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plete the project. If we didn’t hit that mark, the owner could lose a lot of money. We finished a week ahead of schedule, saving the owner six figures.

pizza & psychology

DB: Your wife and business partner, Ilianna, is a psychologist. How do clients react when she shows up and starts asking tough questions? RK: During the programming stages, she interviews users to determine their true needs and discover their “inner being.” The user will say one thing, and then she’ll repeat it back in a much different way. And then they’ll say, “That’s exactly what I meant, but not what I said.” We use this kind of analysis in select projects we do, and we’ve been accurate over 95% of the time.

Ron Kwaske designs Papa John’s pizza franchises with a side of insight

DB: What other types of projects do you have in the works? RK: We design a broad range of project types, from residences to a bakery. Our staff has to be able to shift gears; one day I’m wearing a suit and tie to meet with franchisees’ investors, and then the next day, it’s jeans and a t-shirt because we’re building a custom furniture installation. We’re also working on a system to compile and analyze [Ilianna’s] results so we can put them to even further use.


Architect Ron Kawske here’s definitely an art to designs and builds making good pizza, but it Papa John’s frantakes real skill to design and chises in just six to build an operable restaurant eight weeks in less than two months. Ron Kwaske does exactly that for Papa John’s franchises in Chicago, and with nearly 10 stores under his belt, he’s learned how to work under pressure.

curtain call For their corporate auditorium overhaul, Studio 8 Design deserves a standing ovation

Project Credits: Empower Electric

DB: Any close calls? RK: We recently designed a store within a mid-rise residential building, and the space lacked mechanical infrastructure. It was not conducive to food service, let alone any use—there was no water supply or restrooms! We had to tie into infrastructure three stories up, which normally wouldn’t be a big deal, but we faced a major time constraint with only five weeks to com174


Notes from the Bureau

Photo by Bill LaFevor

Design Bureau: Most Papa John’s stores look pretty similar. How do these projects challenge you as a designer? Ron Kwaske: Admittedly, we don’t have a lot of creative freedom, but these projects do allow us to express our technical expertise. For the typical store, we have only six to eight weeks to design it and build out the space. I am self-certified in Chicago, so I can approve building permits without plan review by the city—without that, we couldn’t make these tight deadlines.

DB: So, with Papa John’s, were you rewarded with a lifetime supply of free pizza and garlic dipping sauce? I insist that we pay for our pizza, because I insist that our clients pay their bills.— Murrye Bernard

Architecture: Volume 1  

A Special Edition From Design Bureau 2012