Our dynamic studio environment is at the core of the Pickard Chilton community. A focus on relationships and a commitment to the profession are the fundamental missions of the studio. A strong ethic of teaching and mentorship runs through the team, which strives to create a collaborative environment where learning is integral to the achievement of results.
Clear and open communication through the design process leads to the realization of inspiring built work in which all participants are fully invested. Projects advance through listening, observation, targeted research, and an iterative design process that engages the team in ways that assure the attainment of their and their client’s highest aspirations.
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Pickard Chilton believes that our most successful architectural design solutions arise through an inclusive and collaborative design process driven by the contributions of many diverse viewpoints. A core value of our practice is the belief that good ideas can and do come from anyone in the studio. This open approach gives equal voice to designers and architects of all levels and fosters a richness of perspectives. It is through the thoughtful consideration and integration of these many insights that we are able to do our best work and to contribute fully to the more just, equitable, and inclusive future in which we believe.
We are committed to the missions of the American Institute of Architects and the National Organization of Minority Architects of championing a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion within our profession to create a respectful environment for all. We fully support their efforts to advance racial justice and equity within their organizations, across our profession, and in the communities where we live and practice. Further, we endeavor to make quality design increasingly accessible so that it is purposeful, meaningful, impactful, and hopeful.
To that end, Pickard Chilton actively and financially supports efforts that promote a more informed and respectful perspective. These have included sponsorship of a Women in Leadership Panel at the Connecticut chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA CT) and webinars that were hosted by the AIA CT Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Knowledge Community. Members of firm leadership were co-founders and proponents of the newly-founded Women in Architecture Committee of AIA CT. For the past 12 years, the studio has hosted and led an ACE (Architecture / Construction / Engineering) Mentor Program, to engage and inspire the next generation of architects, engineers, and construction professionals.
Additional studio initiatives include:
- Studio Equity Diversity & Inclusion conversations
- “Studio Ambassador” initiative to welcome and orient new employees
- Anonymous surveys to openly and safely gather candid employee feedback
- Inaugural Sponsorship of NOMA Connecticut Chapter
- Sponsorship of employees’ attendance at AIA Women’s Leadership Summits in 2013, 2017, 2019
Architecture plays a foundational role in shaping and supporting Pickard Chilton’s vision for our future. With each project, we strive to create places and environments that support and engage equitable, diverse, and inclusive communities. This focus, along with our studio culture and initiatives, are important steps to ensure that our profession is as wonderfully diverse as the world in which we practice.
Pickard Chilton is deeply committed to mentoring and supporting the next generation of our profession. With a proven commitment to provide all our employees with broad, substantive opportunities for professional growth, Pickard Chilton is one of only three practices nationally to be awarded in 2009 the AIA Intern Development Program Outstanding Firm Award for 2009–2012. Pickard Chilton was also named an AIA New England Emerging Professional Friendly Firm for 2018, 2019, and 2020. Sponsored by New England’s Young Architect Regional Director and Regional Associates Director, the recognition specifically noted Pickard Chilton’s commitment to supporting and advancing Emerging Professionals.
In 2021, the Pickard Chilton Mentorship Program was established to provide a structure to guide and support emerging professionals in the shaping of their unique architectural career paths through one-on-one counseling with an experienced member of the studio. The program helps individuals to navigate their path to licensure, develop new technical skillsets, and explore research interests through goal-oriented meetings.
As the Intern Development Program coordinator for Connecticut, Senior Associate Deborah Lukan imbued her passion to countless designers who are now successful architects. At Pickard Chilton, she initiated a studio-wide program to mentor designers to achieve licensure. She is active in both AIA Connecticut and AIA Charlotte to support efforts that increase opportunities for women and people of color, overall affording more equitable access to the profession.
Since 2007, Pickard Chilton has supported and hosted a team of the New Haven ACE (Architecture, Construction and Engineering) Chapter, which mentors local high school students looking to pursue careers in design and construction. Andrew Barnett is Pickard Chilton’s current team leader for the ACE Mentor Program and serves as an ACE New Haven Board Member. In his tenure, he has mentored over 90 students from 25 high schools across the state of Connecticut.
Associate Principal Stephen Harris teaches, lectures, and participates in design reviews for undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Hartford Department of Architecture where he has also served as an Adjunct Professor. In addition, he also directs the firm’s recruiting campaigns to attract the next generation of talent.
Pickard Chilton’s dynamic studio thrives in the heart of New Haven’s art and architecture community. Studio members proudly contribute their time, talents, and leadership to numerous non-profit organizations for the betterment of the community.
As part of the annual International Festival of Arts & Ideas each summer, Pickard Chilton studio members join other local industry professionals and volunteers at "Box City" to help children construct their vision for a model city. Senior Associate Andrew Swartzell has been a member of the organizing committee for this event since 2016. In 2020, the Festival moved to a virtual platform, and the Pickard Chilton team helped to continue the collaborative spirit of the event by hosting it online in Minecraft. See more at https://boxcity.org.
At the Iowa State University College of Design, the firm established the Pickard Chilton Professorship in Architecture in 2011 to support the recruitment and retention of faculty who are leaders in the advancement of progressive architectural education. The first Pickard Chilton Professor in Architecture was Thomas Leslie, FAIA, FAAR. Most recently, Douglas Spencer, an internationally renowned architectural theorist, was named the second to hold the position. Spencer, an associate professor, and director of graduate education in the ISU Department of Architecture, is widely recognized for his research and writing on the politics and theory of contemporary architecture.
Pickard Chilton has made substantial gifts to Iowa State University, the University of Minnesota, and Yale University to support over 30 students pursuing professional degrees in architecture as well as their faculty. At the University of Minnesota College of Design, the firm established the Pickard Chilton Fellowship, an endowed fund for Master of Architecture students. At the Yale School of Architecture, Pickard Chilton endowed the Pickard Chilton Fellowship for the benefit of one or more deserving Master of Architecture students and the Pickard Chilton Dean’s Resource Fund, which supports exhibitions.