With so many different creative minds under one roof, we all organize our work in different ways. I spoke with Rebecca Sturgeon, one of Payette’s designers about her workspace. At Payette, we have an open plan office with similar table/desk setups for everyone (including our Principals!). This setup facilitates communication, collaboration and a culture of learning. We can make our workstations mobile – moving to a new station is seamless with rolling filing cabinets (many equipped with cushion tops to make a quick stool), and the same resources are available at each station.
Rebecca is currently working on the Building 4, 4th Floor Renovation Project in MIT’s historic Main Group. The area is a cool, gritty, lofted shell that will be renovated to accommodate the needs of the Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences Group. Our design team’s goal is to keep the original feel of the space to create an impressive contrast of super high-tech equipment inserted into a lofted/gritty area. The project just completed DD and will be issuing CDs in mid-August.
As I approached Rebecca’s desk, she was sketching over the existing floor plans on trace paper. Rebecca explained she exports plan views from Revit and uses trace paper to sketch different design options. This creates a quick and easy way to flip through the various iterations with her team. She’s using this method for both the detailing on the office windows and exploring different options for a collaboration space to create a sense of arrival for the students.
Rebecca’s desk also has multiple material samples from her current and previous jobs. Having physical samples helps her and the team explore new materials to use and see how things will come together to detail the construction documents. For example, our team was exploring custom light fixtures for our project at MIT. Samples have also accumulated in her area with her involvement on our Material Research Team. The group issues of human and environmental health surrounding the material decisions we make as designers. In December of 2018, the team formally launched Payette’s Material Policy.
In addition to sketch paper and material samples, you can also find a mug of coffee (the first cup is always made from home!), writing utensils, a clay cat and storm glass.