A Snow Kreilich Architects staff ski outing earlier this year.
project, not a one-size-fits-all approach. To serve people and the environment in the Twin Cities, as well as those halfway across the world, we assemble teams, design workflows, and ask questions of a wide range of stakeholders – stakeholders that are not usually at the table. Questions challenge topics rooted in how the environment shapes and influences the human experience. The overarching goal, whether domestic or abroad, is to utilize design thinking to reimagine the built and unbuilt. We ask, we listen, and we creatively respond to complex questions. TZL: What type of leader do you consider yourself to be? JS: It’s funny. I don’t really want to be a leader. I want to be an architect. I lead out of necessity. I find patterns and try to be inspirational and transformational. TZL: Does your firmwork closely with any higher education institutions to gain access to the latest technology, experience, and innovation and/or recruiting to find qualified resources? JS: Many studio members teach at the University of Minnesota and Matt and I lecture at numerous other universities. Part of our idea in creating ASK is to explore new technologies, innovations and create shared experiences with academics. We’re working on creating more relationships in this area and have a board member from the University of Minnesota. We believe that working with professionals in academia will allow us to do more innovative and interesting work.
ASKING QUESTIONS, from page 7
TZL: They say failure is a great teacher. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve had to learn the hard way? JS: I think I’ve had a thousand little failures along the way that have all taught me something. I think the greatest is to go with your gut. There have been instances when I took on a project that I was pretty sure was not the best move, but I figured I could make it work. I ended up having to back out during the project when it would have been smarter not to take it to begin with. Pay attention to the writing on the wall. TZL: In looking ahead, say five years, what big changes do you anticipate implementing in your day-to-day operations? JS: Now, that we’re slightly post-COVID, I think we need to reevaluate having people come into the office more often. Like many, we made it non-mandatory. We have 40 employees and today there are three people in the office. We have many young designers and I think they need that culture of collaboration – a studio culture – where you hear and see and learn things. In addition, we founded and are continuing to support a non- profit arm of the business – ASK. ASK is made up of architects, engineers, scientists, designers, builders, community activists, mothers, and children, among others. The scope, typology, and structure of any project team can be reorganized and optimized to work at various scales and typologies. We assemble diverse teams based on the specific needs of a
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THE ZWEIG LETTER APRIL 25, 2022, ISSUE 1438
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