Clark Patterson Lee | Blog Clark Patterson Lee Blog en Copyright 2021 2021-04-12T16:15:58-04:00 <![CDATA[BUZZ: Women of Excellence Honorees Announced]]> The recipients of the Rochester Business Journal’s 2021 Women of Excellence awards have been selected, and CPL Principal Architect, Michelle Trott, AIA, NCARB, ACHA, is among the list of honorees.

The Women of Excellence awards identify high-achieving women for their tremendous career accomplishments. The women are selected based on their professional experience, community involvement, leadership and sustained commitment to mentoring.

> Click here to read more

<![CDATA[BUZZ: Pandemic a Catalyst for Companies to Prioritize Flexibility, Wellness for Women]]> CPL Chief Culture Officer, Kathy Metcalfe, shares her perspective on how the pandemic has been a catalyst for companies to prioritize flexibility and wellness for women.

> Click here to read full article featured in the Rochester Business Journal

<![CDATA[BLOG: The Library Architype — New Chapters, New Champions]]> For centuries, libraries have served as archives for art and records, epicenters for learning, and eventually, repositories for books. As mainstays of community, how could anything replace them? Yet, beginning with public access to the internet 40 years ago, many began to speculate that brick and mortar libraries were at their end. However, there are indeed champions in the library story.

CPL, together with design-build partner, CT Darnell Construction, and library specialists, 720Design, recently provided leadership in planning, design, engineering and construction to help write the next chapter for six aging libraries in Fulton County, GA.

The CPL / 720Design team along with CT Darnell Construction was the unanimous choice for the Atlanta/Fulton County Library System’s (AFCLS) $11 million, six library design-build program. Outside of routine maintenance, none of the libraries had seen improvements since their decades-old original construction. The time to upgrade and enhance these community assets had never been more apparent.

Following initial team engagement meetings led by 720 Design, CPL developed six unique solutions, each one seeking a sustainability design minimum certification of Silver, using the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Rating System. The solutions also included community-inspired design themes like bohemian arts and culture, collegiate/Ivy League, local issues, and even a “Library in the Park.”

Adams Park Library, Fulton County Library System, Fulton County, GA

Strategic interior design enhancements included the use of barn doors in place of traditional doors to easily expand program space; the replacement of large service desks with smaller, service kiosks to open floor plans and promote patron/staff interaction; and the creation of larger community spaces with movable furniture, Wi-Fi touch-down points and study pods. In some of the libraries, staff was even relocated to allow for more natural light in high traffic common areas.

In addition to individual customizations for each library, all facilities received optimized seating with dedicated use areas for adults, teens and children; mechanical, electrical, plumbing and technology system upgrades; ADA accessibility and compliance upgrades; significant site improvements with native landscaping; and brighter finishes and furnishings to add character and elevate the overall look and feel.

East Atlanta Library, Fulton County Library System, Fulton County, GA

Library specialist and founder of 720Design, Maureen Arndt, AIA, IIDA, said, “Each design concept was highly specialized, responding to community culture, requests, and consensus. Information gathered was run through the lens of budget and facility assessment requirements and then synthesized with high design to transform the libraries into hubs of customizable, activity generating, educational community spaces.”

Ponce de Leon Library, Fulton County Library System, Fulton County, GA

With sustainability goals in mind, CPL’s in-house team of engineers played a key role in providing critical building system changes such as the new roof-mounted mechanical units at the Cleveland Avenue Library branch. They also performed a comprehensive structural evaluation to determine if a large solar array installation, slated to supply 40% of the buildings power, could be supported.

All upgraded building systems met the County’s environmentally conscious initiatives and even contributed to reaching their sustainability goals. In the end, all six libraries met or exceeded the desired LEED certification, with the Cleveland Avenue Library achieving LEED Platinum certification—the only LEED Platinum library in the state of Georgia.

Cleveland Avenue Library, Fulton County Library System, Fulton County, GA

CPL Principal Architect, K. Scott Gordon, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, and Project Manager, Kirk Edwards, AIA, both surmised, “The 21st century iteration of the library is less about being a repository and more about space: space for social interaction, education, and community connections. Through listening to the communities, the CPL team captured and delivered precisely what these aging branches needed to reenergize and revive each unique community they serve. We are privileged to use our talents as planners, architects, and engineers to serve and witness six unique visions take flight. We are grateful to the ACFLS and the Fulton County Board of Commissioners for the opportunity.”

Modern libraries offer much more than a digital experience ever can. Their physicality nurtures communities through vital connection and endless learning. In renovating the AFCLS libraries, the CPL / 720 Design team together with CT Darnell Construction emerged as champions by giving six aging, out-of-date community libraries new life and a hopeful future that’s written to sustain each unique community for years to come.

CPL provided design leadership throughout project planning and construction with design/build partner, CT Darnell Construction, managing the budget and construction delivery. 720Design led interior design efforts on all six projects.

<![CDATA[BLOG: The Disparity in School Design — and the Responsibility we Have to Fix it ]]> The Disparity in School Design

Should you take the time to analyze the range of educational architecture that stands throughout the country — the design, condition, aesthetics and overall function of our school buildings — you’ll notice very quickly that significant disparities exist from school district to school district. This is important because recent studies have revealed distinct relationships between the quality of school buildings, the level of community engagement, and the overall performance of our students.

Consider the following school district examples that demonstrate the disparities found in today’s K-12 building designs and conditions.

School District A: The "ideal" school district

Situated in an affluent community, District A is one of the most highly regarded, top performing school districts in the country. Due to high levels of consistent funding over time, District A students receive their education in beautiful, modernized facilities with smart building systems, endless technical resources, and unique amenities. They have access to flexibly designed classrooms that receive abundant natural light, fully equipped media centers and computer labs with state-of-the-art technology, and well-maintained playgrounds and recreational fields for free and organized play.

Additionally, District A offers exceptional after school activities including athletic programs, band and orchestra classes, a variety of clubs, and even mentoring opportunities with local non-profits and community organizations. And let’s not forget about pride because boy does District A have lots of it. In every District A building, pride is evident throughout the hallways with dynamic visual elements reflecting the school colors, mascot, and inspirational quotes.

Opportunity is certainly knocking at every door in District A, which evidently sets District A students up for great success when they arrive at their respective schools.

School District B: The “complacent” school district

Like most school districts in the country, District B is doing “fine.” District B students attend school every day in buildings that may not be brand-new, but for the most part, they’re renovated, clean, and moderately maintained. They may still sit in boxy classrooms filled with rigid rows of old desks, but they’re also getting new smart boards installed soon, which they’re really excited about.

District B’s High School also has a nice organic turf field that gets tons of great use from their varsity football team. However, the community rarely attends District B’s Friday night football games, which ends up having a negative effect on the school’s spirit.

District B doesn’t live with abundance, but they also don’t necessarily live without. And while there may not be any “glaring” issues present for students at District B, when compared to District A, some obvious discrepancies can be seen.

School District C: The disadvantaged school district

Unfortunately, District C is made up of old, rundown buildings with leaky roofs, broken heating and ventilation systems, and even duct taped windows in certain parts of their facilities. District C students aren’t given personal laptops or up-to-date textbooks. Instead, they’re sitting in crowded classrooms using outdated resources that are failing to keep up with 21st century learning.

All of this contributes to lower rates of success for District C students. Their unsafe, dilapidated building conditions often cause them to experience more chronic absenteeism and lower graduation rates.

Even worse, District C is not the outlier.

The Government Accountability Office estimates that approximately 36,000 schools nationwide currently need to update or replace their heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. And in 2017, the American Society of Civil Engineers graded Americas’ school infrastructure with a D+.

Much of this unfortunate disparity in building quality and design is largely due to gaps in funding. The 2019 Local School Finance Study, conducted by the Public School Forum of North Carolina, found that the ten highest spending counties spent on average $3,200 per student, compared to $755 by the ten lowest spending counties, leaving a significant gap of $2,445 per student. Gaps like this appear all throughout the country.

Bridging the Gap

These hyperbolic depictions of District A, B and C are designed to emphasize the inequality that exists among school building design today. In a perfect world, we all want our children to attend schools like those in District A. We all want our students to walk through school buildings that are inspiring and uplifting; that encourage curiosity and collaboration; that spark creativity and motivation; and that serve as an inviting launch pad into their futures.

While we may not live in a “perfect world,” we do have the power to encourage and implement changes that can have positive effects on students no matter where they attend school. One way we can start to make a difference is in re-imagining how our schools and communities interact with one another.

What if all schools became more outward facing? What if it became ‘the rule,’ not ‘the exception,’ for schools to partner with the community on a regular basis? What if community leaders became vital, sought after resources for schools to tap into? What if business owners, healthcare providers, local artists or even successful realtors were able to become part of the school curriculum?

Designing Spaces for Community Engagement

Traditionally speaking, an architect isn’t expected to solve socioeconomic problems. Often, we’re simply called to provide solutions for the more technical, building-related issues.

At CPL, however, we believe architects and engineers have a responsibility to be stewards of positive change for our schools and communities. We view our role as one that uses design as a vehicle to make schools more outward facing, encourage community engagement, and instill a sense of pride and ownership for students.

Our design philosophy stems from a desire to introduce more inclusive practices that engage diverse communities and address historical disparities in the education system. We view the school building design process as a powerful tool that can help break negative cycles and inspire long-term, community engagement within school districts. Now more than ever, District B and C students desperately need this cycle to be broken so that student achievement can be elevated across the board.

<![CDATA[BLOG: Developing an Effective Zoning Ordinance — Tips from CPL Planner, Rebecca Keefer, AICP]]> When it comes to understanding the full impact that zoning ordinances have on a community’s long-term planning efforts, CPL Planner, Rebecca Keefer, AICP, is an excellent go-to resource. With more than a decade of experience in community planning, design development, visioning, master planning and public engagement, Keefer is well equipped to develop effective ordinances for any community’s planning documents.

Zoning ordinances play a significant role when implementing a community’s long-term planning efforts. As a critical follow-up to a set of planning documents, these rules help define how properties within specific zones can be developed. In doing so, they become very effective in directing private investments, helping communities achieve their desires and visions for growth.

The only thing worse than a set of ordinances that do not move a community toward its vision are ordinances that are contrary to it. Whether communities are in need of a full ordinance rewrite or more simple incremental changes, there are critical steps you should take to develop an effective zoning ordinance.

1. Analyze Current Ordinances

Where are your community’s strengths and weaknesses? Are there components working against your planning vision?

Identify these components and seek to understand what’s not being addressed in your ordinances today. Augment your regulations to guide private developments in a way that might not have been considered a “best practice” when your code was first written.

Additionally, identify the components that should be retained. Codes often tell a story and can be reactions to issues from the past. Make sure you’re not writing those important vestiges out of your code with a complete rewrite. Pinpoint those sections early and verify that they are included in the drafts.

2. Make Policy Recommendations

Policies can be very effective at communicating illustrative visions for the future growth of a community. Develop a set of general recommendations that assist in translating the visioning documents into regulatory language. For example, if walkability is important to your community, identify policies that support a walkable district (i.e. access management, wide sidewalks, mix of uses, street trees and lighting, maximum block dimensions, etc.).

3. Create Organized Outline

The best zoning ordinances are always thoughtfully organized and numbered. But what’s the big deal with numbering ordinances anyway?

Have you ever had to make one small tweak to your ordinance text, and as a result had to re-number the remaining half of the document? How about cutting a section for a plan review? Are the section numbers duplicated, requiring a long string of article, title, and division of numbers to properly identify the relevant section?

That’s why numbering is essential. Determine an intuitive hierarchy of ordinance sections based on your community’s priorities with an expandable numbering format.

4. Draft and Review Ordinances

Once drafted, release the ordinances to your elected community officials. Work with your legal team to mitigate risks and test the ordinances on real situations to understand how they would work as applied. You’d be surprised to learn just how many issues you can flesh out by giving ample consideration to how they would work on real development.

Allow all stakeholders to provide meaningful feedback on the projected impacts—that’s residents, developers, builders, community groups, etc. They all play an important role in this process.

5. Manage the Transitions

Develop easy-to-use guidelines, flow charts and code-user trainings that outline major ordinance changes and new directions. Above all, never consider your work with zoning ordinance fully complete. Maintain the ordinances over time through regular and periodic updates to keep them current and effective.

Good zoning ordinances and codes are the foundations upon which great communities are built. When done well, they become the framework that regulates future development and they make it easier for a community to implement its vision.

<![CDATA[BROADCAST: School of Health Professions Gives Dalton State Students a Jump Start on their Medical Careers]]>

A 1978 technical education building turned state-of-the-art school of health professions.

The School of Health Professions at Dalton State College offers exceptional inter-disciplinary education to students who are preparing to enter the health and human services workforce. Under this roof is where they gather to learn the practical, hands-on skills they need to be successful post graduation.

<![CDATA[BLOG: Dynamic First Impressions]]>

Gone are the days where a lobby is just a space to pass through.

The Erie County Medical Center's (ECMC) lobby features several influential design elements that are essential to leaving visitors with a positive impression of their business and their brand. Step inside this 360 degree scan of the space, and use your mouse to walk around and discover our tips for creating a welcoming, dynamic lobby design.

<![CDATA[BLOG: BCS Leads to Transformative STEAM Classroom Additions]]> A Building Condition Survey isn’t just a mandate from the State Education Department. It’s an opportunity to plan and implement outstanding improvements in your District.

Enhance education, create more secure learning environments, and yield higher performing facilities; those were the underlying goals that Cuba-Rushford Central School District Superintendent, Carlos Gildemeister, communicated to CPL when we embarked on our journey working with the District. Our first step consisted of a comprehensive campus-wide study, as part of the District’s most recent Building Condition Survey.

Work included an intense evaluation of building systems, detailed studies to better understand where building and user functionality could be improved, in-depth safety audits of visitor entries, electrical panel infrared studies, and multiple building envelope assessments. The findings told a classic story of aging equipment and infrastructure, which meant it was time to take action before minor inconveniences became much bigger, more expensive hurdles.

As a “Destination District,” Cuba-Rushford had a variety of asset preservation and programmatic goals in mind, which CPL helped them achieve through a combination of large and small projects that were not only baked into a five-year strategy, but were also intentionally scalable to fit within a variety of project funding streams.

Key highlights included:

— New dynamic, flexibly designed classrooms for evolving STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) curriculum
— Expanded Special Education program to better serve student population
— New indoor walking track to promote wellness for students and the community
— Energy efficiency for annual cost savings

> Click to learn more about Cuba-Rushford CSD's STEAM Classroom Additions

<![CDATA[BUZZ: Fulton County Libraries in Group 3 of Renovation Project Achieve LEED Certification]]> On February 18, 2021, five of Fulton County Library System’s Group 3 library projects were awarded the very prestigious LEED Platinum, LEED Gold and/or LEED Silver certifications. LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

"Fulton’s LEED Program Administrator, 2M Design Consultants, Inc. (2M), was instrumental in achieving this important certification, along with the program management team of CBRE-HEERY/RUSSELL Joint Venture Team, C.T. Darnell Construction, the awarded design-build company who beautifully designed and renovated the state-of-the-art high performance green libraries. Special thanks goes to the design teams of CPL - Architects, Engineers, Planners and 720 Design; LEED Consulting and LEED Commissioning by Merrick & Company, in concert with the entire professional team for the design and renovation of these LEED High Performance Green Libraries."

>> Click here to read the full press release featured on

<![CDATA[BUZZ: SMPS New Member Spotlight]]> The Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) is a community of marketing and business development professionals working to secure profitable business relationships for their A/E/C companies. Through networking, business intelligence, and research, SMPS members gain a competitive advantage in positioning their firms successfully in the marketplace. SMPS offers members professional development, leadership opportunities, and marketing resources to advance their careers.

CPL's Director of Marketing, Sarah Gibson, has recently joined the SMPS Upstate New York Chapter. Check out Gibson's New Member Spotlight via the link below.

>> SMPS New Member Spotlight: Sarah Gibson

<![CDATA[BUZZ: PHOTO TOUR - Sands-Constellation Center for Critical Care At Rochester General Hospital]]> Rochester Regional Health in Rochester, N.Y., partnered with CPL (Rochester, N.Y.) and LeChase Construction (Rochester) more than five years ago to develop a plan to help the organization better deliver care to the aging population as well as future generations to come. The result is the seven-story, 312,000-square-foot Sands-Constellation Center for Critical Care at Rochester General Hospital, which opened in October 2020. The addition includes a new surgical care center with operating rooms, women’s health and newborn care suites, and 108 acuity-adaptable private patient rooms.

>> Read the full story featured in Healthcare Design Magazine

<![CDATA[BULLETIN: CPL Welcomes New Hire in Buffalo]]> Contact: Michelle Draghi
Marketing Manager

Buffalo, N.Y. — CPL, a full-service design firm that has served public and private-sector clients for more than 45 years, is pleased to welcome Thierry Effa to its structural engineering team in Buffalo, NY.

With nearly 15 years of industry experience, Effa will serve as Structural Designer, responsible for conducting the analysis and design of building structures for a variety of project types. He brings comprehensive knowledge of various design standards and codes as well as an ability to develop and produce detailed structural modification drawings.

Prior to joining CPL, Effa served as Project Structural Engineer for Foit-Albert Associates. He has a Master of Science Civil Engineer degree and a Bachelor of Science Civil Engineer degree from the University of Cergy-Pontoise in Cergy, France.

About CPL
Founded in 1975, CPL is a 450-person multi-disciplined architecture, engineering and planning firm offering inspiring design services and enriching communities in 19 cities across five states. CPL specializes in the Healthcare, Transportation, Municipal and Academic sectors – providing architectural, interior design, civil engineering, buildings and structural engineering, planning, landscape architecture and 3D/virtual design services to a host of public and private clients. Visit to learn more.

<![CDATA[BULLETIN: CPL Welcomes New Hire in Charlotte]]> Contact: Michelle Draghi
Marketing Manager

Charlotte, N.C. — CPL, a full-service design firm that has served public and private-sector clients for more than 45 years, is pleased to welcome Rubaina Humayun to its architectural team in Charlotte, NC.

Humayun will serve as Architectural Designer, responsible for providing architectural design and production support for a variety of project types throughout the schematic, design development and construction document phases. She brings a strong working knowledge of various design tools such as Auto-CAD, SketchUp and Lumion, as well as applicable drafting experience.

Prior to joining CPL, Humayun served as Intern Architect for Pragrup Architects. She has a Master of Architecture degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte School of Architecture and a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the SRM University School of Architecture and Interior Design in Chennai, India.

About CPL
Founded in 1975, CPL is a 450-person multi-disciplined architecture, engineering and planning firm offering inspiring design services and enriching communities in 19 cities across five states. CPL specializes in the Healthcare, Transportation, Municipal and Academic sectors – providing architectural, interior design, civil engineering, buildings and structural engineering, planning, landscape architecture and 3D/virtual design services to a host of public and private clients. Visit to learn more.

<![CDATA[BULLETIN: CPL Welcomes New Hire in Raleigh]]> Contact: Michelle Draghi
Marketing Manager

Raleigh, N.C. — CPL, a full-service design firm that has served public and private-sector clients for more than 45 years, is pleased to welcome Pamela Houston, RA to its architectural team in Raleigh, NC.

Houston will serve as Healthcare Planner, responsible for working with national healthcare clients on projects of varying sizes and scopes with the intent to advance health and wellness through collaborative design. With more than 20 years of healthcare design experience, she brings exceptional leadership and communication skills as well as extensive regulatory knowledge of the full spectrum of healthcare-related facilities.

Prior to joining CPL, Houston served as Architect and Medical Planner for BSA LifeStructures. She currently holds professional architectural licensure in the state of North Carolina, has an Evidence-Based Design Accreditation and Certification (EDAC), and a Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt (LSSYB) credential.

Houston earned a Master of Architecture degree with a concentration in industrial design from the North Carolina State University College of Design’s School of Architecture. She also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in art history with a minor in visual communications from George Washington University.

About CPL
Founded in 1975, CPL is a 450-person multi-disciplined architecture, engineering and planning firm offering inspiring design services and enriching communities in 19 cities across five states. CPL specializes in the Healthcare, Transportation, Municipal and Academic sectors – providing architectural, interior design, civil engineering, buildings and structural engineering, planning, landscape architecture and 3D/virtual design services to a host of public and private clients. Visit to learn more.

<![CDATA[BLOG: Compelling Lobby Designs — The Journey to Creating a Positive First Impression]]> Modern day lobby designs are all about establishing a welcoming experience that leaves visitors with a positive and memorable impression of the business they are visiting. Through interesting visual cues, textures, accents—and even sense of smell—a dynamic lobby has the power to become a destination all on its own.

Upon entering a lobby space, the opportunity for a positive interaction between your business and the visitor immediately presents itself. You can seize that opportunity with an appropriately placed receptionist or virtual check-in station that is ready to engage with your guests and give them the customer service you know they are looking for.

As the visitor moves through your space, it is vital that the overall interior design accurately mirrors the personality of your brand. By incorporating specific design elements, your lobby can serve as an authentic reflection of who you are as a business, and in turn, elicit positive feelings from all who pass through it.

Impressionable branding such as this can be achieved through:

— The prominent placement of your logo
— The incorporation of tasteful art, graphics and finish selections
— The subtle visual representation of your company's value propositions (often portrayed in the form of graphic word walls, streaming videos or professional photography)

Step inside this 360 degree scan of the Erie County Medical Center's (ECMC) lobby, which features several influential design elements that are essential to achieving impressionable branding. Use your mouse to walk around and discover helpful tips for creating a welcoming, dynamic lobby design.

Equally as important as proper branding is thoughtful lighting. When done right, creative lighting design has the power to vastly improve a visitor’s overall mood while in your space—all within the flick of a switch. The key is to strike the perfect balance between giving your lobby enough brightness and illumination, while creating a comfortable and intentional ambiance.

Another design consideration that cannot be overlooked is the careful selection of your lobby’s furniture.

Do you want to keep people comfortable during a potentially long wait? Do you need a game table to keep children occupied? Should the furniture be accommodating any special needs?

Stylish, comfortable, and above all, functional furniture selections are a must to ensure a pleasurable guest experience.

One last element to consider when creating that “wow” factor for your dynamic lobby is the incorporation of lush greenery—known as biophilic design. In addition to adding some striking, eco-friendly visuals, potted plants and vertical gardens can also absorb pollutants in the air, keeping your visitors happy and stress free.

Within the four walls of any lobby lies a great opportunity to enliven a company’s brand and offer visitors an experience they won’t forget. The question is and should always be, does your lobby make a good first impression?

<![CDATA[BLOG: Debunking Design-Build Myths with Steve Pyrkosz]]> Design-Build. It’s a streamlined, highly collaborative approach to design and construction. It’s a team of professionals working together from start to finish in an open, communicative and harmonious fashion. It’s the notion that when clients sit at the same table with architects, engineers, general contractors and cost estimators, creative solutions emerge. And according to architect Steve Pyrkosz, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, it’s an effective approach that ensures minimal disruptions, delays or cost-inducing errors.

Pyrkosz’s professional take on the Design-Build project delivery method is backed by his 20+ years of experience designing projects with this approach.

“My first job right out of college, I was an Architectural Drafter for a general contractor/developer, where I regularly worked alongside the construction team to develop design and construction drawings,” Pyrkosz said. “I ended up working there for about 18 years [eventually becoming the firm’s Director of Architecture], and as a result, I got to see first-hand the power of many thoughtfully executed Design-Build projects.”

Having had the opportunity to use this delivery method in several different states with a variety of contractors, Pyrkosz has truly seen it all. And while no two contractors are exactly alike, the key to a successful Design-Build project always remains the same: all parties must be involved and ready to collaborate from day one with a high level of trust and respect for each other.

“When you have the right Design-Build entity in place, I’ve found these projects to result in fewer surprises and inefficiencies,” he explained. “With traditional project delivery methods, the owner has to manage two separate contracts – one with the architect and the other with the general contractor. All too often, this can cause a lot of miscommunication between those two parties, resulting in potential cost overruns, schedule changes, and sometimes, a little bit of finger-pointing. But with Design-Build, the owner only has to manage one contract with a single point of responsibility – otherwise known as a team that consists of the architect and the contractor, as well as other specialty trades or subconsultants.”

The concept of a true partnership was one that Pyrkosz made clear to emphasize.

“The success of this approach is highly dependent on all parties working together from the beginning and listening to each other as equal partners throughout each and every phase.” he said. “Leaving all egos at the door is pretty important, and in my opinion, it’s the best way to achieve lower unit costs, accelerated construction schedules, and enhanced innovation.”

It might seem straightforward, but the benefits of a Design-Build approach aren’t always overtly apparent. When asked if there were any misconceptions regarding this streamlined delivery method, Pyrkosz was more than ready to fire them away.

Myth #1: Design-Build is more expensive than traditional methods.

Fact: “Not necessarily. With the architect and contractor working hand-in-hand, they’re able to avoid the many miscommunications that often occur within a set of construction documents. This can save money and minimize costly disputes.”

Myth #2: Design-Build puts everything into the contractor’s hands, leaving the owner and architect with limited control over the final product.

Fact: “Definitely not the case when you attack each project as a team and keep everyone’s hands equally in the pot. The Design-Build approach is very transparent, and it really enables everyone’s perspectives and opinions to be equally represented.”

Myth #3: Design-Build is good for speed, but bad for quality.

Fact: “Quite the opposite actually. Yes, the project’s schedule is often accelerated, but that’s due to streamlined communication and activities, not carelessness. Together, the team builds while they design and design while they procure – all while maintaining a high-level of quality control.”

Pyrkosz appreciates the opportunity to “debunk” Design-Build myths such as these. His experience has afforded him a unique perspective on the way both architects and contractors tend to tackle projects.

“Believe it or not, we all want the same thing: a well-designed and well-constructed project that articulates the owner’s value proposition,” he said. “All we have to do is approach it in a unified and collaborative way.”

<![CDATA[BLOG: Designs that Build Character and Ignite Performance ]]> Designing spaces to enhance student performance extends far beyond classrooms. Thoughtful consideration must be given to the facilities that help build character and develop athletes and performers.

Home of the Trojans, the Southwestern Central School District takes pride in both their physical education and performing arts programs. The significant renovations made during their most recent Capital Improvement Project reflect that pride and further support the District’s desire to offer students spaces that allow them to reach their full potential.

Opportunities to showcase a school’s identity are often the cornerstone of CPL’s K-12 education projects. As such, this project included the addition of a new High School gymnasium, which bolsters design elements that magnify school spirit and promote dignity.

From atop the school’s elevated site, the thoughtfully designed athletic facility boasts signature mascot logos in the large, corner windows, instilling community pride and becoming a beacon at night.

With a designated new home for the school’s gymnasium in place, the opportunity to repurpose the former gymnasium emerged. CPL recognized that the space was well suited for a second life as a more functional fitness center and multi-purpose room.

While the new fitness center provides students, faculty and staff with access to a large variety of strength and conditioning equipment, the multi-purpose room offers many different functions for the school and the community at large.

Located directly across from the auditorium, the room serves as an ideal space for post-production receptions and intermission gatherings. It has also become an excellent place for School Board meetings, continuing education seminars, school bus driver training and certification courses, New York State Regents exams, or special community events.

The final piece of this high performing puzzle was to renovate the school’s outdated auditorium. This included the replacement of all ineffective acoustic treatments, the refurbishing of the theater’s seating, and the implementation of all new lighting systems.

The end result? A vibrant and inspiring place for performers and spectators to enjoy an impressive, high quality production.

CPL takes great pride in working with our educational partners to realize environments that enrich a student’s learning experience. This includes elevating the spaces that build character, spark creativity, and foster growth and achievement for student athletes and performers.

The renovations made to Southwestern High School reflect the District’s commitment to encouraging their students to pursue excellence in all aspects of their life and education.

<![CDATA[BULLETIN: CPL Welcomes Three New Hires in Rochester]]> Contact: Michelle Draghi
Marketing Manager

Rochester, N.Y. CPL, a full-service design firm that has served public and private-sector clients for more than 45 years, is pleased to welcome three new hires in Rochester, NY: Roberto Campos, AIA, Michael Rizk, and Susannah Betts.

As a member of the architectural team, Campos will serve as Architectural Project Manager, responsible for leading multi-disciplined teams throughout the design and construction phases of a variety of project types. Prior to joining CPL, he served as Project Architect for RAZAK Associates. He brings with him more than 20 years of experience as well as a passion for shaping a more sustainable world through creative design.

Campos is a Registered Architect in the state of New York as well as a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) – Central New York Chapter. He is also a Certified Passive House Consultant, a certification earned from the Passive House Institute of the US (PHIUS). Furthermore, Campos holds two educational degrees from Pontifical Catholic University of Chile that are equivalent to Master of Architecture and Bachelor of Architecture degrees in the United States.

Also joining the architectural team is Michael Rizk, who will serve as Architectural Designer. Rizk previously served as Intern Architect at Design Works Architecture, where he prepared schematic designs for residential projects. In his new role, he will apply his experience toward creating designs for a variety of project types before taking them to the design development and construction stages.

Rizk is proficient in using a long list of design tools including Revit, Rhino, AutoCAD, SketchUp and the Adobe Suite. He holds a Master of Architecture degree from Ohio State University’s Knowlton School of Architecture and a Bachelor of Arts degree in architectural studies from Ithaca College.

Betts joins the marketing team and will serve as Marketing Coordinator, responsible for leading the production of proposals, qualifications packages, branded presentations and client interview materials. Prior to joining CPL, she served as RFP Process and Content Manager at Calero-MDSL and boasts more than five years of experience in professional writing and editing.

Betts is a member of the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP). She also holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Wesleyan University.

About CPL
Founded in 1975, CPL is a 450-person multi-disciplined architecture, engineering and planning firm offering inspiring design services and enriching communities in 18 cities across five states. CPL specializes in the Healthcare, Transportation, Municipal and Academic sectors – providing architectural, interior design, civil engineering, buildings and structural engineering, planning, landscape architecture and 3D/virtual design services to a host of public and private clients. Visit to learn more.

<![CDATA[BULLETIN: CPL Welcomes New Hire in Charlotte]]> Contact: Michelle Draghi
Marketing Manager

Charlotte, N.C. - CPL, a full-service design firm that has served public and private-sector clients for more than 45 years, is pleased to welcome Juan Riestra, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP to its architectural team in Charlotte, NC.

Riestra will serve as Senior Architect, responsible for leading architectural work for projects, which includes laying, detailing and coordinating throughout the design and contract document phases. With more than a decade of industry experience, he brings a deep expertise in developing new project delivery workflows and implementing advanced technologies for a variety of projects in the healthcare, municipal and private sectors.

Prior to joining CPL, Riestra served as Architect for Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects, LLP. He currently holds professional licensure in the state of Florida and is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Additionally, Riestra is a National Council of Architectural Registration Board (NCARB) Certified Architect, a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Accredited Professional, and a Construction Documentation Technologist (CDT).

Riestra holds a Master of Technologist (CDT) Architecture degree from The Catholic University of America as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in geography and an Urban Planning Certificate from the University of Wisconsin.

About CPL
Founded in 1975, CPL is a 450-person multi-disciplined architecture, engineering and planning firm offering inspiring design services and enriching communities in 18 cities across five states. CPL specializes in the Healthcare, Transportation, Municipal and Academic sectors – providing architectural, interior design, civil engineering, buildings and structural engineering, planning, landscape architecture and 3D/virtual design services to a host of public and private clients. Visit to learn more.

<![CDATA[BROADCAST: Working at CPL with Chief Culture Officer, Kathy Metcalfe]]> Our clients are highly attuned to our intentional workplace culture, and they respond by continually returning to CPL again and again. Chief Culture Officer, Kathy Metcalfe, sheds light on that culture and talks about what it's like to be a part of the CPL team.