Visko Hatfield

David Andreozzi, AIA, is a Rhode Island–based architect and charter member of the AIA Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN). This year Andreozzi launched a video series, CRANtv, with Doug Patt, AIA, author of How to Architect (The MIT Press, 2012), which introduces potential clients to the benefits of working with an architect. The video series also underscores the architect’s intrinsic value in a media-friendly way. “What people need to understand is what makes architects special,” Andreozzi says.

In the few years before working with CRAN, I realized the importance of viral videos in terms of getting the attention of clients. Then, as an active member of CRAN, we chose Doug Patt to speak at our annual CRAN Symposium on his various projects, including the viral videos series based on his 2012 book How to Architect, which focused on teaching young students or non-architects about entering the field of architecture. At that point we opened a dialogue about a possible collaboration. Initially, I thought CRANtv might be a 10-minute interview with a provocative architect. But then I thought that the message of “Who is an architect?” seemed to be the bigger priority.

What I continually tell people is that we are in a predicament right now. We tend to celebrate famous architects and buildings, but what we need to celebrate is the design process. Clients don’t need the Corbu glasses and fancy imported fountain pens we all proudly adorn. Clients need someone who is good, who will protect them, and who—most importantly—has a resonant process.

One of the things that I’ve found through the years is that residential clients don’t know a lot about architecture. Commercial clients know more—they work with architects all the time. But, residential clients need a little help in understanding what an architect’s training entails and why that training empowers architects to deliver exceptional results.

To that end, Doug and I are working on about 12 videos—covering all aspects of working with architects. What is green? What are contracts? What’s the timeline? We’re hoping that once these videos go up, other architects will link to them on their websites. The links are quick references that are easily disseminated.

I started out in Pawtucket, R.I., in a six-story building, renting space from a friend who had an architectural practice, and I grew up about 15 miles away in Barrington, R.I., where I practice now—both towns on either side of Providence. The Providence metro area is located between two major design hubs in Boston and New York, where there’s a great aptitude for design.

But architects need a broader audience. Look at how cooking shows have proliferated over the last five years alone—and food culture has become popular culture. People understand blanching versus broiling now. Why can’t architecture do that?
As told to William Richards