62: Architecture as site-specific art with Jason Forney, Bruner/Cott Architects

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Jason Forney is the Principal and Partner at Bruner/Cott Architects. He was named a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 2020 and has had a significant impact on the industry. Bruner/Cott Architects is a 50-year-old firm that specializes in a diverse range of building types, including higher education, cultural facilities, and multifamily housing.

Jason Forney, Principal and Partner at Bruner/Cott Architects, discusses the firm's history and their focus on sustainability and repurposing existing buildings. He shares insights into the process of repositioning mill buildings and the challenges and opportunities that come with it. Jason also talks about his journey as an architect and the skills necessary for growth and leadership in the industry. He highlights the importance of empathy, clear communication, and the ability to relate to others. The episode concludes with a discussion on the ownership transition at Bruner/Cott Architects and the firm's plans for the future.

Key Takeaways:

  • Repurposing existing buildings is one of the best means of sustainable design and construction.
  • Understanding the goals and objectives of a project is crucial before starting the design process.
  • The process of repositioning an existing mill building involves understanding its strengths and weaknesses and finding the right balance between preserving historic elements and incorporating modern design.
  • The ownership transition at Bruner/Cott Architects was a gradual and well-planned process, allowing the new generation of leaders to build on the firm's established reputation while bringing in new ideas and approaches.
  • Sustainability is a key focus for the firm, and they strive to incorporate sustainable design principles into every project, from energy efficiency to the use of healthy materials.
  • Reusing existing buildings is a sustainable approach that can significantly reduce carbon emissions and create unique and dynamic spaces.

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