Spark Value #2: Clarity


Clarity (and what it means for Authenticity, Simplicity, and Transparency)

When I first described this value it was labeled “authenticity”. But something kept nagging me, whispering “but what about clarity, isn’t it essential, and authenticity just a part of that, along with things like transparency and simplicity?”. Keeping a list to five is incredibly hard, so pending a full rewrite I’ll keep Authenticity in here, but add  a few notes about the bigger picture of clarity.



I can’t do this post without dragging  Einstein into the discussion: “Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity“.

One aspect of being able to make choices is part of a meaningful life. For those of us fortunate to live in the developed world, today’s reality  is loaded with endless choices, many of them however more distracting than meaningful. In this context it takes a conscious effort to pursue clarity, so we can focus on the essential.

Being a bit of a geek, and growing up near the French border I can’t resist throwing another quote in here. In 1657 French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote: “Je n’ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n’ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte.” Basically saying that given more time he would have written a shorter letter. Editing, formating, or designing for elegant simplicity takes time and effort, and we believe it’s worth pursuing.


In “Principles” Ray Dalio calls for radical transparency to get to as lose to the truth of things as possible. The Dalai Lama observes that: “A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity.” While we have made good progress in this direction, we also found a few challenges: Some information seems to require a minimum amount of context awareness in order to not be misinterpreted – how do we best balance that?


 In projects.

Designing with a deep understanding of the project. Testing assumptions, especially when the project is meant to “solve a problem”.

Develop a clear understanding of the clients values and priorities. Sometimes there are multiple parties with somewhat conflicting values. Unearthing these early will save a lot of heartache later.

Developing a thorough understanding of the site first. We look at a site from numerous angles, from views, solar orientation, and terrain, to demographics, zoning, and neighborhood connectivity.

Developing plans that truly support an organization’s (or family’s) goals.

Designing true to materials and methods.

In Teams and Culture.

We strive to create a place for respectful authenticity, and believe in the benefit of improving understanding of ourselves and others, and being open about our strengths, weaknesses, and areas of growth. This can take an incredible amount of courage, but there is no way to create better work, or feel more alive. 

Back to Overview, or on to:

  1. Health: People (including relationships), Projects, Organization, Community, Planet
  2. Clarity (and Authenticity): It takes effort and courage, but is so worth it.
  3. Responsibility: Intrinsic motivation, and being fully invested in your projects success.
  4. Learning: Learning,  implementing, evolving.
  5. Excellence: Not perfection



Sophia Sparklin

Growing up in a family with generations in medical practice, Sophia discovered her passion for architecture during an internship 1996. Since then Sophia received formal and informal education in Germany and the US. At Arizona State University she was honored by the Henry Adams Certificate for graduating on top of her (Master of Architecture) class in 2005.