In order to match the challenges and complexities presented by our projects, we harvest the full extent of our collective intelligence. Our process is collaborative and participatory, capitalizing on the multidisciplinary resources we have available on every project. Our in-house expertise in planning, landscape, interiors and building science is complemented by a global network of experts. The cumulative result of these collaborative efforts continues to expand our knowledge base, enriching our practice and allowing us to innovate and forge new ground.
Three generations, many voices, one practice. In 1932, Fred Markus and Paul Nocka started a small design firm in Boston. Using pioneering time-and-motion studies, they helped hospitals throughout New England take apart and retool complex, mission-critical processes including nursing units, kitchens and pharmacies. In 1960, Tom Payette joined the firm, adding a modern design philosophy to the firm’s innovative process. Tom led the firm in designing a series of New England hospitals that were centered on the experience of the patient, manifested by an intimate connection to the landscape, abundant use of color and natural light to help orient patients and visitors. Through the promotion of the same humanistic values and fundamental design approach, the firm broadened its focus in the following decades to include high-technology buildings, bringing deep technical expertise, commitment to rigorous research and dedication to beauty to a new class of projects. Today, the practice has advanced as an international leader by providing planning and design services to leading institutions across the country and abroad.
We approach design as a process that combines problem-solving, research and invention. The architecture we practice is inherently multidisciplinary. Our definition of architecture embraces planning, programming, landscape architecture and interior design as being intimately intertwined in producing our work. Below we introduce the roles played by these integrated disciplines as complementary and supplementary to our practice of architecture.
Planning is defining the future. It is not separate from architecture. Our planners lead clients through existing facilities, past projects, new technology, new trends and the maze of competing goals toward the discovery of a roadmap for future success. We use our breadth and depth of experience in planning for healing and scientific discovery to guide institutions toward innovative concepts for their projects. Planning services include: master planning, laboratory programming and planning and healthcare programming and planning.
Since the early days of the firm, we have considered landscape as a profoundly transformative force, a fundamental facet of every project. Shaded courts, sunny open quadrangles, native plantings and local materials unite to inspire deep connections between our buildings and their inhabitants. The act of building starts with the consideration of how it relates to the landscape. Whether it be a laboratory building that shapes a new campus space or an intimate healing garden that brings nature closer to a cancer patient, landscape is central to our design. Our landscape architects work collaboratively as part of the larger design team to provide site analysis, master planning and site-specific design for our projects.
Given that interior design is intimately connected with building architecture, they must be conceived together. Thoughtful application of lighting, color and texture celebrates the direct contact of our senses with materials while enhancing human comfort; this is particularly important in the types of buildings we design. Our interiors are innovative, flexible and unique environments inspired by the personality of each client. Through the applied use of lighting, color, quality materials and furniture, we create interior spaces that are functional and inspirational environments for learning, working, healing and research.
Payette is a research-based practice. While we bring broad experience to everything we do, our work is about forging new ground. Whether we are planning a new university campus, designing a high-rise medical facility, or detailing the construction of a one-room laboratory renovation, we identify each project’s unique challenges, and then develop a solution tailored to address them. This process demands a rigorous and open-minded approach to design, furthering our understanding of building psychology, technology and sustainability. The result is a constant process of research and innovation, as we further the mission and work of our practice.
We have been committed to incorporating principles of sustainable design, energy efficiency and quality of life into our building projects for many decades. We have always believed that sustainable design is simply good design that fosters an understanding of a building’s impact on human wellbeing and the environment. The firm’s early projects, such as the Aga Khan Hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, employed passive technologies, such as a natural ventilation scheme that not only provided building occupants with operable windows, but induced airflow across courtyard fountains to trigger evaporative cooling. This way of thinking holistically about sustainable design laid the foundation for the integrated practice that is Payette today.
For us sustainability is not an added layer to a project, but an integration of building performance into the design process allowing us to embrace both the technical and quantitative domains of design. Our in-house Building Scientist brings rigor and precision to design solutions that were once driven by intuition. We employ state-of-the-art tools, such as in-house energy modeling and 3-D prototyping, to challenge our hypotheses and develop solutions that might otherwise be unattainable. This is transforming the way we design, leading to beautiful buildings that use simple materials, consume less energy and water, have good natural lighting and are tightly integrated with the landscape; in short, buildings that enhance the quality of human habitation. These are the undercurrents that run through every project we design.
While most of our projects pursue LEED certification, we also have active involvement in organizations and programs like Labs21, the USGBC and the AIA 2030 Commitment. Because of the energy-intensive nature of buildings like hospitals and laboratories, the imperative for resource efficiency is even more urgent, as small efficiency measures can still yield a substantial reduction in environmental impact.
Our practice is one of our most important design projects and is constantly evolving, maturing and improving.