Category Archives: News

Our 2019 Summer Intern Reflects on Experience at Perspectus Architecture

Perspectus Architecture’s 2019 Summer Intern, Robbie

August 2019 – Summer is drawing to a close and so is Robbie’s time as our summer intern. But before he returns to Kent State University, we asked him a few questions on his experience he had as an intern here at Perspectus.

What were your responsibilities?

I was responsible for the graphical plans used in various AIA and related submissions, including AIA Ohio Design Awards, AIA Akron Design Awards, SHPO Preservation Awards, and the EFA Remodel and Renovation Award.

I worked with our marketing team to deliver graphics for a marketing booklet associated to our Mansfield Art Center project.

I completed construction documents for two of our GSA projects.

I got to be part of the design team for the new Southwest General Health Center Endoscopy Renovation and Expansion project by attending meetings with the user groups and contractor and working on the design itself.

I was responsible for the existing field measurements for our Summa Health Geriatric Impatient Floor Renovation project.

I have also been able to help develop physical models for the Summa parking garage façade and another VA project.

What was your day-to-day like?

My day-to-day consisted of working with one or multiple design teams on various projects (the ones I listed in the previous question). I would come in and check for emails or instructions from within or outside the office. I would then work on my tasked assignments which could include working independently or with a group. I generally would work with our marketing team, design director, or government projects team. However, I did get the chance to work with a couple other teams as well. My day consisted of asking a lot of questions and being as collaborative as I could, asking for guidance, advice, or opinions.  

What was your favorite part of the experience?

My favorite part of the experience was getting the opportunity to work with our South West Endoscopy Renovation team as I got a chance to provide input on the design direction of a project, as well as the opportunity to get a thorough understanding of the design process. Specifically attending meetings and understanding the relationship between the “Architect” and the client and contractor. Also including evaluating existing conditions and working with a team to make design decisions.

What did you value most in your experience?

I learned a lot about this profession in my experience here, and all the little details and key points will be appreciated now and in the future. But the best thing I got out of this experience was being able to confidently know I am going to love being an architect in the future. The scariest thing about choosing your career is knowing whether you are going to be happy doing it for a long time. This experience has shown me how right I was in picking this career path. I have had a great opportunity to understand how working in an architecture firm is and I couldn’t be more grateful to know that I made the right choice for myself.  

What was the funniest moment you experienced here?

The funniest moment was staging photos for the CDC East Project. It was a great time of enjoying the new space and joking around with the acting. Specifically, Bernard role playing as a patient.

Describe your summer experience in 3 words or short phrases.

Exciting. Tea. Confidence.

Perspectus Welcomes Two Team Members: Meet Vandana Sambangi and Andrew Swansiger

Perspectus Architecture is proud to welcome two new team members this summer, Vandana Sambangi and Andrew Swansiger. Vandana joins us as our new accounting manager overseeing the daily operations of the accounting department. Andrew joins us as an intern architect working towards his architecture license and is a recent graduate of Kent State University.

We thought we would introduce them both with a short Q & A!

Vandana Sambangi

What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy seeing the financial aspect of things, so I like knowing how well the company is doing financially – providing feedback, offering insights to process improvements.

What are you most looking forward to at Perspectus?

I’m looking for a new challenge that can help me broaden my experience in accounting and finance. I believe this change of industry will do just that. With my skill set and experience, this would give me an opportunity to build new working relationships and learn new things.

Where is your hometown?

Cleveland, Ohio

What is your favorite way to spend your free time? What do you enjoy about it?

I love to cook. I wouldn’t call myself a master, but I can put some drool-worthy food on plate for my family every evening! I’m always looking for new recipes and new techniques to try out, which is so easy to do these days thanks to the Internet. I really like keeping my family guessing what’s the next masterpiece—or disaster—will be.

What is your personal philosophy?

My philosophy of life is: “Don’t make anything complex. Keep it simple and make it memorable.” Most importantly, live it each day. Our lives are filled with a constant stream of choices, so let’s make the best ones possible.


Andrew Swansiger

What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most?

I really enjoy being able to work with a team to come up with exciting and creative design solutions.

What are you most looking forward to at Perspectus?

I am really looking forward to the studio culture and being able to become an active member within the firm.

Where is your hometown?

New Middletown, Ohio.

What is your favorite way to spend your free time?

During my free time I enjoy sketching and playing hockey.

What is your personal philosophy?

If you aim high and miss that is okay…the fear should be if you aim too low and hit.

Perspectus-Architecture-Scott-Sturm-Registered-Architect

Perspectus Architecture’s Scott Sturm Becomes Fully Licensed Architect

July 2019 We are proud to announce that Scott Sturm, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, NCARB has accomplished all requirements to become a fully licensed architect! Throughout his journey, Scott has succeeded in each stage of qualification, including passing all divisions of the Architect Registration Exam.

Congratulations, Scott! You earned it!

5 Minutes with Perspectus Architecture’s Historic Studio

May is National Preservation Month! To celebrate, team members from our historic studio share their insights to questions like: What is the purpose of historic preservation? Why should developers prioritize the reuse of old buildings? What are the biggest challenges facing historic preservation today?

Continue reading to learn answers to those questions and more, including a paranormal experience.


Elizabeth Corbin Murphy, FAIA
Principal

What role does technology play in preservation?


Alice Sloan, Associate AIA
Historic Preservation Specialist

How did you end up specializing in historic preservation?

My parents instilled a love of history in me from a very young age. I grew up vacationing in the southern United States touring historic sites and battlefields and developed an appreciation of historic homes in particular.

What is your historic place to visit?

What do you think is the purpose of historic preservation?

What can we learn from tragic burning of the Cathedral Notre Dame Paris?

Thorough documentation in the form of photographs and measured drawings is essential for our most significant buildings. 3-D laser scanning and photogrammetry should be utilized.


Brian Broadus, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Senior Project Director

How did you pick up the practice of architecture in historic preservation?

What is the project you’re most proud of?

What role does technology play in preservation?

What’s the most interesting story you uncovered about a project that you worked on?

An infirmary from 1858 led me into scientific literature surrounding the miasma theory of disease and taught me about Florence Nightingale and the origins of professional nursing.

I also bumped into the last known photograph of Edgar Allen Poe and the man who took it.

Last known photograph of Edgar Allen Poe photograph
Image courtesy of Brian Broadus, AIA

What are the biggest challenges in preservation today?


Sean Stewart
Interior Design, Preservation

What is the project you are most proud of and why?

What is your favorite historic place to visit?

What do you think is the purpose of historic preservation?

The purpose of Historical Preservation is to preserve sites, structures, or districts that had an impact on history. To me, it is the practice of preserving and rehabilitating old historic structures so that they are economically stable in today’s world.

Why should developers prioritize the reuse of old buildings?


Dalton Kline
Interior Design, Preservation

How did you end up specializing in historic preservation?

What is your favorite historic place to visit?

It’s a tie between New Orleans and the basement of any historic building. I love New Orleans because it is a true blending of dissimilar and potent cultures.

I love basements because they are often the last thing altered in a historic building. So, that means that they are often the closest thing to original left in a building. Basements are dirty, cold, damp and dark. It’s the absolute best place to go.

Have you ever had a paranormal experience working on a project?

What do you think is the purpose of historic preservation?

To preserve history to ensure the survival and growth of our heritage.

What is your vision for the future of the historic preservation movement?

Why should developers prioritize reuse of old buildings?

Because age is an asset, not a hindrance. Viewing age as a hindrance makes for terrible design and a disappointing life.

What can we learn from tragic burning of the Cathedral Notre Dame Paris?


Martha Ross, RA
Senior Project Director

What is your favorite historic place to visit?

Copenhagen as the city has maintained most of its historic fabric by re-purposing the interiors and by doing so has maintained the character of the city from the past but promoted the usefulness of the city for the present.

What is something new you learned this week?

A Johnson Glass House + a Wright Overhang + a 1960’s Fleischman school entrance does not = a compatible addition to a 1889-1922 building!

Why should developers prioritize the reuse of old buildings?

What can we learn from the tragic burning of the Cathedral Notre Dame Paris?

Prospect Yard: Paying Homage to Cleveland’s Automotive History

Prospect Yard Rendering
Rendering of Prospect Yard, coming soon

Once upon a time, Cleveland was known as the epicenter of the automotive industry. By the early 20th century, Cleveland was home to seven major car manufacturers and added many industry innovations, including the spark ignition, flexible steering column, and various engine types. This formative period in Cleveland’s automotive manufacturing heyday was also when Frank E. Stuyvesant established the Stuyvesant Motor Co. and later became the primary Cleveland distributor for the merged Hudson-Stuyvesant Motor Car Company. Such an enterprise required a facility that could sell and service these high-end vehicles, which is where our story begins. 

Located on Prospect Avenue within Downtown Cleveland’s current “Campus District” stands the historic former Stuyvesant Motor Company building. Constructed in 1917, the building was originally built as a sales showroom, service center, garage, and storage facility for the manufacturer’s cars. Prior to the eventual dominance of the “big three” (Ford, Chrysler, General Motors), the Stuyvesant Motor Co. embodies the shift from small, local automotive manufacturer to the larger assembly-line based corporations whose legacy remains in today’s brands. Within a local framework, the building significantly contributed to the manufacturing, service, and support of automobiles, and represents the rise and decline of small, independent auto manufacturers in Cleveland. Expansion of the four-story building to its existing five stories in 1919 underscores the significance of this company as other local manufacturers failed. 

After the Great Depression, the Stuyvesant Motor Company Building became home to various other businesses associated with the automobile industry and service functions until the late 1930s. The building was then occupied by the Coast Guard, the U.S. Government and even a print shop until it sat vacant for decades.

Stuyvesant Motor Company building circa 1964

Today, the historic property is undergoing a substantial rehabilitation to begin its new life as Prospect Yard, scheduled to be completed early this summer. The adaptive reuse project started out as a conversion to “market rate” housing. The developer recognized that many Cleveland residents were being displaced by the volumes of new work downtown and lack of affordable housing options in the area. The project then became “income eligible” housing to offer affordable options to those in the service industries who are essential to the life of Cleveland’s retail, hospitality, and even health care industries.

The open, industrial layout of the Stuyvesant Motor Co. building lends itself well to its rebirth as housing. It also serves as a prime example of how historic preservation and adaptive reuse can address the housing affordability crisis occurring in cities nationwide. Additionally, the original and restored features of the building give the apartments a high-end, industrial loft feel not often accessible to residents in modern affordable housing developments.

Among the restored features are the original car lift elevator, covered underground parking once used for car storage, exposed interior concrete columns, and joist and slab ceilings. Throughout the building, original exterior masonry materials, including window sills, brick pilasters, and stone ornament remain intact.

Prospect-yard-Windows-Cleveland-Ohio
Under construction: The original giant steel sash windows flood the new apartment units with natural light and views of Downtown Cleveland.

Arguably, the most striking feature of the entire project is the giant steel sash windows framing views of the Cleveland skyline and flooding the apartments with natural light.

The original features and structure of Prospect Yard make it a unique property steeped in local history. In its new role, The Stuyvesant Motor Company building retains the rich history and memorable characteristics of Cleveland’s automobile industry. 

Stay tuned for more details and updates on the completion of Prospect Yard. In the meantime, check out our other historic preservation work


Have a historic fixer-upper begging for a new life? Get in touch, we’d love to help.

Wayne Agency Co. Building Awarded at Cleveland Restoration Society’s Celebration of Preservation

May 23, 2019 – The annual Celebration of Preservation awards took place at the beautifully restored Ohio Theater last night! The event, hosted by AIA Cleveland/Akron and the Cleveland Restoration Society, recognizes outstanding historic preservation projects throughout the region. Perspectus Historic Architecture and building owner Keith Saffles of Crooked River Holdings were honored with the “Main Street Rehabilitation” award for their work on the Wayne Agency Building in Cuyahoga Falls.

When the Wayne Agency Building was originally constructed in 1922, its prominent Front Street address positioned it right along the main artery of commerce for downtown Cuyahoga Falls. In the late 1970s, Front Street was converted into a pedestrian mall, and the building, along with the rest of the block, fell victim to vacancies as businesses flocked to increasingly popular indoor malls.

The historic rehabilitation of The Wayne Agency Building was only one component of a much larger community effort by the city of Cuyahoga Falls to stimulate economic development and bring new retail to the Downtown Historic District. Building owner Keith Saffles is committed to the growth of the city and has filled the building with local Cuyahoga Falls small-business tenants. The newly restored first floor retail spaces are currently occupied by the Yum Yum Sweet Shop, Pav’s Creamery and Good Co. Salon. The spaces on the upper floor are now home to a music school and various business offices.

The overwhelming success of the building’s restoration has inspired a cascade of restoration and redevelopment projects on historic Front Street, which has since been restored to its original use as the main thoroughfare of historic downtown Cuyahoga Falls.

Perspectus Welcomes Summer Architectural Intern Robbie Eberhart

Perspectus Architecture - New Hire Intern - Robbie Eberhart

May 2019 – We’re excited to welcome our new summer architectural intern, Robbie Eberhart, to the team!

Robbie is a rising senior of the Kent State University Class of 2020 where he studies architecture. We asked Robbie five questions to help everyone get to know him.

What about architecture excites you?

The fact that a field of study and work can influence so many people in such dynamic ways is inspiring.

The part I find most interesting is the ability to positively affect the communities involved with the projects. Not often does everyone get a chance to impact people’s lives directly every day, but architecture is the perfect medium to allow your creative interests and ideas improve the people you work with.

Who is your favorite architect?

I don’t have a specific favorite architect; however, my favorite architecture firm is Diller Scofidio and Renfro (DS + R). They do very interesting work and their design process uses amazing graphics and figural strategies that inspire the work I hope to do one day.

What are you looking forward to as you begin your internship here at Perspectus?

As I take my first step into learning about becoming a professional architect, I am excited to learn about how a firm interacts with clients, and how many different ways you can work on design in a firm environment.

I am interested in the relationship between architecture and people, so I hope to learn all I can about how the design process works by joining the client and firm relationship together to tackle a project.

I am also interested to learn about all the design strategies and modes explored in the professional setting. You can only learn so much in the academic setting, so I hope to be exposed to the many ways I haven’t seen yet.

What do you hope to do after you graduate?

After I graduate with my bachelor’s degree in Architecture, I intend on pursuing a dual master’s degree in both architecture and business. Kent State University offers a dual mastery program that I hope to accomplish.

After I finish school, I want to work somewhere that I can have a lasting impact on the communities I serve, and maybe one day open and run my own practice.

People would be surprised if they knew…

People would be surprised if they knew that I care about superheroes more than my well-being. I follow Marvel Comics unconditionally, and I could tell you anything about the Marvel Comic Universe that you want to know.

My favorite marvel hero is “Iron Man”, but my favorite superhero in general is “The Flash” (from DC Comics). I don’t own any physical comic book collections, but there are digital collections online that I follow and subscribe to.

5 minutes with Jim Wallis, AIA, EDAC, IIDA, NCARB

Perspectus Architecture-Jim Wallis-blog-header

[Question] You and Eileen Nacht will be presenting on the Laurel Lake Senior Living Community at the Environments for Aging conference. What can attendees hope to learn from your presentation?

[Jim] Our presentation is focused on a Post-Occupancy Evaluation (POE) we completed for the Laurel Lake Retirement Community Center for Healthy Living project that the community has implemented. The results of the POE show us how successfully the design has transformed the residential community to support a whole-person wellness philosophy engaging the mind, body and spirit. We’ll define what a POE is, break down the metrics we established, and identify the criteria for measuring and examining the design outcomes. Finally, we plan to share insights gained from the results of the POE and applications to future re-positioning design projects.

We’ll also illustrate the concept of centers for healthy living as active lifestyle communities and their benefits to the aging population. Evolving research shows wellness focused activities are KEY to aging people keeping their health, their mental skills and their quality of life. We’ll explore the role of environmental design in promoting the seven dimensions of wellness.

Laurel Lake Retirement Community Exterior
Laurel Lake Retirement Community Exterior
Photographer: Scott Pease

[Q] What trends in senior living design do you anticipate taking off?

[J] Centers for healthy living are definitely a trend for the new senior population and the next generation of older adults that are more active and health conscious. A center for healthy living is an approach to wellness design based on the concept of engaging residents with enhanced person-centered care. The design integrates programs and amenities that support the seven dimensions of wellness: emotional, environmental, intellectual, occupational, physical, social and spiritual.

[Q] You just achieved your Evidence-Based Design Accreditation and Certification. How will this certification affect the design of your projects?

[J] Evidence-based design is really about the design process and implementing design concepts that achieve the best possible outcomes. I look to inspire our project designs and Perspectus with a design culture that is person-centered and more focused on the desired outcomes for healthcare and senior living projects.

[Q] If you could give one piece of advice, what would it be?

[J] If you have a passion and enjoy what you do for a living, then you will never work a day in your life!

[Q] You can only bring two things to a deserted island. What do you bring? Oh, and you can’t bring a boat.

[J] Alcohol and a Satellite Phone.


Environments for Aging Expo & Conference logo

Are you attending the 2019 EFA conference? Add Designing for Mind, Body, and Spirit: A Post-Occupancy Evaluation to your attendee calendar!

Presenters: Jim Wallis, AIA and Eileen Nacht, AIA
Time: Tuesday, April 09, 2019 | 9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

Elizabeth Corbin Murphy_Perspectus-Architecture_Notable-Women-in-STEM

Principal Elizabeth Corbin Murphy, FAIA, Recognized as 2019 Crain’s Notable Women in STEM Recipient

February 2019 – Perspectus Architecture is proud to announce that our own Principal Elizabeth Corbin Murphy, FAIA, has been selected as a 2019 Crain’s Notable Women in STEM. In addition to being incredibly well-deserved, this recognition is also particularly significant as architecture was just recently added as an official STEM Subject as of July 31, 2018.

Congratulations, Elizabeth! Thank you for your leadership and mentoring both within our firm and in the architecture industry.

The article below was originally published in Crain’s Cleveland Business.


Elizabeth Corbin Murphy
Principal, Perspectus Architecture

Most recent education: Master of architecture, Kent State University

Elizabeth Corbin Murphy develops processes and technologies to evaluate structures and materials so they may be authentically restored and renovated.

In addition to navigating the merger between her firm, one of the oldest women-led architectural practices in Ohio, with Perspectus Architecture, she is also a professor of practice at Kent State University College of Architecture and Environmental Design.

Kathleen Crowther, president of the Cleveland Restoration Society, said Corbin Murphy is a renowned heritage architect throughout the Midwest.

“Elizabeth is a leading advocate for excellence in urban planning, retrofitting of existing buildings, sensitivity in design so that it can lift the entire community, and, of course, the restoration, rehabilitation and preservation of historic buildings,” Crowther said.

Corbin Murphy also is known for her veracity.

In 2015, she was named Woman of the Year for Integrity by the Summit County Women’s History Project and earned the American Institute of Architects Ohio Gold Medal in 2014. She also serves on the board of directors for the Great Trail Council, Boy Scouts of America.

“We can have confidence in the wise, thoughtful and courageous voice she brings to the often-challenging issues of the day. Her moral commitment to do good is unparalleled,” said Terry Welker, AIA fellow and chief building official for the city of Kettering.

Originally published in Crain’s Cleveland Business.

Mansfield Art Center Addition Expands Activities for Local Art Hub

The Mansfield Art Center, located in Mansfield, Ohio, is an important fixture in the community. It operates under the mission to “enrich the lives of all children, families, and adults through the arts with gallery exhibitions, art education, artist workshops and related activities.” The Mansfield Art Center realized a need for an addition to accommodate an expanding demand for the arts and cultural development of the area.

Mansfield Art Center exterior rendering.
Rendering prepared by Perspectus Architecture.

Perspectus Architecture is serving as the design architect for the project. Director of Design David Thompson worked with local Mansfield architecture firm, The Seckle Group, to design a new education wing addition to the Mansfield Art Center. The new space expands the art center’s ability to offer more hands-on classes to the community, including a specialized “hot zone” with a ceramics and glass blowing studio.

Rendering of new education wing.
Rendering prepared by Perspectus Architecture.

The new addition seeks to respect and enhance the existing gallery and education structure designed by the late Don M. Hisaka, built in 1970. A resident of Cleveland, Ohio for a portion of his career, Hisaka’s contemporary work earned over 50 awards of merit. The Mansfield Art Center was honored with the Progressive Architecture National Citation in 1971.

The simple, rectilinear forms from the existing building extend to the new structures. The two new forms flanking the existing building defer to the existing structure and visually frame the existing gallery space. The siting of the new additions preserves the original entry sequence and enhances the exterior pavilion space to accommodate more diverse functions. The new structures take cues from the existing building’s massing, openness, exposed structure, and utilization of daylight. By maintaining and bounding the existing green space, the additions preserve views from the gallery spaces.

New pavilion placement for Mansfield Art Center.
Rendering prepared by Perspectus Architecture.

Gray porcelain cladding contrasts the white paint of the existing structure while also abstractly referencing the ceramics studio within the new structure.

The new ceramic and glass arts studio serves as an expansion of the existing education studios, extending the existing circulation axis and re-imagining how the spaces can be flexible and adaptable.

Originally proposed as an ‘open warehouse’ space, the studio construction details are intended to be a reinterpretation of the existing gallery and education construction. The new classroom space is subdivided by mobile modular storage units that facilitate easy reconfiguration, promoting an adaptable, scalable learning environment. Storage space in a new lower level helps consolidate storage currently spread throughout the existing building, freeing up congested areas for their original intent.

Mansfield Art Center interior rendering
Mansfield Art Center interior rendering.
Rendering prepared by Perspectus Architecture.

While the primary windows for the studio space capitalize on northern light, the south elevation incorporates louvers and deep recesses to diffuse and control direct sunlight entering the classroom space.

Adjacent to kilns and ovens, floor-to-ceiling glass seeks to put the process of making art on display. Perimeter wall space is maintained within the studios to allow for adequate on-hand storage of supplies.

Construction is anticipated to begin in June 2019.