Jason Lutes is an architect, but you could say he’s almost more of a technical director here at Clockwork. He is a sounding board for the approach to a project, including some of the techniques and strategies used. We asked Jason to share his description of what he does here at Clockwork.
I have a mind for the way buildings go together, as much or more so than the overall guiding principles of design itself. What I do is different from what people typically think of when they consider where design comes from.
One aspect of my role involves evaluating the technology we use. I help dig into new software technologies and things of that nature, to investigate what we might consider adding to the mix. My research can also impact the decisions made for what computers we buy or what the computers’ technical specifications will be.
Generally speaking, it's not me all by myself working in a bubble. It's very collaborative. Many people here at Clockwork have suggestions or have experience using things that the rest of us may not have. We all look at the options and determine if a choice will add to the quality or the intensity of what we do, or make us more efficient.
My approach is to question: Does it increase our capacity? Meaning, does it allow us to do more with less? Does it reduce the overall stress of production? If the answer is yes to both those questions, then it's a win.
That win ultimately makes our process more cost-effective. It saves our clients and the company money. Even if it costs more on the front end, those choices allow us to make better decisions later and produce more with less overall.
The other aspect of my role involves looking at how our designs match up with the construction of the buildings themselves. This is the more accurate definition of a technical director. You can see this when it comes to code implications. Cities enforce building codes that we follow, and we determine the technical detailing needed for new projects. We need to make sure our designs and the building codes come together.
The decisions we make affect the way the building is constructed. If a designer, whether it's interiors or architecture, is looking at a specific form, shape, or detail, I'll often get asked to weigh in on it. I can give feedback on how it will affect our drawings and if it is feasible. I help determine if it is something to pursue, or if there is a variation that we can do.
That's where my sensibilities lie. I enjoy starting from the built environment, working back to the design. I enjoy that pushpull of making sure what we're doing is realistic and feasible. What we draw and what we model comes down to the building permit, construction, and a happy client. Ultimately, we're dictating outcomes. Being able to understand what is needed to create those outcomes, before it's built, is where I like to be in the design process.
I leverage my experience with how things are built and how things go together. I come from a family of masons, electricians, and other craftsman trades. Leveraging those life experiences helps me understand and synthesize quality designs that are reasonable, effective, functional, affordable, etc.
It's a voice of reason that I hope I bring to the work we do at Clockwork. My background and approach seems to work well with many of my colleagues, who have expertise but maybe approach the design process from a different angle or a different set of life experiences. I really appreciate being part of the Clockwork team.