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T H E M A G A Z I N E F O R C A P TA I N S O F I N D U S T RY

CONSTRUCTION LEADERS TODAY

www.constructionleaderstoday.com

Architetra 8

FROM DESIGN TO CONSTRUCTION The client-centered approach of this full-service Pennsylvania-based architectural firm keeps customers happy and coming back for more.

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Hall & Bartley Architects

DESIGNS WITH EXCELLENT TASTE

Specializing in winery design, Hall & Bartley is making over the California wine country one project at a time.

Lake Flato Architects

LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE

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With a commitment to modern and skillful design, Lake Flato embraces the natural surroundings of each building to craft an environmentally friendly project specific to each client’s needs.

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International Design Group

BUILDER OF MODERN AMERICAN CASTLES Summer 2010 Vol. I $24.95 USD $26.30 CAN

This Pacific Grove-based company is one of the nation's leaders in custom home design of the most grand proportions.


T H E M A G A Z I N E F O R C A P TA I N S O F I N D U S T RY

CONSTRUCTION LEADERS www.constructionleaderstoday.com

TODAY

Grace Design Associates 56 AN ALFRESCO OASIS

Margaret Grace of Grace Design Associates combines color, texture and form to create world class gardens that reflect each owner’s personal aesthetic.


in this issue

T H E M A G A Z I N E F O R C A P TA I N S O F I N D U S T RY

CONSTRUCTION LEADERS TODAY

Editor-in-Chief Todd Weaver Editor Diana Doyle Executive Editor Jonathan Mack Assistant Editor Joseph Orange Creative Director Emily Detoro Art Director Stephanie Hess Director of Advertising Julian Vu Production Coordinator Jason Rone Assistant Production Coordinator Elizabeth Macks Photography Editor Ian Palmer Video Director Susan Maybach Editorial Director Kate Darling Editorial Production Rachel Goldberg Copy Editor William Finch Assistant Copy Editor Amy Roberts Correspondents Brandon McBride (W), Aaron McGaskey (SW), Juan Orellana (NE), Steve Peters (Nation), Mike Rodgers (Nation), Juan Stewart (SE) Vendor Relations Director Diana Stephens Vendor Relations Eric Miller, Dov Teta Advertising Sales Coordinator Patricia O’Brien Advertising Sales Director Peter Jostens Advertising Sales Moe Kazemi, David Levi, Tom Nichols Publisher Steve Reed

06 Editor’s Note

Todd Weaver discusses the continuing effects of the earthquake in Haiti on the construction sector, and the need for those industries to follow through on their promises to aid in the rebuild.

NORTHEAST ARCHITECTURE

08 Architetra The client-centered approach of this full service Pennsylvaniabased architectural firm keeps the clients’ goals in mind which is reflected in their customers’ satisfaction.

13 G.J. Olson Architects, Inc. Creativity reigns for G.J. Olson, where inspiration for a project can come from a client or a work of art. This year marks the 20th anniversary of this unique Philadelphia-based firm.

18 C2 Architecture Integrity is everything at this Philadelphia-based firm, which focuses on new and adaptive reuse projects. The Hatboro Lofts project launched this firm into the big time in 2003.

20 The Design Collaborative The architects at this New Jersey-based firm wear many hats. As planners, community activists and teachers, they offer a full range of services custom-tailored to meet their clients’ needs.

LOG HOMES oZ WORLD MEDIA, LLC 1100 H Street NW Suite M Washington D.C. 20005 www.constructionleaderstoday.com Construction Leaders Today is a quarterly B2B trade journal that services the construction industry in architecture, custom build, geothermal, green building, specialty architecture, posttentioning, and new technology sectors. CLT has a readership of 100,000 C-Level executives within the energy industry. We do not accept subscription requests from the general public, however an abbreviated version is available on our web site.

26 Conestoga Log Cabins and Homes Bringing affordable yet luxurious log cabin living to the public is at the core of the company’s values. Offering an escape from every day life, these cabins are a salute to simpler times.

INTERIOR DESIGN

34 Meyer Design Originating as a corporate interiors firm in the 1970s, this company has broadened its scope to include architecture, incorporating innovative design to meet the demands of business operations.


WEST ARCHITECTURE

40 Hall & Bartley Architects There is a lot more to wineries than tasting rooms, as Hall & Bartley Architects knows. They have been building premium wineries for over 25 years and are the go-to firm for California wine country.

77 GS&C Architecture-Interior Design Graeber, Simmons and Cowan prides itself on its broad client base, designing everything from advanced technology to residential living, and its home-grown Texas roots.

82 Forum Architects Specializing in planning, architecture and interior design, Forum Architecture designs for resort, hospitality and residential clients throughout the U.S.

CUSTOM HOME

LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE

46 Wave Crest

86 Lake Flato Architects

Wave Crest has kept the environment in mind since they started building in 1979. This San Diego-area firm is now known for highend luxury homes with an environmentally friendly touch.

With a commitment to modern and skillful design, Lake Flato embraces the natural surroundings of each building to craft an environmentally friendly project specific to each client’s needs.

52 Munsterman Group

NATIONAL

With a background in solar engineering, Dale Munsterman and the Munsterman Group, LLC are bringing cutting-edge, energy-efficient technology to their beautifully crafted homes in the Lake Tahoe area.

ARCHITECTURE

LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE

Named one of the best places to work in Pennsylvania since 2008, CR&A prides itself on not just its wonderful work environment, but also its many architectural accomplishments.

56 Grace Design Associates, Inc.

92 Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates

From naturalistic to urban, contemporary to traditional, and sublime to whimsical, this friendly Santa Barbara firm builds gardens to complement the owner’s personality and lifestyle.

97 Rentfrow Designs

MIDWEST

GREEN BUILDING

ARCHITECTURE

64 Tyson and Billy Architects PC With service and community in mind, Tyson and Billy Architects PC have been creating dream living conditions for low-income senior citizens nationwide since 1919.

66 Baysinger Design Group Starting in the education architecture industry, this firm has branched out to offer interior design services, now working with federal and local governments, offices and health care facilities.

SOUTH ARCHITECTURE

Design and philosophy meet in the mind of Rentfrow Designs’ president, Jon Rentfrow, where the focus is on creating beautiful and unique spaces that reflect the individuals that live in them.

104 DPR Construction Green building is what this firm does, not just promotes. Forging a new path in the area of green building, DPR Construction has been ranked in the top 50 of general contractors for over a decade.

INTERNATIONAL ARCHITECTURE

110 International Design Group While it was modern days castles that brought attention to the beautiful designs of IDG, this company now spreads its talent across the commercial, hospitality and fitness center industries.

126 Metcalfe Architecture and Design For founder Alan Metcalfe, creating playful and comfortable learning environments is an integral part of the job, when designing everything from architectural designs to museum exhibits.

72 BLGY Architecture

130 RW Armstrong Architects

With over 50 years of experience, this Texas-based firm works with local school districts to re-think not only the architecture of the building but also the structure of the educational system.

In the past eight years, President Roland Salman has transformed the Indianapolis-based firm of RW Armstrong into an international firm with over 600 employees and 19 offices.


editor’s note

TODD WEAVER editor@ozworldmedia.com

rebecca rodriguez

Rebecca enjoys a career of writing about critical issues and prominent business leaders of our time. Her work has been recognized both locally and nationally.

jane caffrey

reports have revealed that less than two percent of the money has actually been submitted. Though when we’re talking about several billion dollars, spending two percent in a third world country is nothing to sneeze at. Despite the lag in cash flow and stagnant decision-making processes in the struggling country, www.cwctenders.com, lists 460 local projects that are currently accenting bids. Even so, the majority of citizens are homeless or living in camps and mountains of debris remain. At Construction Leaders Today, we hope to bring light to some of these conflicting situations in the upcoming fall issue. The global construction industry is still struggling from the recession and Haiti is a great opportunity to initiate some change in our own country’s economy while delivering some much needed help to those who cannot currently help themselves.

Jane Caffrey earned a B.A. from Carleton College in Minnesota. Based in Madrid, Spain, she writes for a variety of print and online publications both in Europe and the U.S.

joan tupponce

I

t’s hard to believe that six months have passed since an earthquake devastated the infrastructure, economy and culture of Haiti. While the average Joe texted “donate” to the Red Cross or drove toiletries, tarps and other supplies to their local drop-point, some leaders in the construction industry were able to offer a bit more: large scale cleanup and rebuilds. On the surface, this sounds like an admirable charitable deed, but with over $5 billion pledged to the Haiti Recovery Commission fund alone, it’s hard to ignore that many of these construction companies hoped to lock down some pretty impressive long-term contracts. Some companies were so confident that imminent contracts existed that they began working and transporting equipment and workers before even signing an agreement. Unfortunately, recent investigative

CONTRIBUTORS

Joan’s experiences as a writer have taken her places that wouldn’t have been possible in other careers. Her success is evident in the awards and recognitions her writing has received.

rachel goldberg

PAVING THE ROAD TO RECOVERY

william coleson

Rachel specializes in coroprate profiles on up-and-coming companies as well as industry news alerts. Rachel majored in media studies at the University of Virginia.

William graduated from the University of Florida with a B.A. in Journalism and Political Science. He writes for a variety of trade publications in the U.S. and abroad.

6 Construction Leaders Today


LOG HOMES: Conestoga Log Cabins and Homes specializes in custom log cabins that are crafted for every lifestyle and budget, helping customers embrace the great outdoors in modern luxury and style.

INTERIOR DESIGN: At Meyer Design, each project is approached with the demands of business operations in mind and they look to solutions that are aesthetic and functional.

northeast INSIDE: ARCHITETRA, G.J. OLSON, C2 ARCHITECTURE, THE DESIGN COLLABORATIVE

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ARCHITETRA from design construction by Rachel Goldberg

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Architetra prides itself on its “clientcentered approach,� and its projects reflect the goals of their clients without adhering to a particular architectural style. Founded in 1998 in Paoli, Pa., they are a full-service architectural firm with a broad range of projects including commercial and residential design. Principals Joseph Lombardi and Todd Kentzel, along with Senior Associate Joseph Catelli, have over 75 years of combined experience in the field and are personally involved in every stage of project development, from design to construction. The firm’s approach is based on the recognition that each project comes with a unique set of needs and conditions. Architetra offers a variety of services to support the client throughout the planning stage, including site analysis, space planning, and 3-D visualization. Past projects have included automotive dealerships, corporate offices, educational buildings, gaming complexes, manufacturing facilities, medical suites, municipal complexes, restaurants, retail and residential housing. Architetra has extensive experience in all elements of architectural design, and their working strategy is defined by a complex series of steps towards creating a final product. They begin by gathering information in order to create a schematic design, taking into consideration numerous factors like climate, topography, accessibility, and zoning. This information is then synthesized in order to establish the conceptual design and scope of the project in the form of thumbnail sketches and computer-aided design (CAD) drawings. Understanding the site is a crucial part of developing a master plan, a layout that includes the other elements of a building site such as parking and landscaping. In addition to master planning, Architetra offers space planning to provide alternative layouts to an existing space or project the design of a new space. On their web site, www.

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1. Mercedes Benz of Cherry Hill. Joseph Catelli Architect. Photo by Matt Wargo. Summer 2010 9


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a space custom-tailored to a client & their workers to create a healthy, warm & productive environment in which to work or live architetra.com, Architetra says that their goal is to “design a space customtailored to a client and their workers to create a healthy, warm and productive environment in which to work or live.� The initial design is refined and polished in order to create a comprehensive solution that addresses the functional, aesthetic and budgetary concerns of the project. Architetra’s final task is to document and communicate a detailed plan to the owner and contractors. Threedimensional visualizations are used to allow the client to see and understand the program in a more realistic context. A service that distinguishes Architetra from other architectural firms is its supportive consulting for other architectural and design firms who have a temporary need for increased support staff. Some of their planning projects are the result of joint ventures with contractors, such as Delawarebased interior design firm Contract Environments. This spirit of collaboration has been a part of the company since its founding; Architetra co-owner Joseph Lombardi started out with independent consulting before forming the firm. He says the company hopes to expand into the engineering market in the future. CLT 2. Favorites at Vineland. Joseph Lombardi Architect. Photo by Matt Wargo. 3. Springfield Country Club. Joseph Lombardi Architect. Photo by Matt Wargo. 4. Corporate office Lobby. Joseph Lombardi Architect and Todd Kentzel Architect. Photo by Matt Wargo.

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5. Private residence. Todd Kentzel Architect. Photo by Matt Wargo. Summer 2010 11


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for by Rebecca Rodriguez

G.J. Olson Architects Inc. looks for the unique angle in every project. The company’s architects have no formula or signature style, but let creativity and the desires of the clients guide them. A client and art connoisseur approached principal architect Greg Olson years ago and asked how Olson would design him a house. His answer? Olson simply pointed to one of the paintings the client was admiring at the time. The result was a home in North Truro, Mass., with 10-foot ceilings on the first floor where the client can display his large and impressive art collection. The home also features a balcony at the rear of the house that overlooks

Provincetown Harbor and also views the Provincetown lighthouse. “With custom homes, we want what the client is looking for, not a monument to the firm,” Olson said. “It should be a reflection of what the client envisions in their head and what they want to live in.” The Philadelphia-based company celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. It works with homeowners and developers to design custom single family homes and home renovations, single family and multi-family residential communities, and residential and corporate interiors. Its largest project was Barclay Square, just outside Princeton, N.J. with a construction cost of $6 million. The rental community, which featured

270 units each with a direct access garage, had its share of challenges. The bordering streets complicated the site’s design, creating a confusing intersection at the entrance. The completed project is a success and features impressive layouts. The high-end units are multi-level and range from 1200 to 3000 sq. ft. The project also features a club house that anchors the community, providing many services found in a high-end hotel. The company has completed over 15 developments, both multi- and singlefamily. Some of the developments include an affordable housing element, often required by the state or local municipality. Summer 2010 13


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3 ARTISTIC HARDWARE Established in 1999, Artistic Hardware has had the opportunity to work with some of the finest builders, architects, designers and kitchen & bath professionals. Working alongside professionals, Artistic Hardware has been involved with the most impressive custom home projects along the Jersey shores. Although often working closely with the trade associates, Artistic Hardware is open to the retail public and do-ityourself customers as well. Artistic Hardware also works extensively to service the film and TV industry. Artistic Hardware will also supply projects as far as the shippers can carry. We have furnished jobs in the Caribbean, North America, Europe, and Northern Africa. We have yet to find a destination that cannot be reached when it comes to delivering your kitchen and bath hardware needs.

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“There’s no reason why affordable housing shouldn’t be livable and nice,” Olson said, adding that the company puts as much pride and hard work into affordable housing as with any other project. “I’ve never designed something I wouldn’t want to live in myself, even if it’s a little apartment.” The firm put this principle into action with a historic brownstone project in Philadelphia. Olson said in the case of the brownstone it was important to respect the work done by his predecessors and not strip it bare. “We kept that historical significance so it looked like it was part of the original architecture,” Olson said, adding that the original doors, moldings, staircase, as well as the 10-foot, 4-inch massive double hung windows were retained. Interior design is also offered by the company. Some clients request the addition of wallpaper, paint, counter tops, and carpeting, and even furniture. “It depends on how much the client wants us involved,” Olson said. Olson has developed long lasting relationships with a steady list of developers. “One builder said that every time they do a project with us, it’s a winner,” he said. The company recently attended the Atlantic Builders Convention where G.J. Olson clients sent people to their booth. It was a signal that the company’s clients are looking out for them during these tough economic times. “Architects are a developers hidden secret. They very seldom acknowledge their architect,” Olson said. “They [clients] know the architecture we design for them sells.” The type of work Olson’s company does is “intense and very detail oriented.” But Olson has his eyes wide open when it comes to the bottom line. “When we work for developers and builders, we don’t design stuff that will cost them an arm and a leg,” he said. Olson works with three other architects and they develop projects in 1. Halstead Place, Clinton , N.J. A three story office building laden with original Victorian architecture. Photo courtesy of G.J. Olson Architects Inc. 2-3. Peterson – Deininger: a full renovation and addition to a 1920s Georgian residence on the southern New Jersey shore. The front façade and footprint were extended 18 ft. towards the Atlantic Ocean, increasing the living area to just shy of 10,000 sq. ft. Photo courtesy of G.J. Olson Architects Inc. Summer 2010 15


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7 LANGHORNE CARPET, INC. Langhorne Carpet Company is the oldest woven carpet mill in continuous operation in the United States. Using time-honored weaving methods, they produce the finest in Jacquard woven Wilton and Brussels carpeting available anywhere. They presently stock over two hundred products in twenty running lines. In addition to carrying a fine line of in-stock products, Langhorne Carpet also offers restoration carpet and have custom capability.

Pennsylvania., New Jersey, Delaware, New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland. The company doesn’t need to advertise. He has contacts in all of these states, and relies on referrals for jobs. Olson said the company has its strongest presence in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but he plans on trying to branch out more into Delaware and Maryland. The company is currently working on six projects. Olson’s company has seen the focus of the company change during the past few years. The building of single family homes dominated the company’s project base at the height of the market around 200708. Now the focus is on multi-family rental developments, like one being completed in Toms River, N.J. The economy has affected G.J. Olson as it has most companies, but Olson remains optimistic. “It’s lean and competitive, but I think it will be more positive by the end of the year,” he said, adding that at the builders convention conversations were more upbeat. Olson graduated in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Miami. Before forming the company, Olson worked for some small New Jersey firms, a Philadelphia firm and later as a vice president of a Texas-based firm in Princeton, N.J. Now he is head of a company that sets itself apart from the rest. By listening to customers and tuning into their interests, he and his partners are able to create architectural beauty. CLT 4. The Breyer Court high-end townhomes situated on the last parcel of ground originally part of the Breyer Ice Cream property, is located in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pa. 5. Douglas Avenue is a 4,000+ sq. ft. custom single family residence on the southern New Jersey coast. 6. Montgomery Village are detached single family condominiums near New Haven, Ct. Three designs were developed for the community. 7. Heritage Creek Club House is a facility for an active adult community including an indoor and an outdoor pool. Summer 2010 17


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by Rachel Goldberg

Husband and wife team Jim and Ilka Cassidy founded C2 Architecture in Philadelphia in 2005 with the ambitious goal of realizing the potential in every architectural project, regardless of size or constraints. The firm’s work focuses mostly on residential housing, both new and adaptive reuse, but they also do some commercial projects. Their web site, www.c2-architecture.com, says that they offer primarily “architectural design and documentation, planning and programming, construction administration, and consulting on zoning, historical, and land development issues.” C2 Architecture’s big break came with the $25 million Hatboro Lofts project in a suburb of Philadelphia. When they first became involved with the building in 2003, it was a dilapidated stove factory that had been vacant for 10 years. The firm had a big job on their hands in documenting the building, preparing alternate plans, and guiding the rezoning and development process, but the Cassidys had a clear vision of combining historical authenticity with highquality design. They applied for the building to receive a historical designation with the goal of ensuring historical preservation and community support. The design team deliberately preserved and enhanced historical elements in their restoration of the ruined factory, while also meeting modern space and accessibility requirements. Each unit is individually tailored to fit the structural variety of the building; some incorporated elevator shafts and stairwells, providing extra rooms with ceilings over 20 feet high. Exposed brick walls, ceilings and columns provide a uniquely historical atmosphere. In 2009, it earned C2 Architecture the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia Grand Jury Award for their innovative work in adaptive re-use and restoration. In 2006, C2 began work on the neighboring Cosmopolitan motors building as part of the Hatboro Lofts complex. They created a mixed-use complex with environmentally sustainable features. Cassidy says that the project is now 95 percent complete, with the focus mainly on land development. In addition to its founders Jim and Ilka Cassidy, the firm includes intern architect Joe DiCicco. Because C2 focuses on design first, they look for hands-on skills when hiring employees, Cassidy says, with the goal of empowerment through job experience. According to their web site, C2’s view of the architectural design and construction is that of a conversation between all involved parties, “a democratic process where all ideas are valid and encouraged.” C2 also has an international heritage: the couple worked in Ilka’s native Germany for about a year after completing their architecture degrees at the University of Washington. Though the firm is small, Cassidy says that a high level of service sets it apart: “We have a lot of development experience so we understand what it takes to make jobs viable.” They are able to efficiently and creatively use the space and resources available to them by considering existing architectural, environmental, and legal constraints. Cassidy predicts a trend towards architectural design in the suburbs, and he plans to meet the growing demands of that market with his upcoming projects. CLT 18 Construction Leaders Today

Before & After: Hatboro Lofts, Hatboro, Pa. Embracing the history of the community, C2 Architecture transformed the Roberts and Mander Stove Factory, vacant for over 10 years, into 159 residential units and a 2,500 sq. ft. cafe. In 2009, the project won the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia Grand Jury Award. Photos by C2 Architecture and Sam Oberter Photography.


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The Design Collaborative: 20 Construction Leaders Today


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by Rachel Goldberg

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designing better communities through collaboration

The people at The Design Collaborative are architects, but they’re also planners, community activists, and teachers. The firm’s unique philosophy of providing a full range of services custom-tailored to each project keeps them successful— and very busy, says president Lou DeLosso. DeLosso is the first person to meet with each client. With his partners, he creates a conceptual design along and sees each project through to completion. And because the firm provides a number of other services to schools, particularly long-range planning, much of his work also involves dealing with the government and procuring funding sources. When The Design Collaborative was chosen to build a new middle school in Burlington Township, N.J., their inhouse educational planners were there to evaluate the current enrollment and predict future population needs. The result was a complete overhaul of the existing facilities and grade structures. The outdated and overcrowded building that housed school administration and primary grade levels had outlived its useful life, so TDC decided to pull out the 1,450 sixth- through eighth-graders into a new state-of- the-art middle school. The students went from a building with inefficient mechanical systems and poor accessibility to a structure with fully equipped classrooms, gymnasiums, art and media centers. The Design Collaborative provided the plan, plus complete engineering services and interior design. “Programming is paramount in school construction,” DeLosso said. “We can embellish the project and make the spaces aesthetically pleasing, but it’s all to support the educational programs that are required and in place for each of the school districts, including the population and the enrollment 1. One of five engine bays at the Middle Township Fire District #1, NJ. The project consisted of converting an existing warehouse to a new 20,970 sq. ft. fire station. Photo courtesy of The Design Collaborative. Summer 2010 21


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projections, so we know the size of classrooms and number of teaching stations that will be required, and the kind of teaching that’s going on.” DeLosso has learned from experience how to get the best possible value out of available resources, by creating designs that are sustainable in the long term and turning to government funding sources. The Burlington Township Middle School earned rebates from the New Jersey Smart Start program for its energy efficiency. New Jersey has developed a special program for distributing aid for the construction of educational facilities. Because of the experience and expertise at TDC, they “are able to get the maximum amount of state aid for the projects, reducing the cost to the voters and still be able to accommodate the program needs,” DeLosso said. The state pays more for renovation projects than for new construction, so TDC tries to adapt existing buildings to

current codes and space requirements. “If we can accomplish it through renovation and upgrade to an existing structure, we try to do that,” DeLosso said. Even though the overall cost may be greater for the project, the impact to the district could be considerably less because we get more state aid. When they built a new firehouse for Middle Township, TDC was rewarded for maximizing value for the municipal government by choosing to reuse an existing building rather than create a new structure. After considering several possibilities including using the old firehouse site, TDC elected to renovate an old warehouse in the center of the town. “We were able to show them the dollars that were available in terms of saving by reusing the existing structure,” DeLosso said. “The steel skeletal system was in excellent shape, but the envelope of the building needed some attention.”


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4 The Design Collaborative chose to remove the envelope, create new floors, walls, and a roof, making the building better insulated and more energy efficient. They even added a second floor to the warehouse and additions to the front and back. An important factor in the selection of that particular site was its location between two streets, so that they were able to create a drivethrough parking lot so fire engines could approach an emergency quickly 2-3. Middle Township Fire District #1, NJ. A second floor was constructed on the existing warehouse. Photos courtesy of the Design Collaborative. 4-5. The Burlington County Institute of Technology, Medford Campus, NJ. There were 56,200 sq. ft. of additions, alterations and renovations for this campus. The construction revitalized the campus with many new additions, including an 800-seat performing arts center with classrooms and other facilities. Photos courtesy of the Design Collaborative.

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from either street, without having to back up or turn around. TDC keeps an open mind to the possibilities of renewable energy sources in many of their projects, concentrating on solar power, but also considering other sources like wind and geothermal energy. In order to extend this technology to the entire community, DeLosso says, he considers it his company’s responsibility to educate the community about the benefits of alternative energy. “The logic is there but they need to see all of the facts and that’s part of our job,” he said. “Our challenge is to show them not just the math, but the actual implementation.” For one of their most successful initiatives, TDC teamed up with the Workforce Investment Bureau, an agency that receives stimulus funds from the federal government, to create a solar system for the Wetlands Institute, a local nonprofit. “We designed a system, they paid for it, and they and the local vocational school taught people how to actually install it so it became a learning tool for the students,” DeLosso said. “Ultimately the wetlands institute wound up with a solar system for nothing that is producing electrical energy savings for them.” With the economy struggling, The Design Collaborative is focusing its efforts on reducing costs for their clients, and the key to doing that is using renewable energy. Their projects, DeLosso said, “actually generate cash for our district and in some instances have a zero impact to the local taxpayers and sometimes even make money from tax credits because we’re able to do a total project scope as opposed to a myopic look at the project.” The Design Collaborative’s approach allows them to facilitate the creative reuse of resources in a way that positively impacts their community. When a school district was discarding used food service equipment, TDC arranged for it to be donated to a free meal center; they also helped another school donate seats from their old auditorium to a more needy school. CLT 6-8. Burlington Middle School, Burlington, NJ. The new state of the art 181,829 sq. ft. middle school includes over 45 general and specialized classrooms, media center with work rooms and two full-sized gymnasiums, a fitness center and much more. Photos courtesy of the Design Collaborative. 24 Construction Leaders Today

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Combining American Heritage with Modern Living. by Rachel Goldberg

Log cabins offer an escape from the stress of everyday life, but their high costs and difficult maintenance have discouraged many of those who dream of owning one. Conestoga Log Cabins and Homes has made that dream attainable with their simplified approach to manufacturing high-quality, low maintenance structures at affordable prices. “There’s an emotion that goes along with owning a log home that provides a peacefulness that you don’t experience in your everyday traditionally built home,” said company president Ronald Myer. “Owners want something they can relax in that takes them back in time when life moved slower. Log homes provide a feeling that you can’t get from other types of construction.” Though log cabins’ aesthetic appeal lies in their connection to an older way of life, Conestoga uses the most cutting-edge 1. Elkhorn Ridge Resort, Spearfish, S.D. These 520 sq. ft. cabins are the Heritage model. Featuring a covered porch and a loft, these one-bedroom camping cabins are ideal for a rustic getaway. Photo courtesy of Conestoga Log Cabins. 2. Shenandoah Crossings Farm and Club Resort in Gordonsville, VA. These custom cabins feature three bedrooms and two and a half baths. Photo courtesy of Bluegreen Vacations Unlimited. 26 Construction Leaders Today


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technology to ensure that they are functional and easy to build. The company’s plant is one of the most automated in the industry, Myer said. “We use software to take the design and convert it into machine language, and then have the machine optimize the cutting to assure complete accuracy of every cut and drill done to the components of the log cabin kit.” Using this method, the company can flawlessly produce multi-cabin or bunkhouse orders from a campground or resort or custom designed models for individuals. Because of factory automation, the log home kits include barcoded pieces making it easy to assemble, so anyone can build them, even without construction expertise. Families can build their own cabin from the complete kit provided by Conestoga. Unlike other log cabins, Conestoga’s Everlast logs do not require additional adjustment every year. Their timber frame model, which features sturdy interlocking joints, makes the classic log cabin easy to obtain. This style

would traditionally be seen in larger, more expensive homes, but Conestoga’s version is affordable and easy to build. “Because it’s a mortise and tenon joinery of the logs they essentially go together like a puzzle,” said Myer. “It provides a very solid and rustic-looking log cabin that is very easy to assemble and can also meet all current and future energy codes.” The company is keeping up with the latest in energy-efficient building technology, and their design and manufacturing process make them the most “green” in the industry. Their products will meet even the most stringent energy requirements, which can be a challenge with cabins located all over the country. Their unique dual thermal log wall system makes the cabins more energyefficient by putting insulation between two log walls, providing an additional barrier to prevent heat from escaping, lowering costs and impact to the environment. “It is the only true log wall system in the log home industry that meets the new 2010 energy codes.” They are constructed

3. Hemlock Haven Cabins in Hico, WV. A custom Grand Haven model cabin. At 1,220 sq. ft., this spacious cabin has lots of extras, including a side deck and large loft. Photo courtesy of Cynthia Ruckpaul.

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with Conestoga’s Everlast log, a laminated wood which is longer- the company’s web site and have it reproduced at the Conestoga lasting and requires less maintenance than traditional logs. factory, down to the furniture and fixtures. They can choose to Unlike other manufacturers who use a variety of wood, build it themselves or have a crew from Conestoga come and Conestoga consistently chooses the same species of trees from build the log home. planted forests in North America so that they do not disrupt “The difference in our kits is that we do a lot of the work that existing forests. The automated manufacturing process means was traditionally done on-site. Before you had a lot of cutting and that they can cut logs efficiently and eliminate waste. drilling that you needed to do on-site, that is now done at our The durability and ease of maintaining their products make factory so that now it is as simple as putting together an airplane Conestoga the preferred choice when campgrounds or resorts model,” said Myer. “All the pieces fit; you just need to put the decide to increase rentals by providing rental cabins. The cabins pieces together in the right order.” have proved extremely popular for vacationers who want to Unlike most log home companies that use dealers to sell their experience a natural setting with the comforts they can’t get from log homes, Conestoga employs full time sales representatives. The an RV or camping tent. company boasts a loyal and experienced staff with over 7 years of “We had a project where we put in 29 log cabins at a resort,” experience, a level unheard of in his industry, said Myer. He aims said Myer. “As soon as they were built and ready to be rented, to hire knowledgeable and consistent employees who can help all 29 were booked for the entire year. Campground and resort customers get what they need and hold their hands through the owners always tell us that our log cabins are the first to be rented entire design and building process. to capacity.” Their cabins can be found in campgrounds all over America and even other parts of the world, so campers know that they can Rustic Natural Cedar Furniture Co. has been a national leader in rustic furniture manufacturing for rely on having a quality place to stay. over 35 years and they have been the premier furniture supplier for Conestoga Log Homes for the “It’s one of the advantages of having lots last 10 years. Rustic offers a wide array of superior quality products and services such as an optional of cabins throughout the United States,” clear lacquer on all indoor products to prevent wear and tear from daily use, as well as drop shipMyer said. There’s always one of our log ping to anywhere in the United States. Their friendly staff has the knowledge and experience to cabins that you can look at or stay in no help customers reduce the hassle of furnishing a new home, campground, park, or resort. matter what state you are in.” Customers can also design a cabin on

RUSTIC NATURAL CEDAR FURNITURE

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The high quality of Conestoga’s products and service keep clients coming back for more. “We keep a very detailed customer database so we can track customer’s projects and meet any future needs they may have.” Myer said. By establishing positive relationship with clients, he said, the company has benefited from repeat business and frequent referrals. Commitment to their customers helped the company stay successful in the midst of economic crisis. During the recession, Myer said, customers were less willing to commit to building projects and banks were not financing these projects. Conestoga kept prices low for their customers “by keeping our process efficient, by providing a simplified solution for assembly, and meeting the customer’s needs and not trying to sell them something they don’t need.” Creating a balance between the dream and 4. Ashland Resort, Northfork, W.V. The Outdoorsman model, at 350 sq. ft. with one bedroom, one bath, a loft and a covered porch, is a great choice for a hunting cabin. Photo courtesy of Conestoga Log Cabins.

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log homes

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reality of owning a log home has proved a successful strategy for Myer and Conestoga Log Cabins and Homes. Whether you prefer a traditional log home, the old world timber frame, or the energy efficient dual wall system, Conestoga will have your log cabin finished in no time. With affordable prices and low maintenance, he said, people can enjoy living in their log home without worrying about the complexity of building and maintaining and with over 3,000 log cabins sold, Conestoga is proud to have helped many people achieve their dream. CLT

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5. The Alpine Ridge remains one of our most popular choices for a log home. At 1,638 sq. ft. with two bedrooms and one bath, it is a spacious structure that features a tall cathedral ceiling, glass front wall, wrap-around deck loft, full basement, and so much more. Photo courtesy of Conestoga Log Cabins.


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X.L. America, Inc. regional headquarters, Exton, Pa. Small conference areas with slatted floor-to-ceiling millwork provide the right balance of privacy and natural light. Photo courtesy of Meyer Design, Inc.

GMAC Mortgage Headquarters, Fort Washington, Pa. Meyer Design transformed the existing Fort Washington Expo Center into the new 450,000 sq. ft. GMAC headquarters.

34 Construction Leaders Today


interior design

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REdesignING business At Meyer Design, integrating architecture and interior design leads to creative design solutions that provide great workplace environments. by Jane Caffrey

The core philosophy at Meyer Design is expanding the basics of corporate interior design and architecture, and incorporating innovative design solutions in both areas to address the demands of business operations. “How do you create an environment where professionals can successfully practice their talents and training?” Norman Liedtke, President of Meyer Design, said. “We strive to achieve that, and do it in an environment where we can all have an enjoyable work experience. It’s not just about applying our professional training; it’s about finding business solutions for our clients.” Meyer Design, founded in 1976, originated as a corporate interiors firm. Yet, over the course of the last two decades, the company has evolved to become a leading architecture firm in the Philadelphia area. The company has a wide variety of corporate clients as well as broadcast, education, healthcare, legal, non-profit, professional, and technology clients. With a team of more than 30 architects, designers, furniture experts, relocation specialists, and administrative staff, the firm provides diverse services paired with personalized attention. “The leadership of the company has an average of 15 years of experience with the company,” Jennifer Gould, Vice President at Meyer Design, said. “Most people come out of school, then stay forever. The personality of the firm is made up of all the personalities of our diverse group.” Designers at Meyer Design collaborate with both tenants and building owners to tailor projects to the specific needs of each

client. The finished product is a space or building designed from the inside-out, with solutions that are both aesthetic and functional. Architecturally, Meyer Design has extensive experience in new construction, renovations, conversions, feasibility studies, master planning, and sustainability. The interior design side of the process always begins with an extensive Operations Analysis, the most comprehensive programming available to provide a building block plan for space. Yet as a comprehensive design firm, Meyer Design additionally provides clients with a range of add-on services to ensure smooth transitions in any real estate project. A Furniture Solutions team is a single source for selecting and managing furniture, offering extensive knowledge and industry relationships. The company also brings 15 years of Relocation Management experience, managing successful relocations for clients such as Towers Perrin, Lexis Nexis and Eastern Research. Finally, Meyer Design assists clients through the entire design process with a Project Management team. With more than three decades of experience in this area, the firm brings foresight, maximizes savings, and acts as a representative on every detail to ensure that projects are completed on time and on budget. “We emphasize the integration of both architecture and interiors,” Liedtke said. “This really offers the client complete service. Whether designing buildings or interiors, we do everything in house. We provide a single source of services.” Summer 2010 35


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Another central commitment at Meyer Design is protecting the environment through sustainable building, an effort largely headed by George T. Wilson, AIA, Principal of Meyer Architects. “We follow sustainable LEED principles in every project we do. That’s our commitment to the environment,” Wilson said. Initially becoming involved in green building in the late 1990s, Meyer Design was one of the first firms in the region to achieve LEED silver and gold certifications. Wilson was also a founder of the Delaware Valley Green Building Council, whose mission is to transform the Delaware Valley through sustainable and responsible planning, design, and construction. This philosophy is prevalent at Meyer Design as well. The firm has taken a leadership role in educating clients on the benefits of green building and advocating the use of sustainable materials on every project. “One important trend we’ve seen is that just two years ago we would have to explain what the LEED process was about, and then only a small handful of clients would go forward,” Liedtke said. “As we sit here today, a number of clients initiate the conversation about LEED services, and 25 to 30 percent of our projects go through the LEED process.” Both comprehensive service and acute attention to sustainability have led to innumerable successful projects completed by the company, for corporate clients such as AIG/Chartis,

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3. 1818 Market Street, Philadelphia, Pa. The entryway was designed to give the building an impressive street presence and position it among the top buildings in Center City. Photo courtesy of Meyer Design.

PENNTEX CONSTRUCTION Penntex’s top priority is to listen to the customer. Penntex will take the time required to share its expertise openly, build trust and provide focused management from concept to project completion. Penntex knows the language of Architects, Engineers, Contractors, Vendors, and they enjoy helping create a new place that meets the customer’s needs. Penntex is a full service practice, whose features include concept and project cost budgeting, scheduling expertise, bidding services, contract negotiations, cost control, quality assurance, safety maintenance, and warranty guarantee. Penntex will assign a single person of contact that will help clients accomplish their projects from design through construction. Penntex accepts the challenge of a project, whether it is technically complex, employs demanding aesthetics, or has significant time pressures for project completion. In addition, they maximize control over projects while at the same time provide the expertise and resources to execute project phases efficiently. Penntex’s LEED accredited team has assisted clients in finding an appropriate balance to achieve environmental responsibility while helping to reduce long

term operating and maintenance costs. Penntex provides an open exchange that can question concepts or construction details in order to explore options and assumptions that ultimately help to maximize value. At Penntex, there is a high level of expertise as well as breadth of experience that contributes to strong planning with efficient use of time and money. Penntex has a proven track record of building Class A office buildings; they have transformed manufacturing plants into appealing office structures. Their record includes the construction of the world’s largest LEED certified baking facility, medical facilities, delivery of extensive site infrastructures, and experience with environmental remediation. Their experience includes meeting demanding and intensive design requirements coupled with well coordinated installations. Penntex prides itself on being able to respond creatively and provide value engineering to attain conceptual intent balanced with cost efficiency. Penntex looks forward to working with clients with diverse needs and accepts the challenge of providing pleasant work environments and high functionality.

350 Sentry Parkway, Bldg 640, Suite 101; Blue Bell, PA 19422; 610-834-1560 / FAX 610-834-1562

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XL America, and Liberty Property Trust. One project that clearly demonstrates the architectural capabilities of Meyer Design is the corporate office building at 330 Fellowship Road in Marlton, New Jersey. This project is the first LEED Gold building in Southern New Jersey - a four-story, 110,000 sq.ft. office space designed for Liberty Property Trust, a developer in high-performance green office and industrial buildings. The project is part of “Liberty Walk” for which Meyer Design was the master planner. After demolishing two of the original structures, the firm crunched the masonry for use as a base for the parking lot in a sustainable gesture. “This cost more, but it saved us two to three weeks of construction time. Instead of hauling the waste away to a landfill, we used it on site,” Wilson said. Wilson headed a team that completed an additional landmark project for Liberty Property Trust at 151 South Warner Road in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Collaborating with the developer and contractor, the team transformed a dated structure into a sophisticated, world class single-tenant office building. Meyer Design increased the space by 9,000 sq. ft., re-skinned the entire building, added an impressive three-story glass atrium, and completed landscaping and redevelopment of the site. In support of LEED-CS Gold certification, 151 also boasts a spectrum of green features. Energy efficiencies are achieved through a highly reflective and extra-insulated white roof, while low-flow showerheads, sensor faucets, and landscaping provide water efficiencies. A new “through” lobby developed by Meyer Design, with increased ceiling and window height, allows natural light to permeate the space.

In upcoming years, Meyer Design will continue to complete projects for clients in diverse sectors and will remain committed to sustainable building. For both economic and environmental reasons, the firm sees an increasing trend in renovating existing buildings. The company has also examined modern demographics, and anticipates its active assisted living practice will grow even larger as the elder care housing market continues to expand. “The area where I think we excel is that we very much understand that it’s about what the client wants and finding business solutions through design,” Liedtke said. Meyer Design preserves a high client retention rate due to the company’s keen ability to develop personal relationships and customize design and business solutions. “We design for the purposes of meeting business objectives,” Gould said. “When clients move into a new space, there is some aspect of the business driving that change. It’s our job to know what’s driving their business, and why it’s growing or contracting, and to reorient the space to meet the clients’ changing environment.” With a philosophy of listening, anticipating, and responding, Meyer Design addresses clients with personalized service that continually evolves to foster effective design solutions. CLT 4. Aberdeen Asset Management, Philadelphia, Pa. This space was designed to be open, airy and light with dark and dramatic accents. Photo courtesy of Meyer Designs, Inc. 5. 6 Interplex, Neshaminy, Pa. All aspects of the lobby and common areas were updated to increase marketability. Photo courtesy of Meyer Designs, Inc.

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west INSIDE: HALL & BARTLEY, WAVE CREST, MUNSTERMAN, GRACE DESIGN ASSOCIATES

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by Rachel Goldberg

When you open a bottle of wine, do you think about the intensive processing facilities that were involved in making it? How the grapes were grown and transported, crushed, processed and stored? Andy Hall does. As a founding principal of design firm Hall & Bartley, Hall has spent more than 25 years designing more than 50 wineries in California’s premium wine country, and he can say with certainty that there’s a lot more to wineries than tasting rooms. Hall was working with Scott Bartley at a firm that specialized in winery design in the early 1980s when its owner decided to retire and offered them the company.

They stuck with winery projects and since then they have become the goto firm for wineries looking to build or expand. The small practice has downsized in recent years with economic troubles hitting the wine industry. Hall says that while sales of lower-priced bulk wines remain strong, sales of higher-priced wines have fallen flat over the past few years. With winery finances squeezed, Hall and Bartley are doing more and more work with existing facilities rather than new construction. “We’ll evaluate the existing facility and see if we can make it more efficient in its use of how the product flows through it

and then come up with expansion ideas,” Hall said. “We do a master plan for them and then phase that plan over a number of years. Each phase is studied; with determination of work with associated production levels and costs. The client then has valuable information to incorporate into a business plan.” For Meridian winery, a large facility in San Luis Obispo County, Calif., Hall & Bartley created a master plan and 1. Sun setting on the hospitality center at St. Francis Vineyards, Kenwood, Sanoma County, Calif. Photo by Tim Maloney. 2. A public wine tasting facility at St. Francis Vineyards, Kenwood, Sanoma County, Calif. Photo by Tim Maloney. Summer 2010 41


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provided full architectural services, including landscaping, permit assistance, and planning for ongoing expansion. The facilities included space for processing grapes into wine, as well as public tasting and touring areas. Hall enjoys the challenges in both designing new wineries and expanding existing ones. “It’s like putting puzzles together; you pick the parts. In new winery design you take the parts, and see how they fit on the site, keeping in mind along with function, the orientation, the climate, and the views” he says. “On an existing facility a lot of that is given, but you have opportunities in the expansions to integrate some of those by adding new spaces.” By renovating existing winemaking facilities, Hall & Bartley are able to make them more functional and energy efficient, saving the owners time and money and reducing impact to the environment. For Hall, green building starts with paying close attention to the site layout. The orientation of a building and its relationship to sun exposure, wind and topography are critical factors in his designs.

For the Flowers Winery in Sonoma County, Calif., the architects had to work with an unusually steep site, so they designed a structure to fit with the landscape. They placed barrel storage rooms underground, which also allowed them to utilize the naturally cool underground air to refrigerate the wine barrels. Their familiarity with the California climate is another advantage for Hall & Bartley. Because temperature plays such an important part in winemaking, modifying how facilities circulate water and heat can dramatically reduce their

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energy use and waste. For example, heat given off from a refrigeration system can be used to preheat water that will be used for wash down in the water heating system. “The wine industry has had to be sustainable for quite a few years, because of the energy use. For us, it’s been part of the design process all along,” Hall said. Their designs show a wide variety of styles because each is built to complement its environment and the wishes of its owner.

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3. Meridian Vineyards Hospitality Center, Paso Robles, Calif. Photo by Charles Callister. 4. Patio view of the Marimar Torres Estate Winery, Sonoma County, Calif. Photo courtesy of Hall & Bartley. 5. Hanzell Winery fermenting and cave portal, Sonoma, Calif. Photo courtesy of Hall & Bartley.

RAY CARLSON Ray Carlson & Associates provides professional land surveying services and vineyard consulting services to Sonoma, Napa, Marin and Mendocino Counties. They provide many types of surveys which are all performed with a high degree of accuracy by experienced staff. They have been and continue to be a team player with Hall and Bartley Architecture. Ray Carlson’s vineyard consulting services include collecting accurate information using systems to create custom GIS data bases that are GPS friendly for on-going monitoring and facility and vineyard management. Their systems are proven to achieve exact vine counts to be used for development, formulas for purchasing, supplies, measuring quality and profit analysis. Ray Carlson and Associates As-Built 3-D modeling is a great tool for marketing tasting rooms or vineyards. Summer 2010 43


WRIGHT CONTRACTING Family owned and operated since 1953, Wright Contracting, Inc. has built their reputation on trust, integrity and superior service. As a leader in the winery construction industry, Wright takes great pride in every project and their relationships with prestigious clients.  Wright has completed over 70 winery projects and continues to expand their level of expertise in winery construction. Wright has worked with Hall & Bartley Architects for over 25 years, and we look forward to continuing our relationship Kendall-Jackson LaCrema Winery, Santa Rosa, Calif. . General Contractor: Wright Contracting, Inc


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“Often the winery is a marketing image, so they will have a character or a style they’re looking for,” Hall said. “The client could tell you they want it to look like a barn; they could tell you they want it to look like an Italian villa.” Hall & Bartley designed the Clos LaChance winery in San Martin, Calif., which was built to complement the neighboring resort and golf course. Building a winery adjacent to a golf course was a challenge, Hall said. The orientation of the building had to take into account how the look and sounds from the winery would affect the golf course and the play. The high-tech interiors of the facility were a contrast with the “Old World Italian” setting. No two wineries are alike, said Hall. The spaces needed can vary greatly depending on the volume and type of wine that is being made. “Red wine might get aged in barrels for a couple years after fermenting on the skins in tanks. White grapes often go straight

to the press, are fermented in tanks at cooler temperatures and may not even see a barrel. So they may not need very many barrels, where red wines will have rooms full of barrels.” Their years of experience in winery design and construction gives Hall & Bartley a unique insight into winemaking. Working closely with clients, they get a front-row seat to the process, and some extra perks, like getting to taste wine straight from the barrel. Hall & Bartley is continually improving their process to be able to give their clients what they need. In light of the state of the economy, they have made their working process more efficient so that they can help wineries do the same, said Hall. “We’re using these times to improve our marketing and to keep our name in the industry, so when it does turn around wineries will know that they can turn to Hall and Bartley.” CLT

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6. J Wine Company tasting Bar, Healdsburg, Calif.

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Wave Crest

Building Custom Green by Rebecca Rodriguez

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Building in San Diego’s prestigious ranch and coastal regions, Wave Crest creates luxurious, high-end homes that not only impress the eye but are gentle on the environment. Jeffrey Adams, president of Wave Crest is currently working on three LEED-certified homes. For one project, he aspires to achieve platimum-level, and on the other two he is aiming for gold. He believes his commitment to build all of his homes green is what sets him apart from the competition. Adams is a certified LEED Accredited Professional. He is also a certified green professional, an exclusive designation offered by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The company specializes in custom homes ranging from 2,000 sq. ft. to 12,000 sq. ft. Usually four to six projects are going at once, but the market’s a little slower now, he said. Focusing on high-end custom homes “keeps us busy,” he said. One of Adam’s homes was part of the National Association of Home Builders tour, in which only five homes are chosen. All of the home owners with whom Adams works are “very receptive” to building green, but don’t always realize the importance of getting LEED certification. Sometimes Adams will pay the cost of getting registered, doing the paperwork, and getting officially certified, which can cost from $5,000 to $8,000. “Some people don’t realize the importance of getting LEED certification. But really it’s like getting a grade on your homework,” Adams said of his green building practices. Despite this, Adams says that green building is really taking off. “It will come second nature in the future,” he said. And he gets a lot of pleasure from building green. “I enjoy it. It’s like continuing education. It’s an alternate way of building and hopefully in the future it will be common practice,” Adams said. Summer 2010 47


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Unfortunately people have the impression that it will cost 10 to 20 percent more to build a green home when in reality it is more like 5 percent more, he said. “And it’s for a healthier home that’s less expensive to run, better for the environment, and more comfortable,” he said. Wave Crest tailors its services to the precise needs of the client and follows a triangle model of excellence. Time, cost, and quality are kept in balance so that excellence is achieved. “You can do something fast and quick but the quality won’t be very good,” Adams said, adding that the experience for the customer should be stress free and enjoyable. “We help them make selections ahead of time that way it’s fun and enjoyable. Homeowners have to make a lot of decisions,” he said. “We don’t want to overload them. There has to be an organized method.” Communication, organized product selection, cost, and time frame are all important to Adams, and he makes sure to inform clients when decisions are coming up. Adams said he becomes close to his clients during a project. “I become part of a family with these people while building their house. A lot of my clients are my friends now,” he said. Wave Crest was formed in 1996, but before that Adams cut his teeth building spec homes. “I didn’t have the advantage of working for a company. I learned on my own,” Adams said . His first spec home built in 1979 was a solar energy home with passive and active solar heating and cooling. One unusual spec home Adam worked on was a 3,500 sq. ft. home built on an avocado tree orchard. To save as many trees as possible, Adams worked the orchard around the house, taking it even further by incorporating one of the trees into the living room. “With spec homes you’re always trying to get the most bang for your buck so that it doesn’t cost and arm and a leg. It needs to be universally liked but at the same time be cost effective,” he said. That spec home philosophy carried through to today when Adams builds his custom homes. “That’s in my nature – to help my clients choose materials that are high quality but at a lower cost,” he said. The building market in Adam’s region is beginning to improve, though loans are still hard to get. People who are well-qualified are having a hard time getting approved. Summer 2010 49


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custom home

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“We hit a giant pause button like two years ago,” he said. “Fortunately a lot of my builders build with cash.” Adams does not advertise but rather relies on referrals and attends green events. “I’ve also just had my name out there for 30 something years,” he said. Adam’s revenue is at about $3 million, although in recent strong years that number has been around $7 million. “I see the housing market coming back especially where I am which is a very desirable place to live. There’s always people who want to live here.” And for a company that is a leader in building green homes in an exclusive area of the country, the spotlight will never fade. CLT

THE CREST COMPANY, INC The Crest Company, Inc., specializing in aquatic feature construction and renovation, has been servicing government agencies, architectural and engineering firms, builders, developers, and homeowners since 1991. Their strong reputation is founded on the expertise of their key personnel who have been working on complex projects for over forty years. Recognizing the importance of energy independence, Crest also offers solar electric, solar water heating, and solar pool heating solutions to both commercial and residential customers. Their extensive knowledge of solar electric energy systems can reduce or eliminate dependence on local utilities for

power and heating of your pool and/or home. This California-based company hosts in-house construction crews, owns its own heavy equipment, and has constructed and repaired a variety of facilities both large and small. To date, their portfolio includes the Ritz Carlton Resort in Rancho Mirage, the Navy SEAL training tank in Camp Pendleton, Ca., and a one million gallon clear water swimming lake on a 200 acre private estate. The combination of Crest’s experience, workforce, equipment, and technological expertise make this company uniquely qualified to accomplish any type of aquatic or solar energy project.

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The homes designed by the Munsterman Group, LLC are tailored to fit their picturesque setting on the shores of Lake Tahoe. But they are ahead of their time in energy efficient technology. Dale Munsterman started out as a home builder, and when he founded the company in 1986, he wanted to use his educational background in solar engineering to design more energy efficient homes. At the time, however, green building was not as popular as it is today. “So I ended up getting pulled into the luxury market,” he said. “But over the years I’ve kept trying to get back to my roots.” He was the first in the region to use insulated concrete forms to build his homes, making them stronger and better insulated. Munsterman is continually exploring alternative methods and materials to make home design more sustainable. He is currently in training with the Passive House Institute U.S. (www.passivehouse.us) for certification in passive house design, which involves a rigorous standard of energy efficiency originally from Germany. “It’s a super efficient method of design where you wind up not even needing a heating system in the home,” he said. Munsterman plans on designing more homes in the passive method in the near future. His designs are also sensitive to the local environment. Building in the mountains means high altitudes and uneven topography must be taken into consideration. 52 Construction Leaders Today

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EVERYTHING I DRAW AND EVERYTHING I DESIGN CAN BE BUILT REASONABLY, EASILY AND COST EFFECTIVELY.

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“We specialize in combining state-of-the-art construction technologies with authentic construction techniques, creating unique alternative “hybrid” designs in a variety of styles,” the company says on their website, www.themunstermangroup.com. Each one-of-a-kind home features local elements like oversized timbers and heavy stone, with an emphasis on traditional craftsmanship. Munsterman is now bringing the mountain style to China in an unusual instance of reverse outsourcing. A Chinese entrepreneur who saw Munsterman’s home designs was so enamored of the style that he hired him to design for a highend resort development outside Beijing. “The interesting thing about China is that there’s virtually no wood in the country,” said Munsterman. “So we’re going to be fabricating the timbers and trusses and a lot of materials like wood floors and decking materials, packing them up, and combining them with their traditional concrete construction methods.” Munsterman’s background as a builder distinguishes him from the competition. Because he can see his designs from a practical point of view, he can balance aesthetics and feasibility. “Everything I draw and everything I design can be built reasonably, easily and cost effectively,” he said. “I’m not creating something that’s an architect’s dream and a contractor’s nightmare.” Munsterman’s experience also allows him to stay on the forefront of changes in the industry. He has been able to dramatically increase his workload by using digital modeling

software, giving clients a more complete preview of their project. He also plans to continue leading the movement towards green building. “Once that part of the market opens up, once we start doing more superefficient homes and the cost becomes more competitive, people are definitely going to see the benefits,” he said. “I think you’re going to see a big sea change toward the super efficient type of construction. It’s not only where the country wants to go, but where it has to go.” CLT

1. Sloop Residence, Lake Tahoe. A 2.3 acre estate parcel on Lake Tahoe’s north shore is the palette for a unique 3,700 sq. ft. craftsman-inspired residence. A 1,200 sq. ft. guesthouse shares the site, creating an understated Tahoe compound, with an abundance of multi-faceted lakeviews. Photo by Tom Zikas and Open2view. 2-4. Fire Circle Lodge, Marion, Mont. Sporting some of the world’s best fly-fishing, the north shore of Montana’s Little Bitterroot Lake is the setting for this 4,000 sq. ft. mountain lodge style residence. The hand-hewn timber trusses in the Great Room overlook the original fire circle, situated steps away on the lake’s edge. Photos courtesy of the Munsterman Group. 5. Engel Lodge, Lake Tahoe. This 5,600 sq. ft. authentic lodge style residence nestled on Lake Tahoe’s north shore was the first true “log post and beam” home in the region. Photo by Robert Brown & Assoc. Summer 2010 55


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LANDSCAPE DESIGN

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by Jane Caffrey

In Santa Barbara, Calif., blossoms cling to a trellis in an Italian inspired paradise; fountains trickle in a Zen oasis; bright colors spot a desert palette; and wispy grass contrasts with angular stones with modern aesthetic. These diverse masterpieces, state-ofthe-art gardens built by Grace Design Associates, Inc., are distinct in style, color, climate, and design. Projects range from naturalistic to urban, contemporary to traditional, sublime to whimsical, and each is reflective of owners’ personalities and lifestyles. Much more than simple outdoor space, the gardens are carefully assimilated with buildings, the landscape, and the larger community. “We’re working to pull together a very well integrated project,” Margaret Grace, Founder and Principal at Grace

Design Associates, said. “Something that distinguishes us is that we work very closely with our clients inside of realizing their dream garden. It doesn’t have to do with what style I have at my home; it’s all about what they want.” This philosophy of customization produces one-of-a-kind gardens, which are carefully tailored to the owner, architecture, site and environment, and are executed with the values of Old World craftsmanship. Before settling in California, Grace created her own gardens in Spain, Australia, and New Zealand. An avid traveler, she continues to trot the globe as a perpetual student of the world’s gardens today, bringing innovative ideas and a sophisticated design sense to her work. But over two decades ago, the gardener founded her own business in Santa Barbara, one of the nation’s

richest horticultural areas. “It’s extraordinary here in Santa Barbara,” Grace said. “It’s a beautiful place to be, and there is great interest in outdoor living.” Now a licensed landscape designer and landscape contractor, Grace works in a variety of garden styles including modern, naturalistic, formal, and English country. The design firm serves high-end clients, mostly working with residential homes in the $2 million to $15 million-price range, but also does some commercial work for California wineries and other businesses. While most of the gardens are located around Santa Barbara, Grace and a team of ten employees also serve clients throughout the western United States, particularly in California, New Mexico, Arizona, Oregon, and Washington.

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“We work with clients that tend to be really high end and demand the best. We’re able to deliver anything,” Grace said. Designing the highest quality gardens has earned Grace Design Associates numerous honors. The company has been featured in several national publications and on television programs such as HGTV’s “Landscapers’ Challenge” and Discovery Channel’s sustainable design show, “Greenovate.” The design firm has repeatedly been awarded the Santa Barbara Contractors Association Builder of the Year for Best Landscape and Hardscape, and in 2009, Grace Design Associates was named International Landscape Designer of the Year by the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD)—the highest honor that can be achieved in the field. Along with a rich and storied horticultural and architectural history, Santa Barbara has a long-standing

commitment to conservation, and Grace supports this with sustainable design and construction practices. While Grace can also work traditionally, her design methodologies and practices were sustainable before green was in fashion. Green features in Grace gardens include water conservation, rainwater harvesting and distribution, permaculture, drought tolerant planting, fire safe landscape design, and edible landscapes. “We really care about quality, we care about the environment, and we care about the planet,” Grace said. The company has completed several high-end sustainable outdoor living spaces. A wide range of microclimates in southern California also allows for a broad range of extraordinary design opportunities, allowing Grace Design Associates to develop garden retreats that are as diverse as the personalities of the people that own them.

1. El Pueblo Viejo, Calif. This naturalistic landscape surrounds a $3 million dollar modular home by architect Michelle Kaufman. Imparting drama and beauty, Grace Design Associates has since transformed the property into an ocean of movement and light. Photo by Holly Lepere Photography. 2. El Pueblo Viejo, Calif. Using stone harvested from site, Grace Design built a stone amphitheater seating 20, an outdoor gas fire pit and a hot tub. Photo by Holly Lepere Photography. 3. Santa Barbara, Calif. Stone pier caps were repurposed into the fountain alongside the hard-carved “tinaja” bird bath; stone bench, boulders, cobbles were salvaged from site. Photo by Holly Lepere Photography. 4. Santa Barbara, Calif. Drought-tolerant plants contrast nicely with the varying sizes of river rocks and pebbles, creating a pleasing colorful and textured composition. Photo by Holly Lepere Photography. 5. Santa Barbara, Calif. Arroyo runs under the walkway leading to the walled garden dining area. Photo by Holly Lepere Photography. Summer 2010 59


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“We are really working on having the owner be visible, and creating a garden that expresses who they are,” Grace said. One of the firm’s landmark projects that received international acclaim is an outdoor space complementing a modern home on Pedregosa Street in Santa Barbara. Grace collaborated with the homeowners to create a naturalistic garden that would be an extension of the home’s living space. The owners wanted a place for quiet contemplation, meals, and evenings of musical performances and social gatherings. Grace responded by placing a stone amphitheater and fire pit at the heart of the garden—a space suitable for intimate gatherings, yet also expandable for an audience of up to 40 people. At the owners’ request, the site is also completely sustainable, with low water use and drought tolerant plants, landscape mounding to enhance site 60 Construction Leaders Today

drainage, permeable hardscape, and local landscape materials. The clients, originally from Iowa, also wanted to recall their prairie roots. A variety of grasses were planted to evoke a prairie ambience, as well as to minimize landscape maintenance requirements. “It was about light, composition, texture, and movement,” Grace said. “It is a site that is green, that grows them some food, and reminds them of home. Amazingly, it only requires a mere half hour of maintenance per month!” Another high profile project completed by Grace Design Associates is a Asian-style garden in the Hope Ranch area of Santa Barbara, adjacent to an Italianate villa with spectacular views of the coastline. In the project of just over $1 million, Grace married the disparate styles of the Italianate and the Asian-inspired garden. Working with texture and form, she implemented

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the repetition of understated plants to serve as backdrop and a unifying element throughout the space. Grace also chose a soft tone of gray for the hardscape so that the garden would appear aged instantly, allowing the clients to host a black-tie event just two months after completion. In addition, Grace incorporated an impressive array of garden objects that the homeowners had collected from around the world, including a six-foot high Buddha, a 12-inch prayer bell, and a 1,500-pound stone urn. Subspaces balanced the garden, while a classic Japanese style exaggerated perspective and created the illusion of a much larger space. “It’s an extraordinary Asian garden,” Grace said. “We wound up with quite a few gardens really; besides the Asian garden, we designed and built a sunken garden, a moon garden, a theatre garden, a whimsical Alice in Wonderland garden with a giant chess board, a woodland garden, Mediterranean garden, a vegetable garden, an herb garden and a

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vineyard.”Grace Design Associates has a strong giveback policy, and anticipates increasingly undertaking commercial projects in upcoming years with more projects in the community, winery, and hospitality sectors. The firm is additionally collaborating with Habitat For Humanity, and Grace dreams of creating a blueprint for developing outdoor sites that can be built time and again to complement the organization’s housing structures. Yet giving back also translates to individual families. Grace Design Associates will continue to design some of the nation’s most stunning residential outdoor spaces, and transform homeowners’ visions into dream gardens. “It is rewarding when the space is built, and then you watch the family in the garden,” Grace said. “We’re able to see how the setting is set for them to live their lives, and we can watch who they are inside that space. It is really a joy to have a garden that really suits them, and see that they love their life there.” CLT

6. Santa Barbara, Calif. Blended gardens are all the rage. Flowers, fruit trees, vegetables and herbs all live happily together. Using containers adds structure and makes gardening easy and low maintenance. Photo by Holly Lepere Photography. 7. Santa Barbara, Calif. The grouping of hand-hewn water basins attracts wildlife, reflects surrounding plants as well as the sky and moonlight. Photo by Holly Lepere Photography.

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8. Santa Barbara, Calif. A screened seating area with a stone coffee table, fountain and roses provides a pleasant front-yard space where family and friends can gather. Photo by Holly Lepere Photography.

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midwest INSIDE: TYSON AND BILLY ARCHITECTS, BAYSINGER DESIGN GROUP

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by Jane Caffrey

&BILLY

TYSON

Ronald G. Billy, Jr., Principal at Tyson & Billy Architects, P.C., recently attended an open house at one of the firm’s completed structures—a 60-unit Prairie Style apartment complex located in Rockford, Ill. The building, called Spring Ridge, is a low-income mature living facility whose residents allocate a third of their income to paying rent. At the gathering, an elderly woman to reside in the complex approached Billy. With tears in her eyes, she exclaimed, “At this point in my life, I never thought I’d live in a place so beautiful.” For Billy, projects such as these are most rewarding. “For me to have received that kind of a compliment was more humbling than anything else,” he said. “As architecture, the buildings are beautiful. But if it doesn’t impact the lives of the end user, it’s ultimately an object. A successful project for us is when the end user is extremely happy.” Thus, the underlying philosophy at the firm subsists: architecture with social significance. As one of the oldest continual practice architecture firms in the Midwest, Tyson & Billy Architects has been serving

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constructing social change: Tyson and

Billy projects go beyond handsome architecture by also meeting public need

clients nationwide since 1919. The firm has evolved under the direction of five presidents, each of whom contributed unique styles and philosophies to the company legacy. In its infancy, Tyson & Billy defined the Rockford, Ill. skyline with its News Tower, and went on to excel in industrial and residential designs, completing projects in Great Britain and Japan. The firm later acted as a pioneer in modern design concepts throughout the 1970s. In the following decades, under President Bruce G. Tyson, Tyson & Billy began a major effort towards creating socially conscious architectural works and grew as a leader in the housing, educational, and religious fields. “Bruce Tyson saw a push towards senior housing,” Billy said. “He knew that the baby boomers were going to retire one day, and made multiple unit senior housing facilities a concentration. That has been the backbone of what we’ve been doing since then. We’ve also expanded on that and are creating housing for persons with special needs. It’s the latest product that we’re designing.” Today, with eleven professionals on staff, the Rockford-based company

serves clients in Illinois, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Florida. “We’re a small firm, but we’re a high output firm,” Billy said. As a seasoned and creative design studio, Tyson & Billy boasts a portfolio of diverse projects, in the commercial, ecclesiastical, educational, country club, industrial, and interior design fields. While particularly specializing in the housing industry, the firm focuses on private and multi-family residences, group homes, special needs housing, independent senior living, skilled nursing and assisted or supportive living facilities. It also shows a special interest in Not-For-Profit projects, and works with housing development agencies, churches, and private developers to meet the expanding market for assisted care facilities and related special use housing. As the evolution of Tyson & Billy Architects continues, the design studio will maintain a concentration on projects with social influence, and anticipates penetrating new markets in assisted living. A major initiative that the company foresees in upcoming years is development living facilities for adults with autism.

“When adults with autism move out of the public school system at 22 or 23, they currently don’t have a lot of options,” Billy said. “We want to create model programs by providing housing with occupational therapy, creating a community within itself so that these residents have access to a more meaningful life.” The firm plans to design living facilities for children with traumatic brain injury and victims of warfare, as well as create hospice facilities that enhance peace of mind, spirit, and body for residents. Thus, although proven capable in a wide assortment of projects, Tyson & Billy maintains its emphasis on architecture with social impact. “Success lies in the philosophy that we can reach the end users and change their lives in a positive way,” Billy said. CLT 1. Spring Ridge, Rockford, Ill. A common sitting area around a fireplace for residents and visitors. 2. Victorian Woods, Decatur, Ill. Exterior of the courtyard entrance. 3. Morning Star Village, Rockford, Ill. Entrance canopy and bridge that extends over a small creek.

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Baysinger Design Group by Rachel Goldberg

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Baysinger Design Group in Marion, Ill. has undergone many changes since their beginnings as a small partnership that focused on architectural services for K-12 schools. In 2004, Sheila and Michael Baysinger decided to branch out to create a business that provided architecture, planning and interior design services. Today, their strength lies in the ability to adapt to the constantly changing needs of its diverse client base. Their diversification did not happen overnight. In order to understand the most effective strategy for dealing with each market, Sheila Baysinger said she devoted a significant amount of time to marketing research. They have come a long way since they started, but Baysinger said she is still working on developing new markets. They are now working more with federal and local government, as well as office and health care facilities. “All it takes is one project in that market,” she said. “You get one project, you do it well and you can use it as a springboard for the next.” Many of their projects come from repeat clients who liked Baysinger’s work the first time around. Federal government contracts are especially hard to get at first; Baysinger said it can take 18-24 months of marketing to get that first project. “It’s not easy; it’s involved and it takes a consistent dedicated effort over a period of time.” By attaining certification as a womanowned, HUB zone and small business, Baysinger was able to widen their group of clients. The federal government sets aside some contracts for businesses in those categories, to narrow the field of competitors bidding for them. Baysinger Design Group has successfully marketed itself within those categories and won government contracts. Baysinger Design Group currently holds contracts with the U.S. Navy and Air Force. They are also working on a federal design build project for the VA hospital, which mandated that the building be constructed from modular units. Each project comes with a unique set of requirements, whether it is a federal, municipal, or commercial building, but the government facilities tend to set more rules and restrictions. Baysinger recently completed an office building to house Williamson County’s administrative functions. The project included a site master plan that incorporated neighboring buildings and

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traffic patterns. The challenge of the project was in combining the unique features of the site with the input of the various parties involved in the building. “There was a good amount of freedom but some interesting constraints, too,” Baysinger said. “We were working with different entities, each with their own concerns, and trying to meld those together into a unified design that would be responsive to all their needs.” Understanding and meeting their clients’ needs is at the core of BDG’s mission. Central to their working process are two simple but important ideas: communication and quality control. “At the end of the day, you need to make sure your projects have been coordinated and controlled with the client and contractor and that are internally correct and usable,” Baysinger said. By providing clients with the best possible service, they develop long-term connections to the community that allow them continued growth. Though owning a business in a small town can sometimes translate to more limited opportunities, Baysinger sees it as an advantage because the community is aware of the quality of their work. One of Baysinger’s favorite projects was building the Mackie’s Pizza restaurant, the result of a successful working relationship between Baysinger, the client and the contractor. “It was a very dynamic, collaborative process,” she said. “The owner was really interested in being a part of it, and contractor on the job was very good at working with us in developing details that responded to the design intent but also were economical, efficient, and easy to construct.” The project required fast thinking for Baysinger; it was given such a short time frame that they were designing as it was being constructed. It involved major interior and exterior renovation of an existing building to create the kitchen and dining areas of an Italian restaurant. The metal building, a former retail facility, was given a new entry vestibule, windows and architectural detail. Inside, Baysinger created a party room and cozy eating environment with wood detailing and stone counters and fireplace. Baysinger relishes the challenge of transforming an existing space into something different.

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“Renovation is always a little more challenging because there are more unknowns there,” she said. “But in some respects, those constraints also make the project interesting.” She says the creative process is the most rewarding part of her job. Though she is often consumed with the many other responsibilities of being a business owner, she still keeps an active role in the design work. “I love being an architect,” she said. “I try very hard to keep my hand in the design end of things.” CLT

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2. Midwest Ear, Nose, Throat Clinic, Herrin, Ill. The lobby and check-in area for the clinic. Photo courtesy of Baysinger Design Group. 3-5. Williamson County Administrative Building, Williamson County, Ill. This newly completed construction is a 42,000 sq. ft., three-story public office building. It houses the county clerk, treasurer, supervisor of assessments, county commissioner and other county related offices. The new design effectively addresses parking, pedestrian and vehicular circulation. Photos courtesy of Baysinger Design Group.

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south INSIDE: BLGY, LAKE FLATO, GS&C ARCHITECTURE-INTERIOR DESIGN, FORUM

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BLGY: a

by Rachel Goldberg

pillar of the community

BLGY Architecture has remained successful for over 50 years by upholding their role as a pillar of their Austin, Texas community. The firm was founded in 1955, and current CEO Benny L. Hawkins joined the firm in 1988. The co-owners of the company now also include vice presidents Gary Iwers and Barry Sikes, who have both been with the company since the early 1990s. “Barry, Gary and I have 60 plus years of experience at BLGY. We have worked together for a long time, and we think that’s one of our strengths,” Hawkins said. BLGY has consistently won awards for their wwork for clients in education, healthcare, law enforcement and government facilities. Since the 1970s it has focused mostly on public school projects. Though the types of projects they design have changed over the years, they retain high standards of quality. “More by evolution than design, it appears that we have had more of a niche to work with public institutional projects that 72 Construction Leaders Today

came our way,” said Hawkins. “We evolved to where we are and we keep busy satisfying the needs of all these repeat clients.” Every client they are working with right now has worked with BLGY before. One current project is a science lab addition lab to downtown Austin’s flagship high school, a building originally designed by BLGY in 1974. “Our services were desired at that location not necessarily because we designed it decades ago, but because they didn’t feel comfortable entrusting the addition to the flagship location to just any firm,” Hawkins said. “It’s proven to be a really rewarding project to go back and work on a building that we were the initial designer for back in the 70s,” Iwers adds. They enjoyed serving the school’s diverse student population, as well as the devoted network of enthusiastic parents who were involved in the project.


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Though the marketing and bidding process has changed a great deal since BLGY has been around, they have kept up with the changes by evolving to meet their clients’ needs. In their region, each project involves a process of public discussion and voting in order to approve construction or renovation to school and government facilities. BLGY is able to use their years of experience creating relationships within their community to help school districts to develop plans for new growth and modernization. BLGY’s school services have evolved over the years in response to changes in educational needs. School districts in Texas 1. Toll station on SH130, Austin, Texas. Photo courtesy of BLGY Inc. 2. Staff members at BLGY, Inc. Photo courtesy of BLGY Inc. 3. Teague High School, under construction, Teague, Texas. Photo courtesy of BLGY Inc. 4. Stony Point High School, Round Rock, Texas. Photo courtesy of BLGY Inc. 5. Competition gymnasium at Nacogdoches High School, Nacogdoches, Texas. Photo courtesy of BLGY Inc. 6. Rudder High School Entrance, Bryan, Texas. Photo courtesy of BLGY Inc.

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and around the country are placing renewed emphasis on educational programming and progress in student performance as measured by standardized testing. Changes in teaching and learning styles also mean that schools need new facilities to support them. “Often our challenge with school districts is to help them explore the alternative environments for learning,” Sikes said. “In elementary schools, for instance, you’re trying to group classrooms around open common spaces that can provide other settings to get together and learn.”

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BLGY accomplishes these goals by coming up with the solution that suits each particular project. Most of their projects are new buildings, though they have also successfully completed complex renovation and addition projects. They were recently involved in converting an 80-year old brick gymnasium building into classroom and office spaces for the local community college. “We kept the exterior walls and roof but we came in and replaced the floor and added a new floor above the original floor to give the school more room for classrooms and office

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space,” Iwers said. BLGY also provides architecture, planning and program management services for other government facilities. They recently completed work on a new city hall building, through the design build team of Raymond Construction/BLGY, for Kyle, a small but growing community near Austin. “We were able to design a facility that was modern but still respected the old storefronts of the downtown and blends in well,” Sikes said. The city liked their work so much that they enlisted the team

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again to accomplish their new public library. The City Hall project also won the Association of General Contractors’ award for best design build project under $10 million. “We’re not all about large projects and profits; some projects come with so many collateral benefits,” Hawkins said. “The fun part of working in our office is you can do some large projects and you can do some diverse projects and you can have the satisfaction of knowing you’ve had a positive impact on a community like Kyle.” Their work is closely intertwined with the history of the Austin region, an area with its own unique culture. Being located in a town with a strong artistic heritage means design standards are set high for BLGY. Austin also has one of the nation’s first comprehensive green building programs in the country, and BLGY has been recognized for its environmentally sustainable architecture by Austin Energy Green Building. The firm also has several LEED Accredited Professionals on staff and host periodic “lunch and learns” to educate employees about developments in green technology. BLGY prides itself on its professional family atmosphere. Employees are offered incentives for good performance and teamwork. The firm holds companywide events and invites input from not only its registered architects, but also the other employees that help keep the company running smoothly. “We all try to work together and we also make sure that we get the person who is best suited to an assignment,” Hawkins said. “First and foremost we treat each other as human beings and professionals.” They plan to continue to build on their reputation by treating employees as well as clients with integrity and respect. CLT Summer 2010 75


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A Tradition Of Diversity Entering its third generation of ownership, GS&C stands by the principles of the founding partners by remaining active in a diverse assortment of architecture projects. by Jane Caffrey

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During autumn of 2009, Graeber, Simmons & Cowan Architecture-Interior Design retired its last founding partner and moved into its third generation of ownership. A mature company with a rich history of experience, the firm stands by the principles of its founding fathers with a deep commitment to a wide assortment of projects. “What sets us apart is our diversity,” Tom Cornelius, CEO and Principal at GS&C Architecture-Interior Design, said. ‘We are somewhat of a traditional firm, and we probably have the broadest market of any of the homegrown firms in Austin. Our project types are across the board.” Serving the industries of advanced technology, corporate, finance, education,

Industrial buildings and buildings that are focused on technology is a specialty, and it is one of ours. We will be focusing on companies and their building needs that are focused on renewable energy.” health care, and living spaces, GS&C has a client list that numbers over 500. Yet proving a commitment to rock-solid client relationships as well as diversity, the core values of the founders, GS&C also continues to provide design services to its original three clients—The University of Texas at Austin, St. David’s Community Hospital, and Texas State University-San Marcos. GS&C was established in Austin, Texas during the fall of 1978 by David Graeber, Al Simmons, and Tommy Cowan. Shortly following its foundation, the company hired R. Max Brooks, an old friend and mentor of the founders whose connections in Austin and expertise in architecture stretched back to 1935. “It’s as if the firm has a continuous history, due to the lineage of previous firms and previous ownership,” Cornelius said. “It’s style is more that a of a firm that was formed in 1935 really. We do track our history back to Austin, Texas in the mid 1930s, when Austin was still a small college town.” As Austin grew over the years, so did 1. AMD Lonestar Campus Bldg. 500, Austin Texas. Rain Catcher. Photo by Greg Hursley. 2. AMD Lonestar Campus Bldg. 400. Austin, Texas. Sunshades and Native Vegetation. Photo by Greg Hursley.

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ACUITY As GS&C’s technology partner for the AMD, Texas A&M, and Texas School for the Blind projects, Acuity ensures success through solid planning, coordinating, and communicating as a team. This results in meticulous accuracy and cost savings for design and integration of technology systems. Acuity is an IT consulting firm specializing in low–voltage systems for Fortune 500 companies, leading technology firms, world–class universities and medical centers. They have the experience and expertise to provide the blueprints for technology investment decisions and to provide strategic vision while maximizing business value throughout each stage of a project from start to finish. When Acuity’s services are procured in the beginning stage of any project and are treated as a rudiment (or cornerstone) throughout the development process, the resulted savings and increased efficiencies, both short and long–term, are simply unquantifiable.


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GS&C. New partners joined the firm, bringing diverse skills, expertise, and community-wide thinking. Cornelius became involved with GS&C in 1980, while obtaining a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Texas. During the 1990s, when Austin was a hub for microelectronics, Cornelius concentrated much of his energy on the design and management of advanced technology projects. While GS&C participated heavily in that sector, the market eroded near the turn of the century, and the firm replaced these projects with others in higher education, primary education, commercial, health care, and additional science and technology work. “We do all of that work today,” Cornelius said. “There has never been a time in our history when we’ve focused too much on one specific market and forsaken our roots of a really diverse practice.” Now under the visionary leadership of principals Tom Cornelius, Beth Guillot, Joe LaRocca, Paul Meyer, and Larry Moseley, 60 talented architects and interior designers bring a diverse range of talent to the firm. Employees typically offer expertise in specialized areas such as CAD management, project web site management, code reviews, sustainable design, and other interests. GS&C maintains a balance of seasoned staff with emerging professionals, and offers an intensive summer internship program for college students. “We are a dynamic company that gives opportunities,” Ginny Chilton, an Architect at GS&C, said. “We have a lot of young people and innovative thinkers. Everyone is in charge of providing excellent customer service.” Project diversity is beneficial to employees at GS&C as well, as they are encouraged to move between project types and be active in community areas of their choice. In recent years, Austin has seen a reemergence of the science and technology industries as the city strives to become a center of excellence in sustainability through solar power and wind generation. Tightly tied to Austin’s interests, GS&C is making a parallel effort for sustainability. “We’re following the city’s lead, which is making a very strong national push to be a city of excellence in renewable energy,” Cornelius said. “Industrial buildings and buildings that are focused on technology is a specialty, and it is one of ours. We will be focusing on companies and 80 Construction Leaders Today

their building needs that are focused on renewable energy.” GS&C is qualified in services from both the Austin Green Building Program and the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Program, with several fulltime LEED Accredited Professionals on staff that fully incorporate sustainable, energy efficient designs. The company’s project lists boasts a high number of green structures, including the AISD Perez Elementary School, which received a 2-Star Rating from the Austin Energy Green Building Program, the TurnerRoberts Recreation Center, a LEED Silver registered certification project, and the AMD 875,000 sq. ft. Lonestar Campus, a LEED Gold registered certification project. One sustainable project that Cornelius takes particular pride in is a new 1 million sq. ft. corporate campus for technology company, Advanced Micro Devices, a longstanding client of GS&C. In 2004, when AMD had acquired a number of companies and was spread out in 14 different properties across Austin, the corporation turned to GS&C to build a corporate campus that would consolidate the design and administration staff. “It was a consolidation project, so we had the opportunity to reset their space standards,” Cornelius said. “We had the great opportunity to program and work with AMD interactively to develop literally what their work environment was going to be.” With the new floor plan, GS&C created a space that excluded offices and instead offered a flexible layout and open spaces, complemented by a range of private areas for conferences and meetings. “It was a new approach for them, and assisting the company through that was pretty invigorating,” Cornelius said. The other unique aspect of the AMD project was that the campus was close to critical environmental features, and both companies decided early in the process to create a LEED project. Constructing 1 million square feet of office and garage space on a mere 59 acres, GS&C effected minimal impact on the site and achieved LEED Gold certification for the project. “At the end of the day, we could stand back and realize that we had created a lot of new construction with minimal clearing and impact on that site,” Cornelius said. Perhaps the crowning feature of the AMD Corporate Campus is an innovative water cistern that holds approximately 1.5 million gallons of water—currently the nation’s largest, non-agriculture

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AMD Lonestar Campus lobby Bldg. 100, Austin Texas. Photo by Benedict Kim.

water collection system. The spectacularly large water reclamation system draws water from every sq. in. of rooftop in the buildings and garages, which drains into a central system. The collected water is utilized in many ways. Four hundred thousand gallons are allocated for irrigation of the natural landscape. Some is employed in the cooling towers and reduces the campus’ water usage by 12 percent annually. The system is also crucial for collecting storm water runoff. In a part of the world where rocky soils don’t readily accept hard rainfall, the system prevents downstream runoff and checks erosion. “The water is being used in circles,” Cornelius said. “We’re really getting triple duty out of or rainwater system, through irrigation, offsetting the cooling tower water, and making a profound impact

on storm water control. We hope it will ultimately become a model approach on how to handle rainwater reclamation.” While already breaking ground in the sustainable building industry, GS&C anticipates becoming further involved in green building and the solar industry in upcoming years. The company is seeing increased science and technology projects as this market returns to Austin with the green movement. Yet never to be trapped within one specialization, GS&C plans to undertake a variety of projects and maintain expertise in every area. “I see us creating specialties within our diversity,” Cornelius said. “Buildings are becoming more specialized every day, so that is the direction we’re moving, although we will continue to work on diverse structures. We will make sure that

our clients can see that we take a studio approach to various project types.” Committed to the belief that each building should be a unique reflection of the people who interact within it, GS&C continues with innovative custom projects that enhance the Austin community. “We are extremely proud of our founding principles and to still be active in the community today. We’re at a good stage of our corporate life. It’s a healthy model, and we’re proud of our financial health and the direction that we’re going,” Cornelius said. With a long tradition of expertise, excellence, and multiplicity, GS&C is fully equipped to succeed as a leader in the perpetually evolving and diversifying architecture industry. CLT Summer 2010 81


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FORUM by Rachel Goldberg

1 Custom home, Jacksonville, Fla. This riverfront property is built in the Mediterranean style and has over 9,000 sq. ft. Photo courtesy of Forum. 82 Construction Leaders Today


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Forum Architecture & Interior Design Inc, is a full-service architectural firm specializing in planning, architecture and interior design. Based in Altamonte Springs, Fla., the firm designs for resorts, hospitality, residential and commercial clients throughout the United States. The company was founded in 1986 by Norman Stoehr and James Black. It is an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) company, so employees are directly invested in the company’s success. Though the company is relatively small, they are able to complete large scale projects because of the staff ’s unity and expertise. They value a wide range of experiences and

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skills in their employees. “Such diverse wealth of resources allows us to tailor our designs to our client’s needs and to provide the best suited solutions for each project,” the company says on its web site. Forum’s staff works together in a carefully organized manner to ensure high quality in every detail of their work. They can design everything from luxurious resort clubhouses to fast food restaurants, mixed-use developments, and single- and multi-family homes. They bring the same diligent sensibility balanced by economics to their affordable housing projects. Forum has

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2. Archstone Dulles Greenway, Leesburg, Va. The 300-unit Archstone apartment was built in 2001. Photo courtesy of Forum. 3. Park Crest at Harbor Island, Tampa, Fl. A 336-unit midrise apartment building is built on a 3.4 acre waterfront site, the last available parcel of land on Harbor Island. Photo courtesy of Forum. 4. Porsche at Hilton Head, Hilton Head, SC. Photo courtesy of Forum. 5. James Black, LEED AP, left, and Norman Stoehr, A.I.A., right. Photo courtesy of Forum.

designed over 27,000 multifamily affordable units. “One of the most powerful compliments we receive is people stopping by our affordable housing communities to ask how they can purchase what they believe is a marketrate condominium,” the company said in its newsletter. Forum helps to revitalize entire neighborhoods with these housing projects. They pride themselves on their ability to work with clients and builders within budget while still creating aesthetically inspired designs. They strive to work as a team with contractors, delivering designs that can be constructed efficiently. Forum works to come up with creative solutions to maximize the benefits to their clients. They are continually improving their working process to adapt to changes in the economy and their clients’ needs. With land becoming more expensive, they have shifted their designs to fit onto more limited spaces while still taking advantage of natural features. Forum also has several LEED-accredited professionals on staff, for clients interested in green building. They also design awardwinning senior living facilities, which is a market with rapidly increasing demand. The company is actively involved in their community; each year, employees donate significant amounts of time and money to local charities. Their commitment to service has been key to their success, helping them to build long-term relationships with repeat clients. CLT

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Lake Flato Architects by Rachel Goldberg

Lake Flato has been a leading architectural firm since 1984 due to its commitment to sustainable, modern and skillfully crafted designs. They use materials that are not only unique and modern but environmentally friendly and authentic. The company’s keen respect for the environment and emphasis on client collaboration allows them to work closely with their clients to put together projects that are highly responsive to the natural resources in which the site is encompassed. They recently completed work on a LEED-gold rated project at the Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus. The new facilities consist of five academic buildings with laboratory and classroom space for engineering, physics, anatomy and physiology, biology, chemistry, science, technology and math education. They are configured around three courtyards and linked by a series of openair atriums, portals and arcades. “Through its practical and climatically responsive approach to architecture and concentration on landscape integration, the pedestrian friendly Polytechnic Campus entices students and faculty to stay on campus to interact and learn,” said architect Andrew Herdeg, A.I.A.. In addition to architects, Lake Flato has 13 LEED Accredited Professionals, as 1. Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus, Mesa, Ariz. This is the conference tower and student porch at the School of Applied Arts. Photography © Bill Timmerman Photography. 86 Construction Leaders Today

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2 View into the first floor office paddock from the east courtyard of Armstrong Oil and Gas, Denver, Co. Rolling barn doors with translucent panels provide offices with daylight. Photography Š FrankOoms.com. Summer 2010 87


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well as a sustainability coordinator. The sustainable strategies they develop for each client have gained them national as well as international recognition. The firm has won 43 national design awards and four A.I.A. COTE Top Ten Green Awards, among others. They won several design awards for their adaptive re-use of a 1900s machine shop to create office space for Armstrong Oil & Gas in Denver, Colo. The office and meeting spaces are organized around a new central courtyard. The new design works within the existing building to create a fun, modern workplace. “The enclosed program was planned around existing elements in place creating generous, sophisticated spaces filled with daylight, natural ventilation and views to Denver’s skyline,” said Brian Korte, A.I.A., the Lake Flato design architect for the project. “Preserving a venerable building not only contributed to the historic nature of its context, but by keeping the existing scale and not building up vertically, the building maintains its relationship with the other vintage buildings on the street and remains a good neighbor.” Through the years Lake Flato has continuously created beautiful designs by fostering a collaborative open studio environment, which promotes teamwork 3. Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus, Mesa, Ariz. View from the northwest of campus and the desert mall. Photography © Bill Timmerman Photography. 4. Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus, Mesa, Ariz. The student porch and conference room tower is made with a composite wood shade cover at school of agribusiness. Photography © Bill Timmerman Photography.

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DANYSH & ASSOCIATES Danysh & Associates has extensive experience with the varying soil conditions of South Texas; particularly the expansive clays. The firm recognizes the importance of details often overlooked. D&A has honed its skills in designing new structures better able to cope with the active soils while recognizing the economics and performance standards expected by the owner. D&A played a major role in assisting Lake Flato in projects around the South Texas area.

TEN EYCK LANDSCAPE Ten Eyck Landscape Architects’ mission is to connect the urban dweller with nature. With each project they create memorable outdoor spaces with a sense of place – whether it is a residential, public, or hospitality environment. They take inspiration from clients, collaborators and their sites’ region, history, and future. Ten Eyck Landscape Architects sculpt space into creative hardscapes and multi-sensory gardens that have purpose underlying their beauty: air and water purification, climate mitigation, and places for social interaction and human healing. Each client’s desires and site characteristics are woven together to create a unique engaging, restorative place for outdoor living.

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6 as well as individuality, with the common goal of each employee being the best architect they can be. Lake Flato is able to promise innovative solutions that take in to account the best ideas presented by both clients, consultants as well as those whom a part of the firm. The firm not only prides itself on the awards and recognition generated by practical design solutions but they put just as much effort into making sure that their beautiful structures are highly energy efficient. CLT 6. The view of Armstrong Oil and Gas from Blake Street, Denver, Co. Lake Flato converted an existing building into a modern, luxurious office space. Photography © FrankOoms.com. 7. A folded steel plate stairwell with white oak plank “runner” in the Armstrong Oil and Gas building, Denver, Co. The stair is the primary vertical circulation for the building and winds around a steel clad volume that encloses the copy area on the first floor. Photography © FrankOoms.com 90 Construction Leaders Today

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national INSIDE: CRABTREE, ROHRBAUGH & ASSOCIATES, RENTFROW, DPR CONSTRUCTION

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Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates 1

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building success through a better philosophy on life by Rachel Goldberg

At Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates, employees are treated like family, and it shows in their work. The company has been named one of the best places to work in Pennsylvania since 2008, and co-founder and Chairman of the Board Doug Rohrbaugh is as proud of that recognition as he is of their many architectural accomplishments. The key to their success is simple. “We just do things differently from most firms. We show people that we value them as a person, not just as an architect, an engineer or an interior designer,” Rohrbaugh said. By offering employees the opportunity to fulfill their own goals professionally and personally, Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates has seen high employee retention and job satisfaction. Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates provides staff with generous compensation, flexible hours, and one of the best health care programs in the industry. They also make sure that employees never get bored. “Because we are so diversified and because we’ve had continuous growth, you don’t have to leave to become a All photos by Alan wycheck and courtesy of Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates – Architects 1. Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates Shareholders. Center: Thomas C. Crabtree, A.I.A. and G. Douglas Rohrbaugh. From Left: J. Brian Haines, A.I.A., LEED AP; Paul Taylor, A.I.A., LA, REFP, LEED AP; Norm Benfer, A.I.A.; Richard C. LeBlanc, A.I.A., LEED AP; Randy Davis; Tracy Rohrbaugh; John A. Beddia, LEED AP and Eric Lee. 2-3. Cabela’s, Fort Worth, Texas. 2. Cebela’s Retail, Inc., Fort Worth, Texas. 3. Cabela’s Retail, Inc., La Vista, Neb. Summer 2010 93


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project manager,” Rohrbaugh said. “We have that opportunity here.” Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates encourages staff to continually develop their skills and explore new opportunities. One way the company accomplishes this is by providing dedicated in-house training. Recent college graduates can earn all the credits they need to become registered architects while working at Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates, and thanks to regular training programs, the firm stays up to date with the latest in technology and environmental design. The firm’s generosity doesn’t start at nine and end at five. They go the

extra mile to improve the lives of their workers and the community. Employees are encouraged to coach high school sports, support charitable causes and bring their families to company events. Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates stands by their office family through difficult times as well. “When employees have been sent overseas with the military, we don’t just say goodbye to them,” Rohrbaugh said. “We pay them the difference between their military pay and the pay they make here so that their families’ living standards don’t change just because their spouse is sacrificing to serve our country.”

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They provide the families with transportation to company events like the annual picnic at Hershey Park so that the families remain a part of the Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates community even when their spouse or parent is gone. The few employees who do leave the company usually do so with the intent to start their own businesses, and Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates’s 4. Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates headquarters, Mechanicsburg, Pa. 5. Swatara Fire Station No. 1, Harrisburg, Pa. 6. Historic restoration of the Jefferson County Courthouse, Brookville, Pa.


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7 Fort Hunter Park Barn, Stable and Tavern Historic Restoration. Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates worked with the Dauphin County Parks and Recreation Department to restore the farmhouse interior and exterior to their mid-nineteenth-century appearance.

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West Manheim Elementary School, Hanover, Pa. Colored shapes in the terrazzo corridor floors help students identify different parts of the building. The shapes converge in a large, colorful design on the lobby’s custom terrazzo floor.

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support even still continues. They know firsthand how hard it can be to start a business, Rohrbaugh said, so they help out former employees any way they can, even inviting them back to work when business is slow. The lack of turnover in their staff means that clients can count on Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates’s work to be consistent and complete. They have built a broad base of clients in a wide range of sectors, including public education, health care and retail. While other companies have been 96 Construction Leaders Today

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forced to severely downsize due to economic woes, Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates has kept up a steady growth. “We have taken this downturn as an opportunity to go out and hire staff that in great economic times are difficult to hire,” said Rohrbaugh. “Times are tough for the architecture industry,” he said. “Because of economic panic, other architects quote unrealistically low prices and cut corners in their work.” But both Rohrbaugh and Tom Crabtree remain committed to their clients and are looking forward to even

more growth and diversification in the coming years. CLT 9. North Pocono New High School, Pa. By implementing cost effective design solutions and closely monitoring the program spaces, Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates were able to provide a design for the new high school that met the North Pocono School District budget. 10. Larry J. Macaluso Elementary, Red Lion, Pa. Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates designed a completely new two-level elementary school. The District purchased land based on the geographic area of anticipated population growth and the new K-6 facility has the capacity to house 1,400 students.


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Rentfrow Designs creating mood through design by Joan Tupponce

Jon Rentfrow’s designs mirror his company’s philosophy: creating moods in individual spaces. “I believe that one of the biggest responsibilities a designer has with his homes is to figure out how the client lives,” he said. “I look at everything. I pay special attention to the details of a home – columns, trim, doors, windows and unique nooks and shelves.” For one client, Rentfrow created a dark space where the client could practice yoga and meditation. “It was an intimate space that has a specific mood,” he said. Rentfrow looks at the function of a space as well as the design, evaluating concepts such as traffic

flow, possible furniture layouts and physical space limitations. “It’s not about the pictures in a magazine that you fell in love with or a cool room that you saw; it’s about how you will use the space,” he said. “That’s what’s important to me.” An award-winning designer and professional member of the American Institute of Building Designers, Rentfrow started Rentfrow Design, LLC in 1995. His work includes everything from additions and remodeling to site plans and full custom home design for all sizes of homes. “Sometimes I work with a developer who wants to put a spec home in a new development,” he said. “I do similar work for builders that need a

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1. A custom Mediterranean Style home on a ski lake in Colorado. Built in 2009. Photo by Warren Diggles. 2. Swiss-Mountain Lodge style home in Colorado. Built in 2009. Photo by Warren Diggles. 3. ‘Funky Farmhouse’ in Colorado. Built in 2007. Photo by Warren Diggles.

spec home. Most of my work, however, is with a specific client on a custom basis.” Rentfrow Designs, LLC is headquartered in Colorado but has clients in 12 different states and a few countries outside of the U.S. The company’s well-respected reputation started to spread when local builders began recognizing the quality and artistry of Rentfrow’s designs. With a good local foundation already in place, Rentfrow decided to seek out more farreaching opportunities. Two years ago when the economy took a downward turn, he started selling some of his house plans on various web sites. “These were designs I had already done in spec houses or custom homes,” he explains. Both HousePlansandMore.com and ArchitecturalHousePlans.com carry a design that garnered Rentfrow a first place in the over 4,000 sq. ft. published design category at The American Institute of Building and Design Convention and Tradeshow in Portland, Ore. In some instances, plan brokers listed Rentfrow as the designer on the plans they showcased. People interested in finding a good designer started Googling his name and were eventually led to his web site. “I would get emails from people saying that they liked my designs and asked me if I could travel to their area and bring 98 Construction Leaders Today

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my talent there,” Rentfrow said. “That became a blessing from God for me. When the market started to shrink, this dropped in my lap.” Rentfrow now travels to meet with outof-state clients and talk with them about the design process. Since he won’t be on site during the process, he relies on technology, everything from the Internet to Web conferencing, to serve as his virtual partner. His ultimate goal, pleasing his client, remains central to his work regardless of his location. “I’m not the type that likes to create iconic structures,” he said. “My goal is to keep clients happy and provide a home that they want to live in.” As part of his design philosophy, Rentfrow likes to outfit homes with spaces that create different moods. “I like to provide spaces throughout the house where they can escape to sit and reflect or read in quiet,” he said. “For example, I may put in a bench on a stair landing that looks out a large window.” Rentfrow doesn’t believe in continuing a central theme throughout the house. “I like for the house to have style,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with a bedroom being a different theme from a living room. You play on those themes so that

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you can escape to anyone of those spaces, depending on the mood you are in.” Before coming up with the concept for the design, Rentfrow spends a great deal of time with clients talking about their lifestyle. “Our first meeting is usually four to five hours long,” he explains. “We talk about what they want and why. We figure out how they live.” Rentfrow likes to meet with clients in their home, not in his office. Prior to the meeting, he sends his clients a 12page questionnaire with a bullet list of traditional design/build questions. “I like to move into the design and develop it slowly,” he said. As part of the process, Rentfrow also

visits the site where the client is planning to build so he can analyze the positioning of the sun throughout the day and determine the best views. “In Colorado, for example, everyone wants their driveway to face south or east,” he explains, noting that snow wouldn’t melt 4. Built in 2005, this staircase was designed for a modern home and built entirely of Paralam. Photo by Warren Diggles. 5. This French Country Estate home was built in Colorado in 2007. Photo by Warren Diggles. 6. An entryway of a Tuscan-style home in Colorado built in 2008. Photo by Warren Diggles.

ARCHITECTURAL HOUSE PLANS Unlike the “stock” plans available on other websites, all the plans offered by ArchitecturalHousePlans.com were the result of lengthy collaborations between individual families and architects that led to the construction of truly unique, one-of-a-kind homes. The web site’s portfolio features the work of Jon Rentfrow as well as more than 50 other award-winning architects and designers from all over the U.S. and Canada.

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on a driveway facing north in that area. “That same thing wouldn’t necessarily be the case if you were working in Tennessee. It’s important to understand while you are on site where there is heat gain from the sun.” Each geographical section of the country represents a specific design challenge, many relating to climate and weather-related concerns. For instance, when he is designing a home in Santa Barbara, Calif., Rentfrow has to take seismic events into consideration. In Vancouver, Canada, the concern is snow load; in Orlando, Fla. it’s hurricanes. “Working in different areas is a learning curve and that is fun,” he said. “In each, the styles and expectations are different.” Rentfrow’s custom residential designs range from approximately 1,900 to 12,000 sq. ft. “The average design is around 4,000 to 5,000 sq. ft.,” he said. He is currently working with a Colorado developer on a large project in the country of Panama which will include a 150-lot subdivision and a large, high-end, luxury resort/spa. Rentfrow is designing the resort/spa and will also be doing the designs for the homes in the subdivision. This will be his first project that is geared toward restaurant and hospitality use. Designs related to the project will carry a style often seen in Colorado. Rentfrow finds that in many cases, his clients are looking for something different from other homes in their area. “They don’t want the same old brick house,” he said. “They want something that looks more like Colorado, my style. It’s usually a combination of what they want and what they want me to bring to the project.” In addition to his design work, Rentfrow has written and published a book called Experiencing Home. He gives a copy of the book to clients when they move into their home. “The premise is about all the experiences we have in our home and that those experiences make the house a home,” he explains. “In the book, I take people through each space in their home and ask questions about why they like that space and what emotions it stirs.” Whether it’s writing or designing, Rentfrow said he always strives for fresh, new concepts and ideas. “It’s easy to get inspired.” CLT 7. A Colorado Mountain Pool and Cabana built in 2008. Photo by Warren Diggles. 102 Construction Leaders Today

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by Rebecca Rodriguez

Not only has DPR Construction been ranked in the top 50 of general contractors across the country for the past 14 years, but it is forging a path toward a new age in green building. “Our vision has been that it (green building) is something we do rather than something we promote. In less than five years it will be intrinsic to our process,” said Ted van der Linden, Director of Sustainability for DPR. Van der Linden went on to say that green building in some respects is still in its infancy. He likened the growing prevalence of green building code changes to that of the government requiring buildings to be handicapped (ADA) compliant. At first the process can be perplexing, but as markets are educated and allowed to explore the notion of green building design, it soon becomes easily accomplished and the status quo. More often, DPR clients are asking about the first costs and strategies for creating a green building. Growing exponentially, the company’s project awards this year are about 80 percent green. Currently 60 DPR projects are LEED-certified and 10 of those are LEED platinum, the highest of LEED rankings. DPR has 17 offices across the country focusing on projects ranging from Life Sciences, Mission Critical, Corporate Office, and Health care. Throughout the various offices are 375 LEED accredited professionals (LEED APs) helping customers develop the best green strategies for their projects. The majority of DPR’s green projects focus on energy and water consumption. Natural ventilation by way of windows is also focused on where climate permits. “Instead of a dungeon approach we have these wonderful design parameters where the employees are connected to the outdoors and are then ultimately more productive,” he said. Indoor air quality is also very important. The building products and materials should have a low VOC content. A building should not smell like a new building, he said. If a building has that new smell then that’s bad and likely off gassing of VOCs, he said. One of the company’s first green projects in 1998 was cutting edge in that it included an early installation of under floor air distribution. “The lungs of the building were below your feet in a plenum instead of above your head in ductwork,” van der Linden said. After 1998 until around 2003, van der Linden said the company spent much time convincing clients that building green was a good idea. Today, clients want more from their design and construction team. DPR is poised to assist and drive innovation as it relates to providing proven energy and water reduction strategies. Summer 2010 105


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“We just want to build the most energy efficient, high performance building possible,” van der Linden said. Building sensible green projects means building what makes the most economically viable sense for the client, he said. “We want to provide budgets and ultimately construct the most energy efficient, high performance building they can afford,” he said, adding that it might not always mean aiming for platinum level. Understanding what the payback periods are is a focus for DPR, and providing that level of information really helps the team in making the best decisions for the sustainable strategies. Each company we work for is motivated towards sustainability in different ways. Some companies are highly interested in a LEED platinum rating for that status, and others want to do everything they can do for the environment, regardless of certification. Van der Linden said they are proud to be able serve either approach. The Carnegie Institute of Washington’s Global Ecology Center was completed by DPR and stands out as a model of green construction and design and did not seek to be LEED certified. The building was naturally ventilated with little air conditioning needed. From a storage tank on the roof 55 degree water, cooled from the night air, was piped through radiant slabs throughout the building. In addition to the radiant slab heating and cooling, the building features low flow water fixtures, thermal storage, and storm water recovery and reuse. Two of the building’s most notable sustainable elements are the Night Sky cooling system and a 45-ft. katabatic cooling tower. The cooling system, which features a roof irrigation system on a metal panel roof, is activated in the evenings to provide cold water that is funneled through the roof gutters and rainwater leaders, and is stored in a thermal storage tank for the building’s radiant cooling system. The katabatic cooling tower has a structural steel “wind catcher” that captures wind driven by the downward movement of cold air. The air descends through the tower, passing through a cold water mister about a third of the way down, and into the main lobby. The center also features sunshades, high-performance glazing, efficient ventilation with heat recovery, light shelves, a naturally ventilated top floor, rainwater catchments, spectrally selective roofing, and a fully daylight interior with lighting controls. Van der linden agreed that DPR, because of its focus and commitment to environmental responsibility, has landed them in a leadership position in the green building industry. Part of that role has been taking green building to a deeper level such 106 Construction Leaders Today

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as focusing on regional materials (within 500 miles to job site) and not shipping in materials from too far away and attempting to provide a job to an employee that is closer to where he lives to reduce environmental footprint of their employees. For most LEED projects the overall cost is about 1 percent to 3 percent. Projects aimed at the basic LEED certification have nearly a zero first cost impact, he said. But for those requiring more complex and energy efficient mechanical and water reduction systems, costs can rise depending on those selections. A majority of the green projects have a cost payback in the two to four year range, he said. At DPR nearly forty percent of the professional staff are LEED APs. “Our staff is very well versed,” van der Linden said. We have a continuing education program in place for staff and much training is being focused on energy and water systems. All employees at DPR require 80 hours of continuing education and 15 to 20 of those hours are being targeted towards green building. Van der Linden’s vision for five years down the road is not 80 percent of DPR projects being constructed energy efficient and high performance, but 100 percent. He explained that green building touches all DPR employees involved in the building process, including the superintendent and project manager. “Our goal is for green building to be intrinsic to each role that DPR has today,” van der Linden said. With green building being such an integral part of DPR Construction it can only grow stronger over the years bringing the company closer to that goal. CLT 1. Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton, Calif. The newly constructed Michael J. Homer Science and Student Life Center earned the first Platinum-level LEED certification for a school in the nation. Photo courtesy of DPR Construction, Inc. 2-3. Carnegie Institution of Washington Global Ecology Center, Stanford, Calif. This high-energy efficiency building consists of a 10,890 sq. ft. research and office building and a 3,530 sq. ft. warehouse. Two of the building’s sustainable elements are the Night Sky cooling system and a 45-ft. katabatic cooling tower. Photo courtesy of DPR Construction, Inc. 4-5. Arizona State University Polytechnic Academic Buildings, Mesa, Ariz. This 248,000 sq. ft. three-building campus includes 14 teaching laboratories, 44 academic classrooms, 273 faculty offices and space for growth. Sustainable features of the buildings include low-E exterior glass, which provides natural daylight and views, and perforated metal screens that shade the buildings. Photos courtesy of DPR Construction, Inc. Summer 2010 107


international INSIDE: INTERNATIONAL DESIGN GROUP, METCALFE, RW ARMSTRONG

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ALL PHOTOS COUTESY OF INTERNATIONAL DESIGN GROUP.

1. Old World “Heaven Sent” Estate, Pebble Beach, Calif. 2. John E. Matthams, left and Jun A. Sillano, A.I.A., right.

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Legacy homes are created by International Design Group, where exemplary design defines success in the architectural field. by Jane Caffrey

Jun A. Sillano, A.I.A., President of International Design Group, holds projects completed by the company to the highest standards in modern architecture and design. “I call them modern American castles,” he said. “In America, there are no castles. But I call them legacy homes; testaments to American individual success.” While specializing in high-end, luxury homes IDG has also been a pioneer in the commercial, hospitality, and sports fitness industries, designing structures across the nation and the globe. With each project, sound architecture meets detailed interior design, resulting in

buildings that live up to royal standards. International Design Group became a recognized name on the West Coast in the mid 1980s, when founder John E. Matthams started to remodel Victorian homes in Pacific Grove, Calif. Matthams has been working in the fields of architecture and design for more than 45 years, including the 25 years that he has served the Pacific Grove area. Sillano joined forces with Matthams soon after the company’s foundation, bringing diversified expertise in Urban Planning, Resort Design, and Sustainable Design. As the company grew under the two business partners, IDG began to Summer 2010 111


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3 3. French-styled chateau estate, Pebble Beach, Calif.

I call them modern American legacy castles. Testaments to American individual success.

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design homes in Pebble Beach, Carmel, and the Monterrey Peninsula areas, and was renowned for its work in the highend home market. The firm also entered the commercial and hospitality industries, particularly with a number of luxuriant restaurants and sports facilities and fitness centers. Expansion was neither limited to scope of projects or to geographic reach. International Design Group has completed projects across the continental United States and in diverse locations around the globe, including Hawaii, Europe, the Bahamas, Russia,

Thailand, and the South Pacific Islands. In fact, the company’s resume boasts the completion of a true palace -- built for the king of Tonga. Today, the Pacific Grove-based business of 12 professional architects and designers is known for diverse projects and clients across the map. Following a well-proven planning method for architecture, interior design, and construction services, International Design Group is equipped to suit individual client needs and meet the requirements of small-specialized projects, medium projects, and major developments of more than $50 million. Sillano and a project manager coordinate and oversee each job through


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CASA DOLORES GALLERY Casa Dolores Gallery is unique amongst wood flooring experts. Expansive variety, strict quality standards, long–term experience and exemplary service are the characteristics that set Casa Dolores Gallery apart. Casa Dolores Gallery offers a design development process that includes selecting a species, preferred width, color, texture and finish options that culminate into a truly custom, one– of–a–kind floor. As the exclusive importer of particular aged French Oak flooring, Casa Dolores Gallery is able to offer authentic French Oak flooring from Belgium at an attractive price, in a broad spectrum of colors. The beauty of this French Oak flooring lies within the proprietary aging process which represents centuries of wear. Casa Dolores Gallery is currently working with International Design Group on a project that features a customized engineered wide plank Birch floor, going over a radiant heated subfloor. International Design Group sought out Casa Dolores Gallery to achieve a custom floor for their client that displays imagination and individuality, while maintaining function. International Design Group and their client browsed through a wide array of custom samples demonstrating various colors, textures and finishes; ultimately using their creativity to piece together a floor that is unique to their taste. Summer 2010 113


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4 4. “Hawks Nest”contemporary retreat exterior view, Big Sur, Calif. 5. Old World architecture with reclaimed old growth timber and antique limestone floors, Calif.

completion, examining every project for direction, individual requirements, and scope of work. “We go with the purest sense of architecture, and really research the design,” Sillano said. “Yet we’re not a stylistic firm. We consider what is on site and what works with the owners’ vision. We’re good listeners, and we shepherd the project in the direction that the owner wants to take it.” Smaller projects include Victorian home remodeling in the local area. International Design Group is celebrated 114 Construction Leaders Today

for its prestigious, luxury homes that can cost more than $35 million, such as those owned by CEOs of a number of Fortune 500 companies. Expertise extends beyond the architectural shell as well, as the full-service design firm also offers interior design, art selection, media selection, architectural electronics, and networking systems. A sprawling ranch in California, a light and airy contemporary estate in Florida, and a formal English Manor in Pebble Beach all stand as distinguished examples of the firm’s exceptional work. International Design Group also started undertaking customized residential projects in Hawaii five years ago, and maintains a strong presence in Maui today.

“We’re primarily in the affluent residential areas. We have established ourselves as high-end home architects,” Sillano said. International Design Group also boasts notable commercial projects in the $15 million dollar range, such as several high-end restaurants throughout California. The company has developed for Motorola, Inc. electronic companies in Chicago, Ill. and Florida. International Design Group has additionally kept abreast the wave of expansion in the health club and sports facility industries as well, with several major development projects that include the Croixland Racing Facility in Wisconsin and the Corpus Christi Race Track in Texas. In the 21st century, an era when


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BCA STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING INCORPORATED BCA Structural Engineering, Inc. (BCA) was established in 1989. It has become known as a premier firm in the Bay Area providing the highest quality design solutions to a diverse clientele. BCA focuses its expertise in low to mid–rise office buildings, city and private redevelopment projects, educational facilities, retail centers, industrial, and residential projects. BCA is dedicated to providing the most efficient and latest technology to its engineers and to its clients to allow for fast and efficient means of project

completion. The firm utilizes AutoCAD 2010 to create consistent and high quality drawings in order to pursue the most effective and efficient means of design for its clients. BCA is experienced with the requirements of Bay Area Building Departments and has an extensive knowledge of structural codes, as well as seismic design criteria. With this experience and thorough analysis of structures, BCA is able to expedite design calculations and drawings through various public

agencies. The firm is committed to working closely with its clients and consultants from the early planning stages through completion in order to overcome challenges and meet necessary project demands. By approaching each project as a team member working with the various building disciplines, BCA is able to find innovative design solutions to unique design problems. This results in structural integrity that has the care and stability that our clients deserve.


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One thing people talk about today is sustainability in architecture. Yet, fifteen years ago when we started our high-end home design we were already conscious of that.

6. Italian Villa “Seadrift,” 17 Mile Drive, Pebble Beach, Calif.

environmental consciousness is particularly crucial, International Design Group practices sustainability in each of its diverse projects, an old habit for the firm. “One thing people talk about today is sustainability in architecture,” Sillano said. “Yet fifteen years ago when we started our high-end home design, we were already conscious of that. We use recycled timber, radiant heating systems, and fiber optics. We were already making intelligent homes, and I believe we were pioneers in that.” With a research intensive and designoriented approach, IDG places great value on engineering and incorporates the top technology to ensure that hightech homes function smoothly and preserve the environment. “We are very open minded in that sense, and we try to be ahead of the technology,” Sillano said. For IDG, green architecture will

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continue to be a central characteristic and the company strives to ensure that their buildings serve the clients, the community, and the environment. “A lot of people are very traditional, and it is important that we try to educate people and help them understand that sustainability is good for everyone,” Sillano said. With the globalization of architecture, IDG also anticipates penetrating additional markets in upcoming years, particularly China. The firm will furthermore maintain its focus on projects in the upper-echelon residential market, striving to provide clients with the personal service required to turn their visions into reality. “We’re not a big firm, but we have big ideas,” Sillano said. “The interaction is very personal to us, which is why we decided not to be a big firm.” With a highly qualified staff, many of which have been with the company for a decade or more or come from prestigious California universities, IDG CONTINUED ON PAGE 119

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7. Jack’s Peak contemporary living room. Photo courtesy of IDG.

HILLEN CONSTRUCTION

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Hillen Construction puts the “custom” in “custom building.” As one of the Peninsula’s finest builders of distinctive homes, Hillen Construction is committed to transforming the architect’s plans into the client’s dream home. Our team of dedicated builders, craftsmen, and technicians is equipped

with the full range of skills needed for each custom project. We even provide “green” construction with reclaimed woods and materials from the United States and Europe. You can depend on us for the utmost professionalism, communication, quality and service – in every detail you envision.


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TIME HONORED FINISHES Time Honored Finishes isn’t a company that paints and restores houses. It is a community of craftsman and artisans that transform dwellings into habitable works of art. Rustic furnishes, antique revitalization, old world finishes, varnishes, and custom painting. We are n o t p aint ers . We are ar ti st s , inv entors , journeymen, and dreamers.

831.393.9525 120 Construction Leaders Today

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We’re not a big firm, but we have big ideas. The interaction is very personal to us, which is why we decided not to be a big firm.

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ensures that each project is an achievement. For Sillano, the firm’s most recent project is always the greatest success. “In practice, my last project is my best project,” he said. “The reason I say that is that you always put in your best effort and treat your clients equally. Each project is successful, depending on how it is perceived by the owner and the amount of energy we put in. It’s the fruition of their dreams, and I want to be a part of that.” Thus, from small renovations to stunning modern castles, International Design Group structures all stand as a testament to the new legacy of contemporary architecture. CLT 8. Quintessential country estate, Pebble Beach, Calif.

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9. Old World wine cellar. 10. English Manor, 17 Mile, Drive Pebble Beach, Calif.

CLASSIC KITCHEN DESIGNS Classic Kitchens & Designs helps architects, designers, builders and homeowners design and supply award–winning kitchens and home spaces from start to finish. Classic Kitchens values its clients’ opinions and promises exceptional designs at reasonable prices. Their kitchen designs are “a masterpiece of functionality and utilization of space,” says one customer. With over 40 years of experience, Classic Kitchens’ team members strive to exceed the client’s expectations with quality design. Summer 2010 121


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Our Construction Company looks to the finish line from the very start of each new contract. Quality Control Attention to Detail Projected Timelines Valued Our Success is measured by our clients satisfaction We work on site with the architects and owners to bring forward the kind of quality and dream home you envision. 35 years experience and known for the best.

LAZARUS CONSTRUCTION COMPANY Pebble Beach, Ca. 831.915.9117


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Metcalfe Architecture & Design of Philadelphia, PA, is unusual among architectural firms for designing museum exhibits as well as architectural structures. For founder Alan Metcalfe, bringing the two together is an obvious solution to create playful and comfortable learning environments. The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, located in Philadelphia’s Chestnut Hill section, has enjoyed a 66 percent increase in attendance since “Out on a Limb,” a 450-foot, fully accessible, sustainably built tree canopy walk designed by Metcalfe Architecture & Design, opened in July 2009. Part of the multi-station, Arboretum-wide Tree Adventure exhibit, “Out on a Limb,” is one of the few and among the most elaborate of tree canopy walks in North America. Its success, says Metcalfe, was the product of years of collaboration between Metcalfe, the Arboretum, and the fabricators. The exhibit had to frame visitors’ experiences of the forest without detracting from its natural elements. Where less bold architects might have chosen to blend into the forest with a wood structure, Metcalfe’s vision made the exhibit its own thought-provoking learning experience. “It was really clear to us early on that it wasn’t going to disappear,” Metcalfe said. “In an exhibit, you want to be very clear about what is part of the natural environment and what is a man-made intervention.” For that reason, among others, Metcalfe chose to construct the canopy walk from steel. The material was sustainable and strong enough to withstand the effects of human traffic and falling tree branches. At the same time, the steel could be made to appear “gossamer-like,” he said. Though the structure is sturdy, it gives visitors the thrilling sensation of climbing high into the trees. The target audience of young children are natural thrill-seekers, Metcalfe said—though the same can’t always be said of their parents. “The kids are usually the ones that charge right onto it, and the adults, including me, are more cautious,” said Metcalfe. “There’s a sense of power and reversal there that is really great for kids and makes them feel like they’re in control of their parents.” These notions, though they may seem more psychological than architectural, are central to Metcalfe’s approach to design. The firm’s designs are intended to tell a story, and instill in children a love of independence and exploration while still 126 Construction Leaders Today

providing a safe space for learning. “We were really intentional about all the experiences,” said Metcalfe. “So we made these architectural moves and set things up so people would have the tools to play.” The entrance to the tree canopy walk through a vine-covered trellis makes visitors feel as though they are entering a magical portal; when the walkway opens up, they are greeted by sweeping views of the forest below. The movement all flows toward the centerpiece of the exhibit, a 250-year-old chestnut oak tree.

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The majesty of the tree is balanced by the whimsy of a people-sized bird’s nest suspended from cantilevered columns, complete with oversized eggs. Kids truly experience a bird’s-eye view of forest ecology as they move physically through the exhibit, having so much fun in the process that they hardly notice how much they’re learning. The Arboretum exhibit is a prime example of Metcalfe Architecture & Design’s core principle of learning through play.

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Metcalfe Architecture + design. by Rachel Goldberg

3 1. From left to right: Alan Metcalfe, AIA, LEED AP; Principal; Paul Trapido, Partner, Creative Director; Aaron Goldblatt, Partner, Museum Services. 2-3. Seidenberg House, Conshohocken, Pa. MA&D reconstructed this mid-century kit house, taking advantage of its location by creating a bedroom nestled in the treetops. This house reflects our focus on play and romanticism. Trees and bridges evoke peace, solitude and memories of the escapes of childhood. Photo by Barry Halkin. Summer 2010 127


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“The more you can introduce surprising juxtapositions, turn things upside down, and make people look at them differently, the more curious they’ll be,” Metcalfe said. The firm’s architects and designers strive to make the users active participants in creating and experiencing their designs. Whether they are designing an exhibit or a school, they start by asking people to use their imagination to playfully inject their ideas into the process. “I try to help kids to free associate about what excites them about life, and then put those items into the things we’re creating for them,” he said. “Because every time you get kids feeling like they’re part of a project, they feel like they own it, and it’ll mean so much more to them.” Metcalfe’s recognition of the value in integrating diverse points of view is a key to his company’s success. With diverse backgrounds, each member of the firm brings a fresh perspective to their projects. Their design process is an open exchange of ideas with everyone involved from beginning to end. CLT 4-5. Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa. Visitors can loll in rope netting “wading pools in the sky” five stories above the forest floor or visit the people -sized bird nest, modeled after the nest of a Baltimore Oriole. This fully accessible 450-foot walkway in the treetops is one of the few and among the most elaborate tree canopy walks in North America. Photos by Paul Warchol. 6-7. The Little Treehouse, Philadelphia, Pa. Aimed at big people with youngsters, the Little Treehouse Play Café, a combination restaurant and children’s play area in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia, features airy open space adorned with hanging petal-shaped sound baffling, African-themed wall art, and play things. The dining portion feats colorful tables, floors and walls and suspended flower- and petal-shaped sound baffling.Photo 6 by Jason Manning. Photo 7 by Lori Petersen.

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GLOBALLY FOCUSED by Rachel Goldberg

STARTING AS A SMALL INDIANAPOLIS FIRM, RW ARMSTRONG HAS EXPANDED THEIR SCOPE AND BRANCHED OUT WITH UNPARALLELED GROWTH IN THE PAST EIGHT YEARS NOW TACKLING PROJECTS AROUND THE WORLD.

2 Under the leadership of Roland Salman, RW Armstrong has seen unprecedented global growth in the past eight years. When Salman joined the firm in 1988 as a young engineer, the company was an Indianapolis firm of about 35 employees which focused mostly on local infrastructure projects. He became president of the company in late 2001, and since then, the company has grown to 600 employees in 19 offices across the U.S. and around the world, providing construction management, development and finance, design, planning and program management services. Salman’s own background served him well in guiding the company’s growth. Born and raised in Jerusalem with a travel agent father, he has always had a global outlook. International work seemed impossible at first within the limitations of the small Midwestern company. But Salman, the company’s first leader from outside the founding families, brought a fresh perspective that matched the company’s innovative culture. “We are very strategic in our growth but also we maintain an 130 Construction Leaders Today

3 entrepreneurial approach,” he said. “We’re always open to new ideas, whether design or strategies or new ventures, and that’s how we grew.” RW Armstrong’s rapid organic growth is highly unusual in the industry, and is thanks to a diverse client and service base, including strategic domestic initiatives and RW Armstrong’s proactive approach to international markets. Though the company had never worked internationally before, they adapted quickly to take on more building projects overseas. “Because we have a deep bench within our management group, I can basically get on a plane and spend time there establishing a network and relationships,” Salman said. “We did our first international project in Abu Dhabi in 2005, and that was the first project that jump-started the international market.” Once they had established a presence in the Middle East, it became easier to get new opportunities in Egypt and Libya. Now they are continuing to expand in the Middle East as well as Asia and South America. Though building internationally can


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IMEDCO

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be very different from in the U.S., Salman is up to the challenge. “Even though I grew up in the Middle East, having worked most of my adult life in the U.S., there were a few shocking things about working there and things that I had to get adjusted to,” he said. Building personal relationships is paramount in successfully establishing overseas markets, so he spends a great deal of time traveling to his foreign offices and communicating with clients and officials there. Salman has also become accustomed to navigating distinct political and economic structures. RW Armstrong is currently working as project manager on the presidential palace in Abu Dhabi, a landmark 1.6 million sq. ft. facility that houses the offices of the president, crown prince and ministers. They are the project manager for the entire project, overseeing design and construction. Their flexibility to manage projects of various scales also enables them to enter new markets in developing countries. “There are some challenges there, but if you’re able to navigate

IMEDCO has been involved with RW Armstrong on a number of projects during the past 24 months, all involving Veteran Administration Hospitals that were located in Des Moines, Minneapolis, Sioux Falls and Ft. Rucker, Ala. These projects required placement of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) equipment into special environments. IMEDCO provided the special Radio-frequency, Magnetic and Acoustic shielding that was engineered for each location.

the bureaucracies and the culture, I think you’ll be rewarded later, because you’re on the ground floor and there’s not a lot of competition for a lot of work,” Salman said. RW Armstrong is involved in some high-profile public projects back in the United States as well. One of their most significant is the design/build of the 64,000 sq. ft. presidential helicopter hangar in Quantico, Va. The LEED-silver facility includes space for the presidential helicopter, administrative offices, medical facilities and storage. Most of the company’s domestic work has been in the public sector, which has helped them continue to grow despite the economic downturn. Their geographic and disciplinary diversification has also been an effective strategy for continued success. Though the company has grown, Salman says their fundamental values have not changed since they began. “Every company has a personality,” Salman said. “And I think a big part of our success is how we treat employees and clients. Everything is based on personal communication and trust.” CLT Summer 2010 131


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1-2. 65,000 sq. ft. Westwind C130 and helicopter two-bay Maintenance Hangar. Photo courtesy of RW Armstrong. 3. 44,400 sq. ft. two-story administration and research building at the Littoral Warfare Systems Facility. Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Fla. Photo courtesy of RW Armstrong. 4. The new headquarters of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates. Photo courtesy of RW Armstrong. 5. Edwin Moses bridge replacement. Dayton, Ohio. Photo courtesy of RW Armstrong. 6. Presidential Palace Project, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Photo courtesy of RW Armstrong.

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Construction Leaders Today Summer 2010 Vol 1  

Construction Leaders Today's summer edition focuses on architecture firms from around the world.