Practice

We are a collective of 150 designers who are passionate about technologically complex buildings that are among the architectural profession’s most programmatically intricate and energy intensive. Our firm’s depth of expertise in science and healthcare has produced a body of boldly original and exquisitely crafted buildings that are as profoundly humane in their accommodation of vital social needs as they are pioneering in their pursuit of energy and environmental performance. We exemplify a multigenerational design culture that has remained true to its founders’ principles even as it has empowered successive generations to apply more potent capabilities towards practicing them.

From the firm’s inception 85 years ago, through to the strategic leadership transition that ushered nearly two decades of renewed energy and focus starting in 1998, our practice has always been a fundamentally humanistic enterprise. Our roots extend to 1932, when Fred Markus, an engineer, and Paul Nocka, an architect, founded Markus and Nocka, a small practice that focused on improving healthcare facilities through time-motion studies and firsthand observations long before evidence-based design became fashionable. Tom Payette joined Markus and Nocka in 1960, became President five years later and we have been known simply as Payette since 1974. The firm evolved as an early proponent a frugal yet elegant aesthetic tied to fulfilling basic needs — programmatically, socially and environmentally — through invention. During the 1980s, the practice expanded to include academic science and research. Today, we are an international leader, providing planning and design services to leading institutions. We maintain a roughly equal balance between healthcare and laboratory projects.

We are a thinking practice with a keen desire to execute complex building types with precision. To do so, we strive to deeply understand the problems our clients face. We begin there, because we are a human-centered practice. We know our users, and we listen to them. We pay careful attention to all scales of the project, from planning to craftsmanship, and each scale informs the others. Our buildings are well made, their systems finely tuned and their materials and construction elegantly detailed.

Our practice is inherently multidisciplinary. We embrace planning, programming, landscape architecture and interior design as being intimately intertwined in producing our work.

PAYETTE PLANNING
A thorough understanding of how hospitals and laboratories work – and more importantly, how people inhabit them – is the platform on which we propose new, prototypical configurations of space and systems. We believe planning is about 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.. Planning services include: master planning, laboratory programming and planning and healthcare programming and planning.

PAYETTE LANDSCAPE
Our approach to landscape – whether densely urban or pastorally rural – plays an equally deterministic role in our work. Deep connections to landscape and place – what we refer to as embedded nature – influence our work at every level. Our buildings have drawn inspiration from their natural surroundings since the early days of the practice, when an intimate connection to landscape, abundant use of natural light to help orient patients and visitors, and the use of color and natural wood humanized what was often a forbidding interior environment. 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.

PAYETTE INTERIORS
Interior design is intimately connected with building architecture and we believe they must be conceived together.