This week’s ‘Five Minutes With’ features John Schuyler, Partner at FXCollaborative. He shares insight into his career and why he is most proud of his project – Awards for Excellence in Institutional Development finalist Scott Bieler Clinical Sciences Center at the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, NY.
Who has had the greatest influence on your career and what was the best advice he or she gave you?
When I was an undergraduate architecture student, I was deeply influenced by the architect, educator and urbanist Fred Koetter’s contributions to the book Collage City. As a result, I later studied under him as a graduate student, and also worked at his firm in Boston. What stuck with me the most from that experience is not any single piece of advice, but rather Fred’s approach to city-building: he stressed harnessing the full richness of city life at a time when many architects and planners were taking an oversimplified, reductionist approach. Fred blurred the line between architecture and planning. That influence has been central to my own work ever since.
What qualities do you think are essential to be an effective leader?
There is a lot of literature out there about leadership, with common themes like focus and vision, but also qualities like active listening and humility. I’ve found the most important aspect of leadership is actually taking a balanced approach to these qualities – focus requires vision, for example, which also requires a type of listening that is, in turn, dependent on having humility. None of these qualities exist in isolation. I strive to take an integrated approach to leadership that utilizes many positive actions in tandem.
If there is one element of this project that we are most proud of, it is best described by a cancer survivor and Roswell Park Patient Advisory Council Member. Speaking of her experience visiting the building for the first time, she referred to its ‘light’ several times. We designed the building to use natural light extensively; to offer hope, comfort and inspiration. And in hearing her reaction to the building and how it made her feel, for all of us at FXCollaborative, that is most gratifying.