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Archiscape Blog

Welcome to the team, Jeannette Penniman!

Posted on June 27, 2019 by Karin • Filed under:

Jeannette recently joined our team as our new Design Associate. As a Yale graduate, she brings a love of local architecture and a wide range of experience from two major offices. We are very excited to welcome Jeannette to the team!

Read our Q&A below to learn more about Jeannette and her insights on architecture and design.

Why architecture?

It took me a while to land on architecture – I was halfway through college before giving it a thought as a possible career. But it came down to realizing that the work aligns so well with how my brain operates. I love to solve spatial and numerical problems, make artistic judgments, and think in terms of systems (small scale and large scale). The fact that the built environment is ripe ground for contending with some major challenges – climate change; social inequity; creating safe and accessible public spaces – makes practicing architecture even more fulfilling. 

Who’s your favorite architect? Favorite structure?

It’s hard to live in New Haven without falling in love with Louis Kahn. His exquisite use of materials, light, and powerful forms – all the good stuff – repeatedly draw me into his buildings. Among contemporary architects, I really admire the work that Tatiana Bilbao is doing in Mexico to combine beautiful design with social and political aims. I have too many favorite structures to pick just one, but Labrouste’s Bibliothèque Sainte-Genevieve, in Paris, really floored me with its elegant, democratic, and light-filled main reading room.

Name 3 things a great design requires.

1) Careful consideration of context, site, and environmental factors – a building should be clearly grounded in its place.

2) Excellent detailing – it’s what makes or breaks a project in terms of technical performance and human experience. People should want to get close to, inspect, touch, interact with the building!

3) Collaboration and respect across the full project team, and as inclusive a design process as possible. 

What’s your favorite aspect of the job of an architect?

I constantly find myself surrounded by people who are differently specialized and skilled than I am, and I get to learn from them. Consultants, clients, user groups, fabricators, community members… we are fortunate to work with so many different voices and experiences. And, every project poses new problems, but at the end of the day, our products are tangible and complex team efforts. 

What advice would you give to aspiring architects?

Be humble, but idealistic! There’s so much to learn in this field (and that’s one of the great things about it), but that doesn’t mean you should lose sight of the fundamental principles that are driving your work. Be open to learning as much as you can from all the folks with whom you interact, but keep reminding yourself of and giving voice to the problems and possible solutions that you believe are important for the field.