Anything I do informs how I design. I wouldn't isolate any one activity. Everything I do feeds back to my life, and my life is expressed in my work.
Underwater, I experience space with my body. I'll see a school of fish gathering and moving together and I'll exclaim, 'This is architecture.'
The connection to place, to the land, the wind, the sun, stars, the moon... it sounds romantic, but it's true - the visceral experience of motion, of moving through time on some amazing machine - a few cars touch on it, but not too many compared to motorcycles. I always felt that any motorcycle journey was special.
The body moves through space every day, and in architecture in cities that can be orchestrated. Not in a dictatorial fashion, but in a way of creating options, open-ended sort of personal itineraries within a building. And I see that as akin to cinematography or choreography, where episodic movement, episodic moments, occur in dance and film.
The prime communities of the Southwest are survival communities. Their sustenance is governed by rainfall and wind direction. You can study little enclaves of plant materials, how they huddle together for protection. Some are nurse crops.
One of the things I think about as I've evolved as an architect is, 'Where do the poetic impulses come from?'
A building that has great environmental responsibility is a political animal in a way because it becomes promotional of a cause. I think that kind of advocacy through architecture is really good.
I didn't know what architecture was except that I lived in a house. I don't even think that I knew the word for a long time. My dad funneled me into engineering because it was his background.
My beginnings in the Southwest are clear and palpable. My beginnings here made me pay attention to where the sun is, where the winds are, the power of the site... I take that baggage with me.
The legendary tumbleweed is really a nurse crop that protects the growth of prairie grasses under its shade, and then it sacrifices itself and blows away.