Name: Jeff Alex
Class Year: 5th
Hometown: Hillsborough, NJ
Where did you work and what type of firm is it?
My co-op was at Payette, a firm that specializes in innovative science and healthcare buildings around the world.
Where was the firm located and what is it like to be working in that location?
Payette has an office located in downtown Boston. Downtown is a great place to work and explore because there’s always something to do, somewhere new to have lunch, and I had other friends on co-op working near by. The culture of the area is lively and dynamic.
How did your experience in the studio prepare for your coop experience?
Similar to our own studio at Northeastern, Payette’s office is designed as an open environment that supports collaboration and camaraderie. Coworkers from different project teams are able to easily keep up with the work on the other side of the office through pin-up discussions and firm-wide design forums. Through collaborative dialogue, the designs of Payette’s projects are advanced by the collective intelligence of the firm.
My coop experience also allowed me to develop skills that are not normally taught in studio. I was able to explore a more administrative side of architecture, including logging submittals and completing RFIs and bulletins.”
There isn’t much of an opportunity to learn about that side in school, so being introduced to it during co-op (and before graduating) was great.
What has been your favorite project you have participated in on coop?
Working on Northeastern’s new Interdisciplinary Science & Engineering Complex building was a rewarding experience. I worked on the Construction Administration phase of the project, which is when it is determined what actually gets built on site. I love walking by it on campus and seeing the construction come along. Knowing that I contributed to such an iconic building for the campus is a great feeling.
What are the fun things you have been able to do?
Payette does a great job of balancing fun and work. They have a Young Designers Core, run by the younger members of the firm, that organizes events like site tours and athletic tournaments. It also helps support them in getting licensed.
In addition to the firm’s design discussions, I’ve had a chance to participate in Payette’s bocce ball tournament, softball game, Halloween and holiday parties, and various site tours of projects under construction. You can tell how fun it is to work there as soon as you see their Ping-Pong table in one of their conference rooms!
Payette makes sure to preserve the intimacy of a small practice while still functioning as a leading architectural design firm. In the Boston office of about 130 enthusiastic people, you never feel like you’re in a corporate setting. Working at Payette has been an awesome experience and I’d return without hesitation.