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Lunch and Learn: DDC’s Design Work

On July 30, New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Deputy Director of Architecture Jenny Gillette and Motoko Shoboji, Senior Project Manager with the Public Buildings Division presented to 31 students across New York City. They introduced architectural design work at DDC during the STEAM Virtual Lunch and Learn Series. Lunch and Learn is a one hour interactive presentation by DDC professionals speaking about their current role, career path and education.

Ms. Gillette and Ms. Shoboji discussed their respective careers, the global nature of their work and the importance of designing buildings and infrastructure that are resilient, sustainable, and equitable. They also discussed the American’s Disabilities Act (ADA) and the importance of making civic structures compliant with the ADA. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability. The ADA requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, and imposes accessibility requirements on public accommodations.

“As a city we strive to make NYC more accessible,” said Deputy Commissioner for Community Partnerships and Stem Initiatives, Lee Llambelis. “It is critically important that residents and visitors with disabilities be fully included in every facet of daily life.”

“The portfolio of projects the city receives is tremendous. It is exciting and inspiring to serve the community, regardless of their income status. All you need to do is live and visit here and you can experience all of it too,” said Jenny Gillette, DDC’s Deputy Director of Architecture.

“We incorporate the needs and accessibility of public and private clients. I’ve worked on various projects like police precincts, community centers, homes, and plazas. We tried our best to make it sustainable for the environment as well,” said Motoko Shoboji, DDC Public Buildings Division’s Senior Project Manager.

Deputy Director Gillette’s project work

Artist renderings of umbrella canopies, escalation enclosures and multiple specialty sculptures

Deputy Director Gillette explained how she developed multiple specialty sculptures for a large Chinese firm that included umbrella canopies and escalation enclosures. The umbrella canopies were designed to shield civilians from the rain and the escalation enclosures used glass and aluminum together in a creative and artistic way. She highlighted how working with global clients and sophisticated technicians and engineers help broaden her experience and showcase her skills.

Deputy Director Gillette lead an in-house design team to create a comfortable and safe space in police precincts that followed all requirements and accommodations for Desk Accessibility and the Americans with Disability Act. She explained how her team challenged themselves to provide a space where everyone can feel safe and protected at all times.

specimen collection test sites

Specimen Collection Modules

Both Ms. Shoboji and Ms. Gillette have been working on Specimen Collection Modules -- tents that can be used for testing for COVID-19. These tents have been built all over the city and set up in schools to get NYC residents tested quickly and safely. The photos show the installation process where tubes were incorporated into the design to ventilate air, making it clean and cool.

Jenny Gillette, RA, serves as the Deputy Director of Architecture for the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC). Working with communities throughout the city’s five boroughs with the design, construction, and management of new and renovated structures such as libraries, police precincts, courthouses, and senior centers. Prior to joining the public sector, she worked at several private design firms, managing diverse groups of designers, engineers, and building professionals to deliver a wide range of project typologies including custom façade systems, single and multi-family residential buildings, and healthcare facilities in under-resourced environments. She has a BA from Barnard College and a Master’s degree in architecture from the University of Texas at Austin.

Motoko Shoboji is a Senior Project Manager with the DDC Public Buildings Division’s Police Unit. Born and raised in Tokyo she has lived, studied, and worked in 10 different cities across five countries. After she and her husband moved to New York City in 2009, their love of the city’s diversity and energy made them decide to stay and raise a family. Ms. Shoboji has an BA in Economics at Waseda University in Tokyo and a Master of Architecture from the Southern California Institute of Architecture. Motoko has designed innovative and environmentally responsive projects at Coop Himmelb(l)au, Behr Browers Architects, and David Hertz FAIA Architects, as well as been in part of the strategic planning of the campus renovations for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

About the NYC Department of Design and Construction

The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $14 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to City projects. For more information, please visit