Q & A with Douglas Tayrien

Doug Tayrien

Successful business relationships are built on a solid foundation. That’s where Douglas Tayrien, SGA Principal, demonstrates his strength in construction detailing and administration. This month we caught up with Douglas to talk about the future of design and construction, as well as good reads and life in Tulsa.


SGA Design Group is involved in a wide range of business, from rollout architecture to retail design and LEED architecture. Where does this work intersect with the world of construction today?

We are currently operating under a traditional Design/ Bid/ Build structure in our relationship with contracting firms.  Our connection with the contractor typically happens after they are awarded the bid for the project.  At this point in the process, the push is to get the building open as quickly as possible so communication between the architect and the contractor is based around product submittals and construction-related issues.

Our prototype development focuses on client need and feedback from the client’s own construction managers.   While we do reach out to general contractors knowledgeable in a client’s program, the input is limited. We are recommending to some of our clients that they should include the contractor in the prototype development discussions.

What does the relationship between design and construction look like in the future?

It is easy for me to see the architecture profession and construction industry integrating much closer together in the next twenty years. As a team of architects, engineers and contractors, we must continue to find ways of getting buildings built more quickly, more economically and with higher quality. The solution is to use more automation and more prefabricated components to shorten construction time, reduce manual labor, and increase the quality of construction.

Architects, engineers and general contractors are currently using Building Information Modeling (BIM) to provide better information in their own work. Using BIM and a Local Positioning System (LPS), which is similar to a GPS system but site-specific and far more accurate, on a construction site, we can drastically improve the dimensional accuracy of building components and their placement. These tools will allow the general contractor to grade the site and excavate using automated earthmoving equipment that can work 24 hours a day. Foundations and floor slabs will be placed with a very high degree of accuracy. Prefabricated wall panels will be delivered to the site without the need to field verify measurements beforehand, meaning they will be shipped to the site sooner knowing they will fit. Construction workers wearing augmented reality glasses will see exactly where future walls go and can call up installation data on materials and equipment. Prefabricated modules that contain the main HVAC ductwork, electrical conduit and fire protection piping will come to the site to be plugged together, reducing on-site labor.

Building design and construction in the future is going to work a lot more like a manufacturing process and take advantage of the efficiencies and quality control manufacturing can offer. It will require coordination and teamwork between the architects, engineers and general contractors from the beginning of the project to make it happen.

How would this change impact the way you meet client needs?

Our clients want their projects built faster with high-quality construction and improved cost-effectiveness for both construction and operation. The best way to achieve this is for the design & construction team to collaborate from the start of concept design all the way through project completion. This methodology applies whether it is a one-off project or the development of a prototype. This is a significant change in the traditional Owner/ Architect/ Contractor relationship but it is being done. Integrated Project Delivery, IPD, was developed to respond to this need and address the processes and contractual requirements of this collaboration.

Have you read any compelling books this year?

I recently reread Tuxedo Park: A Wall Street Tycoon and the Secret Palace of Science that Changed the Course of World War II by Jennet Conant. This is the story of Alfred Loomis, who made an enormous fortune in the stock market prior to the Great Depression. He used his wealth and innate abilities in physics to build a remarkable research facility that supported some of the greatest scientists of his day including Bohr, Einstein and Fermi. From this self-funded research came the first EKG machine, the first study of brainwaves, microwave radar that helped defeat the German U-Boats in World War II, and research that helped launch the Manhattan Project. Not many have ever heard of this remarkable and highly flawed man but through his philanthropy and genius, he helped change the world and end a world war.

What do you like best about living in Tulsa?

It’s a small city but we have huge support for the arts and performances. Tulsa has excellent museums, an amazing new city park, symphony orchestra, opera, ballet, top-rated musicals and Cain’s Ballroom, a place written in history for live music from the 1930’s to the present. All this and you can get across town in 20 minutes.

I live in an older part of town where the houses were built in the 1920’s. I love the diversity of homes in both style and age. Just a short walk from my house is a large park, a small lake, an excellent art museum, farmers’ market, a great shopping center, and a hospital.

On top of all this, Tulsa has the “Center of the Universe”. You must stand at its center and express your deepest thoughts to comprehend the enormity of it all.