Tangents by Out of Architecture

Our guest today is Ben Feicht, Architect and Exhibit Designer at Upswell. Ben shares how and why he transitioned from architecture to exhibit design, the impact of journaling as a tool for exploration, and the exciting future of technology in design.
  • How journaling can help explore ideas, identify interests and find the right career path
  • Networking and using LinkedIn can lead to job opportunities in different industries
  • Offering ideas and showcasing skills during the application process can make you stand out
  • Working in a small design agency allows for skill-building and collaboration across different disciplines

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Creators & Guests

Silvia Lee
Host of Tangents
Ben Feicht
Architect / Exhibit Designer / Computational Designer At Upswell
Erin Pellegrino
Co-Founder of Out of Architecture
Fina Charleson
Co-Founder and Podcast Producer at The Podcast Collective
Jake Rudin
Co-Founder of Out of Architecture

What is Tangents by Out of Architecture?

Welcome to Tangents by Out of Architecture, hosted by Silvia Lee. We’re highlighting some of our favorite stories from the amazing people we’ve met along our journey. We will hear how they created a unique career path for themselves from the variety of skills and talents they developed in and out of architecture.

Out of Architecture is a career consulting firm started by two Harvard-educated professionals interested in exploring the value of their skills both in and out of the architectural profession. We’re here to help you maximize all of the expertise you have honed as a designer to get you a role that fulfills and challenges you. We have the knowledge, experience, and connections to help you put your best self into the market–and reap the benefits.

Ep 9: From Architecture to Exhibit Design, Exploring New Career Paths with Ben Feicht

Ben Feicht: [00:00:00] Even though I'm technically switching industries, a lot of the work feels similar in the types of things you're thinking about and the questions you're asking.

Ben Feicht: It's just the form happens to be different.

Silvia: Welcome to Tangents by Out of Architecture. Out of Architecture is a career resource network helping designers apply their incredible talents in untraditional ways. We're highlighting some of our favorite stories from the amazing people we've met along the way. We will hear how they created a unique career path for themselves from the wide variety of skills and talents they developed in and out of architecture.

Silvia: Our guest today is Ben Fike. Architect and exhibit designer at upswell. Ben shares how and why he transitioned from architecture to exhibit design. The impact of journaling as a tool for exploration and the exciting future of technology and design

Silvia: Welcome Ben to Tangents. Excited to have you here.

Silvia: What is your background in [00:01:00] architecture?

Ben Feicht: I started out of school working at a few typical architecture jobs, and I noticed that I wasn't necessarily doing the type of work I wanted to do, but I also didn't have a good idea of exactly what I wanted to do in the profession.

Ben Feicht: So I came across this method of journaling called the morning pages, and it's all about letting your thoughts and ideas just flow. Really on paper, and it doesn't necessarily have to make sense. I wasn't trying to read the work after, it was just a way for me to just get my thoughts on paper.

Ben Feicht: And so I gave that process of journaling a try and each morning I started scribbling down just whatever pops into my head. And this really led me to coming up with ideas that I wouldn't have thought about otherwise. these ideas just started showing up on the pages that were surprising and got me making connections between experiences I hadn't really thought about in interesting ways.

Ben Feicht: And so these, Ideas really changed how I was working [00:02:00] and I was really able to identify what I liked about architecture.

Ben Feicht: Creating experiences for people is a main aspect of what I was interested in. And then as well as inventing tools that helped help the creative process. And so like scripting tools and grasshopper and programming and that kind of thing, and just finding ways for those tools to really enhance the design process.

Ben Feicht: And so at this point, I kept journaling and figuring out kind of how to get better at those things so I could eventually do that kind of work. So this is early coming out of architecture school. I ended up doing about 14 architecture competitions, just on the side as I was Joining my regular architecture practice.

Ben Feicht: So I ended up entering about 14 architecture competitions just to get better at experiential design, and I also spent a few hours learning software like Grasshopper and Python, just making scripts to solve the issues I was coming up against as I was working on these competitions and also as well as the work I was doing at my role, [00:03:00] and I I was designing these experiences and creating my own tools just as a part of these side projects, which eventually led me to jobs in architecture where I was actually doing what I wanted to do.

Ben Feicht: So, for example, one competition led to an internship at Snohetta, where I got, I was working there for a few months in Oslo. And that was really focusing on doing design work for them, helping them with some competitions as well as some fabricating and digital tools and model making when I was there. And then after that, I was at ZGF for about five years.

Ben Feicht: And in that role as well, I was really able to work on some of those experiential qualities I was looking for in projects. And even using scripting in the design process for furniture, facades, and solar studies. And so I still do these morning pages journaling about an hour each morning, and I'm still surprised about the ideas that come out of the process.[00:04:00]

Ben Feicht: And for me, a lot of it is forcing myself to make these really long lists of ideas. Um, I find that the 15th or 20th way of doing something or on the list is a interesting nugget that I can turn into something useful. And so that process of coming up with ideas and... Identifying what my interests are really didn't end with architecture for me.

Ben Feicht: I think it was clear that there are more other industries that do what I want to do even more, without the aspects of architecture that I wasn't as interested in, which is why I started to look for other work outside of the profession.

Silvia: I really love the way you talked about tooling and even journaling as a tool to really get to a place where you weren't able to work creatively or think through your ideas in your day to day I'd also just like to know what you are up to these days and where you currently are since then, since architecture.

Ben Feicht: Yeah, so I'm currently at Upswell, which is a design agency focusing on [00:05:00] exhibits for museums across the country.

Ben Feicht: And so my role started as a physical designer, and so I've been more and more getting into the other aspects of museum exhibit design.

Silvia: And what was the journey like from working in Grasshopper, working on competitions to transition to exhibit design? I think architects, from an architect's point of view, it's totally an easy jump to make because it's still design work, it's still physical space and Bringing ideas forth and interacting with people, but maybe from someone on the other end, was it hard to move into a slightly industry?

Ben Feicht: I think competitions were really helpful for me because I could choose exactly what the projects I wanted to work on were. And so, as I was interested in different things, I could pick the competitions that were tuned more towards that. Build up those skills, even to the point where when I was interviewing, my portfolio was primarily the competition [00:06:00] work that I thought best represented how I could translate those skills into those industries.

Ben Feicht: And I was mostly into this kind of user level experiential design work in buildings and so less interested in the larger structures and facades and that kind of thing and more zooming into that smaller scale doing the competitions where I found I got the best feedback and response where it was based on this really special user experiences that I could express just through a couple images and text on a competition board. I think that translates very easily to the exhibit design scale where you're creating these kind of sculptural and spatial forms that are all about telling the story of the exhibit and getting a very specific message across in a experiential and memorable way for the users.

Silvia: And when you were applying and interviewing for these jobs, were the conversations more conversational, more [00:07:00] storytelling, or did you lean on your technical skills? Cause I, I feel like architecture interviews are very technical. Like they want to see drawing sets. They want to see details. They want to see renders and all of that to prove your skills.

Silvia: But then I found in my own experience, when I moved away from architecture, it was much more just selling yourself in a way, like they didn't need the proof as much.

Ben Feicht: Yeah, I think it was, it's a conversation starter. And so the conversations I wanted to have with them were more about the ideas I could bring to the team.

Ben Feicht: And so showing that through the portfolio is like a guiding path through the interview process. And I think the technical parts just come out of that and they can see that in their portfolio. And so it didn't need to be as strong of a statement in the actual conversation in the interviews.

Silvia: And when we were chatting before you mentioned LinkedIn and how you develop skills to navigate through this like, how do you talk to people or find connections in an industry that you're not familiar with?

Ben Feicht: Yeah, [00:08:00] I was worried about that moving industries and not necessarily knowing anyone in those industries, because I think almost every one of my architecture jobs, I had gotten it through some kind of conversation or knowing the people, especially being in Portland and going to school here and having that kind of network I could rely on, but it was helpful starting that experience of transitioning, knowing that I kind of had this interest in experiential design and even some code writing. So having those ideas of what my interests were there, I think was made it a lot easier to find the types of roles that I was interested in.

Ben Feicht: So specifically in LinkedIn, I would, I was really relying on these kinds of keyword trackers where I would just put in words that resonated with the interests I was into, like experience design, environmental design, computational design, then LinkedIn would have these trackers that would show me when jobs came up that had those traits in them. And then I would just wait for those opportunities to [00:09:00] roll in.

Ben Feicht: So when a job came up that I was interested in, I would go back to journaling and just brainstorm a list of ways I could contribute to the company in that role. Some of these ideas got silly, but it was this kind of like really a long list of ideas that could be helpful. And then I would just send the most promising ones to the hiring manager on LinkedIn.

Ben Feicht: And so it's about kind of finding who that person is, and then reaching out to them, letting them know I applied, but also giving some ideas for how I could contribute, and even if one of those ideas is decent, it's adding value for them. And so I think that's how it's kind of more likely for them to reach back out to you and start a conversation and a connection that way.

Ben Feicht: I remember for a workplace designer role. I was applying for at a tech company. I was I gave a list of 10 ideas for work lounge experiences, for example, and then I sent that to the hiring manager, especially like how these experiences could fit with the company culture and help the employees and I [00:10:00] think it that may have been unconventional, they did respond back and I got in at least one interview out of it. So I'm not sure if that helped or hurt my case, but I think it makes applications stand out.

Ben Feicht: So that's actually how I met Jake from out of architecture. I was applying to a role at Adidas, and although I didn't send him a unique list of ideas, our interaction kind of led me to his work at Out of Architecture.

Ben Feicht: And it was really helpful working alongside Jake and Erin to learn about these industries I was looking into, and even getting a chance to talk to some of the professionals. In experiential and computational design, one other thought I had is that I think had my journey taken longer, I would have invested more time inside projects that aligned with the jobs. I was applying for more. So maybe competitions that are more related to that type of work. And then one thought I had was seeking out critiques from industry professionals in those fields. To talk through those projects and maybe learn more about those industries from that.

Silvia: Yeah, I really like that [00:11:00] advice of offering ideas out there first. Cause I feel like it's less of an ask and more of the conversation starter and gives them something to really like get their gears turning and respond to. sometimes I get LinkedIn requests and I want to respond, but maybe like I have to check something for us or like, I'm not ready to respond, but I feel like you easily break the ice with just, Hey, here's some thoughts And

Ben Feicht: It's nice to just have that as a way to think about the company more and how you could fit and actually be helpful. It's also, it's fun sharing the ideas and I think it, especially if the ideas are a little out there, like, obviously you don't know what the company is like on the inside and how helpful you're actually being, but you don't know what can contribute.

Ben Feicht: it could add value.

Silvia: that relates back to the way you like to work and process and think too, right? So it's like the offering of ideas if that's not necessarily another person's strong suit, like maybe don't like try, I mean, try it out, but if it doesn't work, find what resonates with you that you get excited about. And I think [00:12:00] share that upfront.

Ben Feicht: Totally. And I'm the kind of person that just wants to plan everything out and go into my little corner and come up with creative ideas and then come out and share them. And I'm definitely not as great at thinking of things on the spot. definitely just depends on the kind of person you are.

Silvia: I think the typical way that I've approached it, I'm assuming most people approach putting together cover letters, resumes, et cetera, is just like Googling examples and tailoring it to your style and like your experience. you're definitely setting yourself apart by offering something original and yeah, I love it.

Silvia: my old coworker, I heard the story of how he got hired was that he recorded the interview then made a bullet points from the meeting and sent it back to the person he interviewed with and he also got hired, but that's also so in line with his personality. So I think go above and beyond for the jobs you want to get let yourself shine in your experiences at what you like to do and what you're good at.

Ben Feicht: [00:13:00] Yeah. And I think Playing off of that, like designing your resume, like you're telling a story and what's that conversation story you want to have and just laying it out that way. I think same for the portfolio. So I had a bunch of different versions of my portfolio just based on the type of job I was applying for.

Ben Feicht: If it was a little more tuned towards computational design, I would, I would focus on some things and highlight things versus product design or Yeah. Exhibit design, having these options, but at the same time, I also found that you don't need exactly this type of work that relates to the industry you're applying for that to still be a great conversation starter and a way to show your experience and relevance.

Ben Feicht: So for example, for a lot of interviews, I was showing my utility plant project work that I had done for the last few years for exhibit design and projects like that. And it was still a great way to talk about my interests and what I could bring to this new field.

Silvia: So why don't you share more about what your current day to [00:14:00] day looks like in this new industry

Ben Feicht: Sure. I've been working at Upswell for about 15 months now. when I was in architecture, I was enjoyed the various learning opportunities that were offered. Like, you need to know a lot about science and art and building systems and even understanding these various user types of the people you're working for.

Ben Feicht: And I feel like an exhibit design, I'm able to do even more of all of that. And so. Upswell, this has really exposed me to a lot of different ways of thinking about design. The office has a wide range of designers from content creators and filmmakers and graphic designers and even UI UX designers. And so it's been really interesting sharing my work as primarily a physical designer with my team.

Ben Feicht: And it really brings out Different perspectives and questions and conversations compared to just sharing it with other architects. And so the conversations about the work are totally different and really get me [00:15:00] thinking about how I'm designing and telling the story in a way. A lot of it is trying to find ways for me to more simply communicate and refine my work.

Ben Feicht: And then working with graphic designers and content producers has helped me think about the story we're trying to tell through many different disciplines and how they can all support each other. So I think that's been interesting.

Ben Feicht: It's also been a great opportunity for skill building. So each project is so different, it requires a unique set of skills. And so I've found myself diving into topics I never imagined I would before, even just the topic of the exhibits. So we're doing three forestry exhibits right now. And I'm just learning a lot about forests and wildfire and land conservation, all these things. And it's really interesting how that can bring another level to the work.

Ben Feicht: I'm also the only physical designer at Upswell, and so it's been interesting to be able to set my own drawing standards when I'm making drawing sets for these exhibits, or experimenting with new [00:16:00] rendering software, or modeling software, or even automating parts of the design process. So that's how I've been able to Do a little bit more of the kind of parametric design and code writing that I was looking for so making tools that help automate parts of the drawing set or create more complex forms for the exhibit or helpful things like simplifying the fabrication, or even organizing the artifacts that'll be in the exhibit.

Ben Feicht: And so the, yeah, the roles evolved over time. I find myself starting to get more into UI UX or even content creation and brand strategy and storytelling, and even like facilitating user testing for these exhibits. And that's, I think part of that is just working at a small company where you need to be doing a lot of different things, which I think is just really interesting.

Silvia: when they say architects are generalists, it's so true. they can keep the entire scope in mind. So zoom out, but also focus in on the tiny details. And really the details is where everything comes together and seeing that [00:17:00] your skills that you developed or started to hone as an architect, like really come to flourish. Now it sounds like in your current role.

Ben Feicht: Yeah. Even though I'm technically switching industries, a lot of the work feels similar in the types of things you're thinking about and the questions you're asking.

Ben Feicht: It's just the form happens to be different.

Silvia: When you say you work with graphic designers or UX UI designers, it does really add to the end product and also the experience when you have all these different people with their different specialties come together.

Ben Feicht: Yeah, I noticed working at architecture firms, if we needed to do graphic design or design a website or things like that, I think it tended to be minimal because that was never like the focus. And so it, if anything, it distracted from the architecture part or the form part. So now it's really interesting working with people where that is the focus and their focus and specialty on that actually enhances the project for everyone, and [00:18:00] then seeing how if there's a concept for the project, how that concept manifests in graphic design or storytelling or content production, and then how those can all weave together. And then looking at that final project, it just feels so much more strong than if it was only about physical design and structure.

Ben Feicht: Because at the end of the day, it's about the visitor getting this better understanding of the topic we're trying to share with them.

Silvia: Yeah, that's really cool. I feel like... At times in architecture, the end user is not always the center focus of the project. They're always kept in mind, but I wouldn't say we necessarily build projects around them all the time, or we don't always work on projects that do.

Ben Feicht: Sometimes it's the architect designing for other architects, which is something we want to avoid, I think.

Silvia: Yeah, it feels like that. It sounded like you have a lot of autonomy in your current role, the way that you said that you see an opportunity to streamline something or make it more [00:19:00] efficient It sounds like you can control what you work on and where your talents and skills and time are best used. Do you feel that now compared to your previous career?

Ben Feicht: I think so. Mostly because the people I'm working with are all specialists. In their own industry. So they're not going to know how to do the things that I'm doing either.

Ben Feicht: I think I've always had opinions on other teams, especially like if I'm working in Revit, I want to do as much 3d modeling as possible and not drafting or how I make presentations or visualize things or even present ideas. And because I would be the only physical designer where I am now, I can just make those decisions and do those things and So those types of conversations don't necessarily come up where they might if I was on a team with five other architects or 10 other architects, and we all have our own opinions about how to best communicate these things. But then at the same time, the conversations [00:20:00] aren't as much about the physical design.

Ben Feicht: So it's a little tough when I can't Work with another physical designer to tune the ideas that I'm thinking about. So if I share a physical structure, the conversation quickly goes away from the physical design and back to the storytelling and the user. And so I'm like, wait, what about this thing?

Ben Feicht: How can we make it better? And so that's. Maybe a con to not having other physical designers to bounce ideas off of and that kind of thing.

Silvia: In those cases where like maybe you want a sounding board, do you have other, not exactly like a support network, but what people do you bounce ideas off of or like what areas do you now have to replace that level of collaboration

Ben Feicht: Yeah, I think at one level, my coworkers have been designing museum exhibits for 10 plus years. And so they're also just as interested in learning different disciplines and doing more than just what their specialty technically is. [00:21:00] And so there's still a lot of those conversations that happen in the office that I'm able to get their feedback on and we bounce ideas off each other and sketch things.

Ben Feicht: But then outside of exhibit design, I went to architecture school in Portland and I've lived here for eight. Years now, most of my friends are architects, like, it's pretty common. And so I like talking about the work I'm doing and sharing that work with them. and so that's the group I'm able to have these conversations with and get more of the physical design perspective on some of these forms.

Silvia: I'm curious, out of your group of friends, have more people stayed in architecture or maybe transitioned to tangential industries or roles?

Ben Feicht: The majority have stayed. A couple of my friends have gone into UI, UX design, and that's been really interesting, especially because I remember in school they were really into graphic design and some of the more 2D aspects as well as architecture in 3D form.

Ben Feicht: So it's interesting to see that transition. But for the most part, people [00:22:00] have stayed in the field.

Silvia: because I was just curious. I feel like in the last few years, there has been a trend to not need to stay in architecture or definitely not even stay in the company that you may have spent a few years in.

Silvia: And I feel like that has switched, like slowly been shifting over the years.

Ben Feicht: Yeah, I noticed when I was considering looking for other work at the end of 2021, I wanted to do this kind of experiential design. So my first thought was like, okay, I'll work for a, an architecture firm that does museums or does interiors with that kind of thing.

Ben Feicht: And looking into it more, I got to this point where I thought that the actual day to day work I would be doing would be pretty similar. Most architecture firms, regardless of kind of the type of work it ended up being. And so that was the main reason why I thought instead of working for the architecture firm, doing the museum building.

Ben Feicht: What about just doing the exhibits themselves? That kind of thing.

Silvia: And one thing in your notes that I thought was interesting [00:23:00] was the reasons behind your manager's decision to hire an architect.

Ben Feicht: There may have been a sense of how a typical exhibit designer thinks about things versus an architect, and then they may have been looking for someone that they could bring in without those kind of preset experiences and knowledge of how things should be done, because I don't know how these things should be done.

Ben Feicht: And so it could have been helpful for them to bring me on and just teach me more directly what they wanted to look for. And then with that, I think I had no experience in it. Exhibit design coming into this. So one of the things I did was just read as many books on exhibit design as possible, or how to design museums, what a vitrine and casework is, and these kinds of terms that I needed to catch up on to have the right conversations.

Ben Feicht: So that was a big part of getting into the field for me.

Silvia: And I think that's also a good sign of the company that hired you as well, that they're willing to think outside the box and embrace people with diverse backgrounds instead of [00:24:00] just like. You have the experience that has always been needed for this role.

Ben Feicht: Yeah, it's definitely a good sign when someone brings you on because they think you're just a good fit for the company. And then the exact skill set may be not fully aligned, but that can be tweaked a lot easier than changing someone's way of thinking or their personality and that kind of thing.

Silvia: Are there any other tips or advice now looking back that you could think of that were really important to you?

Ben Feicht: one other thing is early in my career, I felt this urgent need to find The right mentor who could guide me and teach me and kind of present opportunities. And I think going through school, that's what I learned is something that successful people seem to have the right mentor at the right time.

Ben Feicht: And that definitely made me nervous. And I soon realized that I was actually drawing inspiration from people like authors and podcast hosts and creative people that I had never met. And [00:25:00] so for me, it was liberating to learn from these people and then just reflect on how I can apply their methods to my life, as opposed to thinking I needed to physically meet someone who would lead me to success.

Ben Feicht: I think that's definitely just made me feel a lot better. And Allowed me to take my career into my own hands in that way.

Silvia: I can relate a lot to that. I also similarly felt that that was the way that people learn things. Someone takes you under their wings, tells you all their tips and tricks from their experiences. And that's what I've always tried to find out from people when I talk to them, just like the way that they see things or what they've learned along the way but I also found that the things I like aren't really the things that people share. So it's more, so I have to just be observant and pick them up as I see them.

Silvia: like you said, when you realize that's not the only way that you will find experiences and that knowledge and once you take it on yourself to find it, that [00:26:00] is pretty liberating. And I think that puts you into control

Ben Feicht: and I think it also allows you to tune your own career and your own life and way of thinking, like, what are the skills I want to gain? And then how can I, Seek out the knowledge, information and people that can teach me those skills as opposed to I am a student of this person.

Ben Feicht: So I think like they think. And there's this whole linear history of the thought coming down from generation to generation. I think that's just a totally different way of thinking about skill building and creativity.

Silvia: And like you said, like you would just listen to different podcasts hosts or other creative people.

Silvia: I love it when there's an idea that is not like necessarily from architecture design related, but it's just a good idea in general. It could be business. It could be life. But I love just the principle or idea behind it. Like if it's a good one, I think it will be relevant to any where you want to apply it.

Ben Feicht: Yeah. And that's when innovation happens too, is when two ideas from different [00:27:00] fields come together. I had a lot of great mentors in architecture, but looking at like the kind of person I wanted to be in the future, or who am I really looking up to that is someone I want to emulate, I think a lot of those people for me are in all these different industries and not just architectures.

Ben Feicht: That was one of the things where I was thinking about, maybe there are other fields that I could apply my. Creativity and design skills and, and then have a good career from that.

Silvia: Do you think exhibit design is like the right fit for you or maybe it's just the right fit right now?

Ben Feicht: I think it's been a great fit. I think if I was introduced to exhibit design as a field in school, I think I would have been really interested in that, but the same time, I really loved how the architecture studio process was so open and not as I guess field defining, or it's more about just learning the creative process and then having that apply to whatever industry you wanted to go into after that.

Ben Feicht: I think exhibit design is great. I think what I'm really interested in is experience [00:28:00] design could be physical forms and exhibits, but it also could be product design where people are interacting and experiencing this kind of physical thing, or I could see a lot of even UI UX design is all about your experience navigating through this digital space instead of physical. So there's a lot of industries that kind of need these same design skills that I'm interested in and wanting to apply and get better at. And so there, I think there are a lot of good fits out there.

Silvia: for myself, I don't think my current role is actually like my dream job or anything like that. I love the work I do. I think it's very fulfilling and satisfying, but it's not the job so much. It's just like the work that I get to do, the people that I get to work with. And then also because of that, I feel like I have this array of skills that if this job doesn't pan out for the long term. I'm actually more excited about what I can take my skills and what I can find and create in the future now, at this point, rather than being an architect and [00:29:00] thinking like, how am I going to find another architecture job? as you move up in architecture, I feel like it's such a narrow field that is available sometimes.

Ben Feicht: Yeah, it's presented like this is the one career path you get, and it's exciting for me not knowing what my career path would be like in the future. I get the sense that the next job or maybe two jobs from now would be in a field that might not even exist yet, or a type of position that's hard to imagine right now.

Ben Feicht: And so, a lot of what I like doing is exploring. You know, what technologies are out there that we can use to do better designs or be more creative or do different types of work or in different ways that you wouldn't have been able to in the past.

Silvia: Yeah, absolutely. That's a really exciting place to be.

Silvia: And so I'm going to circle back to that question. Yeah. So how would you describe yourself in three words?

Ben Feicht: I would think of it as focused on experience, efficiency, and exploring. [00:30:00] I think the combination of kind of focusing on experience design has been really interesting paired with making things super efficient.

Ben Feicht: Sometimes they might feel like opposites, but I think that's when things can really get interesting. And then exploring is really how I got into architecture, I think, in the first place as a kid, exploring my neighborhood and just poring over maps I was able to see and then playing video games and digitally exploring.

Ben Feicht: worlds and how that got into me, wanting to create my own experiences for people, and then wanting to create a lot of work. So realizing that I needed to do that in an efficient way to really create the kind of work I wanted to create.

Silvia: Yeah, I think it's really interesting hearing your words and the conversation we just had. Cause I feel like when you say you took Grasshopper and even LinkedIn and I feel like they are all pieces, like a bit of an exploration into what opportunity can I create here? Or like, yeah, what can I [00:31:00] create here versus a means to get something done?

Silvia: Which I think sometimes because of deadlines and the way that projects go is, I feel like sometimes architecture is just trying to get things done versus that exploration.

Ben Feicht: Yeah. And you need enough time to give yourself to make those explorations happen. I don't know. I like to think about skills as something you can just learn and get better at, and it's not some talent that you're born with, but it's something that you can just acquire.

Ben Feicht: And so, what are those skills or what can you learn? From the thing you're doing right now.

Ben Feicht: So when I was applying for jobs and I just wanted it to be a skill that I could get good at as applying for jobs and learning and talking with people and networking and communicating and just getting better at all those things.

Silvia: What are you excited for in the future?

Ben Feicht: one thing I'm looking forward to in the future is just the different ways technology are able to allow us to create things that we wouldn't have been able to create otherwise.

Ben Feicht: I one side project I'm working on is experimenting with AI art tools and art generator to [00:32:00] come up with different fashion design and graphic products and then Putting those out there for people to see and kind of using that as a way to get better at fashion design and designing things like that.

Ben Feicht: I I think there's a way in the future to use these different technologies that are coming out to record the types of knowledge that architects have in a way that would allow buildings and design to really build off of each other currently you have an architecture team that ends up being experts on the building they designed by the end of the project and all of this knowledge was gained from say like designing a hospital And knowing exactly where to put the nurse's station or knowing exactly how the ambulance needs to drive into the driveway.

Ben Feicht: But then all of that knowledge kind of leaves the team when design team disperses or the architects retire. And so there's this opportunity potentially in the future to record those kind of semantic ideas about architecture. In a way that could be processed and built off of and learned from so maybe the next hospital project, the [00:33:00] software is suggesting that these are the layouts that worked based on the team and the company's internal knowledge.

Ben Feicht: And then you can learned what happened at the last hospital and really build off of that. I think there are some interesting opportunities like that in the future. That can really enhance the baseline standard for design that's happening in buildings and other spaces that can really just make spaces better for people in the future.

Ben Feicht: And I'm looking forward to those innovations and seeing what people are going to be doing in the future.

Silvia: Yeah, I 100% agree. That's like part of my day to day job And as you were saying that I was like, yes, like, how can I build this into the tool itself.

Silvia: But what I love about that is there's a lot more smaller companies doing more innovative things that are actually So Can be implemented quickly on projects and I feel like that's not really the case like when we were in school or like working or starting out work. That was how we would approach things or like even think about things.

Silvia: So what you're saying is [00:34:00] really exciting to hear.

Ben Feicht: Yeah, I think like even going back to efficiency and experience design, it would be great to just build off of what we've been learning and previous projects and I could see even just a big libraries of ideas that people have that you can then apply to buildings and learn from each other in a way that's not reinventing the wheel in each project in the future. So I'm looking forward to what people can come up with that.