By Christopher Reinhart, Director | Sustainability + Research

Complexity and Order. A rich field of sensory information that contains hierarchy and thematic organization. The plaza outside Bloomington City hall opens up for a delightful moment of urban prospect. Having moments to view our surroundings over a bit of distance, especially within urban environments, is wonderfully calming. Here, the experience is coupled with the richness of natural and built forms that play off of one another through a landscape that riffs on the local heritage of connection to stone (quarrying) and wood (furniture-making).

On a crisp and sunny morning early this month, a small group started our day sipping toasty coffee and nibbling on tasty lemon poppyseed muffins from the local co-op, Bloomingfoods. We sat on the sunny outdoor plaza on the south side of The Mill, “Bloomington’s center of gravity for innovators, remote workers, entrepreneurs, and creators,” where Cripe’s Bloomington office is located. This lovely outdoor space is at the heart of the Trades District, a focal point of recent and continuing development in the city. We gathered here not just to enjoy some camaraderie, our morning treats, and a beautiful Bloomington day, but also to discuss biophilia and biophilic design, and how we find it around us in the spaces we inhabit each day.

This event was hosted by the Bloomington Living Future Collaborative, a local advocacy group which I co-facilitate, dedicated to the restorative work of the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), whose mission is to “lead the transformation toward a civilization that is socially just, culturally rich, and ecologically restorative.” There are many local collaboratives around the country and the world, like ours, that provide education and engagement opportunities in our local communities to encourage positive transformation of our built environment.

And on this delightful fall morning, we weren’t the only ones gathered to discuss the human-nature connection and how it can be expressed through design to enrich our daily lives. In Columbus, Ohio, another Living Future Collaborative was gathered around the same concept. The idea to have these gatherings in various cities throughout the Ohio Valley was the brainchild of Andy McIntyre, Regional Sales Manager for Kingspan Insulated Panels. At the Living Future “unConference” several years ago, Andy heard that the collaborative in Australia had a done a “walking beauty tour,” and the idea stuck with him.

As Andy thought about doing a similar event here stateside, he realized that it would be a great opportunity to build regional connections. “The Ohio Valley region has all these things in common… when you look at the climate and the building archetypes, the people doing business in the region, the people designing in these areas… we all have a lot in common in terms of our challenges and similarities,” he told me. Based on a suggestion from ILFI’s Sunni Wissmer, Andy decided to call the event #ResilientBeauty—the hashtag being a way that participants from around the region could tag the photos that we took on our walks so that we could all see what others were up to. Searching the hashtag would yield a tapestry of photographs highlighting the beauty and human-nature connection expressed throughout the Ohio Valley region. The title also references the upcoming Building Resilience conference, in Cleveland, Ohio on November 7 and 8.

What lies beyond? Mystery. One of the evolved human-nature connections of biophilia. Hints that beckon us through sight, sound, or smell. The B-Line Trail in Bloomington offers moments of mystery and anticipation along its curving path.

As we round the bend on the B-Line at the Showers plaza, the trail spills into a space of biomorphic forms and patterns, material connections with nature, and complexity and order.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In both Columbus and here in Bloomington, the event began with a discussion and overview of biophilia and biophilic design. The scientist E.O. Wilson has described biophilia as the innate connection between humans and nature. Biophilic design is an approach that centers around this connection, seeks to understand the physiological and psychological effects it has on people, and develops patterns for practically implementing these ideas into designs. At the forefront of this practice is Terrapin Bright Green, a firm that has published many wonderful resources on the web related to biophilic design. In Bloomington, we used their report “14 Patterns of Biophilic Design: Improving Health and Well-Being in the Built Environment” as the basis for our conversation.

As we talked through the various patterns of biophilic design, participants shared ways that they have experienced these patterns in their homes, workplaces and cities. This conversational approach allowed everyone, even those not previously familiar with biophilic design, to get a feel for the concepts and patterns that we would be looking for as we explored the B-Line Trail, a rails-to-trails project that forms a curving spine—the backbone of our pedestrian and bicycle network—that runs through our city and adjacent to The Mill. Attendees were given a handout with the patterns listed to refer back to during our walk on the B-Line, as we sought to find these patterns expressed around us.

This sculpture at Bloomington’s City Hall has material connections to nature (a local material, limestone, and check out the detailed biomorphic sculptural textures in the upper left), and also provides a place of refuge for Farmer’s Market goers that are looking for a quiet moment away from the bustle.

Refuge. A space where individuals can feel protected from behind and overhead and out of the flow of activity. Another of the evolved human-nature connections of biophilia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our group began as a small core of four people, but as we walked, talked, and photographed our way along the B-Line and through the Farmer’s Market, we engaged many more friends that we encountered in our adventure. I was delighted to see some of our participants eagerly sharing their new knowledge with others. Biophilic design is easy-to-understand, and once you begin seeing the patterns at work, you can start to see them expressed in big and small ways all around us. Everyone left the event in great spirits and with a much better understanding of biophilic design.

The Columbus, Ohio, event was also a big success, drawing fourteen people. Johnna Keller, co-facilitator of the Columbus Living Future Collaborative and event organizer told me, “I was pleasantly surprised that the event drew people from all walks of life—not just from the building profession but also from the community at large. I thought a beautiful outcome of the event was that people were connecting with this idea of biophilia and biophilic design on a new level, not necessarily on a design level but more on a human, instinctual level.”

Johnna, like myself, is a design professional with a focus on sustainability, and we were both delighted to find a meaningful way to engage non-designers with a topic that may be new and unfamiliar, but that has a profound impact on the ways we feel in our built environments. Oftentimes, design can seem inscrutable because it is cloaked in technical language. Experiences like this, that help people connect through their senses with design principles, help overcome the barriers of technical jargon and generate an understanding that anyone can carry forward to positively impact their environments.

Peril. A controlled amount of risk in our environment creates delight. The presence of water is a strong biophlic design element, enhancing our experience of space through the senses of sight, sound, and touch, and also introducing a small amount of peril that children (and adults) can’t resist engaging with.

Because of the success of the events, and the positive feedback we received from all those that attended, Andy, Johnna, and I have already begun brainstorming for a similar event for next year, with a fun new twist—a photographic scavenger hunt for biophilic design principles! If you are interested in this event or similar events, feel free to email me and join the Bloomington Living Future Collaborative mailing list. In the meantime, you can learn more about biophilic design through the ILFI’s Biophilic Design Initiative. Look around you in your home and workspace and discover ways that biophilic design is already a part of your life. What new ways can you find to strengthen the human-nature connection in the spaces you inhabit?

In 2015, Cripe began working with Near East Area Renewal (NEAR) in partnership with TWG studying the redevelopment of Minnie Hartmann/School 78.

The existing buildings were completely rehabbed including masonry repair, extensive site redevelopment with storm water capture, new interior finishes, new windows, plumbing systems, electrical infrastructure and lighting.  A charming rain forest mural at the western end of the 1929 building’s main corridor was preserved in homage to the school.  There were opportunities to salvage and reuse existing finishes, particularly the classroom maple floors in the 1929 building.  The completed project provides 64 units of affordable senior adult housing and is completely accessible to the disabled on all levels.  This is no mean feat given that the only floor in the structure that is continuous is the main level proper.

An 11,000 square foot day care will be built in 2020 creating an early learning center for approximately 120 children.  The result will be an intergenerational facility with programs engaging children and seniors under one roof, the first of its kind in Indiana.  The Institute for Family Studies notes: “Should seniors and toddlers go to day care together? It’s a strange sounding question, but a growing number of day care  facilities around the country say yes. And an emerging body of research suggests that doing so is good for both the young and old.” 

Historic Sensitivity

The existing building consists of the 1929 school and two additions, an addition on the east in the 1950s and on the west in the 1960s.  New construction was added on the north creating a “U” shaped plan.  The new building includes brick veneer and cast stone accents at the first story in response to the original building’s brick and stone.  The second and third floors of the new building use durable fiber cement siding in warm tones to complement the existing masonry.

Environmental Responsibility

It has been said that the greenest building is the one that already exists—a comment that is especially true when the design of the renovations prioritizes energy efficiency and green features.

Minnie Hartmann Center has received a National Green Building Standard (NGBS) Emerald rating with several features deserving mention.  First, a sunken courtyard contains seating, a walking path and a central planted area using native plants, shrubs and flowers.  This courtyard collects all site storm water, which is routed into a dry well beneath the plantings.  The building is energy efficient with high performance windows and continuous spray foam at interior walls.  The roof was replaced with supplemental insulation on the 1929 and 1950s building and repaired on the 1960s building.  In addition, in the 1929 building, all existing hardwood floors were left in place, repaired and reused.  Water efficient fixtures are used throughout along with LED lighting.

The transformation of Minnie Hartmann School into the Minnie Hartmann Center is the first significant new construction in this part of the city in decades.  The Owner hopes the result will be a catalyst for revitalization of a blighted neighborhood.

Cripe always enjoys hosting the 8th graders of The Oaks Academy for our annual Math Matters program. On Wednesday May 10, 2017, we hosted our 9th annual Math Matters program for The Oaks Academy 8th graders. Thirty-two students and two teachers gathered in the conference room to learn about surveying, civil engineering, and architecture. Within these fields math is used every day, so we bring the students in to get them excited about our industry and Cripe. The bright-eyed students listened attentively to each speaker and asked great questions, showing their interest.

As a Talent + Brand Intern on my second day of work, I was still confused about the work of surveyors, civil engineers, and architects. I knew the basics, but helping with Math Matters allowed me to understand what Cripe does. One of the biggest takeaways: computers are very helpful, but they aren’t everything. The 8th graders were tasked with creating a Shepherd’s Shelter out of sugar cubes focusing on protecting the Shepherd from the weather elements at different times of the year. The students had to account for different sun angles and wind patterns. They really enjoyed the activity, and some even ate the sugar cubes.

Cripe looks forward to this program every year. We continue to host this program to help students keep an open mind about careers with math. It was refreshing to see kids that were eager to learn and excited to be at Cripe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hannah Rosenberger is a Talent + Brand Intern. She is a rising senior at IUPUI working toward a major in Human Resource Management and a minor in Spanish.

Old National Bank teamed up with a charity

hoping by the end it will bring prosperity.

Center for Leadership Development has been chosen

to be the inaugural for Indy’s explosion.

100 Men Who Cook became the event

auction and music was also present.

 

CLD strengthens the community

students are provided with selections of opportunity.

Learning to feel inspired and help others in need

pursue career goals and achievements to succeed.

On a mission for a promising future

looking forward to their own adventure.

 

Parading in with an apron and a hat

100 men who can cook, just look at that.

Dismissed for dinner, it’s so unreal

getting served by chefs their home cooked meal.

Drop some change for your favorite dish

proceeds will help the charity flourish.

 

Chief Dennis and Mike are Cripe’s contenders

wraps are prepared by their sous chef vendors.

Selling out of their samples, if it’s to be

Networking with people, it’s up to me.

Overall raised $205,000, we want to mention

So proud to contribute at this convention.

Written By:  Jaclyn Altstadt | Civil Design Associate

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Cripe has partnered with The Oaks Academy since 2008 for the “Math Matters” event, which allows 8th grade students to visit the office and learn about what the company does and how the professionals here do their jobs and work as a team.  These visits are an interesting topic for me personally as I have now been on both sides of the visit.  My 8th grade class was the first class to visit back in 2008.  Despite the fact that I missed the school sponsored visit due to a high school shadow day, the folks at Cripe were nice enough to allow me to come and shadow an engineer on my own to get a similar experience to the one I had missed out on.  Cripe has continued to invite The Oaks 8th grade classes back each year hoping to teach more students about the disciplines that are involved in engineering, architecture, surveying and real estate.  The visits are designed to teach the students about the everyday life of a professional working at Cripe.  They also convey to students an encouraging idea that the math and science courses they are taking are important and will benefit them in their future careers.

Members of The Oaks 8th grade class making a sugar cube building.

Members of The Oaks 8th grade class making a sugar cube building.

Seven years later, I have now been hired on as a Site Design Intern at Cripe.  I am thrilled to be back in a place that really gave my goals and talents a direction way back in the 8th grade.  On May 29th, the current Oaks 8th grade class came to Cripe for their yearly field trip.  This time was very cool and special for me personally for two reasons.  The first being that I got to talk to the students that visited about my experiences here at Cripe and tell them all about how that visit really got my wheels turning and started me on the path toward Civil Engineering and Surveying that I am on today.  The second was that my younger sister Emily is a part of the 8th grade class this year and she got to see all of the interesting and fun things that I saw seven years ago. We are very similar in a lot of our interests and in talking about our Cripe visits we found that to be even truer as she was also very excited about all the things she learned during her classes’ visit.  It was really awesome to see how Cripe as a company cares about the community that they are in and cares about the lives they can affect.  They really enjoy investing in the lives of the students at The Oaks through our educational partnership, not to mention all of their other service ventures in the community.  I am very happy to be a part of Cripe this summer and I hope that I am able to do my part in contributing to our company as well as our community.

Me sharing my experiences and journey to an internship with Cripe.

Me sharing my experiences and journey to an internship with Cripe.

 


Josh Padgett is a Civil Engineering intern with Cripe.  He studies Civil Engineering at Purdue University and will be a senior in the fall.

 

 

Cripe was honored to be a part of the national Herman Miller We Care event sponsored by Office Works on December 4th, 2014. We Care brings together interior designers and architecture firms across the country to collaborate with children who are members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to create Christmas gifts and ornaments that they can share with their families.

The Cripe team chose to make wreaths made of a pipe cleaner, colored pasta, beads, a bell and a hook to be hung on the Christmas tree. Our craft was a success! Even the smallest of the children were able to proudly create their wreath on their own. The atmosphere was festive and all of the children were excited to have an opportunity to give a gift to their parents, grandparents and caregivers.

A big thank you to Herman Miller and Office Works for giving us the opportunity to share the joy of the holiday spirit with the children at the Lily Boys & Girls Club Indianapolis and bring a smile to the faces of the young people in our community.

Written by: Shawnita Washington

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Literacy in America has always been a major topic of discussion and a crucial point of concern for our communities as well as the nation as a whole. With the recent turbulent changes in global economy, the importance of higher education is paramount now more than ever. In order for young adults of today and future generations to be able to compete in increasingly globalized job markets, they must learn to define their career paths as early as possible. There are a great number of programs and initiatives dedicated to this cause, and majority of them are always looking for more volunteers to help support the cause. Cripe is committed to supporting these programs that help to build and sustain our communities. I recently had the opportunity to participate on behalf of Cripe in the Read Across America program on March 2nd 2014 at the Riverside 44 Elementary school, as well as the ongoing ACE Mentorship Program. On the surface, these gestures may appear to some as merely a show of community involvement, but the reality is it goes beyond that. As we interacted with the students, the impact became more apparent in their reception towards adults who weren’t their teachers, taking time out to help them learn something new. Whether they were kindergartners being read the Cat in the hat book, or high school students working through a whole building design project, they all shared one thing in common; they cared about learning at least in that brief moment. As individuals and corporate organizations, it is understandable in this day and age that our commitments might be somewhat restricting with regards to what we can invest our time in. However, the truth of the matter is that the most valuable thing we can invest in is our future.

 

-Written by Andrew Adegbamigbe-

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.

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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.