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Jul 28, 2016

Scott Simpson FAIA, LEED AP

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Name: Scott Simpson FAIA, LEED AP
Job title and company: Senior principal, Greenway Group
Degree(s): BA, Yale University; MArch, Harvard University Graduate School of Design

Professional interests:
Design, firm leadership, and innovative trends in the A/E/C industry.

What are you working on now?
Private real estate development on the Boston waterfront; lab design in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and New York; management consulting in Chicago, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and London; several articles for DesignIntelligence.

How do you explain to your mom what you do for a living?
Mom always knew I wanted to be an architect.

Above: Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research Headquarters. Image: Courtesy of Jacobs Global Buildings.

What architectural buzzword would you kill?
“Fenestration.” “Windows” works just fine.

What inspired you today?
Attending several inspirational sessions at the AIA Convention 2016, and also looking at pictures of my grandson. Nice combo!

What are you reading?
Lost City of the Incas by Hiram Bingham.

Do you sketch by hand or digitally?
By hand, with real fingers (which, by the way, also makes it “digital”).

Has your career taken you anywhere you didn’t expect?
Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Manila.

Where is the field of architecture headed?
In unexpectedly interesting directions. Look for high impact technology that blows the doors off of building information modeling (BIM), radical realignment in the A/E/C industry, and the marriage of creativity with predictability.

Above: Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research Headquarters. Image: Courtesy of Jacobs Global Buildings.

Can design save the world?
Well, it’s a start. People have to save the world, but they will be assisted greatly by design.

What do you hope to contribute from your work?
To create a path toward more creative, effective, and rewarding ways of getting things designed and built. To broaden the definition of design to include both objects and processes. To create a true metric of design value.

Who or what deserves credit for your success?
Mostly luck and good timing. A little bit of talent, a lot of hard work, and choosing the right partners.

Your least favorite college class?
Calculus, hands down (or hands up!).

Above: Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research Headquarters. Image: Courtesy of Jacobs Global Buildings.

Your favorite Boston-area structure?
Too many to count, but I have a special fondness for the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research Headquarters at the old New England Confectionery Company (NECCO) Factory in Cambridge, Massachusetts—a nice blend of the new and the old, and a perfect example of how great design creates real value.

Who would you like the BSA to interview next?
Mark Fishman, the client who provided the vision for the Novartis/NECCO project. (We need to hear more from clients in general!)

If you were on a late-night TV show, what would your 30-second plug be?
Everyone has an inner architect. Listen to that voice, and act accordingly.

If you could sum up your outlook on life in a bumper sticker, what would it say?
We are in the leadership business, and design is our medium.


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