“We’re different and we don’t care who knows it.” These are lyrics from an obscure song by Randy Newman, circa 1975. Facing a blank page, and asked to write a short piece about D2’s philosophy, the refrain has arrived and it won’t leave. I was expecting something more profound, more cerebral. But this will do because it delivers something quite complex, quickly and simply. Like D2.
On an imaginary bell-shaped graph of architects, D2 can be found living fearlessly on the edge.
We’re different because we have limited our practice to senior living. Name another firm in the country that flat turns down everything else. Our people know this niche backwards and forwards, and they love it. D2 is a place where humanitarianism and art and technology and creativity and good will and architecture meet, every morning.
We’re different because we invented and live by The Sleepover Project, a research-oriented program that sends every D2 staff member (and a dozen colleagues) out into the field to live a day in the life of our most important customer – the elder resident.
We’re different because we act smaller than we really are, the reverse of most of our peers. That means that every Principal touches every project. No silos. Every gift is put to use for every client. In Jim Collins’ terminology, everyone is in the right seat on the bus.
We’re different because we won’t overbook. Granted, sometimes individual project schedules collide with one another, but we won’t say Yes when No or Later or Plan B better serves the clients at large. It is focus to the point of turning down work that simply cannot be squeezed in, at least not at the moment. That’s weird for an architect, but it’s win-win.
So does this constitute a philosophy? I don’t know. The idea of a FIRM having a philosophy seems anthropomorphic. Nonetheless, this is our profile, and these are our distinguishing characteristics. Different.
– David Dillard, FAIA, Principal