First, I focus on the subject to search my own mind for any intuitive ideas. I make sketches of these ideas but don't give them credibility yet.
Then, I immerse myself in information from libraries, web pages, experts, ordinary people, and travel to learn about the subject. I need to know what others have done in different cultures, different times, and the latest ideas. I want the benefit of our collective unconscious, our experience.
Then, with a clear mind (left brain full of information, right brain cleared for creative action), I get close to the subject and begin to visualize the physical and social realities. Sketching what I visualize, I look at the sketches to assess the ideas, ask others what they think and how they might collaborate. One person cannot build a building -- it takes a team-and the team adds a lot of excitement, often inspiration setting fire to ideas.
Ideas must be tested. Is it beautiful? Is it appropriate socially, aesthetically, and financially? Does it satisfy the ancient architectural test of providing "commodity, firmness, and delight"? Will it have enduring value?
After everybody has decided what's to be done, the realization of the project begins--the remaining 85%. The execution involves detailed design, description of the desired construction, finding the contractors, and constructing the physical.