Payette wins 2019 American Institute of Architects Architecture Firm of the Year

Kevin Sullivan (Photo: Payette website)

BOSTON–The Boston Society of Architects announced that member firm Payette has been selected as the 56th recipient of the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) highest honor, the Architecture Firm of the Year award.

Other firms with close ties to Boston that have received this honor include Leers Weinzapfel Associates Architects (2007); Gensler (2000); Perkins and Will (1999); Cambridge Seven Associates (1993); Kallman McKinnel & Wood Architects (1984); Shepley Bulfinch (1973); Benjamin Thompson and Associates (1987); I.M. Pei and Partners (1968); and The Architects Collaborative (1964).

Founded in 1932 by industrial engineers Fred Markus and Paul Nocka, the Boston firm has been “Payette” since 1974, when Tom Payette FAIA became president. Now led by Kevin Sullivan FAIA, the approximately 160-person practice is known for research-based design that performs at a high level technically, programmatically, and environmentally while emphasizing the human experience. Payette’s frequently awarded work is a portfolio of elegant solutions to the challenges represented by extremely complex typologies: science, technology, healthcare.

Says 2019 BSA President, Jean Carroon FAIA, “That Payette has attained this milestone comes as no surprise to Boston’s design community, which has for decades watched, and benefited, as the firm’s work consistently advances the profession—particularly in challenging assumptions about the defacto relationship between complex building types and high levels of energy consumption.”

Culturally, the practice emphasizes collaboration, diversity, and a strong mentorship program for its emerging professionals.

“Payette’s leadership extends to the betterment of Boston as a whole,” says BSA Foundation Chair, Laura Wernick FAIA. “As top-tier Legacy Circle donors, Payette is deeply committed to fulfilling the BSA Foundation’s mission to deliver design education resources and community design resources throughout Greater Boston, while empowering citizens to advocate for better design solutions to the challenges facing their neighborhoods.”

Award-winning Payette projects include:

  • Boston University Rajen Kilachand Center for Integrated Life Sciences and Engineering
  • Columbia University SEAS Data Science Institute
  • George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health
  • Northeastern University Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex
  • Pennsylvania State University Eva J. Pell Laboratory for Advanced Biological Studies
  • Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Children’s Hospital
  • Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Children’s Hospital
  • Tufts University Science and Engineering Complex

In 1984, Tom Payette FAIA was president of the BSA/AIA. Most recently, Jim Collins FAIA, who was Payette’s president from 1998-2013, served for two terms as BSA/AIA board treasurer, from 2013 to 2017. Through the years, several Payette principals and associates have served on the BSA/AIA’s board of directors. Leadership roles have also been played on the BSA Foundation board, ArchitectureBoston editorial board, and with multiple professional committees and knowledge communities.

”For a firm like ours, this honor reflects the effort of generations of architects and firm leaders that care so deeply about our values and have carried them forth throughout their work,” says Payette president Kevin Sullivan FAIA. “Our firm has always been a living organism that is stronger than the individual. This honor extends far beyond the walls of our firm. Some who have cut their teeth at Payette have gone on to build leading practices elsewhere in Boston, and vice versa. Boston’s design community is interconnected, collaborative, and strong.”

Every year, the AIA recognizes one firm that has produced notable architecture for at least a decade. Past recipients include Ehrlich Architects, Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. The 2018 recipient of the Firm Award was Snow Kreilich Architects, which is based in Minneapolis. Read a full list of past Architecture Firm of the Year award winners.

Established in 1867, the BSA/AIA today consists of nearly 4,500 members and produces content for an array of programs and publications, including ArchitectureBoston Expo (ABX) and ArchitectureBoston magazine. A chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the BSA/AIA is a nonprofit, professional-service organization.