Design in Capital Planning: Q&A with Marc Partridge

Design in Capital Planning

The University of Minnesota’s Capital Planning and Project Management recently hired Marc Partridge (BA ’79 Arch, MArch ’84) for a new role: Manager of Design. We asked him a few questions to understand his new position and why capital planning needs designers.

Are you the only architect on staff? 

No, there are some architects within Capital Planning and Project Management already. Our new paradigm is to provide design architects to coordinate design across all the UMN campuses, as well as advocate for design on major projects. We work with the architecture and engineering firms actually designing the projects.

What does your design experience bring to the table in your new role? 

Hopefully, I can bring more design continuity to the UMN work – refining University standards for design while assisting the architecture and engineering firms to forward their work. Teaching has also helped, stepping outside the design to provide a broader view.

What are you learning from your teammates? 

The University is a vast institution–you have to know the ins and outs of the bureaucracy, and the history of the campus. The Capital Planning and Project Management staff knows the U inside and out. On the major projects, there is integration between the Design and Construction groups. We also mesh with the Planning group to coordinate site design and actual building design.

How is this position different from your role as Associate Principal at RSP Architects? Which projects are you most excited about? 

Everything is different–although architectural design helps ground the role. Many private firms team with national design talent, this is very similar. It’s been great to engage with some of the best designers locally and nationally and hear from them.

Do you know of other universities who employ architects to head planning, rather than partnering with a firm? 

A few other major universities have this design component (again, partnering with architecture and engineering firms–we don’t do the actual design), but we hope to make it truly robust, coordinating design from the macro planning scale to individual building and site design.

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