If someone were to ask a group of people what architecture and a tuxedo have in common, the answers would more than likely vary between functionality and aesthetics.  Fashion has long been synonymous with clothing and the textile industry. It’s no wonder the term – fashion show- refers to an exhibition for clothing and related accessories.  But the word fashion is actually defined as “the process of making or shaping of something.”  It wasn’t until the 1500s that the term became representative of the idea of a “prevailing custom” or “popular style of dress” by a group of people acting together.  The truth is fashion affects almost every aspect of our daily lives.  The influence of trends in today’s society is ever increasing, and professionals of every industry recognize the importance of capitalizing on them.  Over the course of history many fashionable trends have emerged in architecture as a result of explorations.  To name a few; structural expression, expression of form, sustainable design, integrated building technology, as well as material and ornamental expression. 

An exploration similar to the aforementioned was recently investigated at the offices of Cripe Architects + Engineers.  Using excess flooring material, designers fashioned a dress to be displayed at the 2014 IIDA Fashion Through the Ages show as well as a tuxedo.  The idea behind both garments was to use the materials required by the competition to create a style of dress influenced by a previous era in clothing fashion.  The Tuxedo – designed by Frank Hindes– was designed in 3 pieces, each one intricately woven together and held in place with rivets.  The rivets served a functional purpose, as well as an aesthetic.  Lining the seams and edges of the suit, they provided an ornamental detail resemblant of metal fasteners on the exterior of a building.  This exploration was yet another example of how designers take great care in developing innovative solutions in order to solve complex problems.  Whether the client is in need of a large building facility with multiple floors, or in need of a garment made from flooring material ; careful listening, proper planning, and attention to detail are essential to good design and a quality finished product.

Written By:  Andrew Adegbamigbe

Equipment Planning and Beyond

The Equipment Planning team traveled to Phoenix, AZ to attend the 8th Annual Attainia Community Summit (ACS).  The community consists of hospitals, medical equipment planners, suppliers, GPOs, and services providers that use Attainia in their respective roles. 

While taking in the 95+ degree weather and the beautiful landscape, we were able to connect with Attainia users to learn how this powerful tool is used in other organizations.  The four day summit was jam packed with sessions that were much more than lectures, they were interactive discussions.  All participants were able to voice their opinions, concerns, requests and suggestions as it relates to the Attainia software itself and the future of healthcare as it relates to supply chain, procurement and clinical engineering as a whole. 

One very unique feature of the ACS was the opportunity for hands on education.  Attainia provided several training sessions for each software module they offer.  One of my favorite parts of ACS was the one-on-one learning lab.  It was manned daily with awesome Attainia IT staff that were open, willing and patient enough to answer any and all questions.  They even took the time to demonstrate how specific aspects of the software can work for specific projects.

Arguably, the best parts of the conference were the evening activities!  There were networking opportunities each night.  Our team connected with people from as far away as the UK and Canada and reconnected with people we partner with locally.  Best of all, we able to put faces with a names of all of the Attainia staff we have done webinars with and sent countless emails to.

Attending ACS was an information filled experience.  We look forward to applying what we have learned so that we can continue to give our clients impeccable service and be the company of first choice.

Written By:  Shawnita Washington

A few days ago someone asked me why I became an architect. As I thought through it; it seems that I am just another cliche.  When I was very young – usually when I was home sick from school – I would spend much of the day with “building blocks” making cities and sky scrapers. I would constantly draw and soon realized I was actually pretty good at it.  Coming from a family of contractors I did have some insight on design and construction; however architecture never really connected with me as a career. It seemed like a huge reach for a kid like me – a small town kid lacking in both study habits and self-confidence.

As I would find out later – others thought differently; others knew better!

What did seem to make sense was to pursue a career in either art or science – two subjects in which I did have talent and self-confidence. Serendipitously, Indiana University’s chemistry program had another opinion of my science prowess, so I quickly turned to fine arts. I didn’t think I had another choice. I really didn’t have a goal other than graduating; playing volleyball for IU; and perhaps some more dates.

Three months after graduation I got a job as a fire protection designer – not an artist – and that is when things started to change for me.  People seemed to go out of their way to help me grow in my job. I worked with quite a few characters, including several who took the time to show me the business, both as a designer and as a constructor.  I worked long hours, but did so with people who cared. I made close friends at work, in great part because these folks saw that not only could I learn quickly, but I would listen and respond. Seeing this, they graciously gave of their time to make me better.

After six months I was lead designer, within 2 years sales engineer, and then lead sales engineer. In 5 years I had learned enough about construction documents and working on job sites that a week after Angela and I got married we headed off to the University Of Kansas School Of Architecture. My experience as a contractor, working for and with people who cared gave me the confidence I was lacking.

Needless to say the idea of breaking the news to my depression era parents about leaving a high paying job to return to school, albeit architecture school, made me very nervous. I decided to break the news at a Denny’s restaurant on Shadeland Avenue. This is where I realized – I am the classic cliche. The first words out of my mom’s mouth were -“I wondered when you would get around to it. You have always wanted to be an architect, but I don’t think you knew it!”

I didn’t even know she knew what an architect was; but that was just another example of someone recognizing my talents, having confidence in me and wanting to help me be better. My mother was an excellent role model as a servant leader. While my dad taught me to have a good work ethic, my mom helped me to dream and together they told me “architecture is the combination of art and science”.  Feeling very supported by them and a loving wife, I thought I might have a shot of making this work – and Angela and I took the risk.

School went well; jobs went well with fantastic projects and I finally was able to take on a leadership role as a full-fledged project manager. Here is where for me architecture started to change. Now my job became more about planning, communication, leadership, motivation, productivity and pushing great overall design. Maybe not my design, but that didn’t matter. The question was more about finding the best way to develop and build high functioning individuals in to a high functioning team.  My building blocks were no longer wood or stone but individuals.  Helping people recognize unrealized talents; develop self-confidence based on real performance; and reach their full potential – I have enjoyed this aspect of architecture much more than I ever imagined possible.  The rewards are amazing – especially when it becomes a sustainable and learned behavior and you see it shared. It is incredible the things that can be accomplished when you are willing to invest in yourself and others are willing to care about your development and growth.  We all, regardless of position, have the opportunity to provide others with a strong foundation and springboard.

Little did I know how those building blocks of yesteryear would continue to intrigue and delight me and my love of architecture all these years later.

Earlier this month Cripe welcomed the 8th grade math classes from The Oaks Academy for their annual field trip in which they look to answer the age old question “Why do we need to study math?” Since the Spring of 2008 our talented engineers, architects and surveyors have shown these students how the same math they are learning today in algebra and geometry applies directly in resolving a draining issue or conducting a survey.

While demonstrating the evolution of survey through technology, Paul Klodzen, PLS underscored the discipline’s reliance on graphing skills and comprehension.  

Using the Pythagorean Theorem, Jennifer Lasch, PE led the group in an exercise to find the length of a line which then was then used to determine the slope of that line knowing the elevations (y) of the line.  She then showed how that line represented the curb line in a parking lot with a high point at one end and a storm inlet at the other end.  We wanted to determine if we had positive drainage (ie positive slope) and if it met the minimum design criteria that would be used.

In addition, the group looked at a fictitious lot and determined the stormwater discharge using the rational method (Q=ciA.)  They examined how the discharge rate would change depending on the type of surface on the lot (grass vs pavement or a combination thereof.)

Another interactive part of the day as when Carl Sergio and Matt Amore used the 3D Scanner to scan the students as they were sitting in  Cripe University illustrating how such technology is used in architecture projects.  The 8th graders were able to see themselves appear in 3D and understand how this technology can directly assist an architect and client in the design process. 

Cripe Architects +Engineers has long recognized the importance of both community outreach and education.  Our partnership with the Oak Academy is an important one, which benefits both the students and our staff.

In all it was a fun day for the students and the staff – the students left realizing there really is a reason to pay attention in math class and the staff left being glad  had all those years ago.


Aug 24

Inner DNA

Carl Sergio and I recently had a chance to compete in a small design competition called the “1×20 Competition.”  The goal of the competition was to come up with 20 different design solutions for the same urban lot located in downtown Indianapolis.

The competition was conducted by AIA Home Tour and involved a lot in the historic St. Joseph’s neighborhood downtown.    The concept of the competition was to address a common problem of abandoned lots in urban settings.  There were no other constraints for the competition other than the specific site.

Each entry had to contain the below site perspective as the overriding site image.  We were able to alter the image however we saw fit.  But this particular image had to make up the background of the project.

We took this  design opportunity to address the problem of individual neighborhood identities within a larger urban fabric.  Our proposal focused not on recreating the past, like what is typically done in historic neighborhoods, but rather on taking cues from the past, both social and built.  Our proposal featured historical images and information, presented on a modular panel system.  This panel system was meant to echo materials and makeup of local building methods.

These installations could then be placed throughout the city, in specific neighborhoods, creating a network of neighborhood identities within the larger urban fabric.  The chosen neighborhood vignettes offer a snapshot of the character of each individual neighborhood.

Carl and I really enjoyed the opportunity to stretch our creative thinking on a small local project and we were fortunate enough to be chosen as one of the 20 entries to be put on display at the Harrison Center for the Arts during the month of September.



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Comments Off on Sustainability- The Solar Decathlon (2010)

The concept of “sustainability” is an issue of growing importance both here at Cripe and in the world at large.  Driven by a desire to conserve resources, it is primarily achieved through an increase in energy efficiency, whether that means the energy used to create the building materials, and building itself, or an ongoing energy efficiency as the building consumes resources once occupied.  For more in-depth information on this topic, see Jennifer Lasch’s recent post here:

Our Energy & Facilities department serves clients to save money on the ongoing long-term costs of building operations.  The Solar Decathlon is an initiative by the U.S. Department of Energy to encourage research and development in the academic world regarding both efficient usage of materials and also ongoing energy consumption by a building.  Many fantastic new building methods, materials usages, and energy management strategies/technologies have arisen out of this competition that is still in its infancy.

I recently discovered an article about the winner of the 2010 Solar Decathlon, and was amazed at the scope/scale of the project coming out of an architecture program, and also pleased to see that it came from the relatively modest school where I had the fantastic opportunity to study abroad for a semester in 2009- The Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, or IaaC, in Barcelona.  Even the fact that its name is in English speaks to its intent to be an international program, and they draw students from around the world.

The 2010 winner, FabLab House, is well documented from inception to full-scale construction in Madrid, on the official blog for the house.  It’s worth a look, and an impressive project to come out of a very small architecture program in Barcelona’s gentrifying former light-industry Poblenou neighborhood.  The project also received many nice writeups on various architecture blogs and publications (credit pernell). It’s important for us in the practicing world to stay in tune with what is happening in academia, because it can inform our future work in many practical and useful ways- and keep us excited about Architecture!

As engineers, architects, interior designers, energy and facility advisors, owner’s reps and even as members of our community and family we are impacted by the idea of sustainability.  Sustainability has become a buzz word or target area to some, but for most of us it is the guideline of how we do things and how we choose to live our lives.

The EPA defines sustainability “as based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.  Sustainability is important to making sure that we have and will continue to have, the water, materials, and resources to protect human health and our environment. “(http://www.epa.gov/sustainability/basicinfo.htm)

In considering sustainability and its extended impacted on so many facets of our work environment, living spaces, and future footprints, it is undeniable that the ultimate success and reality of sustainable environments, communities, workspaces, schools, homes, etc. will be a function of collaborative efforts.  This provides us with an exciting and fabulous opportunity for new relationships and partnerships and new opportunities to teach and to learn.  The success of sustainability will be the collaborative efforts of people and organizations who traditionally may not have on ongoing history or relationship coming together and working together, asking new questions, delving into new areas, thinking outside the box, looking at a new perspective, applying knowledge and expertise, and sharing ideas.  This truly provides for an exciting and dynamic future.

If you are not familiar with Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES™) check out the website below and see into what the initial collaborative efforts of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ALSA) and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has grown.  Just one area of collaboration and partnerships benefiting sustainable sites.




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Comments Off on Cripe Film Festival

The third week of May, the Architecture department began what will hopefully be a monthly or bi-weekly opportunity at some lunchtime “out-of-the-classroom” learning- Architect Darin Lanich’s idea to host an Architecture Film Festival here in our very own “Cripe University”.

The inaugural film was a full-length feature (shown in two parts) called My Architect: A Son’s Journey, a documentary about Jewish-American Architect Louis Kahn’s work worldwide.  Researched, directed, and experienced by his son Nathaniel decades after Kahn’s death, the exploration of Kahn’s work served as a means for Nathaniel to learn about his father and grow closer to him postmortem (credit pernell).  The younger Kahn was 11 when his father died, and from Kahn’s second extramarital affair, so he wasn’t able to see his dad often during childhood.

Just last week the office was able to watch a short film Angle of Inspiration on Santiago Calatrava’s “Sundial Bridge” in Redding, CA as well as a TED Talk– a short video presentation from rising Danish architect Bjarke Ingels.  Upcoming TED shorts will include talks from notable Architects Thomas Heatherwick, Cameron Sinclair, Joshua Prince-Ramus, and Liz Diller.

We hope this film series will keep us inspired and more aware of the built environment worldwide, and maybe even teach us a thing or two.

Future films/shorts on the list:

  • Urbanized
  • The Pruitt-Igoe Myth
  • Eames: Architect and Painter
  • The Homes of Frank Lloyd Wright
  • The Architecture of Doom
  • Sketches of Frank Gehry
  • The Modernism of Julius Shulman
  • Rem Koolhaas: A Kind of Architect
  • How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster?
  • and many, many more if we can find them!

Very thankful for Netflix and iTunes!

Previously, my colleague, Matt Amore, wrote on the impact of listening to environment and client on design. Listening is one of those things we all know to be essential to daily life.  Yet, how often do we really do it? And when we do, are we any good at it? And how does it impact our relationships with colleagues, clients, family and friends?

There is a science and art to listening. The science of listening is pretty straight forward, so today I want to focus on the art of listening.    Ask yourself when was the last time you listened to someone – clearly, with intent and without agenda. Not as simple as it seems.  Many factors impact our ability to truly listen:

Time constraints – when someone says “do you have a minute?” – do you really?  Are you able to really listen or will you just go through the motions due to time issues? Many times this type of “listening” results in misunderstood information / intent, wasted effort and frustration.  Being ready to listen not only is productive, but also sends a real message to the other person that you are receptive to what they have to say and leaves the other person with a sense of satisfaction of being heard – of being valued.

Intent – When you “listen” are you actually silently arguing or constructing your response for the exact moment they stop for air? Are you “listening to learn” or “listening to prove”? Next time take note of any agendas, assumptions or biases you may have – leave the baggage at the door – and listen – then formulate your response.

Filters – Receptive listening is difficult as often we have intentional or unintentional filters through which we listen.  Usually one has different filters with different people. At times trust plays a role in how thick and dulling those filters are.  Familiarity may also lend itself to a preconceived notion (filter) of what someone is going to say.  Do you stop listening at a certain point and just assume you know what direction the person is going?

Recently I came across Dr. Mark Goulston, who has authored the book “Just Listen”.  Take a look at this video in which he shares a special meeting he had regarding listening.  Mark suggests that the best way to develop good listeners is to give them a taste of being listened to.  Ready to listen?  Enjoy!

Let me know how it works for you.  I am eager to learn of any new thoughts on listening.

Many people have heard the terms 3D laser scanning, 3D Surveying, or High Definition Surveying, but exactly what do those terms mean?  Do they mean the same thing?  What is it all about?  Is it magic?  Smoke and mirrors?  Not exactly.  Indeed, mirrors are involved, but this is definitely no illusion.  To me, all of the above terms can be used to describe the same cutting edge surveying technique.  Throughout this blog I’ll refer to the term High Definition Surveying (HDS).

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