The Next Generation Leadership: Jason Silva

John Webre

June 16, 2022

“Jason’s dynamic personality and fresh thinking always brings an element of sparkle to the party.”

This is the third blog of five, focusing on the individuals that make up the principal leaders at our firm.

The hallmark of a great architect is the ability to be simultaneously curious, energetic, creative and technical. Jason Silva embodies all of these traits, which are essential to mastering the practice of architecture.

Jason and John at 1021 O Street in Sacramento, a project we completed for the State of California in January 2022.

Boundless energy and a creative spirit are the qualities that drive Jason. He has demonstrated his unique vision and passion for the work throughout his 20 years with the firm. Always questioning the status quo, his active mind has taken the firm in very important design directions. During the years I was shaping the direction of the firm, Jason could always be counted on to provide fresh and dynamic new pathways. So, we simply would follow along with him to see the merits of this new direction. The conclusion has been that Jason has shaped new directions for us during much of his time with the firm. He is usually the first to call out a different and dynamic way of approaching design challenges, with an inclusive “and, not or” approach. Jason’s dynamic personality and fresh thinking always brings an element of sparkle to the party.

The County of Santa Clara Animal Services Center in San Martin, California, is in a mostly rural area of Silicon Valley. The building and landscape’s undulating forms were informed by the site’s original terrain of small rolling hills and olive tree orchards, as well as rural building forms and materials typical of the surrounding area. The facility combines multiple uses into one: animal shelter and barn, animal clinic and surgery rooms, animal control and administration, and a community center assembly space.

The relentless pursuit of a new way is at the core of much of the work that D+B has been known for since the beginning. Good design is both a process of discovery and a synthesis of art and technics, to arrive at a brilliant conclusion.

This design-thinking can best be illustrated in the award-winning County of Santa Clara Animal Services Center project that Jason conceived of. The collaborative design approach he used had the team engage in many listening sessions with the client before even beginning to develop the first idea. His rigorous client engagement and active listening sessions produced a 360-degree view of the design problem, ultimately revealing the “why” of the project. Breakthrough ideas came out of those sessions informing the ultimate unique design solutions. This approach of keeping pencils down – actively engaging the client and fully understanding the design challenge – has always been a hallmark of his collaborative approach.

Jason believes in fully engaging the community through his design work. He understands the dynamics of teamwork and encourages collaborations on all of his projects. In high school he worked to enlist his fellow students, building parade floats and other school projects. His outward facing nature has made him very visible in the community. As a public artist he has consistently activated both the firm and the community in innovative temporary projects like Art Street, Digital Art Hotel, and Tearing Down Walls at the Mansion Inn; and serving as the Chair the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission.

His outgoing and inclusive personality has made him ideally suited to be the business development principal, in partnership with the other market sector leaders: Civic, Healthcare, Higher Education and Infrastructure.

The design and construction industry is at an important inflection point. As designers and builders unify into a single team, Design-Build has become the dominant mode of project delivery. Strategic thinking is essential to forming teams that can compete and execute in a unified effort that aligns all the key factors of success. Jason has led many of the firm’s Design-Build projects. He is also an early adopter of leveraging technology to unify the efforts of the team, thereby connecting all of its members. He has championed setting up systems that efficiently track and manage our clients and projects and has been a strong advocate for connecting us with our industry and our clients through engagement on social media, publications, design awards, and speaker forums.

Jason is the youngest principal and so will, with the help of his team, define the future of the firm. He has been laying the groundwork for the next generation, and has championed the effort to clearly lay out career pathways for the emerging leadership of the firm. I have utmost confidence in his skills as a team builder and a strategic thinker who will provide strong leadership in charting the right course for the future of the firm, and am deeply grateful for the leadership he brings to Dreyfuss + Blackford.

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