The Toon Dreessen Story video transcript:

You know, it’s funny, people ask me about what motivates me when I’m not at work and it’s hard to not think of myself being at work. Architecture’s such a central part of my life, I’m always thinking about architecture. It comes out in different ways: when I’m grocery shopping, I’m looking at not just the quality of the produce but where it came from. Is me buying something that’s from a local farmer or from a local supplier going to help society?

I think architecture matters, and I want the world to understand how important architecture is to their lives. It affects their way of living, sense of well-being, mental and physical health, our economy and our climate. A lot of these things can be influenced by architecture. And so I think that’s really important, and that the legacy I’m hoping to leave is sort of that greater awareness of the role of the built environment in people’s lives. What motivates me everyday is to share that knowledge and share my passion for a quality built environment with the rest of the public. I’ve always been fascinated by design and I think well designed things last.

As we think about how we live and work in an urban environment, we forget that we also have to have nature. And that nature could just be fresh air, a view of the sky, trees, parks, some soft grass. We need to have that element of nature in our lives. It’s good for our health, and it’s good for our mental health. We need to see nature and we need to hear it. We need that acoustic break of the sound of water running. 

I had the blessing of having a mom who loved to cook as a kid growing up. I love good food. One of the things that I love about cooking is the idea that you start with a bucket of raw ingredients and you make a meal out of that. And I think about architecture a little bit the same way. You know I have a client who wants something, they want a nice dinner or they want a nice building. And I’m gonna create something for them and then when I present it, just like the building, it looks beautiful. It’s thoughtfully placed on the plate. The edges are finished, it’s got a little dusting of powdered sugar. And I have the same feeling about a building. At the end, I want it to look good, I want it to function, I want it to meet its goals, and I want it to last. 

My name is Toon Dreessen and I want to leave a legacy that helps society and makes society a little bit better.