Talking Practice: Paul Nakazawa

In this episode, Talking Practice host Grace La interviews Paul Nakazawa, Associate Professor in Practice of Architecture at the Graduate School of Design, whose career as a consultant includes managing several international design practices in the fields of strategy and business development. Having taught practice classes for over twenty years, Nakazawa shares his belief in the importance of fostering personal relationships and a collaborative attitude during the course of a designer’s education, and the necessity of adapting to a changing cultural enterprise as we consider the future of architecture and design. With cities increasingly adapting to parametric operations as the driver of real estate development, Nakazawa discusses the tension between humanism and the algorithm, and what kinds of techniques design practices must employ to survive—and thrive—in today’s changing landscape.

Nakazawa reflects on the role of mentorship in architecture and reflects on his own experience mentoring leaders across the design professions, highlighting the value of social capital that lies at the heart of practice. For more information about Nakazawa’s work and teaching, check out his latest course, “Elements of the Urban Stack.”



Photo of Paul NakazawaPaul Nakazawa is Associate Professor in Practice of Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he teaches Frameworks of Practice, the longest running professional practice class at the GSD. He currently serves as a Director and Vice Chairman of MASS Design Group, Boston, and as Chairman of Snøhetta, New York. Nakazawa’s career spans four decades as an architect and 25 years as a practice strategy consultant to leading firms in architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design. He has lectured and taught at the Southern California Institute of Architecture, Los Angeles; Architectural Association, London; Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City; and University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago (BA, MBA) and Harvard University (MArch).

About the Show

Developed by Harvard Graduate School of Design, Talking Practice is the first podcast series to feature in-depth interviews with leading designers on the ways in which architects, landscape architects, designers, and planners articulate design imagination through practice. Hosted by Grace La, Professor of Architecture and Chair of Practice Platform, these dynamic conversations provide a rare glimpse into the work, experiences, and attitudes of design practitioners from around the world. Comprehensive, thought-provoking, and timely, Talking Practice tells the story of what designers do, why, and how they do it—exploring the key issues at stake in practice today.

About the Host

Grace LaGrace La is Professor of Architecture, Chair of the Practice Platform, and former Director of the Master of Architecture Programs at Harvard University Graduate School of Design.  She is also Principal of LA DALLMAN Architects, internationally recognized for the integration of architecture, engineering and landscape. Cofounded with James Dallman, LA DALLMAN is engaged in catalytic projects of diverse scale and type.  The practice is noted for works that expand the architect’s agency in the civic recalibration of infrastructure, public space and challenging sites.

Show Credits

Talking Practice is produced by Ronee Saroff and edited by Maggie Janik. Our Research Assistant is Julia Roberts. Practice Platform Support is provided by Jihyun Ro. The show is recorded at Harvard University’s Media Production Center by Multimedia Engineer Jeffrey Valade.


For all inquiries, please email [email protected].