Announcements 09.01.2022

Meet Jamie Wiberg, an E. Todd Wheeler Health Fellow, Class of 2023

Jamie will be based out of the New York Studio

Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Chicago Heights, Illinois. Growing up, I was spoiled to have Chicago as the go-to for all my grade school field trips, high school dances, and friend get-togethers.

In what city do you live?
New York City!

What is your degree, and what institution is it from?
I received my dual Masters in Architecture (M.Arch) and Construction Engineering and Management (MEng CEM) from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor.

Why is healthcare design so important to you and why did you want to pursue a career in healthcare design?
Health is a basic human right, and I believe in dignified design that actively improves health and well-being. The role of the architect is part of a larger system of healthcare infrastructure.

When I was 12 years old, I lost my father in his battle with esophageal cancer. He was petrified of hospitals and medicine as place, and I want to better understand why. Places of healing don’t have to look like hospitals. Healthcare architecture encompasses all places of healing–from hospitals, to rehabilitation centers, community centers, shelters and safe havens, our homes, our infrastructure, our cities.

Architects have so much agency in the social determinants of health and can help towards improving health inequities. Healing through design starts with believing in the power of design. I want to convey and prove architecture’s power to transform and heal lives to the general public. With the COVID-19 pandemic, our profession is in a unique position where the general public is beginning to witness firsthand the impact the built environment has on their health.

What was it about the E. Todd Wheeler Health Fellowship that attracted you?
I saw the E. Todd Wheeler Health Fellowship as my opportunity to continue the momentum developed in academia: rigorous research outputs, self-exploration, and passion for health by design. It’s the perfect opportunity to actively contribute to research in practice, and I hope the fellowship will act as a launchpad for future research endeavors.

What does it mean to you, personally, to have been selected as a health fellow at our firm?
I’m extremely humbled and grateful to have been selected as a Health Fellow at Perkins&Will. I received the call from Perkins&Will on Valentine’s Day; and not to be too cheesy, it fills my heart to be able to share and explore my passions with so many incredible designers.

I look forward to learning from the previous E. Todd Wheeler Fellows and so many great healthcare leaders throughout our offices, and to contribute to this body of knowledge in our profession. While the fellowship has only existed for a few years, I hope to help shape the ways in which we research, produce, and share our fellowship work. It was so evident to me that Perkins&Will is a family of purpose-driven designers— storytellers committed towards social-impact, researchers inspiring positive change, and innovators that put people first. There’s no other place I’d want to start my career in healthcare architecture.

What do you hope to learn from the experience?
I hope to learn how to approach unfamiliarity with confidence. I’m eager to learn the fundamental components that make up hospitals and healing spaces as they are designed today. I’m curious to understand what methods work in mending our post COVID-19 environments. I hope to learn about the entire process of designing a hospital from schematic design to occupancy. I hope to grow technical competency in healthcare standards and healthcare building code and specifications. I’m interested in seeing how projects are cared for once they are built, and how building occupants utilize designed spaces. I’m interested in seeing how civil engineers and contractors are integrated throughout healthcare design.

Has your mentor and colleagues given you the support, training, and resources to accomplish your goals?
Everyone at the firm is or will eventually be a mentor that I can learn from! I feel comfortable asking tons of questions, knowing that my mentors and colleagues always welcome them. I’ve had just the right amount of guidance to push me towards my goals while also teaching me how to problem solve on different projects/with different teams.

What anticipated goals and experiences were you most excited about when joining Perkins&Will?
I was excited to learn from how a firm like Perkins&Will thinks, designs, and communicates. Since most of my previous professional experiences have been more focused in engineering and construction administration, I was so excited to get the opportunity to work in a design firm, let alone of a firm I’ve greatly admired. It’s taken me many years of experiences and long nights at the studio to realize what design means to me, and I’m so happy to get to finally embrace this aspect of myself.

Choosing the New York City Studio was very deliberate, having access to many of our firm’s healthcare leaders, as well as the studio having a high percentage of healthcare projects in their portfolio. I chose New York City with the goal to challenge myself to design in environments with layered histories, structural complexities, and complicated logistics. My main goal is simple: I want to absorb as much knowledge and experience as possible to become a better designer.

What do you hope to do, see, or experience in the city where your fellowship is taking place?
I hope to attend (and one day be a part of) more art exhibitions, open mics, comedy shows, and events that speak to the heart and character of the city. I want to explore the sides of New York City that are less known! I plan to do urban sketching of some of my favorite buildings and landscapes throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. I have a goal to try out every pizza place in the city—I have been to about 15 so far! I’m still waiting for the lucky day I win the lottery Broadway tickets.

How would you describe Perkins&Will’s company culture (3 words)?
Charming, expressive, inspiring

Fun Facts

Favorite ice cream flavor:
Adult answer: Pistachio
Inner child answer: Blue moon (It’s apparently a Midwest ice cream, and I HIGHLY everyone try it!)

How you prefer your coffee:
Two shots of espresso, cream, no sugar! If we’re feeling fancy, I love cappuccinos.

World’s best restaurant (in your opinion):
The Blue Llama in Ann Arbor, MI. It’s a jazz club with intimate seating, so you’re immersed in an incredible experience with talented jazz musicians. It was my first time trying a nine-course meal, where every dish was a piece of art (and yes, we were actually full after dinner!)

The one song that always makes you feel like dancing:
“I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston