Something inside told me that I had to get there. It took almost nine months to make it happen, but eventually I landed a job at HOK in London. From that office I worked on projects in Berlin and Edinburgh. After two years in London, I moved to Amsterdam to work on an architectural project in Kuwait.
I learned a lot from practicing architecture in Europe, but I learned even more from my European and expat friends; and by travelling throughout Europe on weekends. My favorite activity was to sketch old cathedrals and buildings – just to understand their systems and proportions.
My interest in products is parallel to my career in architecture. When I graduated from the University of Utah with a BS in architecture; my only goal was to move to San Francisco and get a job in an architect’s office. The story goes: the day after graduation, I packed up my bike and bike tools, borrowed a car, drove to San Francisco and lived in a hostel for six weeks while I hunted for jobs. Eventually an architect overhead me saying that I’d moved there to find a job in an architecture firm. She invited me to interview at her office next door – and hired me. I spent 20 months working for Gelfand RNP Architects and my next goal was to get accepted at UC Berkeley for architecture school. I figured that the most important thing to do was develop a product to bolster my design portfolio so I designed a unique architectural lamp – it provides some light but mostly it’s a sculpture. The wires are exposed to the outside of the lamp. This was a flagrant disregard for safety but my intent was to visually and literally expose the electricity - if you grabbed two wires at once you would be shocked. When my first child was born – I disabled the lamp. Someday I may get around to converting the lamp to a low voltage arrangement.
I moved to Europe to be around the newer and modern high-tech architecture of Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers, and Norman Foster; but when I traveled and sketched, it was the older architecture which I grew to love. After living in Europe for three years, I took a trip home to Utah for a solo trip in the desert where it dawned on me how much older and more complex the desert landscape is than the buildings from Victorian, Renaissance, Medieval, Roman, or Hellenic Europe . Unexpectedly – I decided to move back to Utah to be around the sandstone forms that give me my most visceral inspiration. Oh, and I’m still a modernist (modernism is actually kind of old too if you think about it).
Sometimes people ask me: “what are some of your other hobbies – besides your job?” I ski, hike and bicycle; but, I must admit that my favorite thing to do is to design and make things. I grew up working with my dad in his workshop (and after moving back from Europe was his business partner along with my brother Joe for 13 years at Jacoby Architects, but during those 20 years of practicing architecture, I would often catch myself daydreaming about side projects I was working on in the shop. Architecture was and still is a passion of mine, but the most exhilarating moments have been while working out the details and construction for a new product.