I had a small workbench in the shop next to my father’s. I would watch him and try to do what he did. Occasionally he would put things in my hands, giving me the chance to feel the weight of the tool. I grew up taking things apart then putting them back together. As I got older, I started making my own things. My favorite tool was a small wire welder because I could take it with me. My second favorite tool was my grandfather’s 32 oz framing hammer because it helped pay for my college – yes, people once framed houses with hammers!
After graduating from NJIT, I spent two years working at the Hillier Group. At the time it was one of the country’s largest design firms with a tremendous focus on integrated systems and occupant health. This experience was followed by a trip to Greece where I spent a few months moving north along ancient Greek and Roman ruins, over the Alps and out to the Netherlands. It was a not-so-organized route.
When I moved to Vermont in 2000, two amazing things happened to me. I started working with Bill Maclay, one of the greatest environmental architecture design pioneers, and even better, met my soulmate/wife who is my major source of inspiration (and who is also crazy enough to love and work in this profession).
Anything relevant in my life I’ve learned through physical experience. I need to put my hands on something to be able to understand it – see it with my eyes – feel the weight of it. I thought this might change as I grow older, but it has not. Architecture allows me to do this. I can see and touch every piece that goes into a great design; from the process itself to the most durable assembly; through its efficiency, beauty and the joy it brings to its occupants.