BLDUP Spotlight: Christopher Lane 06/13/21
The BLDUP Spotlight is a weekly feature where readers gain insight into high-profile developments around the city and get to know local industry leaders. Today we chat with Christopher Lane, AIA, MCCPO, who has recently been promoted to Principal at Finegold Alexander Architects. Lane has been an architect with Finegold Alexander for over 25 years and is a critical member on nearly all the firm’s work involving complex preservation and fast track schedules for public, higher education, K-12 and private development clients.
BLDUP: Do you have a daily or weekly routine that you follow? How has this routine changed/been adjusted given the current situation?
Christopher Lane: Based on working from home during Covid, daily, I am up by 6 or 6:30 a.m. and at my computer by 7 a.m. Over the last year, I have learned that this is a great time to get a jump on the day’s tasks with little to no interruption.
For me, it is now more of a question of how this routine will be affected when we are back in the office. To be determined!
BLDUP: What books or publications do you read that you would recommend to the construction and design community?
Christopher Lane: Most of the industry reading I do is in more technical and construction-based publications to keep up on current trends, such as Building Design + Construction. This is a very informative publication with great articles, a wide range of featured project types and content, future forward looking without abandoning the past, up close look at project details. It’s in print and online, but I strongly recommend the app for easy access and functionality.
BLDUP: During the course of your career, what was the biggest challenge you faced and how did you overcome it? What other accomplishments hold a special place in your heart and why?
Christopher Lane: Stepping outside of the typical challenges we all face within our careers, truly the most challenging for me was, and still is, the loss of my oldest brother, Todd, to brain cancer. Todd was a driving force behind my desire to find a life balance between a career I loved and a life I enjoyed. He often said, “Work to live, don’t live to work.” That can be a challenge in this industry and something I struggled with for a long time in my career. His passing made me see how short life is and forced me to revisit his mantra. Through this devastating loss and personal reflection, I know that no challenge is too big.
My brother was a musician and avid guitarist. Upon his passing, I acquired some of his guitars and equipment with the goal of learning to play guitar (at the age of 50). Learning to play guitar and sing over the last two years and being able to perform live in person and via Zoom or Teams has been a great source of fulfillment. It has boosted my confidence in public address and allowed me to stay connected to my brother. Writing music unique to the pandemic and performing it for the office via Teams was something I never imagined I’d ever do. Todd would be proud.
BLDUP: The COVID-19 pandemic brought on a unique set of challenges, how has this affected your business in the short term. Do you expect to see long-term effects on building design/architecture going forward?
Christopher Lane: We still miss the in-person collegiality that is such a big part of our firm’s family culture. We do what we can in Zoom and Teams to keep in touch, but it’s not quite the same. I’m looking forward to seeing colleagues in person again when the time is right.
While I do not expect many major building design changes long term, I believe there will be an evolving integration of technology within all building types supporting more robust remote working and learning that will be required to support a work force that does not wish to and/or cannot return to the office five days a week.
BLDUP: What upcoming or past projects are you most excited about?
Christopher Lane: Past: Salem Jail and Harvard Business School - Baker Library. Current: The First Church Christ, Scientist. Upcoming: Central Catholic High School Innovation and Wellness Center.
BLDUP: What do you hope for the future of your company in the next 30 years? What legacy do you want to leave?
Christopher Lane: I hope Finegold Alexander has continued growth in all sectors while maintaining our “Boundless” approach to design, opportunities and relationships.
Respect, not just for the people around us, but for the ever changing built and unbuilt environment we live in. Everything we do affects now and ever after.
BLDUP: Have you had a mentor or someone who has helped you during your career? What are the most valuable lessons you learned from that person?
Christopher Lane: I have never had a formally designated mentor. But as my career progressed, I began to specialize more and began working very closely with a particular principal on numerous projects over a 15-year period. Organically, he became my mentor, though I have never told him that.
Listen before you speak, remain levelheaded, embrace challenges, research then resolve, attention to detail, the strength of the descriptive written word, and respect and kindness for all around us. Oh, and what makes a fine wine!
BLDUP: What is a favorite quote that inspires you or you strive to live by?
Christopher Lane: I have three quotes/phrases I live by. I could not narrow down to one, as I draw from these in different circumstances.
1) “We’re both looking at the same moon, in the same world. We are connected to reality by the same line. All I have to do is quietly draw it toward me.” Haruki Murakami
2) “What are you doing? What should you be doing?” Dr. Bill Rogers
3) "If I am not for myself, who is for me? And when I am for myself, what am I? And if not now when?” Hillel
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