#50 - Design is in the Details with Vanessa Kassabian, Principal at DLR Group


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Vanessa Kassabian is a Cultural+Performing Arts design leader based out of DLR Group's New York office. She works closely with teams across the firm to facilitate design discussions and provide critical guidance on considerations around site, programming, massing, aesthetics, and execution. Vanessa has extensive experience designing for significant cultural programs throughout the United States, as well as in Canada and Mexico. As a strong proponent of collaboration and an integrated design approach, Vanessa works to foster client, consultant, and internal design team relationships from concept design to construction completion.

Born and raised in Texas, Vanessa is an active member of the American Institute of Architects and a LEED Accredited Professional. As a champion for the power of design, Vanessa focuses a great deal of her time on educating and mentoring the next generation of designers and has served as a visiting professor at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and a guest lecturer at the Haifa International Waterfront Conference in Haifa, Israel. She previously led a research-based design workshop at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Environmental Design, and has served as a studio critic at Columbia University, the Pratt Institute, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Syracuse University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

In this episode we talk about:

- Vanessa’s design philosophy, and how it has been shaped by her previous experiences at OMA/REX and Snohetta, and now at DLR Group

- How to build a strong design culture

- What we miss about being in the office

- How to increase diversity in design leadership, and Vanessa’s advice for emerging professionals who want to become Designers

- How we need to expand the notion of what constitutes “design”

- If you can teach someone to be a good designer

- What Vanessa finds most rewarding about being an architect


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