow and become better as an architect.

Which building or project type would you like to work on that you haven’t been part of yet?   

Airport – I love the idea of doing something at that scale.

If you could not be an Architect, what would you be?    

A National Geographic photographer.

 What advice do you have for a future Executive leader?     

Always be true to yourself, treat people fairly and conduct yourself with the highest level of integrity.  Your word should be your bond.

What are three key challenges you face as a leader in business today and one trend you see in your industry?  

Challenges:  the economy, dealing with diversity in the work place and the ever-increasing reliance on technology.  As mentioned above, the competition and lowering of fees continue on a downward spiral.

What one thing must an executive leader be able to do to be successful in the next 3 years?  

Don’t just adapt to change – embrace it.

What are some executive insights you have gained since you have been sitting in the executive leadership seat – or what is one surprise you have encountered as the world of business continues to morph as we speak?     

Take risks and have the commitment to see them through.  Be a good listener.  Show a concern and appreciation for your employees.  Be proactive in solving problems.  Never let anything fester.  Once the attorneys get involved no one is happy with the outcome.

For more exclusive ILMA interviews click here.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

Gift Ideas from ILMA