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The Intersection of Design and Performance: The Tesla Motors Lesson

Explore the extraordinary success story of Tesla Motors, how they intertwined design, engineering, and manufacturing processes, and how you can learn from their approach to produce better work.


In this course, case-studies highlight the extraordinary success of Tesla Motors.

The company’s first two cars, Model S and Model X, are each elegant interactions of aesthetics, ergonomics, and performance. Explore how Tesla pulled off this achievement through the intertwining of design, engineering, and manufacturing processes.

Such a highly integrated approach is rare among auto manufacturers. As architects integrate complex personalities and processes into functional, beautiful structures, Tesla’s story is an ideal one to examine.

Using Model X, Model S, and selected AIA COTE Top Ten Award winners as examples, we’ll analyze how Tesla has risen to the top—and how architects can use the same approach to catapult their careers to the next level.


Learning objectives

  • This presentation will inspire architects to look outside our profession for relevant, inspirational process examples about how to improve on a standard model of practice. Participants will be able to reference and describe Tesla Motors’ design, engineering, and production processes and use them for insight to analyze their own.
  • With an in-depth analysis of the Tesla Model S and Model X, participants will understand Tesla’s exemplary resolution of the concepts of design, style, appeal, and packaging with efficiency safety, comfort, and integration. They will be able to transfer and apply this knowledge to their approach to architecture.
  • Our speakers will present the integrated design process at Lake|Flato Architects, one that parallels the interaction of design, engineering, and production at Tesla. Participants will be able to take specific design process approaches back to their office
  • Our speakers will use Lake|Flato case studies to exhibit the outcomes of their integrated design process. Participants will leave with a toolkit of design and engineering concepts that will allow them to create distinctive work born from the relationship among art, science, intuition, intelligence, emotion and reason.
User rating:
Average: 4.5 (169 votes)
 $40  non-member
 $25  member
1.00 LU
  • RIBA


  • Heather Holdridge

    Heather Gayle Holdridge

    Assoc. AIA, EIT, LEED AP BD+C

    Sustainability Manager, Lake|Flato Architects

    Heather Gayle Holdridge, LEED AP BD+C, EIT, Assoc. AIA is the Sustainability Manager at Lake|Flato...
  • Gregory Papay

    Gregory Papay


    Partner, Lake|Flato Architects

    Greg Papay, FAIA is a Partner at Lake|Flato Architects, where he focuses his work on revealing the...