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.
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
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.
By Jim Wallis, AIA, EDAC, NCARB, IIDA Principal and Senior Living Studio Lead
The U.S. senior population is rising, and so is the
projected number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease and related
dementias. America’s 65-and-older population is expected to nearly
double by the year 2050 to 83.7 million with an estimated 13.8
million living with Alzheimer’s disease.
A recent boom in senior housing construction means senior
living providers are facing more competition, especially among the memory
care segment. With more choices available to residents, memory
care providers need to provide a therapeutic environment to support a
person-centered care model unique to this segment of the senior living market.
Each design strategy should support the implementation of person-centered care, providing residents a dignified, comfortable, functioning environment.
But first, it would be helpful to define what person-centered care is.
Defining person-centered care
Person-centered care is a way of thinking about and providing care that places emphasis on the resident experience. Maintaining selfhood is central to this model of care – enabling residents to continue the rhythms of daily life and live as independently as possible as the disease progresses. Person-centered care shifts the environment for those living with cognitive impairments from that of an institutional care setting to a resident-focused care setting.
1. Unique environmental needs of people with dementia
First and foremost, it is key to understand what dementia
means and the unique environmental needs of residents with dementia and
Dementia is not
a specific disease. It is an umbrella term that describes a group of
symptoms associated with the loss of cognitive skills – memory, thinking and
reasoning – and behavioral abilities severe enough to interfere with that
person’s daily life and activities. There are multiple types of
dementias, but the most widely known is Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias do not progress in
a linear fashion; therefore, each person experiences Alzheimer’s and related
Therapeutic environments rooted in the person-centered care model of evidence-based design are shown to reduce negative behaviors associated with the disease progression such as wandering, elopement risk, agitation and anxiety.
2. Smaller groups and spaces
Large spaces and groups of people typical of senior living
communities can be agitating for residents with cognitive impairment. Reducing
spaces to a residential scale and using a household model can alleviate many
A household model reflects the familiar elements of a home
and includes a living room, residential kitchen, dining room space, private
resident rooms with bathrooms, activity areas, and a secured outdoor courtyard.
An open plan with clear, familiar room-to-room circulation aids in wayfinding
and provides environmental cues as to the intended use for the space.
When Perspectus worked with Brookdale Senior Living at
Way location in Jacksonville, Florida, we were tasked with
renovating an existing assisted living wing into a memory care unit utilizing
the household model.
The building was originally designed with a large, two-story central community space that the resident rooms opened up to. The new design reduced the height of the ceilings and defined small spaces within the large existing space to create a more familiar residential scale.
3. Opportunities for social engagement
It’s important to create a community of the right size. The
ideal size of a household is 10 to 14 residents. Smaller groups provide more
opportunities for residents to interact with each other and caretakers and
participate in familiar daily routines.
The design strategy should include spaces of multiple scales
to allow for different types of activities. This variety of spaces and scales
serves multiple purposes: it allows staff more spaces to program activities
that cater to the residents’ interests and needs and gives residents control of
desired level of social interaction and privacy.
For instance, the design may include smaller alcoves and
seating areas for more intimate social interactions and more public spaces such
as a living room or a secured outdoor courtyard to accommodate larger group
Another design feature that promotes social engagement is an
open, residential country kitchen located directly adjacent to the dining room.
The residential kitchen enhances activities of daily living, creates
opportunity for structured programming such as baking or routine household
chores, and provides sensory stimulation from cooking aromas which can help
Decentralized staff areas maintain a residential environment
and encourage more social interaction between staff and residents. Identifiable
nurse stations are a necessity in institutional environments, but you wouldn’t want
to see a nurse station in your home. Designing the residential kitchen with
features that discreetly double as a nurse station facilitates staff
interaction without disrupting activities of daily living.
4. Color, lighting and materials
Lighting and material selection are critical design elements
in senior living and memory care environments. It is very common for elderly
persons, especially those with cognitive impairments, to experience several
age-related vision issues including difficulties distinguishing colors, depth
perception, and sensitivity to contrast and glare.
The most common lighting problem for memory care residents
is that the space is not bright enough, causing agitation. Illumination should
be increased to improve visibility and offset contrast sensitivity.
Another common light-related agitator is glare. Materials
and surfaces that are not glossy and reflective can help eliminate glare.
The use of color and materials should work both to create a
calming environment as well as increase contrast. Flooring color should provide
complimentary contrast to the wall color. If a pattern is used, it should be
kept simple. Too much contrasting pattern can cause confusion, as memory care
residents may see certain areas within the pattern as voids and step around them.
Color contrast also aids in visual cueing. For instance, memory
care residents can have difficulty recognizing the need to use the bathroom as
the disease progresses. Floor and wall colors that contrast with the toilet help
it stand out.
Thoughtful choice in color, lighting and materials are
critical to reducing agitated behaviors and increase resident well-being and
Person-centered care design strategies for memory care
residents are about facilitating as normal a life as possible in an environment
that is truly a home. Through a heightened understanding of the disease and
utilizing a holistic, person-centered care approach, memory care facilities can
provide residents with a dignified experience that nurtures their mind, body
[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.
[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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
Perspectus Architecture is excited to welcome a new co-op student to our team as we kick off 2019.
Olivia Zepp joins us as a co-op student from Ball State
University (Muncie, Indiana) where she is currently pursuing her Master of
Architecture with a Certificate in Historic Preservation. She recently
completed her bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati’s School of
Design, Architecture, Art and Planning. We asked Olivia five questions to help
everyone get to know her.
You’ll be earning your Master of Architecture with a Historic Preservation Certificate. What drives your passion for historic preservation?
The driving factor for my passion in preservation is what we can learn
from historic buildings. The construction techniques and methods used in
historic buildings are unique and the fact that these buildings can stand the
testament of time with little human intervention I think is fascinating. We can
learn what was most important in societies when we see what parts of buildings
had the greatest emphasis in the designs.
You were one of four students at Ball State chosen to
travel to Milan, Italy this past fall to participate in a workshop focused on
how historic buildings can meet 21st century needs. What was that experience
like and what was your biggest takeaway?
The experience was unforgettable along with being able to work with
students from three different universities around the world, we were able to
see many historic buildings from time periods not seen in the U.S. The biggest
takeaway was, even though all the students were from different places our ideas
of preservation and history being able to tell a story were all the same.
Language barriers didn’t influence our perception of the importance of keeping
all our pasts alive through the built environment.
What do you hope to do after graduation?
After graduation I want to get my architecture license and possibly own
my own firm in the future. I would also like to start a family and live in a
place with beautiful buildings.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find my inspiration from my family a lot of the time. My grandmothers
especially have shown me that it’s never too late to start a new passion in
Is there something not many people know about you?
I was a Girl Scout from first grade up until senior year of high school.
This led to me earning my Girl Scout Gold Award (equivalent to the Eagle Scout
Award) my senior year.
Principal Elizabeth Corbin Murphy of our historic studio is happy to have Olivia on the team saying, “I’m very impressed with Olivia. She has proven herself to be very adept and a quick learner.”
Keep up the good work, Olivia! We’re glad to have you!
February 2019 – Perspectus Architecture is proud to announce that Project Manager Adam Yaracs, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB has been selected by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) as a recipient of the 2019 Young Architects Award. This prestigious award honors individuals nationwide who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the architecture profession early in their careers and within the first 10 years of achieving licensure. Adam will be presented with the Young Architect award on June 6th at the 2019 AIA National Conference on Architecture in Las Vegas and will be featured in February’s issue of Architect Magazine.
“To be selected as a recipient of the AIA National Young Architect Award is an overwhelming honor. Being recognized by the College of Fellows and by your peers as a leader and as someone who has made significant contributions to the profession is humbling,” says Adam.
He continues, “To me, receiving this award reinforces the importance of becoming a multifaceted professional and stresses the value of giving back to the profession. Using the many individuals who have mentored me through the early stages of my career as an example, this award exemplifies my commitment to continue to practice thoughtful, sustainable architecture, lead by example and mentor young professionals and the next generation of leaders.”
Nominated by the AIA Cleveland Chapter, this honor speaks highly of Adam’s continued commitment to the profession and his initiative as a leader within the design community. These qualities are demonstrated through Adam’s involvement in the AIA Cleveland Chapter, as an educator at Kent State University, a mentor to architecture students and young professionals, and within our own team at Perspectus designing outstanding work for our clients.
is exciting news. I couldn’t be prouder of the accomplishments Adam has
achieved,” says Managing Principal and Perspectus Architecture founder Bill
Ayars, AIA, ACHA. “This is a well-earned honor and I’m extremely proud of his
career has advanced at a rapid pace since his start as an intern architect. He humbly
admits that his experiences working at several respected national and local design
firms have greatly influenced his career trajectory. At each of these firms, his
creativity, high design intelligence and keen ability to understand the client have
made him a highly valued team member. Adam has played a key role on many AIA
design award-winning projects including a university social sciences center, a
performing arts center and music education building, and most recently, the Gleneagles
Golf clubhouse and community center in Twinsburg, Ohio to name a few.
Gleneagles Golf clubhouse and community center earned the People’s Choice Award
in the architecture category at the 2018 AIA Cleveland Design Awards.
Motivated by designing community spaces
spaces that build community is the overarching design philosophy that Adam strives
to apply in all his work, regardless of project type. A community can be
identified by its people, and the buildings that they work, live, and play in.
Responsible architecture that provokes the importance of the human experience
will promote a community’s identity and health.
Adam, thoughtful design that strengthens the community and enhances the quality
of life is the responsibility of all architects – and everyone is worthy of it.
“My goal is to introduce and practice good design principles to each project, independent of who the client is, the project type, or the budget.”
Building community through
to shape his success are the handful of mentors Adam feels fortunate to have in
his life and professional career. Those mentors include: Steve Kordalski, AIA,
Jack Bialosky Jr., FAIA, Robert Maschke, FAIA, Aaron Hill, AIA, Tim Hawk, FAIA,
Jodi van der Wiel, AIA, Larry Fischer, AIA, Bill Ayars, AIA, Dave Robar, AIA,
Allan Renzi, AIA, and Charles Belson, AIA.
have always been surrounded by strong team members and mentors who have played
an enormous role in supporting me and offering career advice,” he says.
credits his mentors who encouraged him to get involved with the local design
community at an early stage of his career and to pursue his desire to teach.
of the positive and fruitful relationships he has had with his own mentors, he
now chooses to share his knowledge and experiences by educating and mentoring
young students at his alma mater, the Kent State University College of
Architecture and Environmental Design. He emphasizes that the choice
to become a mentor is the one of the most important decisions a design
professional can make in his or her career.
mentors have supported me through milestones such as graduate school, achieving
my architectural license, leading the local design community as AIA Cleveland
President, and pursuing career opportunities,” he recalls.
“To be able to navigate these challenges and to find some level of success in your own career, encourages and motivates you to help those who are just beginning to pursue their own journey to become a design professional. Teaching at Kent State University has provided me with a platform to do just that,” where he teaches a First Year Foundations design studio, a Professional Practice Portfolio workshop, participates in the scholarship review committee, and leads as the faculty advisor to the American Institute of Architects Students (AIAS) Kent State Chapter.
A leader in the design community
Adam is heavily involved as a leader in the design community through his involvement with AIA. In 2017, at just 34-years-old, Adam served as the AIA Cleveland Chapter President. As President, he led key communication initiatives like the implementation and expansion of a weekly e-newsletter, increasing the chapter’s social media presence, adding a storefront projection system to the chapter office, and creating a new chapter website.
his term, the chapter experienced record growth in chapter development and
membership. He worked with board members to establish the annual AIA Cleveland
Kent State University Scholarship Fund and worked with the University to
increase student participation and inclusion within the chapter. In addition,
Adam chairs the annual Design Cruise Line networking event and the Cleveland
Design Awards where he has continued work to grow the awards program to include
over 500 attendees.
his leadership for AIA Cleveland after his presidency, Adam was elected in 2017
to a two-year term as the Director of Communications.
of this unrelenting dedication and service to the architecture community, he has
been recognized by AIA Cleveland with several individual awards. Adam was
honored with his first Presidential Citation in 2011, the Chapter Activism
Award in 2013, and was just honored with a second Presidential Citation at the
2018 AIA Cleveland Design Awards.
2019 AIA National Young Architects Award is only the latest addition to his
growing collection of achievements.
If the last 10
years are any indication, Adam shows no signs of slowing down. We at Perspectus
Architecture are so proud to see Adam recognized with the AIA Young Architects
Award and to have him on our team.
Congratulations, Adam! We can’t wait to see what you do next.
Perspectus Architecture is proud to share that project architect Adam Yaracs, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB was honored with the AIA Cleveland Presidential Citation at this year’s Design Awards. 2018 AIA Cleveland President Allan Renzi, AIA recognized Adam’s outstanding service to the AIA, as well as his dedication and commitment to the success of AIA Cleveland as a Chapter President, Communications Director, Kent State AIAS Chapter Advisor and Chair of AIA Cleveland Design Awards.
The Presidential Citation is awarded to an individual who goes above and beyond to bring awareness to the chapter and further emphasize the importance of giving back to the architectural profession. The Presidential Citation is granted each year at the discretion of the acting Chapter President.
Congratulations, Adam on your achievement!
About the AIA Cleveland Design Awards: Each year, AIA Cleveland recognizes excellence in design by inviting local firms to submit their best work to be reviewed by nationally renowned juries from all over the country. on Friday, November 2nd, 500 members from the local design community gathered at the Westin Cleveland Downtown to celebrate this year’s award winners. This year’s Jury Chair and Keynote speaker was Matthew Kreilich, FAIA from Snow Kreilich Architects. Snow Kreilich Architects was the recipient of this year’s AIA National Architecture Firm Award. More information about AIA Cleveland can be found at: https://www.aiacleveland.com/
December 2018 – We are proud to announce that Perspectus Architecture is an award recipient of the 2018 Weatherhead 100 awards! This is the eighth time we have been honored as a Weatherhead 100 company; previous years include 2008-2010, 2012-2013, 2016 and 2017. Established more than 30 years ago and administered by the Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management, The Weatherhead 100 awards is an annual celebration of the fastest growing companies in Northeast Ohio based on sales growth in the past five years.
The award ceremony was held on Thursday, November 29, 2018at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown. Click here to read the full list of 2018 Weatherhead 100 companies.