"In design, high performance isn’t about finding the answers. It’s about asking the right questions."
Vikram Sami, Olson Kundig’s director of building performance, has been working on high performance design for over eighteen years, combining technical expertise with a love of design. Since joining Olson Kundig in 2016, Vikram has infused the firm with his infectious curiosity about how buildings can best support the health and well-being of their occupants. Often, this is achieved through a more harmonious relationship to nature. “In design,” Vikram notes, “high performance isn’t about finding the answers. It’s about asking the right questions. I want to ensure we are coming up with creative questions from the start that lead us down a path of discovery.”
Vikram earned his Bachelor of Architecture from the Academy of Architecture in Mumbai, India. Even before he began studying architecture formally, Vikram was most inspired by spaces that foster a connection between people and nature. At Arizona State University, Vikram found his calling in the Master of Science in Building Design program, focusing on energy performance and climate-responsive architecture. Since then, Vikram has worked for sustainability consulting firms as well as architecture firms. He has also developed Chhaya, an interactive analysis tool that quickly gives designers actionable building performance and climate data.
Today, Vikram leads Olson Kundig’s participation on the AIA 2030 Commitment and provides mentorship to the firm’s designers with regards to thermal comfort, materials impact, energy use and any number of other performance strategies. He also helps the firm understand sustainability ratings systems such as LEED®, WELL Building and Passivhaus. Vikram is active on the research side of building performance, speaks regularly at sustainable leadership conferences and has served as adjunct faculty at Georgia Tech and the University of Washington. At Olson Kundig, Vikram frequently leads workshops and charrettes to explore new green building innovations with colleagues.
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