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Meet Nick Mancusi of Mancusi Design in Cave Creek

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nick Mancusi.

Nick, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’m originally from New Hampshire and the son of a builder. I’ve always known from a very young age that I wanted to be an Architect. At the age of ten, I started my own small drafting business and as a teenager, started working for an engineering firm designing wireless communication sites throughout New England, gaining experience in civil engineering, surveying, and structural engineering. My favorite class in high school, at Pinkerton Academy, was Architectural Design and Drafting which helped me learn the tools of my trade.

After high school, I attended two years of study at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston before realizing that model of education was not for me. So, I transferred to Taliesin, the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, an alternative school where one learns by doing and builds architecture, obtaining my Bachelors and professional M.Arch degree in architecture. There I had the opportunity to explore my voice as a designer, collaborate on several projects including the international award-winning Taliesin Mod.Fab and also with Architect Paolo Soleri on the Cordes Junction Bridges. I also gained the most meaningful relationships I’ve ever had in my life (including meeting my wife).

After my formal architectural studies, I was elected by my peers as the National President and Chairman of the American Institute of Architecture Students, a Non-Profit Headquartered in Washington, D.C. During my tenor I introduced the foundation for what has become the National Design Services Act and was engaged in the activities of other National and International architectural organizations including serving on the National Board of Directors of the American Institute of Architects, committee and task force groups for regulatory and accreditation bodies, and more recently with AIA Phoenix.

However, after sleeping under the Sonoran skies at Taliesin West during my education, it was ultimately my love of the desert that drew me back to the Phoenix Valley to start my practice in 2012. My wife and I are currently building a home in Cave Creek and look forward to the various adventures ahead of us.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Design and bringing a design to reality is always a struggle. Any young designer will confront the realities of an under appreciative populous of the energy and experience that is involved with the work they do; experience the reality of not being paid by unethical individuals; battle with regulators and enforcers; and bear witness to the work of individuals they rely upon to help execute their vision with a lack of care and craftsmanship they themselves have put forth. All this while battling the realities of life; many times, underpaid, in debt, and frustrated. I know, because I have experienced every one of those struggles.

However, the most important struggle is never giving up your ethics as a designer. To never sell out. There is a quote, I believe from Australian architect Glen Murcutt, “start your career where you want to end your career.” This has always resonated with me. If you start out your career doing bad work and putting cash over quality, you’ll develop a reputation that will follow you throughout, further struggling to break this chain for better work as you get older. However, if you endure the struggle of seeking out new work, hold your ethics and principles to a place where you must continuously reach, the good work will come. There have been so many times when I have turned down projects, especially during times when I’ve had no money or times when work is thin, because I’ve known in the end, what is more important is an architect with values a client can respect and a portfolio of work that demonstrates quality over quantity.

Please tell us about Mancusi Design.
Mancusi Design, LLC is a multidisciplinary design studio that focuses on architecture, construction, and graphic design. Being inspired by the Buahaus, Taliesn, or the Eames studio, I believe that the work of an architect, designer, or builder should not be limited to one area of craft, but inclusive of all its facets. My world is design and the reality of design, so when I started my practice, I wanted it to resemble the things that drove me. I want to wake up every day excited to get to work and accomplish something that makes the world a little bit more beautiful. On any given day, we are engaged in a multitude of various projects throughout the country from designing or building custom modernist residential architectural works to branding and graphic design for international non-profits and that is the kind of diversity in work that drives me.

Our experience as a practice isn’t necessarily a new concept but is something we believe every architectural, building, and design studio should be. We believe that an architect should have real building experience to know how details come together, how budgets are met, and how structure works. We believe that a builder should understand the importance of a perfectly straight line, how particular details and experiences matter, how a building is greater than two boards coming together. We also believe that great graphic design should be responsive to the needs of the organization we serve and how to educate those clients to understand the potential of their brand. For Mancusi Design, we have the opportunity to offer all of those perspectives from one point of contact and incorporate all of those experiences into one service for our clients and our community.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I don’t know what I would have done anything differently. The opportunities that have been afforded to me from my experiences are what have shaped me as an architect. Going to a unique, small school like Taliesin, meeting the great friends and mentors and the relationships I have gained, the places I have lived and visited over the years all have shaped me. The struggles, the challenges, the achievements, the ups and downs are what have given me this unique life experience. Life is never about the destination but the journey. I know that sounds cliché but the reality is without the journey, you’d be nothing, so enjoy the ride.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Phone: 6034011548
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @nickmancusi
  • Facebook: MancusiDesignLLC
  • Twitter: @nickmancusi

Image Credit:
Bryan Black Photography
Bill Timmerman
Mancusi Design LLC

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