With over 20 years of experience, Susan Blomquist is an invaluable leader to our healthcare practice and our clients, many of whom think of Susan as an extension of their own staff. She joined Payette in 2004 and has designed significant healthcare facilities for many of the top hospitals in the country. Her designs are often recognized for their sensitivity to the psychological needs of patients, staff and families—for comfort, clarity, simplicity and efficiency. In her work, she often initiates a LEAN design process that involves current state departmental assessments, vision/goal setting and interactive user engagement. Signature clients that Susan has worked with include Mass General Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, Boston Children’s Hospital and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.
Recently elevated to the American College of Healthcare Architects, Susan has spoken, regionally and nationally, at the top healthcare conferences, served on the Boston Society of Architects’ Board of Directors and chaired the architectural design jury for the AIA Honor Awards in 2022. Susan has also held teaching positions at the University of Virginia and Boston Architecture College, making her an important mentor for young architects. Susan was also a mentor to the Virginia Tech Boston Studio at Payette in 2022.
An advocate for EDI and social justice in design, Susan is a founding member of our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Task Force and helped author our EDI Action Plan. In support of this important plan, she has also been instrumental in developing a targeted recruitment plan for the firm to build relationships and the employment pipeline at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Here, Susan shares a bit about herself.
What are you working on?
I am currently working on a Master Plan and new inpatient building addition for a hospital in New York State. I have recently worked on the design and documentation for the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (DCAMM). I am continually involved in various renovation and upgrade efforts for Massachusetts General Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Yale New Haven Health System. I was involved in the recently completed and soon to open Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center where I served as healthcare planning coordinator.
What does being a leader mean to you?
Being a leader is to inspire individuals and a team by shining a light on everyone’s strengths. I have always believed in empowering individuals to find those areas of a project where they can truly thrive and feel good about what they are contributing. I also believe to lead is to challenge previous ways of thinking and that change is necessary to innovate, evolve and stay relevant.
Too many to name! I like to draw inspiration from so many realms of design, art and media. What captures my attention spans the entire intellectual to pop culture spectrum. I am inspired by anyone that is making spaces and places for underrepresented ideas and contributions.
Favorite Boston-area structure?
My favorite built space in Boston is the architectural power-couple known as Trinity Church and the John Hancock Tower. I love the elegant dissonance they create as an adjacent pair. Close second in terms of places would be the Arnold Arboretum. I live close to the Arboretum and love to experience the constant change it undergoes on a day-to-day basis.
What advice would you give to emerging female designers?
My main advice to emerging female designers is to know that you have a place in this profession – now and in wherever the future takes you. Regardless of a current or future work-life situation or a specific area of architectural interest, you have an equal and important role to play! The voice and contribution of females in architecture is vital to making spaces for all people so make yourself heard and seen.