Our two first clients in 1937 are still our clients today.
Yes. You read that right. We have had our first clients remain loyal clients for 83 years. Here at Cripe, we think that means we’re doing something right.
There are so many things that go into making these lasting partnerships happen. Paul I. Cripe built an outstanding foundation all those years ago and we’re proud to say that we continue to build on these foundations, update them to serve the needs of existing and new clients and utilize new technologies to meet the ever-evolving and modern demands of the various industries we serve.
To maintain such long-lasting client relationships though, Mr. Cripe understood that there was a bigger, more holistic picture than just delivering innovative design solutions. He created core values which included, Accountability, Integrity and Community Service.
He turned those values into a blueprint comprising of The Cripe Way, Cripe Leadership Model and Cripe Charitable Foundation. These all still stand today in order to best serve all our clients across our internal departments and external market sectors and industries.
The Cripe Way is many things, but overall it embodies the quote Mr. Cripe liked best: “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” This simple saying is known by every single employee at Cripe and they live it every day with every client and their colleagues. The Cripe Way is a project management tool that we live by at Cripe so that we can serve our clients without having details fall through the cracks. Above all else, it stresses the importance of communications and meetings with clients so that we know exactly what they’re looking for, schedules to keep everyone on track, quality control along the way to ensure efficiency and understanding not only our client’s businesses, but their perspectives as well.
The Cripe Leadership Model is more of an internal structure that we use to measure how well our employees are doing across several markers that we find highly important at Cripe. These values range from professionalism to living Cripe values. Checking in like this and having important conversations about internal performance ensures that we are giving our absolute best to our clients. Our employees are always willing to learn and grow to continue to best serve not only the clients, but their colleagues as well.
If you’ve been following us or reading our blogs, you know how important community service is. With the establishment of the Cripe Charitable Foundation, we’ve donated over a million education focused dollars, our employees volunteer over 65 hours per year on average and our employees support over 132 community organizations of their choosing. We are invested in our clients of course, but that goes so much further that providing design solutions. We’re invested in improving the communities in which we live, work and play and those communities include our clients, their businesses and even their families.
83 years after Mr. Cripe laid the foundations, employees are still living by those values and that’s why we can proudly say that we’ve had a few of the same clients since our founding in 1937.
1937 seems like a long time ago and it really was. Cripe had a simple beginning as a survey firm. It was not the firm of 2020 that it is now, providing architecture and civil engineering in addition to the original survey services. And those services just skim the surface. We’ve expanded into medical equipment planning, real estate services, interior design work and so much more.
83 years may seem like a long time, but we haven’t stopped moving and growing and expanding into new services and market sectors. Over those 83 years we’ve done projects from airports to college campuses to parks to hospitals. We’re not stopping there either. In the last few years, we’ve increased our focus on re-purposing previously standing spaces and sustainability.
Don’t be alarmed when you see that Cripe has been in business since 1937. It doesn’t mean our business practices are stagnant. Our employees and leadership are constantly learning and bettering themselves as architects, engineers and surveyors. Continuing to educate ourselves is so important and continuing to enhance our practices with new technology has made us the firm we are today and the firm we are continuing to grow into.
The foundation of our company laid out by Paul I. Cripe is still strong underneath the new practices we’ve utilized. To this day, our company culture revolves around the principles laid down by our founder.
Mr. Cripe understood that to holistically serve our clients, delivering innovative design solutions was not the whole picture. He believed a firm must embody the core values of Accountability, Integrity and Community Service. This valued blueprint brought into being The Cripe Way (Accountability), Cripe Leadership Model (Integrity) and Cripe Charitable Foundation (Community Service).
Every team member knows the story of the watch. In the early years, Mr. Cripe pawned his prized pocket watch to meet payroll. The watch – a living reminder of true servant leadership and accountability– sits in our CEO’s office today. When Mr. Cripe said, “If It is to be; it’s up to me” – he meant it – and so do we.
What does this mean for you? Whether you are a client, a partner firm, a community partner or anyone else know that our celebrated project management skills that were set down from the beginning and sharpened over time will get the results you want. Our staff, comprised of lifelong learners, will get the job done no matter what obstacles, known or unknown, come their way.
We understand that we are part of a community bigger than ourselves. We give our very best to each project, knowing that it will enhance the community whether it is a college campus, skate park or medical office building. We also know how important it is to give back to those communities in which we work, live and play. As a company we participate in many philanthropic events a year, going so far as to dedicate one whole day a year as our Day of Service. In addition, we do a Giving Tree holiday drive that benefits a family in our community and our interns choose a philanthropic organization and organize events and fundraisers to benefit that organization over the summer they spend at Cripe.
It doesn’t stop there. Cripe employees are so active in the community on their own that we host an award ceremony to recognize the change these employees are enacting in their communities and it’s always hard for the committee to choose just one winner each year.
83 years is a very long time. But we’re not frozen in time at Cripe. Each and every one of those years has brought us to new heights in the design services we offer and our community impact. We couldn’t get to those heights if it weren’t for the very solid foundation laid down in 1937 by Paul I. Cripe. Here’s to the next 83!
By Christopher Reinhart, Director | Sustainability + Research
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
“From the beginning a canopy was envisioned as part of the project. We felt the soft light from a translucent fabric was unique for JMH and consistent with the hospital’s desire to create a new brand statement using quality architecture. We’re delighted by the reaction to the design and appreciate the support of the hospital and the community.” Sam Miller, RA, NCARB, LEED AP Senior Project Manager
Most architects and contractors will tell you that a pretty space will improve one’s mood, but did you know aesthetics in a medical space can facilitate healing?
According to John Hopkins University, aesthetic neglect can lead to increased anxiety in patients, interrupting a smooth recovery. That’s why when it comes to the Johnson Memorial Greenwood, Keystone Construction and Cripe are looking at the big picture. Although the medical team will directly treat the patients, we want the design to indirectly promote wellness.
Patients will experience the most interesting design feature before they walk through the door at Johnson Memorial Greenwood: a massive, lightweight, fabric canopy.
Fabric canopies are calming because the membrane takes a graceful, free-form shape, softening the appearance of an otherwise angular, sterile hospital environment.
“The new canopy adds an intriguing element to the building’s design and greatly enhances the curb appeal of the new Johnson Memorial Hospital structure,” Keystone Construction Project Director Bob Crowder said. “When lit at night, the canopy catches your eye from a half mile away in either direction; a feature that most buildings would like to have.”
The canopy, designed by Cripe, is as innovative as it is beautiful.
“Fabric has come a long way with the help of top-coat technology,” Eide Industries’ Matt Aulbach explained. “The TX30 fabric from Serge Ferrari is the latest example of an economic membrane solution with a 30 year life expectancy.”
Eide Industries is building the tension structure in-house from 3D CAD models and shop drawings, then assembling it on-site. The height of the canopy ranges from 13’-6” to 24’-0”, and the width ranges from 11’-3” to 38’-9”.
When it comes to Johnson Memorial Greenwood, efficiency isn’t the only thing on our checklist. We put the extra cost and time into structures that assist in patient care, yet meet the financial and operational goals of our clients.
Originally Posted by Keystone Construction Corp
By: Sam Miller, RA, NCARB, LEED AP | Senior Project Manager
Creating architecture involves balancing many variables. Design professionals hold all this lightly, meditating on what to bring forward and what to leave behind. We can think of design as living inside a container of sorts, a set of boundaries – limits on what we may do. These take many forms: a structural material can only span so far. Finishes are beautiful, but flammable, a hazard unless mitigated by a sprinkler system. A client has a limited budget. In short, boundaries are essential and real. This is design’s first question: what is needed and where are the limits?
A wise colleague and I explored the importance of boundaries almost 20 years ago during a dialogue about what we believed constituted high quality design. Without boundaries, design usually spirals into chaos. Creating and managing a quality design process demands an understanding of boundaries and the sense to know and keep track of changes as we go along. Quality design process is the heart of a successful practice.
So what happens? The strategic view is to imagine design as a continuing series of inquiries: we seek an understanding of a project’s limits, its boundaries. We gather information, synthesize a solution, and present ideas for feedback. The solution can be part of the whole or a full vision of the architecture. Once we have comments (new information) the evolving design takes up this information and the loop begins anew. Building furniture provides a good analogue: rough wood is shaped, cut, finished and assembled into the final product. Before the wood worker begins, he or she knows what is intended: perhaps a dining room table of a certain size, finish, and features. These are the boundaries, part of the program for the project. We are obliged to put a conceptual fence around a design problem whether the work is creating a potting shed or a mixed use high rise.
One of the traditional saws in architectural practice is the idea of scope, quality and cost. There’s also time or schedule, intellectual capital, and available resources in staff, skill, creativity, and technology. Beyond the intellectual or administrative work of design, there is the very real world of construction: can a local builder provide the skill to install a particular building system? Will a material choice hold up over time and meet the needs of an Owner?
Over the years we have learned that as complexity increases, a certain level of unpredictability enters, then lingers. Strange, unexpected events derail what seems straightforward. Moving decisively from question to answer gets more complicated and difficult. An answer to a question has four answers and not one. Or no answer at all. Research yields more threads to chase down.
We use the word “friction” with our clients to share the variety of uncertainties presented during design. Friction in the process takes differing forms. In any given project the design team not only answers to the client, but the requirements of building codes, climate, site, local jurisdictional requirements for zoning or utilities, specialized review requirements depending on the project, plus the impact of financing. Each of these affects design.
Here is an example of principles and boundaries in a project for a client in southern Indiana. The image below is the first notion of how to express the architecture in a manner that supports the client’s mission and communal image: modern, forward looking, innovative.
First design concept from June of 2015
The vocabulary for the building was inspired by the architecture of the client’s existing facilities and the program for a 12,000 square foot medical office building with room for two future tenants on a suburban site. Boundaries included a carefully reviewed budget process, detailed design review with the Owner’s leadership team, a relatively tight site, oversight by the State Department of Health and so on. Below is the final rendering, a close approximation of the final appearance of the building, now under construction.
Johnson Memorial Health final design now under construction
Although aspects of the appearance are shifted and morphed, the basic shape of the design has held: a distinctive canopy to easily identify the entrance, a strong overall visual image to delight the eye, a thoughtful composition of materials. This consistency is part of using boundaries as a methodology to steady a design concept for the duration of the process.
Technology and Progress in Architecture
By: Sam Miller, Senior Project Manager in the Architecture Department
In architectural practice we may come to believe that every new technology represents an improvement, real or imagined, over work from the past. Common sense suggests this is true without further inquiry, but a more fine grained look into the past and real life work reveals some interesting oppositions to this notion. One of the tensions within design is the desire to experiment with new materials and building systems to further the artistic and functional potentials of our work. Choices about materials and technologies used over time is a result of the interaction of skill, location, cost and creativity. Some technologies are lost due to shifts in how building materials are produced.
Below is a photo of the water fountain in the main lobby of Louis Sullivan’s Peoples Savings & Loan Bank in Sidney, Ohio.
Photo by Sam Miller
The green material forming the water fountain’s top is glazed terra cotta, popular in the late 19th and early 20th Century. For ornamental detail, the material was perfect for a designer like Sullivan. However, times have changed. The use of terra cotta now is almost non-existent save for a small number of historical restorations in any given year and only a few manufacturers remain. The material is very expensive, only used sparingly, if at all, by designers.
Many ancient materials remain in continuous use today and have been improved via technology. Brick is an example: current use of brick is ubiquitous in modern construction and the material effectively comes in nearly unlimited color, texture and size. Also, materials are adapted to mimic others and provide superior durability at often lower cost. For example, architectural precast concrete sometimes takes the place of limestone. Precast concrete is often touted for greater durability and lower price. The size of pieces needed, size of structure, detail, and lead time play into the design team’s choices as well.
The question we often ask ourselves in day to day practice is: How does a particular technology improve what we do? There’s movement across the entire spectrum of building materials, a relentless development of more, newer, better. This is not always the case. A well-made, durable material always remains just that. And, like it or not, there’s almost inevitably a close correlation between quality and cost. Broader questions push the design professional into thinking about quality in a broad context: what does this do for my client? How does it represent her institution or brand? How does a material or system choice support the broad goals of a design concept, the needs of a community?
More often than not a single theme or organizing idea emerges from our design reveries. We discover resonance in an idea we choose to present to the client. This is where the rubber meets the road: If the client is pleased, the pieces begin to fall into place. The process is seldom neat, but the steady collection of form and substance around a good design theme with a balance between technology, old or new, and respect for the financial boundaries of a client yields results that get built. At a minimum we hope our clients are delighted. In a larger context, if our work serves our clients and the broad public comes to appreciate the value of quality design, the results point to the thoughtful use of various technologies. The evolution of building materials is fascinating, a continuing cycle of slow advancement in some cases and explosive innovation in others.
I grew up around the construction industry. Visiting job sites with the Boy Scouts and spending time around my family’s construction company’s warehouse as a child are some of my favorite memories. However, I wanted to be different. My mother has a passion for art and design that I fortunately inherited while my father works in construction. Growing up, I knew there had to be a career that married my interest in construction with my passion for art; architecture.
After two years as an undergraduate I decided that a traditional architecture career was something that did not meet my need for hands on method of design. My father and I discussed a method of project delivery called design-build. After researching the topic, I quickly signed up for a few construction management courses, which helped my understanding of the construction industry. Also, I enrolled in an independent study revolving around renovating a facility in downtown Muncie. The second semester of my senior year I was in luck. A project was being offered to students to design and build a ‘Playscape’ for a neighborhood in Indianapolis. The five thousand dollar budget seemed like a lot at the time. However, we quickly realized size limitations with our choice of materials. The project was thought provoking because a portion of the neighborhood had no desire for children to use the park, and instead wanted the whole area for themselves without children. This eliminated the option of a traditional playground with swings and a slide. Instead a series of platforms with key features was designed, approved, and built. These experiences led me to search for a graduate school program that expands upon the idea of design-build.
The single most important lesson I have learned from these programs in my undergraduate career, looking back during my final year of graduate school, has to be that design is on-going, even during construction. Design does not stop until construction is complete. This notion can be taken advantage of in a design-build situation to maximize efficiency. Sometimes you find a better method in the field than originally drawn in the documents. I had the privilege to work on a few special case projects that demonstrate that principle, one being a ‘fast track’ project with two components, a pre-engineered metal building (PEMB) and a stick built structure. The PEMB had broken ground and begun construction before the construction documents were even complete for this project.
Knowing firsthand how building systems come together is paramount to the understanding of this profession. There is a dramatic difference between drawing a detail for a set of construction documents and putting it together in the field. It makes you think critically when moving forward with the next project. Having those experiences on a construction site alter and improve your consideration for all aspects and phases of design. It has made me more aware of my design decisions that have an impact on schedule and budget.
There is also an added benefit of understanding a different perspective. Often as design professionals we hear the word contractor and moan while they do the same thing when they hear the word architect. The design-build delivery method allows those tensions to dissipate because unlike a typical design arrangement, all entities and firms, on both the architectural side and construction side are involved from the inception of the project. The client ultimately receives a better product as a result of proactive collaboration between the architect, contractor, and owner. Even when the design and construction is handled by two separate entities, this process is beneficial. There is a mutual understanding from day one that contractor and architect will work together to achieve a better product.
Design and construction both hold a very important place in my life. I am thankful for the opportunity to join my two passions into a career and hope that others will see the merit in enrolling in design-build courses while in college.
Max Wurster is an Architectural intern with Cripe. He studies Architecture at the University of Kansas with a focus on design-build and will be in his final year of graduate school in the fall.
Recently I had the chance to visit the Miller House and Gardens in Columbus, IN. Commissioned by J. Irwin Miller in 1953, the home and gardens are a masterpiece of midcentury modern architecture. Designed by 3 leading designers of the day- architect Eero Saarinen, interior designer Alexander Girard, and landscape architect Dan Kiley- the home features an outstanding example of the integration between architecture and landscape. However, it was the function of the home that struck me the most.
Irwin and Xenia Miller, along with their five children, resided in the home full time following its completion. That’s correct, the FAMILY lived there. The Miller’s had the joy of raising 5 children in the house. When thinking about Mid-Century Modern homes, this is not something that most typically consider. Much of the tour actually discussed how the home was designed to create living spaces for the parents, children, and guests, as well as how the family lived within the space. (For example, the children often roller skated across the white terrazzo floor, and the colorful pillows designed by Girard made for a soft landing when diving into the sunken conversation pit.) While our tour guide detailed the excellent qualities of the architecture, textiles, and landscape, he made sure we understood that this was first and foremost a home, in which the Millers resided until 2008.
This is something that we should always consider. Buildings and spaces only reach their full potential when we allow for interaction with the user. Designers often fixate on resistance of wear (i.e. keeping things looking as good as new), and while longevity of a space or materials is important, we have to allow a user to personalize or take ownership of their space. We need to give them opportunities to stretch their own creativity. These opportunities allow architectural spaces to become what they are meant to be, spaces for memories, interactions, and relationships.
If you’d like to see more photographs of the interior of the home, go to the following link
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
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.
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.
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!
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:
- 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!
What is the role of architecture in today’s society? How often do we in the design profession really think about this? What should our role really be about? I’ve really seen two methods put into practice. Designers either dictate the environment or they respond to it. Read more