Working in Vermont

by Matt Bushey, May 24, 2011

Ever wonder what it’s like working in an architecture firm in the small, rural state of Vermont?  Like many of my colleagues, I came (or in my case: returned) to Vermont after spending time working in a much different environment. I speak of the cities that form the heart of American architecture: cities that cultivate hundreds of firms that employ thousands of people, developing the urban fabric, expanding the discourse, and pushing American architecture to the next phase in its evolution. Boston, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles: these are the places we think of when we consider where American Architecture is born.
It can be a bit of a culture shock to leave an architecture firm in one of these bustling urban centers to land in our little spot by the Lake. Thinking back to my time in the city, I’ve often pondered the differences between these urban offices and our typical workday in Vermont.
So here are my Top Five ways working in a Vermont design firm is different from those in New York City (or Boston, or Chicago…)
  1. Learning to incorporate the cow into your design scheme.
  2. Sharing workspace with the office dogs.
  3. We are truly your neighbors: bumping into your client at the grocery store.
  4. Fewer ties.
  5. A heightened recognition of the natural environment, an appreciation of its influence on our lives, and a sensitivity to the impact our buildings have on our world. Yes, there are people in all the major cities making progress in the area of green design, but in Vermont I’ve found a greater focus on environmental stewardship. Look out your window and chances are you have a view of the mountains, or the lake, or both. The natural environment defines who we are as Vermonters. It is the basis of our lifestyle, our economy, and our architecture.

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