Jill is the project manager and lead designer for Behnisch Architekten’s (soon-to-be) first built project in the Middle East. Parcel 1.11 is located in the prestigious King Abdullah Financial District of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. This building, developed by an international design team to appropriately respond to the cultural and environmental conditions of the location, is currently under construction. Through numerous visits to Riyadh, Jill has had the opportunity to gain a firsthand understanding of the culture and valuable insights into the professional and personal challenges for women in Saudi Arabia.
Additionally, Jill is conducting research, with the support of Behnisch, on re-imagining learning environments to find innovative, community-orientated approaches to inspire creativity and better equip children with the knowledge and skills relevant today. Jill feels solutions and ideas that are formulated through an interdisciplinary, cohesive approach to be the most captivating. During her years of extensive work and travel around the world, Jill has developed an understanding that successful and engaging spaces emerge from respect for the cultural uniqueness of place. Therefore, while the process for creating today’s learning environments can be applied to many different communities, the results may be drastically different in each community.
For Jill, the two most important factors of her architectural education at Northeastern were cooperative education and studio experience. While working in architectural offices during co-op periods, Jill was positioned to be competitive at top firms upon graduation. She found the studio atmosphere at Northeastern to be exceptional. She contributes this to both the physical space (every student is provided with his or her own desk in studio) and the people. As society becomes increasingly mobile due to technological advances, the physical studio space that allows for both formal and informal human connections – exchange of knowledge – is essential. The office atmosphere at the European architectural firm where Jill works, which receives the majority of its work through competitions, has many similar qualities to the architecture studio at Northeastern. As a result, Jill made the transition from university to the professional world with tremendous ease.
While at Northeatern, Jill was fortunate to work on substantial interdisciplinary research with Governor Michael Dukakis (Distinguished Professor of Political Science), Dr. Robin Chandler (Associate Professor of African American Studies), and many others. Being able to reach beyond the architectural curriculum, to courses offered by the many other prestigious departments at Northeastern, was profoundly influential for Jill and helped her developed leadership skills while learning from talented individuals with different perspectives and approaches.
Jill feels it is critical for students to develop their talent and broaden their perspectives rather than solely developing technical skills. Jill encourages all students to explore course offerings outside their department or school of study, as it may offer new and exciting opportunities that can result from interdisciplinary study and collaboration