Culture

Our firm culture is grounded in a deep reading of program as one of the essential subtexts of architecture. A thorough understanding of how hospitals and laboratories work — and more importantly, how people inhabit and use them — is the platform on which we propose new, prototypical configurations of space and systems. Our approach to landscape — whether densely urban or pastorally rural — plays an equally deterministic role in our work. As evidenced by the diverse array of highly site-specific responses exhibited in our projects, we believe that the interrelationship between nature and the building’s “social geometry” — our way of describing a people-centric organization of complex programmatic elements and systems — defines its soul.

 

We reject the notion of singular authorship and view collaboration as the path to innovation. While we have grown considerably in both the extent of our reach and the depth of our talent, our foundation remains grounded in mutual respect, trust and shared values. We espouse a culture of collaborative inquiry, vigorous debate and the synthesis of the best ideas, irrespective of origin. With humor and humility, we submit our work for collective critique through a system of firm-wide design forums and pin-ups juried by a cross-section of the practice. Rigorously executed architecture requires persistent practice. Modeling — both physical and digital — is a critically important part of our culture, and takes on many different forms within the firm. Parametric tools, employed in conjunction with conventional models and physical mock-ups constructed in our fabrication facility, allow us to articulate how and why proposed solutions address client concerns. Our Building Science Group is embedded within each project at its outset, contributing to the earliest design objectives and their sustainability merits.

Our highly entrepreneurial spirit is evident in the way ideas are exchanged at every level of the firm. We frequently explore new ideas and modes of collaboration through internal hackathons, which allow us to upend our typical teaming structure, thus broadening the knowledge base from which we draw inspiration. We’ve shared this experience at the R&D Magazine Lab Design Conference, and we have facilitated hackathons for AIA COTE during their annual summit at the AIA Conference on Architecture.

Employees are able to balance work requirements and personal priorities—including educational opportunities and teaching responsibilities—by taking advantage of flexible schedules. The firm creates opportunities for staff to participate in various sporting teams, golf outings, socials, volunteering and family events.

We believe our lives are enriched when we give back. Participation in our larger community has always been of great importance to the practice. Payette staff often volunteer in events through the Boston Society of Architects, KidsBuild, Citizen Schools, the Taskforce to End Homelessness and CANstruction. We give back to our own communities by actively participating on local planning boards, volunteering at neighborhood schools and organizing local food drives. Many of our staff also teach and offer design critiques at local schools of architecture. From pioneering contributions in the distance learning program at the Boston Architectural College to conducting semester-long courses at MIT and Harvard, our staff has had a profound impact on shaping the next generation of architects.

Our long-standing approach to green practices is holistic. Consistent on all levels—project, operational and human—this core value is embedded in our attitude and culture. The sustainable practices in our own office are no exception as we seek to reduce the office’s environmental impact and support the message we present through our design. We take full advantage of public transportation, a full recycling program and a commitment to reduction of waste through paperless practices whenever possible.

Payette supports an internal advocacy group called Grassroots Green. This volunteer group meets bi-weekly to discuss a variety of sustainability issues as they relate to the operation of the firm. Among the group’s key functions is to enhance our connection to sustainability experts and events outside of the office.

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Payette won first place in Best Green Practices from SMPS Boston’s Recognizing Outstanding Communications Awards program for our conscious choice to use recycled materials in marketing efforts, our Grassroots Green programs as well as our commitment to sustainable architecture.