Lone Ranger

Architect Dan Hisel dishes on teaching, working solo, and using Chinese food to fuel the creative process.

You’ve been in solo practice since 2003. What are the benefits or drawbacks to being a one-man show?
DH: When you’re working on your own, you can dig as deep as you want. If I decide that a project needs more time, then it gets more time – which would be hard to do in a corporate office. Eventually I’d like to have a partner because it’s hard for one person to wear all the hats. But for now, I’ve got some great friends, also working solo, and they act as partners in some ways. We get together and talk shop and kind of geek out — bring a six-pack and some Chinese food and roll out the drawings.

You teach, too. What do you get out of working with the next generation?
DH: Teaching is one of the things that keeps me sane. It forces me to go out and engage with the world, interact with people. But the best part is talking with students about ideas. When you teach design, every conversation begins with theory. To make that shift from conceptual to architectural and ensure the concept flows through — that’s so much fun.