Thoughts Outside of the Box

By Jill Borowski
Staff Writer

Mark Simon spoke to students about his company Centerbrook, an architecture firm, during one of the segments of the Outside the Box Lecture Series at LIU Post on Feb. 27 in Hillwood Lecture Hall during common hour. His lecture focused on what he called “The Ten (or so) Commandments of our business.”

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These included: Be competent at everything; if clients succeed, we succeed; collaborate and share the credit; listen; set your clients’ expectations; presentation counts; cost counts; bad news travels; problems are opportunities; enjoy the process more than the results; do right, have fun; and keep your sense of humor. Simon went on to explain how these “commandments” are fundamental in running a successful architecture firm.

Simon is one of three founding partners of Centerbrook, and an American Institute of Architecture Firm award winner. He graduated from Yale University’s architecture program in 1972, and pioneered the concept of “green architecture,” using clean cooling and heating energy from the ground. He designed many well-known buildings such as the Lego Imagination Center at Disney World, Nauticus National Maritime Center in Virginia, and the Yale Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center.

Simon and his firm designed everything from classrooms at universities to specialty projects, such as the Lego Center. “It was important to figure out the size of the classrooms, how many people would sit inside of the classrooms, and whether we would tier the classroom at all if we did tier it, how high the tiers would go. I remember a number of people going around with little tape measures measuring tiers of each classroom,” Simon said.

Simon went on to say that the tiers were done to allow the teacher to be able to fully look at and interact with each individual student, establishing a closer connection. His attention to detail and realizing the ultimate goal of the project shows how Mark Simon is an architectural genius. Simon believes in working with the clients — not for them. He talked about how he goes with his clients to consult decisions and makes sure that his clients are completely aware of what goes on.

“I really enjoyed the lecture. At first, I just went to check it out, but I found that I really enjoyed listening to him speak. It was impressive hearing about all of the buildings he designed and all his firm’s awards.

I would definitely check out another Thoughtbox Lecture,” said Christopher Scally, a sophomore majoring in Information Systems.

LIU Post Thoughtbox Lecture Series provides students both at LIU Post and LIU Brooklyn with opportunities to speak to successful business owners. The Outside the Box lecture series will be held at both LIU Post as well as LIU Brooklyn. Following lectures include Hilary Topper on March 25, Eric Ho on April 1, and Jeff Leventhal on April 16.

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