DESIGNER DIALOGUE: Anders Lasater, Architect
Anders Lasater was one of the first architects to hire me when I first relocated my photo business from TN to CA in 2012. Like many of my clients, once we shot the first project together, a long term relationship developed, and we learned to speak each other’s language and nuanced photo style preferences. We met Anders on location at one of his work-in-progress sites to ask him a few insider questions…
Describe your typical day in the life.
I like to joke that my job is only 10% architect, and the other 90% is psychologist, marriage counselor, interpreter, and firefighter - all of them dealing with the many issues that can often get in the way of delivering a successful project.
My typical day is spent making sure our projects stay on track and moving in the direction we intended them. In truth, "goalie" is a good title for me - I defend the goals of the project consistently against the flying pucks that come at it from all directions.
How do you take your coffee?
Anyway I can get it! (But, I do prefer an espresso with a little foamed almond milk. I know, that sounds pretentious, but I gave up dairy a few years ago, and soy makes me unpleasant to be around, so almond milk is all I've got to work with!)
How do you stay creative?
Surrounding myself with other creative people really helps. I'm fortunate to have four really smart and creative employees that continually surprise me with their insights and point of view. We work on our projects as a true design studio, where the best idea wins. Sometimes that's my idea, but often it's theirs, and I really enjoy helping others find their creative voice.
Oh— and my band, Thunderhose, also serves as a creative outlet - one that is much more "real time' than architecture. Buildings take years to design and construct. Goofy songs seem to come easier!
Do you remember the time you wanted to become an architect?
Vividly. It was September of 1981, the first week of seventh grade wood shop class. We learned some basic mechanical drafting techniques and were asked to draw the wheel of the little wooden truck we were going to build. I fell in love with the power of drawing something, then making it. The creative act of pencil to paper made manifest in sawdust and power tools....I was hooked.
Whats you prediction of the next big thing in architecture?
Robots. Robots. Robots. I say that half jokingly, but I think we're going to see the deployment of robotic technology and AI in the construction industry and it will translate into a fundamental change in the way we build, and the way architects provide their services. We may not become slaves to robot overlords, but they will change the rules of how we make buildings.
Tell us about a time you failed and learned from it.
It would be easy to tell you about the times I failed, and then failed to learn from it! It seems my stubborn nature dooms me to make certain mistakes over again. My wife and kids will attest to that!
However, the most meaningful mistake I've made is that of not being bold enough, when given the chance. That's a mistake I don't plan to repeat. As I've gotten older I've realized that certain opportunities don't come back around when you want them. Those that I've missed by not daring to fail are the saddest. If there is one thing to learn by failure it's that it takes a try to fail. Failing to try is heartbreaking.