“Thinking about projects from the standpoint of how the design enhances the everyday lives of people is a very noble endeavor.” - Alex Yale
Alex Yale, courtesy YBA Architects
For the first of a multi-part series, we will be showcasing customers and users of UrbanForm — innovative people and practices who are making a difference in their environments. Our first feature is about YBA Architects based in Portland, Oregon. UrbanForm co-founder and CEO Quang Truong had a conversation with Principal and Founder Alex Yale of YBA Architects. Alex grew up between Athens, Greece and the Bay Area and draws on those experiences to inform his work in Portland. He fell in love with Portland on his first visit and has been working diligently to create buildings and spaces that emphasize good contextual, pedestrian orientated design—something that perhaps came from his experience growing up in Europe.
Below are edited and condensed excerpts from our interview.
“I would like to see as we go into the next chapter, when we go into the next development cycle, a focus back on materiality and details.”
Image courtesy YBA Architects
ALEX YALE: So I went to University of Oregon. I actually grew up in the Bay Area, just east of San Francisco, in a little tiny town called Lafayette. And we would go into Berkeley all the time and go into the city on the weekends together. My father is Greek. He was born and raised in Athens, much older than most fathers. He actually was a boy during the German occupation. And then he got out after the war and moved to the United States. So we've always traveled back to Greece to visit with family and that kind of thing. I got a lot of exposure to European cities growing up. And my uncle, he was an architect in Greece. He's quite a bit older. So right after the war, World War II, the Nazis had devastated a lot of the buildings in Athens. There were a lot of these buildings that were either flattened or basically needed to be condemned. After the war, they took my aunt's dowry and they would approach widows and they would say, hey, you've got this land. You don't have any means to do anything with it. We will build a seven-story apartment building on this property, and we'll give you the bottom two floors and we'll pay for everything else and do everything else they did. They systematically, through the late 50s and 60s and 70s, started developing a lot of Athens and it was fascinating to see. I grew up seeing that side of the family business, but also really growing up in California, where after WWII it was just suburban sprawl. Seeing the Truman expanse of the freeway system and urban sprawl and just thinking, man, it's a dehumanizing way to develop city.
Anyway, we came up to Portland when I was young, when I was about eleven or twelve. We took Amtrak on our way up to Seattle, and we stayed a couple of nights in Portland. And I remember being on the waterfront down by Naito and being blown away by how pedestrian orientated the city was, how small the blocks were, the scale of the city. It was a very transformative experience. I remember thinking, I want to come back here. I want to be an architect in Portland.
So I chose the University of Oregon because of that. Then I actually met my future business partner freshman year of college in architecture school, Matt Brown, and was just blown away by him. One of the smartest, hardworking, humblest people I have ever met in my whole life. I went up to Portland after graduating architecture school and wanted to focus on mixed-use multifamily and Matt worked in Eugene for a little while, and then he went ultimately to London. It was really the recession where I had struck out on my own as a necessity because there were no architecture jobs and I was just doing any little project I could. And then Matt decided he and his wife decided to move back to because they both met in high school in Rose and they wanted to be in Portland.
The timing just worked out, and we established the firm in the depths of the recession and got lucky with the timing of it all. We were able to hire a bunch of really great people that I had worked with prior to the recession and build a firm, especially at that time. I would call it a Renaissance of design coming out of the recession. Prior to the recession, for mixed-use multifamily, it was a wild urbanism, especially in Portland. There were firms in town that were focused on just doing a lot of units. They were focused on quantity. And then there were maybe two or three firms in town that were really design forward, focused on design with a capital D. And there wasn't a lot in the middle. There wasn't a lot of firms that were design-forward, were budget conscious, were really spectacular and responsible for their context, while also exploring new materials and being on the forefront of design not only in Portland, but in the world.
I would credit Lever Architecture with coming out of that and WPA I would credit with coming out of that. And Holst was the one in that time frame that was there already, but they were still small. And developers, suddenly there was a new generation of developers that were growing up that were in our same class. They were in their early 30s and now could start making decisions, were empowered to make decisions, and they have different priorities than the developers previous to that generation. So it was a great time, and I think it's established a precedent that it's only going to continue to grow. You can almost see it equated to the smartphone. Like, it's like really compact. It does a lot of things, and it's really modern, but it's about cool, minimalism rather than big form generation.
QUANG TRUONG: I love hearing about your background between continents, and I think that having that experience of seeing what other cities are like, particularly well-designed cities, pre-automobile, is an amazing experience. I wish that everybody could experience that more in depth; to go and spend time in those cities. You got to do it as a fundamental part of your upbringing.
Okay, so tell me. I think you started talking about it a little bit already. What differentiates you here in Portland as a firm? I love this story because I'm already getting a sense of it, but I'll let you flesh that out a little bit more.
ALEX YALE: Yes, I think it's what a lot of good architecture firms and architects are obsessed with, which is really good quality, expensive, experiential design. Thinking about projects from the standpoint of how the design enhances the everyday lives of people is a very noble endeavor.
We come at every project looking for the problem statement in every project. We're thinking about what's the problem to solve. And there's always the fundamental problems of zoning code and building code and the program and parking stuff, and then there is what's the social and psychological problem to solve: how do we make people's lives a little bit better? What’s one innovation with this project? And then from that comes the architectural concept, which we really try to be as clear with its execution all the way through, so that the parti or the architectural concept is informing all the different scales of design, from massing to the medium scale to the detail scale.
I think we're not inventing anything that other successful architects haven't done in the past. But I think one of the things that we do that distinguishes us is we spend a lot of time thinking about the concept, how to solve the problem, all the while also equally focused on the client's budget. And we think of the pro forma as a video game, and that we're trying to get the best score and take a lot of pride in efficient, successful schemes. Because just getting projects to pencil is so hard.
And I have such great respects for how much developers have to go through to get these things to pencil and to work and to get built. Anyways, that's a big win. It's a design problem in and of itself, and we take a lot of pride in that as well.
QUANG TRUONG: Yeah, I love that. The idea of the pro forma is like a video game, and you're trying to gamify it to get the best results for everybody. I think my mind was blown the first time I saw a pro forma. It was like one of those times where you see all the different things that make a building. Because in school, you don't really get it. Nobody tells you that a pro forma is going to run what you do architecture. But then you see it and you're like, oh, my God, there's financing considerations, there's investment considerations, there's market considerations, there's the code, there's all these other things. Architecture is like this huge web of different people, different things coming together to make a building. And then this idea of gamifying, you're trying to get the best result.
ALEX YALE: I think a lot of other young architects who come out of school, and they want to design stadiums or opera houses or whatever, and we do a lot of work for developers at certain points. Some architects come to the realization that I didn't necessarily get into this profession to make developers wealthy. It's almost like an existential crisis where they are like, what am I? But I think so much perception is reality. If you look at it differently, no, it's a design problem to solve, and that's one of my design problems. Then it's totally in how you frame it to yourself.
QUANG TRUONG: I agree completely. I think that the idea, like you mentioned, of gamification is a great way of quickly getting everybody to see that.
So, leading into that, what's the project you're most proud of?
Image courtesy YBA Architects
ALEX YALE: I would say if I were to just pick one, I think Q 21 is probably one of my most proud projects. It was one of our very first big projects in the office. It was built in 2015, and it is in Slab Town. It was designed before anything else in the Conway Master Plan had been started. It's a mixed-use multifamily building, and it was pioneering in a lot of ways because it was the very first two-story podium in Portland. This is before two-story podiums were allowed. We had just started the firm. We literally had two employees. Matt and I had two employees, and we were running everything off of AutoCAD and we were building all of our standards, literally everything from scratch. We had just closed on our lease for the office space and buying computers and running around looking for good deals on Herman Miller chairs and designing this groundbreaking building. It was a super block; it was the first two-story podium. And necessity is really the mother of invention, because it was an existing 35-foot-tall concrete warehouse building by Anderson Construction's original founding father, Andy Anderson. He had developed tilt-up concrete, and so he built this building back in the 60s, and they had still they kept partial ownership of it. And they wanted it to turn it into a mixed use multifamily but keep and celebrate the tilt-up concrete technology. That was the foundation for the construction company because they went on to work with other big box retailers in the Pacific Northwest and roll out that technology of tilt-up concrete. And what we did was we started cutting out panels to make a barcode pattern. It was a figure ground exercise on the facade. But we had to start with this two-story mass that was 35 ft tall and then shoehorn in a parking garage into it, which necessitated a two-story podium. But it was still market rate apartment, so we needed to use and rely on wood frame construction for a big part of it. It's a seven-story on the east side, seven story post-tension concrete midrise. And then on the Western half, there are two bars that make three side courtyard that are three stories of wood.
We came up with a two-story, two-bedroom townhouse, instead of just a double-height townhouse: that's pretty typical in Portland. On the street level, we actually have two bedrooms on the second floor that are connected with a sky bridge internally and allows for a common space, a two-story common space in the middle that's very light filled. And then the two bedrooms have opaque sliders that let daylight in from the middle living space. That's a good example of the video game where we're trying to get more value because those two-story town homes are usually loss leaders on a rent basis versus construction cost basis. We were trying to add value to those volumes, those two-story volumes. There's a lot about that building that I'm proud of, but, yeah, I would have to say Q 21.
QUANG TRUONG: Oh, that's great because I'm interested in this regulation. So that means you were the first five-over-two that was allowed. And that was allowed in which version of the IBC?
ALEX YALE: 2014? I believe it was allowed in the IBC but was not yet adopted by the OSSC. Seattle had just started it. And technically, it was a three-over-two at Q 21. And we had to write an appeal and file the appeal. And we just basically went into the history of the code, of the building code and got into the Genesis of the code. And not two, three weeks after we did that, all of a sudden, appeals from firms all over town started coming in right after ours. And so it opened the door for all these.
There are two parallel bars that are three-over-two, and they're on the north and the south portion of the site. And on the Eastern portion of the site, there's a seven-story all post-tension concrete. Basically, it's a tower and it's seven stories of all post tension concrete, because we wanted to step the podium. But that was like an appeal too far because we wanted to do like four stories of steel stud on top of the third story transfer deck. There's five different buildings technically in terms of the building code, all like Tetris-ed into this massing to pull it all off. And so it's pretty unique in that way as well.
QUANG TRUONG: So, given all that, what would you like to see for Portland in the future? You saw Slab Town develop. You saw the Conway master plan. How do you want to see Portland develop?
Image courtesy YBA Architects
ALEX YALE: Yeah, well, I think Slab Town is a really great example. I think I'm really encouraged by the thoughtfulness of scale in Slab Town in terms of having to break up the buildings into very pedestrian orientated scales. I think one of the challenges with modern architecture is that there's this interesting clash between modern architecture and good contextual, pedestrian orientated design.
Modern architecture is usually grappling with a conceptual form, like an abstract concept that they're then trying to roll out into an aesthetically pleasing pattern. And it's often scrutinized architecturally from afar right across the street or down the street. And it's like, oh, is that a really dynamic outline? Or scrutinized online from a 2D perspective. And we have lost the sense of scale of what it's like to be right up against a building and to understand what is that material like? And what are those details like? And it's gotten just a little plastic. It's a little dehumanized. So I would like to see as we go into the next chapter, when we go into the next development cycle, a focus back on materiality and details.
Details are really meant to solve problems. You look at great old buildings and the details, even in Irvington, all the trim and the like, it's all about shedding water and dealing with wind. Construction tolerances and craftsmanship over time and cost and all this other stuff. And a lot of details now are just simply to execute on like a massive model and it's hard and it's time intensive. And I think that in today's world, people want to go fast, fast. Sometimes they're paying for a building, and they'll never even see it in person. They're just looking at it online and there's a disconnect.
Anyway, that's one thing: a focus on materiality and detail and what it's like to really be up close to the building and for that to be a win. That should be the win rather than cantilevers and a pattern to the window scheme that may look cool from 500 ft away but is disorientating up close or is lacking in depth and detail and interest. It's going to be really interesting. What was your question again? What do I want to see?
QUANG TRUONG: Well, how would you like to see Portland develop? And then the second part of it was like, well, then what would your dream project in Portland be?
ALEX YALE: Yeah. So, the other challenge is just what to do with retail. And right now, the city is at odds in the zoning code where it's calling for a lot of retail on the ground floor, and there's not the demand for it. In fact, downtown right now, it's totally boarded up. It doesn't have to be retail. I think that the city is allowing, in some cases, live-work units to be on the ground floor, but they're just live units as far as the developer is concerned.
But the city is hoping 20 years from now they're going to be retail. But they're not good hybrids. They're at grade. They don't have stoops. There's not a lot of layers to the public realm. So you get these windows that are just have blinds down all the time, and there's no defensible space or anything like that. I think the intersection between the public realm and a lot of these residential buildings is where we have the greatest need. I think going forward, we have to be smarter about how to deal with that edge.
It's not rocket science. Like Edwardian architecture of London from the 18th, 19th century, and how that got rolled out in Manhattan: it's beautiful stuff. So anyways, that's where I would like to see Portland grow up a little bit and accept the inevitable and let that be okay. Dream project within Portland: Well, I love the idea of suburban repair and repairing suburban sprawl. Right now, we are working on downtown Rockwood: it's a catalytic multi-phase development in the heart of Rockwood, which is right near the boundary between Portland and Gresham. It's technically in Gresham, but it's a large site, and we master planned the site through a public-private partnership and RFP. At the heart of the scheme is a large European Plaza. And then it's flanked on the north and south with a midrise office building with ground floor retail and a four-over-one podium, very large, on the north side, that's apartments with ground floor retail. And then to the west is a market hall, three-story wood-framed market hall. And it's really exciting because it's got a lot of small pods for food vendors for the local community to be able to come in. They may not be able to afford big retail space for a restaurant, but they can afford a small space; it's like a grownup version of the food cart pod.
Image courtesy YBA Architects
ALEX YALE: It's like a food hall. Exactly. And integrated into that is also two spaces for grocery stores, as well. Because it's not just about getting expensive, fully prepared meals. It's also where do you go to get groceries? So it's solving that, and then tucked underneath is a local community based program. They have a commissary kitchen, they're teaching high school students how to cook and also cooking for the community.
So anyway, this has been a long time coming. We're about to break ground on the third building. The market hall just finished. Food hall, finished in another month. We're doing the punch walk now. And then the mixed-use multifamily is breaking ground here in April. So that's more of like a horizontal dream project. It's really exciting. We are on the back of that. We're doing a 27-acre master plan, and phase one is four podium buildings at Campus Washougal on the waterfront. It's south facing, right where the Columbia River bends across from Troutdale, and it has views of Mount Hood to the left, and views down the river. We're creating a whole mixed-use multifamily community right on the waterfront and doing all four buildings at once. And each building is unique. That's one of the programmatic requirements from the developer that each building looks totally unique from the others. We're really diving into the history and tectonics of the Columbia River Gorge and thinking about how the vernacular architecture of the Pacific Northwest, but then also the tectonics of the Gorge and the geology of the Gorge relates to the design, which is fun.
So anyways, we're living out those dreams right now, but one of the next frontiers for us is going to a high-rise building in downtown Portland. We've been on the heels of several big high-rise projects in downtown Portland. I feel like we have really understood and dived into five-over-two mid-rise. So we're looking forward to our first true high-rise.
QUANG TRUONG: That's great. I love that you're living out the dream in that you're working on these projects that are little urban environments in and of themselves. These developments that are these complete urban experiences. I'm excited to see those develop. So you already answered this next one: how did you find out about UrbanForm? How do you think UrbanForm can help you achieve your firm wide goals, whatever they may be?
ALEX YALE: I think just doing what you're doing, which is I really love the reports that you guys offer on the Pro version. I think the graphics are really helpful. One of the challenges as an architecture firm is you bear a lot of responsibility for the information that you share: an incredible amount of liability and responsibility. And as you were alluding to before, even if you give a zoning summary or feasibility study to a younger staff member, you still have to make sure it's right. And since I'm new to UrbanForm, basically what I've been doing is delegate. And so we'll have a more junior staff member do a zoning summary on a site, and then we'll run the report and double check be like, okay, how did you do? And that's a good use. With so many of the things that we are responsible for, we have to have to come at a solution from totally different directions to have a little bit more certainty on its accuracy. And it's almost like running a tabulation or area calculation on a building.
And you might have to do it a couple of different ways. And you almost always find an error in one of your methods. So that's really helpful, and that's actually how we're using UrbanForm now: it's like a double check. And also, graphically we haven't yet started using any of the graphics in our submittals and stuff to clients just yet, but that could also be something that's really helpful with the paid version, weave it into the zoning summaries that we generate for clients.
And the code is changing. One of our big challenges is we have projects that will be in feasibility study or schematic design, even for years because of funding sources and financing or whatever. And the zoning code has changed since we’ve started. We'll have done the zoning summary, fully baked it and feel confident, leave it for eight months, come back, keep working on it, assuming that nothing has changed. And my God, the overlay is totally different. And the overlay or Main Street overlay, it's like, Whoa. And it's getting very form based. The City of Portland zoning code is getting very form based. And the setbacks and all that stuff, even down to if you're on a civic corridor on some of these sites, you have to have 25% of your ground floor has to be active use. So used to just be you had to have 50% of your facade was glazed and had glazing of an active use. But it could be a bike room or a corridor or common room or leasing office or something. But none of that stuff counts anymore for that specific overlay and it's getting very pedantic.
So, I think the more we can rely on the UrbanForm reports, the more that we can tailor it, I think that would be a really cool thing going forward. Okay. I don't need some of this information. Like half of it is relevant and then half of it is maybe not so relevant to the client's program or it's just checking a box in terms of information that needs to convey because otherwise we're basically just cutting it up ourselves, in BlueBeam or Acrobat or something and repackaging it, which is fine. But that could be powerful going forward because that could save time. I mean, $100 a month, I think it is or something. My God, that's like 1 hour of billable time, right. I could see us paying thousands of dollars or $10,000 if it was really tricked out so that we could really rely on it and had a lot of customizability.
I don't know if this is like possible in the future, but like if you can, like Autodesk, they have this AI where it run through different schemes, different building schemes. You have to put in a bunch of inputs. It still seems like voodoo and marketing but, man, that would be pretty cool. Like how when you go to Portlandmaps.com and it will show you like oh, you click on CM2 or whatever and it shows you like a rendering of what the authors of the zoning code have in mind of what would go there. It's like a massing of what's ideal, what could fit there. That could be pretty amazing. In future generations of UrbanForm, you can click on the full report and it's like, Bam.
We're going to assume a 65-foot-deep plate and that's like one of our base assumptions. But this is what it would look like. I think that would be a lot of fun. It would be super-fast and you still have to go through all the other verification stuff.
I think how UrbanForm helps, how we better achieve our firm-wide goals? Yeah, I think having faster information that helps inform our clients because they're often chasing dirt and putting in an offer. And it can empower them to have a bit more confidence. Because it might not just be for architects but also just for developers and for folks in the real estate industry who are marketing land, giving them a bit more power to understand what the potential is there.
Image courtesy YBA Architects
QUANG TRUONG: Great. I think the way that you said you were using UrbanForm was how I imagined it would be used, because from my experience, too, I would delegate that initial zoning work. I thought it was helpful to get younger architects experience with the zoning code, because this is how things work, right? And so I would delegate, and then I would obviously recheck it. They got a lot wrong. It was like, you didn't even look at the overlays, or there's a plan district here. We ended up spending a lot of time. And so the way that the UrbanForm report was done is all the overlays are automatically applied.
So it's really good to hear that. We're trying to get UrbanForm to be a tool that the city can use and therefore help them with their compliance work. Because it also helps it become a more robust tool that you can rely upon because UrbanForm is what the city uses and therefore you can rely upon it as well. So we're working to get there, hopefully be able to have that soon.
You already answered this, but what is a specific situation where UrbanForm made a difference? One of the things that we found when we talked to other developers or brokers is, they didn't realize that a specific setback applied. In the Eastern Pattern district, you have a different, weirder setback than you have anywhere else. Just because you're in this weird thing called a Pattern District, and that saved them a lot because they completely missed that. Or the new zoning allowed an FAR bonus in RM zones that they didn't know about because it's new. So is there any particular circumstance where that information has made a difference?
ALEX YALE: Yeah, I was looking at a site, so we're still working with the land seller on this particular site. So I can't really divulge which site it is, but it's in the historic Alphabet neighborhood and it's a CM3 abutting an RM zone, and it was a half block, and this site was a quarter block, and it required ten foot offset, and we wanted a zero lot line condition in order to pull off this podium. It was like an internal lot line. And UrbanForm’s map was really good. I was really impressed with how the map showed a visual of what the adjacent properties impact was on our site. And so it was really interesting how it actually gave us a ten foot radius past the half block line up into the other block that was like basically adjacent.
UrbanForm just showed this great graphic where it showed everything. It's much cleaner, and I don't know how you're doing it, but it's better looking than Portlandmaps. And then it gives you those dashed lines and the color overlays, and it's just much easier to understand and faster. I don't know if there's a Copyright with being able to take a screenshot of this map. And if we do a zoning summary on our own letterhead and stuff like that, is that okay for that thing?
ALEX YALE: Fair enough.
QUANG TRUONG: So UrbanForm can tell you what it thinks the zoning code says, but it really is the city of Portland that has the final say. They really are the jurisdiction. But what's great about UrbanForm is that the rules are applied consistently. We've taken the rules that are from the zoning code, we've put it into a code, and it just applies it across every single lot the exact same way. So the rules are applied consistently across all lots. I saw that in the Building Department and in architecture offices, you got different interpretations at different times, and UrbanForm can help with that.
So this is a great way to establish the rules. We know it's consistently applied this way across every parcel. So I think that's part of the benefit is that consistency that comes from the automation in the program.
“[UrbanForm]'s got a lot more information. And it shows you the offsets and it shows you the building footprints, and it also shows you the dimensions of the lot. There's way more information all over laid on one map. . .”
ALEX YALE: That's awesome. It's changing so fast. Well, two thoughts. One, I'm looking at that site and looking at your graphics, and it's just like I said, it's so much better than the Portland Maps zoning map. It's got a lot more information. And it does it shows you the offsets and it shows you the building footprints, and it also shows you the dimensions of the lot. There's way more information all over laid on one map that Portland Maps doesn't do. But the other thing, too. And I don't know if this is currently in UrbanForm yet or not, but the issue that I was talking to you about earlier, if you're in an MU overlay and you're on a civic corridor, well, for one, you have to dig into the GIS system. Am I on a civic corridor? And then what is that verbiage exactly? And you have to have gone through it several times. So like, no, it's not this one. It's that one. And this is their verbiage. But then it's so new that there was like a 100 foot offset. Right. The way it's written in the code is very ambiguous. It's like sites within 100ft of a civic corridor have to have 25% of the ground floor has to be active use.
Well, it's like, okay, does that mean that if any portion of is it the entire building footprint? Let's say my building footprint is 20,000 sq. Ft. Does that mean that 25% of the entire 20,000 sqft has to be active, or is it just 100ft off from the property line, from the street? Is it from the center of the street, or is it from the property line. Right. The only way to actually for me to figure that out, I had to go through other appeals that other firms had done and read the notes. And then I come to find out after we did a pre-app that actually their interpretation of that, that they had explained in that eight-month old appeal is not how they're doing it anymore. They're not interpreting anymore. It's not the entire building footprint. If it's within 100 ft, it's just 100 foot offset from that. It's a totally different calculation.
QUANG TRUONG: Yeah, well, I had that similar experience, too, where I would go out and have a pre-app and we'd go through and we're like, all right, these are the setbacks and height limits. And then the next meeting they're like, oh, we forgot, ODOT couldn't make it last time, now they're here and they're asking for another 2 ft on the sidewalk. So you're set back for another month.
We had started doing work on what we called at that time, the RBI, which was the Reasonable Build Intuitor. I just tried to make it a catchy acronym. But given the constraints and knowing certain things, that like a 65 foot plate is typical for certain types of buildings, basically multiples of 30, that you would have a certain building massing that would arise naturally. Knowing that parking you're not going to put underground. We would start to roll that out for certain zones first.
So it's something that we have coming and I think I'm seeing that Autodesk has it now too. Autodesk can't give you all those site constraints, but there is going to be something where the site constraints come in, hopefully from UrbanForm nationwide, and then all these design generative programs can start to build upon that too. I think that's going to happen.
The other benefit about that is: I had long conversations with the city and they would say, well, we write a rule sometimes and we don't know if it applies to 2000 sites or to two sites. Because it's too complex for them to calculate, obviously. So it's one of those things where hopefully this tool can help us make rules that are better for the cities.
Okay, we've talked a lot. I'm like conscious of trying to eat up too much of your time. I think we've gone over the other questions and some variation or form a little bit.
ALEX YALE: That's great. Wonderful. That sounds really exciting and I really appreciate it. Is there anything Besides what we've already talked about? Is there any other things that me or our firm can do to help you with UrbanForm?
QUANG TRUONG: Well, you guys are our customers. You are my favorite people in the world right now. It's my mission for the foreseeable future to make sure that you get everything that you need to do the work that you want to do. And if I can provide anything on my end, you just let me know and I'm going to be working on it because that's the goal.
I love this opportunity to chat with you and to understand more about what you're doing. Because then I have a better sense of what I can do to help. And I'm going to try and do that for other firms, as well, to get more architects doing what they do best to help us build the city we want. Because I think there's a lot of room for improvement, right? We can make better cities. We can make better buildings. So that's my big mission right now is to help you do the work that you need to do to make everything better around us. So I'm going to work on this and then you let me know if there's things that can help and then just being customers is really great.
Let your other architect friends know and whomever else and I think that'll be all I could ask for.
ALEX YALE: Will do. Happy to.