A lot has changed in a very short amount of time for all of us. Businesses around the country have had to do some major maneuvering to keep the health of the employees and clients as the very top priority.

At Cripe, that’s no different. After over a year of extensive research, testing and implementation, we can say that our employees have the ability to work from anywhere. With all the COVID-19 guidelines going into place, that remote capability has never been more important.

Outside of the technology, another thing that Cripe is continuing to utilize is our proven project management skills. Being physically away from our teams and unable to meet with our clients in person has provided new challenges, but it is definitely a challenge we are up for.

We have the methodology – the Cripe Way –  in place to get us through this current challenge and many others, but it is not just a methodology we use when there are extenuating circumstances. This is a way of doing things that we use every single day and have since 1937 when our founder, Paul I. Cripe, created his core principles.

The Cripe Way stems from Mr. Cripe’s deep belief in Accountability. Over the years, especially with recent staff, it has been turned into an entire project management code of conduct and promise to our clients that we will get any job done with communication and efficiency.

Mr. Cripe may not have expected for his core principle of Accountability to be utilized during a time like the one we are living in now, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. The beauty of the Cripe Way is that it works all the time, no matter what is going on in the office or the world at large, as we are learning now.

Above all else, the Cripe Way stresses the importance of planning, communication and meetings with clients so that we know exactly what our clients need , schedules to keep everyone and budgets on track, quality control along the way to ensure efficiency and understanding not only our client’s businesses, but their perspectives as well. The only thing that has changed are our meeting spaces and perhaps managing how to work with partners, children and pets, but those things are no match for the Cripe Way and the project management skills Cripe employees have been sharpening for the last 83 years.

We don’t only use these skills externally, but internally as well. We’ve been keeping connected with our colleagues through virtual meetings and sharing tips and tricks for the unique challenges that working from home can pose. From technology tips to potty training to setting up effective workspaces we’ve shared it all!

The Cripe Way allows room for us to feel like a family. These aren’t cold rules that are only intended for projects, they allow our team to act as a family to one another and to those outside our team who are also working through a wide range of unique situations during this uncertain time.

While many things have changed, some have not. You can still find our field survey team out and about in Indianapolis and surrounding areas putting the Cripe Way to good use as they continue to tend to essential business outside while all is quiet.

This time has been challenging for most people, but Cripe is using foundations that were put in place over 80 years ago to continue to serve our clients, partners and colleagues to continue to not only get the job done, but to get it done with the same excellent project management skills that our clients and partners have come to know and rely on over the years.

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!

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.

Sustainable design stretches far outside of the physical limits of a building. Civil engineers are now seeing a spillover into their field of expertise to create sustainable landscapes.

Our civil engineering team recently worked on The Center, a space for employees and partners within The Heritage Group to gather and be engaged and encouraged to drive progress.

The Center is unique in its sheer size for a project of this type. It is the first and largest SITES certified project in Indiana.

This project contained not only a physical building, but also the green spaces around it.

Landscapes can pose their own set of particular obstacles, and Cripe civil engineers are more than willing to rise to the challenge when dealing with these living ecological systems. We know it is of the utmost importance to be stewards of the environment in which we live and play and so using proper design techniques, we aim to create landscapes that are regenerative.

We worked with The Heritage Group, Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf and the design team and construction management to create a sustainable work atmosphere that encourages outdoor engagement and collaboration.

The project presented the opportunity to blend a woodland site and a corporate work environment, which included exceptional meeting spaces and a laboratory.

The Center was guided by best practices set forth by SITES (Sustainable Sites Initiative) which is meant to help design professionals achieve sustainable land development and management practices. The codes promote the defense and renewal of ecological systems, which creates a rise in regenerative design.

The site was designed with numerous sustainable features including enhanced green space and canopy with native vegetation, rain gardens, forebays, and ponds to capture and treat stormwater. There are also wetlands, landforms and water features to redirect and mitigate noise pollution, permeable pavements, and purposeful LED lighting to reduce energy use and minimize light pollution.

We are proud to have played a role in the integrative and collaborative design that looked at the site as a blank canvas to create a project that weaves building, hardscape, preserved natural environment and health and wellness into one tapestry.

Cripe was instrumental in working with the client and development owner on communication with all stakeholders including end-users, neighbors, city officials, IndyGo and utilities in sharing a vision and developing creative solutions for the site development.

At Cripe, all projects are guided by a set of values that benefit all of those working on the project. We prioritize clear communication and quality control among many other benchmarks, making us a trusted and reliable team member for a variety of projects across all services and markets.

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.

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.

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

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