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Marc Perras Speaker Interview: Advancing Mass Timber Construction 2022.

Marc Perras provided a presentation, Lessons Learned Designing a Mass Timber Building in a Public Procurement Environment and tour of the C. Gerald Lucey Building for the Advancing Mass Timber Construction Conference.

2023 ENR Best Project Award-Office/Retail/Mixed-Use Category. 2022 CMAA Project Achievement Award. Sustainable Construction Innovation, 2022 Award Recipient. Awarded by Built Environment Plus (BE+) and convened practitioner community at the Green Building Showcase for our CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) project: Mass Timber for Mass Workers, The C. Gerald Lucey Building in Brockton, MA.

Marc Perras and South County Post & Beam’s Ethan Biederman collaborated on an article for High Profile’s December 2022 Green Supplement Issue highlighting the sustainable and economic benefits of utilizing mass timber. The Promise of CLT: Top 6 Reasons for Using Mass Timber.

Marc Perras and Sarah Tarbet of Jones Architecture are featured speakers at the North Shore Technology Council Presentation, Building Sustainably: Trends in Green Architecture in April 2024.

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“Thank you for pulling this off under such a tight timeline. Jones Architecture is raising the bar for our other house docs —we wish all firms were as good as you folks are!”
—Joe MacKinnon, Director of Facilities, Cape Cod Community College

Jones Contracts for Ongoing Work
Boston University
Brandeis University
Cape Cod Community College
City of Boston Public Facilities Department
Division of Capital Asset Management & Maintenance
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts State College Building Authority
Massasoit Community College
North Shore Community College
Northeastern University
Northern Essex Community College
Roxbury Community College
Salem Five Bank
Salem State University
TD Garden
Tufts University
University of Massachusetts – Amherst
University of Massachusetts – Boston
University of Massachusetts – Lowell
Harvard University
University of Massachusetts Building Authority

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“Brutal Honesty about Student Services at UMass-Amherst,” Rick Jones with Jeff Dalzell (Project Planner and Manager in Campus Planning, UMass-Amherst) and Naomi Cottrell (Principal, Crowley Cottrell) presented in March 2022 at SCUP North Atlantic Regional Conference.

“The Innovation Campus at Northeastern University: Bridging the Gap to Industry,” Dan Ollila with Jim Brand (Director of Space and Capital Planning, Northeastern University) and Peter Boynton (CEO, Kostas Research Institute at Northeastern University, LLC) presented in March 2020 at SCUP North Atlantic Regional Conference.

“Overcoming Accessibility Challenges with Inclusive Landscapes,” Sarah Tarbet with Christopher Becker (Statewide Accessibility Initiative, DCAMM), Carlo Urmy (Designer, Crowley Cottrell), and Jennifer Brooke (Principal, Lemon Brooke, LLC) presented in December 2020 at the ArchitectureBoston Expo (ABX) Virtual Tradeshow.

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Many architectural firms eschew the role of a house doctor. They assume the projects are small, or mundane; they fear being pigeon-holed, or missing out on the chance to make their mark. We see it differently — we think they’re the ones missing out.

The work of a house doctor can vary wildly — both in scope and the user group served. It encompasses planning, design and construction, and can be a focused area of a building, whole buildings, or precincts of campuses. The latter is typically focused on a department, floor plate, or area of a building. It may also take the form of addressing deferred maintenance challenges. Regardless of the scope or scale, these projects are all important, often represent an opportunity for transformation, and can fundamentally change the day-to-day life of users. Small projects can lead to big solutions that shape the evolution of your organization. We’d never want to miss out on that, and neither should you.

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Others might say the house doc is fine for the low-profile projects, but for signature engagements it’s important to look elsewhere. Maybe. And maybe not. Think twice before dismissing a house doc for big, bold architectural projects. Are you making assumptions based on the role you have used them for in the past, rather than their talent and capacity?

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Is there a downside to hiring a house doc?
Some would argue they inherently lack “fresh eyes” — that, as an extension of your team they won’t see the forest for the trees. We would remind them that architects undertake a range of projects of various types, sizes and degrees of complexity with a variety of clients across all sectors in many locations. This exposure keeps us fresh and in tune with trends across the competitive landscape. Indeed, with multiple house-doctor engagements comes deep insight of how other organizations — those like yours, and those completely different — are leveraging their real estate. 

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7 – Continuity

There’s no substitute for institutional knowledge. When you know how an organization works, you know how to solve its problems — and how not to. We often pilot new ideas or advance organizational goals with small projects that build cohesive benefits over time.

At University of Massachusetts-Amherst, we evaluated Whitmore Hall, a cast-in-place concrete “brutalist” building that serves as the main administration and student service building. Our study looked comprehensively at the program offerings in the building, and how better to arrange these to improve workflow and student engagement. The undercurrent of the study was a focus on the image of the building as a concrete behemoth, plagued by the environmental challenges of buildings of this era. Studies focused on daylighting strategies, covered courtyards, removal of berms to open up walls, improvements to envelope and dated building systems all pointed to a more sustainable model for Whitmore’s next 50 years of life, and by extension, the lives of other brutalist buildings on the campus.

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6 – Responsiveness

On-call means ready and waiting to mobilize. It also means trust, born of relationships that build over time as teams work together project after project. Productivity improves along with quality. As part of our work with Northeastern on their Innovation campus — a partnership with industry to incubate and launch new ideas in advanced technology — we had weekly meetings to go over a handful of projects in different stages. Frequently we’d get “breaking news” during the meeting regarding the latest venture to commit to the space. Because they always had limited time and funding to prove viability, the spaces that support these enterprises had to be up and running at record speed. Success hinged as much on creative delivery as it did creative design.

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4 – Sticky stakeholders

Sometimes you cannot afford to spend the time required to handle the demanding stakeholders and/or small jobs — the “move two walls, repaint and choose new carpet” projects. Your house doc can get it done and you can focus your energy elsewhere.

5 – Outside perspective

Every team benefits from fresh eyes. We work with MIT on a variety of classroom projects that come with a robust set of standards. Still, we are asking questions, challenging assumptions and often piloting ideas along the way based on what we are seeing in other campus learning spaces. We recap and discuss lessons learned at the end of each project and, when appropriate, roll learnings into the standards.

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2 – Efficiency and simplicity

Save the time and resources inherent in going to market for every project. Simplify procurement and contracts. Ease communication and reduce “up to speed” time.

3 – Design always matters (not just for the signature building)

Even the smallest projects make a difference in the daily lives of the people who use it. House doctors bring the knowledge of the larger system to design in every corner. We design as much as possible for each project, knowing that funding is unpredictable. Design resources can go a long way with your term team. Take Cape Cod Community College. The mid-century campus, nestled into the native landscape of the Cape, was rife with accessibility challenges. By bringing in a civil engineer and landscape architect, we developed comprehensive solutions that not only solve for site and building access, but address aesthetics, native plantings, and stormwater management. The improvements enhanced the college’s identity and make it more attractive to potential students — and earned a design award from the Boston Society of Architects.