Current events and projects

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!

The end of a year is often a time to look forward to the coming year and all the changes that could come with that new year. It is also a time to look back on the past year and the traditions that have stood for a long time.

At Cripe, we have many traditions, but we seem to really pack them in at the end of the year. From community service to spending time with our colleagues and celebrating their achievements there is a lot going on from November to Christmas.

This year, we merged a couple of traditions. In mid-November, we combined our annual Day of Service with our Founder’s Day Celebration.

The day started with the intention of packing 10,000 meals at Million Meal Movement. It quickly became apparent that we were going to accomplish that goal early. By the end of our allotted time we had packed nearly 13,000 meals, blowing way past our original goal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following our morning of community service, we went to TopGolf to enjoy good food and the company of our colleagues. Before the friendly competition could begin, we celebrated those of our coworkers who give so much back to their communities. It was a hard decision for the judges to choose between so many people who do so much. The prize for one dedicated winner is the Isla M. Badger Community Service Award, an award that was established in 1987 by the Cripe Charitable Foundation and which awards $1,000 to the 501(3)c of the winner’s choice.

This year there were nominees who serve their churches, their local pet rescues, tutor homeless students, volunteer with the young community of aspiring architects, and so much more. It was truly inspiring to see how much impact the Cripe family has on their communities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After that, the golfing began!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the celebrations were over, we set out on the important annual work of our Giving Tree initiative.

Each year we pick a deserving family who is experiencing some extenuating circumstances around the holidays and we provide them with gifts and necessities to lighten their load.

This year, we worked with Andrew J. Brown Academy to select a family and find out what they most wanted and needed this holiday season. We had a kick-off discussion at our monthly Cripe Huddle and then it was off to shopping. Within a few days, there was no room left under our office Christmas tree as everyone made contributions to the family.

When it was time to deliver the items to the family’s house the week before Christmas, it took several cars to do so. The family was beyond grateful and hearts were warmed at Cripe when the exchange was retold by the few that attended.

Our traditions are what make us unique, what bind us together as more than just coworkers. After a year of working hard and achieving goals within the office, we understand the importance of stepping back and focusing on serving others as well as spending time outside of the office with the people we spend our time with in the office.

Tomorrow we’ll look forward to the New Year, but today we’re going to think about the past year and the impact it had on us all.

Happy New Year from the Cripe family to you and yours!

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?

Giving back to the communities we live, work and play in is very important at Cripe.

This month, we’ve kicked off our season of giving by hosting a representative from United Way of Central Indiana at this month’s Cripe Huddle. This organization embodies so much of what we stand for at Cripe and also donates funds to many of the organizations we are involved with.

“United Way of Central Indiana fights for the education, financial stability, health and basic needs of every person in our Central Indiana Community.” That quote comes from information on the United Way’s Basic Needs Fund, which provides the essentials of food, shelter, health and transportation to the most vulnerable living our community.

Our employees have served as volunteers and board members and others have received valuable training through United Way programs. In short, we are so thankful for the relationship we have with this incredible organization.

Our season of giving begins with participating in the United Way workplace campaign, where Cripe team members are able to give financially. That money will go the United Way’s three new Impact Funds:

  • Basic needs – Helping the most vulnerable in our community
  • Family Opportunity – Supporting the whole family on a path to self-sufficiency
  • Social Innovation – Sparking new ideas to break the cycle of poverty

These Impact Funds have been created in order to help ALICE, which stands for:

Asset-Limited, Income Constrained, Employed

These are people who hold jobs that are critical to the success of the community, but they are barely surviving paycheck-to-paycheck.

While our giving is part of a workplace campaign, anyone can donate to United Way at any point  and your money truly goes a long way to impact our community.

If a monetary donation isn’t right for you, your time is just as valuable as money. The United Way has so many volunteer opportunities that speak to the interests of almost everyone. Some programs include ReadUP Tutoring, Moment to Movement, Tax Prep Volunteering, and Disaster Response Reception Center Volunteering. There is truly something for everyone, so please consider donating in whatever capacity you can. Every little bit makes a difference for our vulnerable neighbors.

United Way of Central Indiana kicks off our season of giving, but stayed tuned to our social media channels and website in the coming months as we participate in Cripe’s Annual Day of Giving, this year at Million Meal Movement and Giving Tree, a 36 year tradition or sharing the holiday spirit with others.

2018 Cripe Day of Giving at Flanner House

2018 Giving Tree

For more information on all the ways we give back throughout the year, visit our “About” page and scroll down to the Com

munity Service section.

Not to brag, but we have some pretty great interns this summer (and all the summers before)!

Our internship program is extremely important to us. Sharing what we do with the next generation is key to our sustainability and perspective. As we teach, we learn. Our interns bring fresh eyes and ideas to the firm and everyone moves from summer to fall having had new experiences and having built new, lasting relationships.

This year’s college students are working across departments from Talent + Brand to Survey and they are being included in projects across the company. While it might be nice, our interns don’t fetch coffee. They are integral team members and have been reworking marketing collateral and working on architecture projects from Indy to Houston, Texas.

“Each project allows me to use what I have learned at the University of Kansas plus it also allows me to use all the new information, knowledge, and guidance from my fellow coworkers here at Cripe,” says architecture intern, Jack Davis.

In a summer at Cripe, our interns often see projects through from the start to the construction phases. “It’s been really great seeing projects from the beginning stages through the final construction documents. I’ve learned a lot of really cool tricks with software and gained knowledge of how the architectural industry does business,” Jackie Brice, another architecture intern says.

At Cripe, the intern experience is mutually beneficial, stimulating and an opportunity to build lifelong relationships. The Cripe internship is a complete immersion to the company and some of the highlights include:

  • Internal Shadowing
  • Day One Members of the Team
  • Kick off Breakfast with our CEO, President and Executive Team
  • Inclusion in all Corporate Events
  • Cripe Performance Review
  • Flip Review
  • Intern Project Management Community Service Project

To all of our employees, community service is very important and we make sure to instill that in our interns as well.

At the beginning of the summer, the intern team is charged with choosing a philanthropy and coming up with a way to raise money for that organization.

This year’s interns chose Keep Indianapolis Beautiful and they came up with a wide range of competitions and fundraisers to raise money and engage the entire company. There has been a summer long change war, a Euchre tournament, Cripe Family Feud and an intern picnic with a cornhole tournament.

At the end of the summer, they’ll have raised over $1500 to go towards planting and sustaining trees in Indianapolis, but they will also have fostered and facilitated events that embody the culture at Cripe.

It’s crazy to think that the summer is winding down and coming to a close and soon our interns will be heading back to school. We’ll certainly miss them and their contributions, but one of our favorite things to do at Cripe is hire back our interns as returning interns or full time employees!

Talent + Brand intern, Leonna Huddleston, sums it up well: “There is nothing better than working at a firm that treats you like you’re a part of the team and a part of a working family.”