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FEATURE

2019 AIA FIRM AWARD: PAYETTE A CALL TO NEW BEHAVIORS JENNIFER HARDY, AIA

People don’t change just because they’re educated and motivated; they change because the cultures that they are a part of begin to call them to new behaviors." — Howard Ross in “Reinventing Diversity”

Architects are motivated to change on several fronts; to strengthen our relevance with a more diverse and inclusive workforce and increase our ability to address great challenges, such as climate change. In support of this, the AIA recently released the “Guides for Equitable Practice,” one of the recommendations for action from the AIA’s Equity in Architecture Commission, which outlines actionable practices to build diversity and inclusion in our profession. If we think of this moment as a call to new behaviors, once engendered into the daily culture of practice, these behaviors can take root, flourish, and change the tide of a profession. Although I have only recently joined Payette, 2019 AIA Architecture Firm Award recipient, I already see evidence that we are leading the way on a number of fronts and elevating the standards by which we design. And while we are striving to make the profession more diverse at Payette, through our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) task force, I am equally as interested in how the firm is cultivating equity, diversity, and inclusion into the design itself. At the core of our studio are project alcoves, which are living, evolving design incubators for each project. The alcoves are activated by pop-up style design forums, where a team may solicit critique to address a challenge or key decision at the crossroads of a project. The open invitation for participation gives voice to a wealth of perspectives while also creating opportunity to learn from the legacy and leadership within the firm. The alcoves also serve as a reminder of our focus on energy performance, with the pEUI of each project pinned up in the corner of each alcove. While seemingly small, this habit has led to greater energy literacy as we work toward excellence in both design and building performance.

ALCOVE DISCUSSION - Payette 12

CONNECTION

THE ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN JOURNAL OF THE YOUNG ARCHITECTS FORUM

Most recently, the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex at Northeastern University received the 2018 Harleston Parker Medal, an honor recognizing the most beautiful building in Boston, while simultaneously achieving a 78% energy use reduction compared to the 2030 baseline. Jury comments stated that “The Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex (ISEC) incorporates many beautiful things—high design, sustainability, fostering community, and creating urban connections—and the architect and client believe the project can elevate each one of them. The building sits on the edge of Northeastern University’s campus, the catalytic first that will lead the development of the campus, linking it to neighboring Roxbury, attracting future students, and establishing Northeastern’s place in the realm of academic research. Its energy metrics are impressive. The decision to treat the labs with transparency is also laudable, offering a new way to think about designing for this type in the future. And, the façade—currently the most accessible component of the ISEC—is a standout, making an unexpected, unconventional design statement with organic shape and vertical fins that seems almost undoable in Boston.” A key driver of these behaviors at Payette is the feedback loop between our research and development engine and design integration. We invest in data-driven research and open-source tool creation, to enable designers to dynamically evaluate formal ideas and performance implications. Diverse user feedback, beyond our own firm, refines the tools and makes them more robust vehicles for integrated performance and design, while also empowering and elevating others in the profession with us, toward a more equitable and sustainable future.

Profile for Young Architects Forum

YAF CONNECTION 17.01  

Since 2015, The Young Architects Forum has helped lead the national conversation on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion initiatives in architect...

YAF CONNECTION 17.01  

Since 2015, The Young Architects Forum has helped lead the national conversation on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion initiatives in architect...

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