Ayers Saint Gross at SCUP 2019

July 11, 2019
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The SCUP 2019 Annual Conference is being held in Seattle this year, and we are pleased to have an abundance of good news to share in the Emerald City.

Ayers Saint Gross has won the SCUP Excellence Award in Landscape Architecture for General Design for the San Martin Drive Pedestrian Improvements at Johns Hopkins University. The project highlights a natural asset while improving the safety and well-being of students. The landscape design incorporates four major elements: defining a continuous pedestrian connection the length of the corridor, developing clear and safe crossings of the roadway, creatively resolving the need for pedestrian connections in an environmentally sensitive area, and establishing clear entry gates to the University. We are happy to announce the honor and proud of this project and our design team for their incredible and life-changing work.


Firm President Luanne Greene, FAIA is featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s special publication “The Campus as City,” addressing the principles that bring cities and colleges together. No matter what their size, colleges and universities are more invested in their relationships to their surrounding communities than ever before. In the piece, Luanne discusses the importance of developer relationships (the Cortex Innovation District and the Providence Innovation District being prime examples), looking ahead to future transit challenges, and the essential nature of having people and ideas in close proximity to one another. These principles help guide our design thinking and cover practical concerns of infrastructure, scale, and environmental impact, as well as the ineffable qualities like the sense of place and intellectual buzz.


A new year at SCUP also means a new Comparing Campuses poster. Since 1998, Ayers Saint Gross has annually published this poster featuring campus plans from leading institutions around the world. After a number of years focusing on specific themes, this year’s poster is a recall to our original style and features eleven new additions to our collection. Featuring a mix of large and small campuses and punctuated with sustainability facts, we’ve assembled this collection as a tool for institutional planners in the belief that understanding campus organization and data will lead to the creation of even better spaces in which to live, learn, and teach.

We look forward to seeing everyone at the conference. Come and visit us at booth 401.

Collaboration Day 2019

July 3, 2019
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Collaboration is a hallmark of our design process and a key value of our firm. Every few years Ayers Saint Gross brings together all employees across our three offices for a day-long gathering known as Collaboration Day. This is an opportunity to put our values into practice, share experiences with colleagues, recognize and reward exemplary efforts, and, ultimately, bring the inspiration gained from the day into our work for our clients.

While collaboration is the purpose of the day, creativity is really what it’s all about. We opened up with an art show titled “Intersections” on the evening before Collaboration Day’s formal start. Employees from all offices and discipline groups entered their original artwork for display. There were paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings, and more. It is always striking to see just how much energy and passion our colleagues bring to their creative endeavors outside of work as well.

The following morning, we gathered at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. The day was filled with informative presentations and valuable interactions. We shared examples of our work and vision of excellence. Seeing the expertise that our employees bring and the understanding and appreciation gained for what others do is incredibly valuable. We also spent time reviewing our impact in the community with which we live and work. We believe that giving back is an essential part of collaboration.

Rounding out the day, we acknowledged and rewarded exceptional collaboration with the presentation of the Lex Schwartz Collaboration Awards. Inspired by our long-time mentor and master collaborator, Lex Schwartz, this annual award recognizes the highest level of leadership in collaboration for the betterment of our projects and clients, our firm and employees, and the communities we serve. The awards are given both to a project team and an individual. We were extremely proud to award these honors to the Whittle School and Studios team, and to Principal and Interior Designer, Linnea Kessler-Gowell.

Collaboration Day reiterates the vital importance of investing in people. The creativity of our staff and the inspiration we give to one another pushes all of us to deliver the very best for our clients. Kevin Jones, Associate, Architect, and a leader in the Employee Ownership and Finance Committee, summed this up beautifully during the event. Enjoy his words and video highlights from the day. We can’t wait to share what our team comes up with next.

Best Practices in Nursing School Design: Culture of Well-Being

May 30, 2019
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Ayers Saint Gross designs top-tier spaces to support educating nurses equipped to handle the future as healthcare delivery systems continue to transform. This two-part series dives into the influences that are changing the way nursing students learn and the way nursing faculty teach. Read Part 1.

Culture of Well-Being

Perhaps more than any other building type, schools of nursing and allied health have the special ability to promote health literacy and reflect the core values of their programs and the profession through building design and architecture. As healthcare delivery systems focus more on preventative approaches to health, lifestyle, and behavior, the design of the built environment should exemplify core values and be mindful of its impact on human health and wellness. Projects that want to advance healthy building strategies can seek WELL Certification to improve the health and well-being of its occupants.

Healthy building strategies that engage the mind and body include: incorporating biophilia through exposure to nature, activating interior circulation with prominent staircases, utilizing ergonomic and kinesthetic furniture to encourage occupant comfort, and addressing environmental needs for air, water, nourishment, and light. For example, designing flexible classrooms or exterior plazas to host fitness, wellness, or interprofessional events could be showcased as part of the building and professional outreach. Access to green spaces and natural light create healthier work and learning spaces for students, faculty, and staff. These design features become popular congregation spots, supporting a lively and collaborative culture.

Opening soon, the Duke University Physical Therapy / School of Nursing Education Building (designed by Ayers Saint Gross) will include a flexible seminar and wellness space for a variety of student activities. The room will function as a large seminar room for instruction, two small conference rooms for group meetings, or as a wellness hub for fitness and community outreach events. In the same vicinity, reservable low-speed treadmill workstations overlooking a landscaped garden will offer active furnishings to reduce the time faculty and students spend seated. Ergonomic furniture selection for both office and study areas is another important way that universities are promoting wellness.

Treadmill Workstations, Duke University Physical Therapy / School of Nursing Education Building
Low-speed treadmill workstations support wellness at Duke University

This type of flexibility in spaces has already proved successful at the University of West Georgia School of Nursing. A flexible seminar room off the building’s commons was designed as both a classroom and a yoga studio, utilizing an oversized barn-style door to allow overflow into the public spaces during a large wellness event.

Flexible Seminar Room, University of West Georgia School of Nursing
Flexible, multipurpose space at the University of West Georgia

Just as important, landscaped outdoor study areas provide meditative environments to support the well-being of students who will soon be supporting the well-being of so many others. 

University of West Georgia School of Nursing
Meditative outdoor space at the University of West Georgia

The culture of wellness in nursing and allied health extends beyond the school walls. Increasingly, schools want to be engaged in community health and gear curricula towards the regions they serve. This approach better prepares the workforce for local healthcare cases they will face in their careers. Whether it’s reaching patients in remote areas, screening clinics for a disease that’s especially prevalent in the community, or providing care at the student health clinic, it is a best practice of clinical education to consider these spaces.

University of Pikeville Health Professions Education Building
Skills learned at the University of Pikeville HPEB
help fulfill the health needs of the community

Community integration was embedded in the programming and mission of the recently launched Kentucky College of Optometry at the University of Pikeville Health Professions Education Building (HPEB). The school is in eastern Kentucky, a region with one of the highest rates of preventable blindness in the country. The HPEB includes a flexible classroom, assembly space, student lounge, study and meeting spaces, faculty offices, clinical skills labs, and an extensive primary care clinic with specialty operatory equipment. The project fulfills the university’s mission of service and defines the standard for excellence in optometric education and vision care in an area with an acute need.

Looking to the future, exciting developments in nursing education will broaden the impacts of community engagement and wellness. Interprofessional and cross-disciplinary education that engages other allied health disciplines and university majors like engineering can create dynamic teams to solve complex issues. Assistive technology and robotic solutions are continuing to advance healthcare. The built environment must support these developments with makerspaces and cross-disciplinary education labs to enable collaborations with engineering programs.

Understanding the latest technology and methodologies is crucial for students. Practical applications are seen in dementia care, where technology is facilitating seniors to live independently longer. To allow for easy monitoring, in-home devices record and send data about daily patterns to caregivers. Assistive devices are being developed to facilitate timely reminders for medication, locate items, or can trigger a comforting audio recording of a family member. Telepresence robots and companion robots can help improve mood or quality of life for people with dementia, to serve patients in a health crisis, and are finding their way into simulation-based education as a tool to practice communication and better prepare students for a career in nursing. Among the spaces that will be
located in the Duke University Physical Therapy / School of Nursing Education Building is the new Health Innovation Lab, which will provide for this interdisciplinary innovation and education.

As nursing schools plan for future curricula and building projects, Ayers Saint Gross will continue to lead the ways architecture can and should support the efforts of students, faculty, and staff to prepare the next generation of nurses for their careers. Educating highly qualified nurses and healthcare professionals fulfills a critical need, and well-designed spaces help meet this challenge. We look forward to seeing what the future holds, and working to create it.

Announcing our 2019 Promotions

April 11, 2019
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Join us as we congratulate these outstanding individuals on their well-deserved promotions. As an employee-owned firm, our people are our greatest strength. We are thrilled to recognize the following leaders who engage people and places to create designs that enrich our world.

PRINCIPALS

Corey Chang, Architecture

Throughout his career, Corey has led an array of higher education projects, including academic and research facilities with a focus on health sciences, nursing, and STEM. He delivers the highest caliber of service with his attentiveness to an institution’s needs coupled with responsive designs and execution of the details. Corey is a leader in our employee-owned business structure, ensuring that everyone is engaged and invested in the success of the firm.

Joel Fidler, Architecture

Joel leads with a clear architectural vision and open communication to discover what drives clients’ needs. His experience ranges from college and university campuses and local school systems to housing and commercial development. Joel is the President of AIA Maryland and has served on its Board of Directors since 2016.

Christine Hurt, Finance

Christine is Chief Financial Officer of Ayers Saint Gross. Her expertise includes corporate accounting, financial reporting and analysis, budgeting, audit requirements, regulatory reporting, treasury management, tax compliance, and risk management. Christine is on the Board of Trustees for the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra and recently held leadership positions at her church and with Boy Scouts of America.

Linnea Kessler-Gowell, Interiors

Linnea has deep expertise as an interior designer for higher education and multifamily projects with significant experience on interior renovations, including detailed furniture, fixtures, and equipment packages. Bringing valuable knowledge from work on the client side, she understands how to best design vibrant and integrated interior environments for flexible learning and living, keeping maintenance and costs in mind.

ASSOCIATE PRINCIPALS

Sally Chinnis, Planning

A campus planner and urban designer, Sally helps institutions create dynamic mixed-use precincts, enhance the student and residential experience, expand open space networks, and develop phased implementation plans to realize their vision. Her projects span strategic planning, programming, and physical planning for university campuses and individual schools, colleges, and administrative units.

Alyson Goff, Space Analytics

With practical knowledge at the governing board and campus levels, Alyson understands the inner workings of higher education and possesses deep understanding of institutional operations. Through analysis and planning of short- and long-term space needs, she provides valuable insight to institutions to inform their space planning and management strategies, allowing institutions to align academic, financial, and physical planning goals.

Hans Graf, Architecture

Hans has dedicated his career to the design of student life buildings, with a particular focus on residence halls that elevate the living-learning experience. Working closely with residence life departments, the office of facilities, and other stakeholders at colleges and universities to verify their programming needs and then translate them into built forms, Hans envisions and executes innovative and creative designs.

Katy Hunchar, Marketing and Business Development

Katy is the firm’s Director of Marketing and Business Development. With more than 12 years of experience working with design firms, she leads strategic marketing and business development efforts across all disciplines for higher education, cultural institutions, and other mission-driven clients.

Jessica Leonard, Planning and Architecture

Jessica brings comprehensive programming, space planning, strategic planning, and design skills to the firm. She leads large, complex master planning efforts and is passionate about engaging stakeholders to guide decisions that shape the character of an institution and its vision for the future. Jessica is a member of SCUP and received the Alpha Rho Chi Medal and a University Fellowship from the University of Maryland. She is a founder of the SHARPkids program in Baltimore City, where she also serves as a youth mentor.

Cooper Melton, Architecture

Cooper has devoted his design practice to housing and higher education, steering successful and award-winning projects to completion. Cooper’s extensive background in both market-rate and student housing allows him to find inventive solutions that bridge the goals of the private sector with the ideals of academic institutions. Cooper has spoken at national and regional conferences, including ACUHO-I and SEAHO.

SENIOR ASSOCIATES

Erin Estep, Architecture

Laura Hall, Architecture

Cormac Phalen, Architecture

Angelo Pirali, Architecture

William Story, Planning

Michael Taylor, Architecture

Amber Wendland, Planning

ASSOCIATES

Bohdan Baida, Space Analytics

Matthew Doeller, Architecture

Igor Hercegovac, Architecture

John Kucia, Architecture

Olivia Law, Architecture

Beresford Pratt, Architecture

Tim Smiroldo, Architecture

Stephen Turk, Marketing and Business Development


ART DIRECTOR

Margaret Zivkovich, Graphic Design

*Illustrations by Katy Hunchar

Ayers Saint Gross Completes JUST Disclosure

March 4, 2019
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We’re excited to announce that our firm’s JUST Disclosure went live this week, check it out online here.

JUST is a voluntary reporting tool developed by the International Living Future Institute for organizations to describe operational, social, and financial actions that contribute to what equity looks like at that organization. The program includes 21 different social justice and equity indicators within six categories. Each indicator has three levels of achievement and reporting that must be updated at regular intervals to maintain a JUST Disclosure. Participants in JUST must disclose information on at least 18 of the 21 indicators and can only opt out of at most one indicator per category.

Our firm’s definition of sustainability has always recognized the careful balance between the unique needs of people and ecological systems with the economic realities inherent in each of our projects. Today we advance our commitment to sustainability by sharing more quantitative data about the social equity and justice issues embedded in who we are and how we practice design. We hope that our transparency will inspire others to engage in critical discourse about equity in design as well as how these issues manifest in the built environment.

Ayers Saint Gross’s culture has always valued social, educational, and cultural engagement that aligns with social sustainability. We actively engage with the United Way of Central Maryland and Valley of the Sun United Way; our staff serve as mentors and board members for the ACE Mentor Program of America across the country; we finance scholarship opportunities at a number of institutions to support students in attaining the education that will advance them in the design professions; we staff a Careers in Design exploration program to inspire fifth graders at Beechfield Elementary School in West Baltimore; and this spring we are hosting our first Jim Wheeler Day of Service in honor of our firm’s former president.

We believe in an equitable community. Our firm has already invested a lot in supporting equity, diversity, and inclusion in our professions and within the communities where we live and work, but we have often followed our instincts rather than evaluating against benchmarks. This JUST Disclosure helps us make and track measurable commitments and is the next step in our commitment to social sustainability. We look forward to advancing our discussion about equity, diversity, and inclusion in quantitative ways in addition to the activities we already qualitatively discuss across our practice.

Making our JUST Disclosure also supports our clients and projects. Third-party certifications for high performance buildings, including the Living Building Challenge and LEED, recognize the importance of social equity. Our JUST Disclosure will support the Living Building Challenge Petal Certification of Semans-Griswold Environment Hall and allow every one of our LEED projects to access LEED’s Pilot Credit for Social Equity within the Project Team. We are encouraged that third-party rating systems are increasingly engaging in dialogue on social sustainability and are enthusiastic to be a part of that conversation.

Our JUST Disclosure helps us walk the walk when it comes to social equity and we hope our colleagues in other organizations will join us in advancing this dialogue.

Top Blog Posts of 2018

December 26, 2018
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We explored a lot on our blog this year, from floating wetlands to Winston Churchill to equity in design. Here’s a look at our most popular posts of 2018. We look forward to more exploration, discovery, and design in 2019 with the clients, partners, and communities we serve.

  1. National Aquarium Floating Wetland Prototype Wins ASLA Honor Award for Research. This innovative design earned our firm its first ASLA award. The floating wetland was created in collaboration with the National Aquarium and our teammates at Biohabitats, McLaren Engineering Group, and Kovacs, Whitney & Associates as a continuation of Studio Gang’s EcoSlip concept.
  2. A New Model for Floating Wetlands. For a deeper dive (pun intended) on the award-winning floating wetlands, check out this explainer on how the apparatus was designed and how it works.
  3. Renewal of Mid-Century Campus Legacies. As more institutions decide how to handle mid-century buildings, these case studies provide progressive strategies that make investments in current students and future generations.
  4. Legacy and Leadership: Designing the National Churchill Library and Center. Because Winston Churchill was a man of true historic importance, we designed his namesake library at The George Washington University to reflect his august legacy in a new and modern way.
  5. Hack the Block: Notes from the Equity by Design Hackathon. This Equity by Design event brought together designers to tackle how to improve justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in the profession of architecture and in the communities we serve.
  6. 30 Years of Embracing Change: Reflecting on Jim Wheeler’s Career at Ayers Saint Gross. 2018 was the first time in three decades that Jim Wheeler was not involved in the day-to-day operations of the firm, although he remains our Chairman of the Board. His professional legacy lives on in our commitment to forward-thinking business and design strategies.
  7. Comparing Campuses: Student Housing. We examined campus living in our 20th annual Comparing Campuses poster. (We also have online archives of all the Comparing Campuses posters and our student life portfolio.)
  8. The Little Gray Bath House and the Great Residence Hall: Adaptive Reuse at VCU. The integration of a Neoclassical façade into a modern building illustrates how a perceived design obstacle can be turned into an opportunity.
  9. Green Week 2018: The Carrot Awards. Projects at The George Washington University and Washington College earned this year’s top sustainability honors.
  10. WELL 101: Creating Healthy Places. The WELL building standard poses a people-centric, rather than planet-centric, question: How can a building support better health, happiness, and well-being for its occupants?

Ayers Saint Gross Earns #38 Ranking on the 2018 Architect 50 List

November 7, 2018
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We are so thrilled that ARCHITECT Magazine ranked Ayers Saint Gross as number 38 on its annual list of the top 50 architecture firms in the country. This prestigious industry ranking is not just about being the largest firm; instead it rigorously evaluates the metrics of a firm’s overall business, sustainability, and design portfolios. The business evaluation includes finances, HR benefits, diversity, and pro bono work. Sustainability measures the firm’s internal and external commitments to ecologically responsible building. A trio of judges review a selection of key projects in the design category.

The complexity and thoroughness of the ARCHITECT Magazine process speak to how the industry can and should approach the creation of the built environment. As a multidisciplinary, employee-owned design firm with a focus on mission-driven clients, we believe we have an obligation to leave places better than we found them.

We can make places better financially by building vibrant, successful spaces and creating a lasting, sustainable business where expertise develops, careers grow, and new leaders arise. Responsible green building has a net-positive effect on our clients’ lives and on the planet. And of course aesthetics count too – designs that are beautiful, functional, and inspiring are at the heart of our work.

As 2018 draws to a close, this honor from ARCHITECT Magazine serves as an inspiration for what our designers and our firm can do next to push our business, our sustainability practices, and our designs to the next horizon. I am excited to see what happens next.

Ayers Saint Gross at KA Connect 2018

April 25, 2018
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If you’re going to be in San Francisco next week for KA Connect, I hope to see you there, especially on May 2 for my talk on change management in AEC firms.

Collaborative Communications: The Key to Business and Culture Change

Over the past five years, Ayers Saint Gross has crossed over a mountain range of change—including onboarding a new president (me) and leadership team, re-organizing the practice around integrated delivery of services, and converting to a 100% employee-ownership structure. Our team facilitated these business and culture transformations by building collaborative communication channels up, down, and across the business. In this talk, I will share strategies, tactics, and lessons learned from the firm’s business and culture change journey.

Presenter
Luanne Greene, President, Ayers Saint Gross

Details
Wednesday May 2, 2018
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
701 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

Announcing 2018 Promotions

February 27, 2018
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Ayers Saint Gross is thrilled to announce 26 well-deserved promotions. These employee-owners, who represent all three offices and multiple disciplines, are the future of our firm. We are pleased to be a place where people can learn, grow, and share their expertise with our clients.


PRINCIPAL


Eric Zobrist, AIA, LEED AP

Eric has more than 20 years of experience in planning, designing, and managing large-scale higher education, corporate, retail, and mixed-use residential projects. His recent work includes the University of Arizona Health Sciences Education Building and the Vertex Student Apartments. An integral leader in our Tempe office, he is currently directing the reinvention of the Hayden Library at Arizona State University.


ASSOCIATE PRINCIPALS


Dana Perzynski, AICP, EDAC, LEED AP
Dana enjoys building strong collaborations among disciplines, particularly in relation to master planning for health sciences campuses and academic medical centers. She has completed successful master plans for two of the country’s top three medical schools.


Lindsay Story
Lindsay, our Creative Director and leader of our graphic design practice group, is currently working on comprehensive signage and wayfinding efforts at the University of Denver and Gustavus Adolphus College. Her creativity has led to ongoing relationships with the National Aquarium, the University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University, and Bowie State.


SENIOR ASSOCIATES


Brian Gruetzmacher, AIA
Brian’s focus for 2018 is the completion of the historic renovation and expansion of Bancroft Elementary School on a challenging site in Washington, D.C. He is also a member of the firm’s internal strategic planning group.


Kim Heaney
Kim is the firm’s Contracts Administrator. Her organization and eye for detail is demonstrated through her handling of all contracts and subcontracts for every project across all three offices.


Adam Knepprath, CCNA
Adam, a member of the IT team, leads firmwide cybersecurity programs. He also conducts internal awareness programs to educate fellow employee-owners on the importance of cybersecurity issues.


Michelle Moseley, PMP, LEED AP BD+C

Michelle recently served as project manager on a complex planning, architecture, landscape, and signage team, delivering excellent design work on an aggressive schedule. In addition to work on projects such as the new dining and housing facility at the University of Maryland, she boosts corporate culture through multiple strategic initiatives.


Adam Ravestein, PLA
Adam brings a wide array of passions to the landscape architecture studio, urban design projects, and the entire design process. His diverse experience ranges from the Waterfront Campus Plan for the National Aquarium, the San Martin Drive corridor enhancements for Johns Hopkins University, and campus transformation projects for Grinnell College.


Doug Satteson, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, CDT, NCARB
Doug has enjoyed his extensive work with the Smithsonian Institution. He is currently working on the Collections Storage Module at the Udvar Hazy Center in Dulles, VA, as well as starting design work on the Museum Support Center in Suitland, MD.


Jasmine Shah, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Jasmine’s leadership and expertise extends throughout the design and construction processes. She currently serves as project architect on Delaware State University’s housing and dining facility while also completing construction administration on the Douthit Hills Hub at Clemson University.


Allison Wilson, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Allison is an architect and the firm’s Sustainability Director. She develops sustainability master plans and strategies for institutional clients, advances building projects through LEED certification and performance analysis, and leads programming for our annual Green Week and the Carrot Awards. Allison actively serves USGBC Texas and the ACE Mentor Program of Austin.


Eric Zahn, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C
Eric’s goal for 2018 is to elevate the firm’s dining portfolio. His recent work includes projects at Goucher College, Minnesota State University-Mankato, and Case Western Reserve University. Eric has also designed residence halls that are currently under construction at Penn State Behrend and Colby College.


Irini Zhupa Zendeli, AIA, LEED Green Associate
Irini is excited about a rare upcoming opportunity: the chance to design a project at her undergraduate alma mater. She will be part of the design team for a new dining and housing facility at the University of Maryland, currently slated to open in 2020.


ASSOCIATES


Shelly Drees, SITES AP
Shelly is the firm’s first SITES Accredited Professional. SITES is a comprehensive Green Business Certification, Inc. rating system designed to distinguish sustainable landscapes, measure their performance, and elevate their value. She’s currently working on campus transformation projects for Grinnell College.


Kevin Jones, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Kevin’s recent projects include the Texas Tech University Experimental Science Building II and the reinvention of the Hayden Library at Arizona State University. He is also a member of the firm’s internal strategic planning group.


William Kenton, LEED Green Asssociate

Following the recent grand opening of the Kent State University Integrated Science Building, William is currently working on both the Whittle School & Studios D.C. campus and a medical research lab project in Baltimore. He is also a member of the AIA Baltimore Historic Resources Committee.


Joe Kim
Joe is studying for his Landscape Architecture licensure while working on projects for Clemson University and Goucher College. He is proficient in BIM, and a member of the firm’s visualization group.


Daniel Lucenti
Daniel is currently working on construction administration for the Providence Innovation Center and The Enoch Pratt Free Library, and will start design for District Hall in Providence in the near future.


Tiffany McAllister, LEED Green Associate
Tiffany’s recent projects include Science @ Carnegie Mellon University and Purdue University’s College of Health and Human Sciences Master Plan. She is actively involved in the firm’s volunteer committee at Beechfield Elementary/Middle School.


Marie McKenna, LEED AP BD+C
Marie is hard at work on Semans-Griswold Environmental Hall at Washington College. It is slated to be the school’s first Living Building Challenge project.


Christine Pappert
Christine, a member of the firm’s finance department, created a user-friendly reporting structure that is now being implemented for multiple large firmwide projects.


Jeff Phang
Jeff enjoys finding efficiencies in processes and helping clients make smarter decisions by leveraging data. He’s excited about further integrating Space Analytics into campus planning and other disciplines.


Katherine Richardson, CID
Katherine is on the design team for the Interfaith Center at Goucher College and the student center renovation at American University. She also serves as the Legislative Coordinator for the Maryland Coalition of Interior Designers.


Corey Rothermel, ITCA-CR
Corey is pursuing his AICP certification while working on the 2018 University of North Texas Health Science Center Campus Master Plan and Tarrant County College District Visioning projects.


Rhiannon Rudolph, PHR
As part of the HR team, Rhiannon’s 2018 goal is to further develop a culture of learning at the firm. This role includes establishing a more thorough onboarding process for new employees and strengthening the leadership development program.


Alex Semkin

Alex is a part of the design team for the Duke University Physical Therapy School of Nursing Education Building, integrating complex program requirements into a modern building in harmony with the historical gothic campus. He is excited for construction to begin this spring.

30 Years of Embracing Change: Reflecting on Jim Wheeler’s Career at Ayers Saint Gross

January 30, 2018
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2018 marks a significant change for our firm: it’s the first year since 1987 that Jim Wheeler has not been a part of our day-to-day operations. While Jim will continue as Chair of the Ayers Saint Gross Board of Directors, we will no longer see him each week.

This moment has been carefully planned for some time. But now it’s real. Jim has been a colleague, mentor, and friend. His impact on the firm has been, and will continue to be powerful.

When Jim Wheeler came to Ayers Saint Gross in 1987, the firm was already 75 years old, with a venerable history and deep local traditions, but also ready to transform itself. He saw a collection of people willing and anxious to take on the future – and change. That’s what Jim has always been about, and still is.

After a stock market implosion in the late 1980s, Jim and Adam Gross made a trip to the University of Virginia. Despite the economy, Virginia saw a boom coming in higher education and they would need to build. Inspired by that meeting, Jim and Adam said: What if we concentrated on higher ed? What if we became the firm colleges and universities turn to for new buildings, housing, and campus plans?

That moment of inspiration became a strategy that has endured for many years. The firm’s focus shifted to all aspects of higher ed planning and design. During the next three decades, Ayers Saint Gross grew from about 30 people to 170, from 10 or 15 projects to over 300, from one office to three, from Baltimore to the Mid-Atlantic to the western U.S. to 20 countries.

Jim embraced change yet again by encouraging the firm to redefine cultural attractions as educational institutions, thereby expanding our impact to a broader array of mission-driven institutions.

When it came to developing the expertise our clients needed, he encouraged us to go beyond architecture, investing in planning, graphic design, landscape architecture, and space analytics.

When it came to hiring, Jim pushed us outside of our comfort zone, purposely adding people with different points of view, contrary ideas, new voices.

When it came to connecting with our communities, Jim invested in multiple ways. He embraced our long-standing efforts to introduce the design professions to a wider audience of kids, particularly those at Beechfield Elementary School in West Baltimore. Jim’s understanding of the importance of giving-back led him to the United Way early in his career. When the challenge of leading the United Way of Central Maryland board came along, Jim saw a chance for growth and change – in the United Way and in himself. He helped lead them to pioneering projects, including a new home in Montgomery Park in 2017.

When it came to the firm’s future, Jim wasn’t content with conventional paths. He explored and implemented an employee-ownership structure – speeding a generational ownership transfer and refocusing the next generation of leaders and change agents.

When it came to leadership, Jim was a champion of real change. He insisted that the firm needed a new voice and a different outlook. I agreed to be his successor on one condition: if Jim stayed and worked with me for year to make the process as seamless as possible.

Jim was at the forefront of the firm’s business development efforts for many years. I’m pleased to announce that his successor there also comes within the firm. Since May 2017, Katy Hunchar has been serving as our Director of Marketing and Business Development. Katy first came to Ayers Saint Gross in 2011 and has since risen through the ranks to lead our strategic marketing and business development efforts across all disciplines for higher education, cultural institutions, and other mission-driven clients.

Now Jim is embarking on yet another change: his well-deserved retirement. He’s officially left the firm on a day-to-day basis, but will lead our board for through 2020.

Change, change, change. Many people run from it. Most resist or avoid it. And most companies whither from not keeping up with it or leading it. Not Jim. Not Ayers Saint Gross. I’d like to close with his own words:

“If you see change and are careful, that’s okay.
If you deny change, that’s doom.
If you see opportunity, that’s the future.”

Awards: 2017 Year in Review

January 3, 2018
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Our goal is to engage people and places to create designs that enrich the world. One of the ways we know we’ve achieved that goal is when our peers are kind enough to honor our work. Here’s a round-up of selected accolades Ayers Saint Gross earned in 2017.

2017 Architect 50: Top 50 Firms in Design. We are so pleased to be included on this prestigious list, ranking at No. 42. Our design portfolio showed a wide range of mission-driven work, from an open, transparent learning center for 21st century medical education inspired by the desert landscape of Arizona to a 14-acre innovation district in the heart of Philadelphia.

The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. This groundbreaking building merited two national AIA awards. This LEED Platinum certified building was named to the COTE Top Ten list because it embeds important public health values into the design via daylighting and a feature stair to encourage walking. (This project is the second Ayers Saint Gross project named to the COTE Top Ten List; the first was the University of Baltimore Angelos Law Center in 2014.)

This project also won a national AIA Honor Award for Interior Architecture. Its pod-like classrooms are set on the perimeter of the building, allowing for views of nearby Washington Circle.

Payette served as design architect and Ayers Saint Gross served as associate architect on the Milken Institute School of Public Health.

Salisbury University Guerrieri Academic Commons. This new building brings all academic support programs under one roof. Organized around a central atrium, each of the building’s four floors is dedicated to a different type of learning: staff-supported research, learning and teaching skills, individualized study, and public dialogue.

With its combination of rich programming and beautifully executed design, the Salisbury University Academic Commons merited Excellence in Design Awards from AIA Maryland and AIA Potomac Valley, and an Honorable Mention from AIA Baltimore.

The LEED Gold certified Commons also earned a USGBC Maryland Wintergreen Award for Education, and a Brick in Architecture Bronze award from the Brick Industry Association. The latter award honored the Commons’ brickwork, which echoes Holloway Hall, the university’s original campus building. The vertical elements and façade details lend a more human scale to the 226,000 SF building.

Ayers Saint Gross is the prime architect of record in association with Sasaki as design architect on this project.

University of Arizona Biomedical Sciences Partnership Building (BSPB). This 10-story building is the tallest on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, adding much-needed research space and supporting the interdisciplinary efforts of the medical school and its public and private sector partners. A public mixing bar, designed to promote interdisciplinary collaboration, connects to the existing Health Sciences Education Building, also completed by Ayers Saint Gross and CO Architects. The BSPB won two prestigious regional awards – the AIA Arizona Distinguished Building Award and the ENR Southwest Best Regional Project in Higher Education/Research.

The project’s iconic design draws inspiration from the Arizona landscape, highlighted by the horizontal, chiseled striations of its exterior. The 4,800 copper panels reflect light and cast shadows that recall canyon walls. This element earned the project a North American Copper in Architecture Award from the Copper Development Association, Inc.

The project delivery is a continued partnership between CO Architects and Ayers Saint Gross.

University of Pikeville Health Professions Education Building. This building is a symbol of a change in the heart of central Appalachian coal country, as the global energy needs shift away from fossil fuels and towards a more health- and technology-driven economy. Located on a steeply sloped site, the building’s envelope uses material and color palate to meld with the surrounding environment to “bring the mountains inside.” This beautiful, forward-looking project earned Merit Awards from both AIA Kentucky and AIA St. Louis.

Ayers Saint Gross designed the Health Professions Education Building in association with Trivers Associates.

AIA Associate Award. Last but certainly not least, Linsey Graff, Assoc. AIA, was a 2017 AIA Associate Award Recipient. This award is presented to associates who are outstanding leaders and creative thinkers for significant contributions to their communities and the architecture profession. Linsey, an architect and campus planner in our Tempe office, was appointed to a three-year term on the AIA National Diversity and Inclusion Council, and she was one of 22 architects and educators invited to join the Equity in Architecture Commission. She will also be a member of the 2018 AIA National Education Facilities Awards Jury, and a member of the K-12 task force. Currently she is working on a campus master plan for Cal Poly Pomona and the Texas A&M Sustainability master plan.

2017 was a wonderful year of creating designs that serve our clients and their communities. We look forward to many wonderful collaborations to come in 2018.

Announcing 2017 New Faces and New Leaders

June 27, 2017
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Ayers Saint Gross is thrilled to announce new additions to our firm leadership, and well-deserved promotions for future firm leaders. We are excited to be a place where people can learn, grow, and share their expertise with our clients.


New Faces and New Roles



Christine Hurt, CPA
Christine’s focus for 2017 is all things related to the firm’s Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP). She is an associate principal and the firm’s CFO. Outside of work, she likes to travel, scuba dive, and sing.


Kevin Johnson, AIA LEED AP
Kevin, a principal, believes that listening and face-to-face interaction with clients are key to successful design. He enjoys asking questions to build consensus and to promote cross-disciplinary collaboration. Kevin is also an avid cyclist and guitarist.


Lindsay Story
Lindsay has worked on projects large (signage and wayfinding for the Monticello Visitor Center) and small (a pocket-sized student life pop-up book) at Ayers Saint Gross. As Creative Director and the leader of the firm’s graphic design practice group, she looks forward to continued excellence on both print and environmental projects.


Allison Wilson, AIA LEED AP BD+C
Allison’s project “claim to fame” is the 2017 Texas A&M campus master plan, which led to continued engagement on the university’s sustainability master plan efforts. She is the firm’s Sustainability Director. In her spare time she attempts to exhaust her family’s Australian shepherd puppy, Hagrid.


Stephen Wright, AIA
Steve thinks it doesn’t get any better than melding his passions for performing and visual arts with his love of design, and looks forward to helping grow the firm’s practice in the arts and libraries as one of the firm’s principals. A former singer, he now devotes much of his time to attending classical music concerts and building support for ensembles like the Washington Bach Consort.


ASSOCIATE PRINCIPALS


Kristen Ambrose, AIA CSI LEED AP BD+C
Kristen is an architect with expertise in the design of sustainable academic environments that support innovative teaching and learning. She served as project architect for the Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center at the University of Maryland at College Park, where she teaches in the School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. She loves travel and exploring cities.


Alice Brooks, AIA LEED AP BD+C
Alice, a Goucher College grad, considers the opportunity to work on multiple projects at her alma mater – housing, a dining facility, and an interfaith center – a career highlight. In 2017, she’s looking forward to participating in the AIA Women’s Leadership Summit in September, spending time with family, and traveling.


Corey Chang, AIA LEED AP BD+C
Corey loves working in teams and with individuals that show character and passion, and those he has worked with on Howard Community College’s Science Engineering & Technology building and the Washington University in St. Louis Bryan Hall Renovation & Bridge had both qualities in spades. He has a deep-rooted obsession with acquiring power and hand tools, and spends an inordinate amount of time and money building things instead of simply buying them.


Jon Eaton, MCP MCSA
Jon, Director of IT, encourages a broader understanding of technology throughout the firm and strives to develop a culture of change with everyone he works with. Outside of the office, he enjoys hiking the Appalachian Trail, snowboarding, coaching soccer, and playing the violin.


Joel Fidler, AIA LEED AP BD+C
Joel likes to provide unexpected and creative solutions for clients like the Maryland School for the Blind (MSB). He has completed two projects for MSB, an institution he greatly admires. Joel dedicates a few minutes each morning to drawing a cartoon note for each of his two kids and packing them in their school lunches. He is seeking suggestions for cartoon topics.


Linnea Kessler-Gowell, CID NCIDQ
Linnea enjoys building relationships with clients like Brown Advisory. Most of her time away from the office is spent hanging out with her son.


Ann Powell, AIA LEED AP BD+C
Ann’s recent portfolio includes two new storage facilities for the Smithsonian’s collection, ensuring the long-term preservation of our national treasures. She also worked on the Salisbury University Academic Commons, a bold and modern center for the academic heart of the university. In the winter, you can find Ann sitting by the fire after a delicious home-cooked dinner with family. In the summer, you’ll find her watching the sunset from a sailboat, also with family.


Amelle Schultz, ASLA LEED AP
Amelle’s project “claim to fame” is the Waterfront Campus Plan for the National Aquarium in Baltimore. In the coming year, she looks forward to growing the firm’s landscape master plan portfolio and renovating her new house.


SENIOR ASSOCIATES


Jonathan Catania, AIA LEED Green Associate
Jonathan recently completed work on the renovation of Ryan & Isaac Hawkins Halls at Georgetown University. He hopes to help the firm win more great architecture and interiors projects, and to watch a lot of Washington Nationals games this summer.


Amy Cuddy, CPSM
Amy is excited about the recently completed photo shoot of District House at The George Washington University, as it was the first pursuit she worked on and won at Ayers Saint Gross. Outside of work, she enjoys making things in the kitchen with her two daughters and on her crochet needles.


Alyson Goff, M.Ed MPA
In the coming year, Alyson plans to expand her project experiences by working with clients at large and diverse campuses as well as interdisciplinary collaboration within the firm. In her spare time, she enjoys visiting craft breweries.


Jack Hulme, LEED Green Associate
Jack recently led the Ohio University team in realigning the boundaries of 10 campus green spaces to create a more intuitive wayfinding experience on the 1700 acre campus. He’s currently overseeing signage projects at Bowie State University, Washington University in St. Louis, Enoch Pratt Free Library, and Grinnell College. Outside of work, he likes spending time with his family, being involved with their church, and enjoying the outdoors.


Katy Hunchar
Katy is a creative and strategic member of the marketing and business development team who leads the annual business planning process and works with designers to tell our projects’ stories. She is also a talented illustrator.


Jessica Leonard, AIA LEED AP
Jessica is passionate about helping clients like the Smithsonian Institution and The Ohio State University solve complex problems and transform their physical environments. In her free time, she is a dedicated volunteer for the SHARPkids after-school program.


Cooper Melton, AIA LEED Green Associate
Cooper’s goal as an architect is to create transformative buildings; he’s currently working on the Virginia Commonwealth University Gladding Residence Center I & II project. He collects vintage vinyl with a focus on 1990s indie and 1970s country folk. One day he hopes to get all three of his children to nap at once so he can listen to some records.


Sandy Michael
Sandy supports our accounting and finance departments, which aim to provide service to our internal and external clients as well as better reporting and increased communication around policies and procedures. When she’s not at her desk, you can find her boating on the Chesapeake Bay.


Nakia Neves, CPSM
Nakia’s professional passion is adapting the AIA’s Equity in Architecture Commission for marketing professionals in the AEC industry, while her personal passions are all things art and music. She takes great pride in our firm’s many collaborations with University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix and Phoenix Biomedical Campus stakeholders during the past decade.


Tarek Saleh, AIA LEED AP
Tarek directs the firm’s visualization committee, and recently served as a lead designer on a project in the Providence Innovation District. He’s also a big car guy, with a particular interest in architecture influences on automotive and industrial design.


Fred Satchell
Fred programmed our proprietary space analytics tool, SAMi, from scratch; his favorite part of the code is the GIS portion. His next SAMi goal is to take the program into VR. When not coding, he enjoys tending to his sizable indoor garden, which includes more than 40 varieties of non-GMO organic vegetables.


Rosalie Tilghman, AIA LEED AP BD+C CDT
Rosalie’s project claim to fame is three phases of student housing at the University of Delaware. Outside the office, she likes to travel and to garden.


Chip Young, CID NCIDQ LEED AP ID+C
In 2017, Chip’s professional focus will be joining colleagues to strengthen the resources and resourcefulness of the firm’s interiors team. His portfolio includes the interiors of the Wilmer Eye Institute and the Viragh Outpatient Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Duke University School of Nursing, Smithsonian SCBI Educational Facilities, University of Maryland at College Park BioPsych renovation, and SUNY Sojourner Truth Library. Outside of work, he enjoys documentary films, especially ones that give a front-row seat to ‘behind the scenes’ processes.  


ASSOCIATES


Blair Davenport, AIA
Blair’s recent work includes the Baltimore Visitor Center Renovation, which won a national ENR Award for Best Small Project. Her hobbies include speaking French and visiting Charlottesville, Virginia.


David Duxbury, LEED Green Associate
David developed a space/cost model for more than a dozen scenarios for the Johns Hopkins University’s DC presence, and hopes to create more opportunities for planning work in the District. He is both a triathlete and a classically trained baritone.


Andrew Casavant
Andrew’s recent projects include the 39 North Master Plan promoting bioscience and innovation in St. Louis and the Ohio University Comprehensive Master Plan. His goal for the coming year is to improve design concepts and their communication through visualization and written narrative. Outside of the office, he enjoys hiking and new travel experiences.


Linsey Graff, Associate AIA
Linsey, the winner of a 2017 AIA Associates award, recently completed a campus master plan for Texas A&M University. After serving on the committee for the American Institute of Architect’s Equity in Architecture Commission, she is now an advocate for its full implementation. In the coming year, she hopes to pass her licensure exams and to watch the Buffalo Bills win their first Super Bowl.


Laura Hall, RA LEED AP BD+C
Laura aims to deliver modern, functional, and inspired architecture and interior design solutions for the firm’s health sciences clients, including the Auburn University School of Nursing. Laura enjoys spending free time with friends and family, attending concerts, cooking and beach vacations. She is currently learning to golf. 


Jordan Hawes, CID NCIDQ
The Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center has been Jordan’s focus for almost five years. It’s also the project that convinced her to pursue interior design. She is excited to see the building open in 2017. For 2018, Jordan is planning a backpacking trip through New Zealand.


Nathan Korkki, AIA LEED Green Associate
Nathan began his professional career as an intern at Ayers Saint Gross and became a licensed architect two years after graduating. His recent projects include a private medical school in Scottsdale, Arizona and the University of North Texas Interdisciplinary Research & Education Building. Professionally, he is passionate about researching learning environments and student engagement. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking and spending time outdoors.


Brandon Moore, AIA LEED AP O+M
Brandon enjoys creating more efficient strategies in the workflow, execution, and development of our firm’s projects, including the construction administration of District House at The George Washington University. He also enjoys woodworking and building furniture.


Cormac Phelan, Associate AIA
Cormac’s focus for 2017 is obtaining his LEED certification. He can usually be found with a sketchbook in hand, scribbling something weird. Cormac is also the co-host of the Archispeak podcast.


Rhiannon Rudolph
Rhiannon, an HR Generalist, recently completed the huge task of analyzing the firm’s benefits package. The process resulted in better vision and dental options, and the addition of an Employee Assistance Program. She is obsessed with superhero movies, so her ideal night is watching The Avengers with her husband and their dog.


Doug Satteson, AIA LEED AP BD+C CDT
Doug’s work at Ayers Saint Gross includes multiple projects for the Smithsonian Institution. Professionally, he’s passionate about project delivery and QA/QC. Personally, he enjoys recharging by bicycling the backroads of Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.