July 5, 2016

Bialosky + APE Made

Local artist April Bleakney of APE Made, was commissioned to create an original piece with a street-art flavor that payed homage to Midtown Cleveland—home to Bialosky’s new office located at 6555 Carnegie Ave. She graciously took on the task by creating a bold, screen-print and mixed-media statement piece that would complement the overall simple and clean aesthetic of the office space.

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April Bleakney's original mixed-media piece

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Large-Scale Installation in Bialosky Cleveland's 6555 Carnegie Ave. office space

As I stepped into APE Made’s unique E. 40th Street studio, I am greeted by one of April’s two cherished dogs, while the tunes of “A tribe Called Quest” hummed in the background. We sit down to discuss the commissioned piece and April’s love of art.

April's E. 40th St. Studio

April's E. 40th St. Studio

What was your goal when asked to create a custom piece for our office?  [My goal was to] use artistic freedom to highlight Cleveland’s “Midtown” area in a positive way and to bring out its many textures.

Tell me a little bit about the piece and your process? The images stem from photographs taken of the E. 40th community while out walking my dogs (Spliff & BB).  Forms that depict the landscape and architecture of Midtown past and present ground the piece. The images of a bridge and water tower were edited within Photoshop until the desired composition was reached; then came the process of screen printing and painting. The chosen color palette reflects the neighborhood - "once bright blues and greens that have become faded and earthy with time, forming rusty warms, and grays". Transparent ink was used to get the desired depth and texture. Warm red and cyan blue were introduced to complement the colors of Bialosky’s space.

Education:  Graduate of Kent State University (BFA ’08)

Origin of APE Made: April began screen printing as a secondary source of income in her Kent, OH basement. Five years ago “APE Made” took flight, and is widely known today for their hand screen printed products (clothing, posters, etc.) that showcase Cleveland and local regions in a positive, well-crafted manner.  

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APE Made is widely known today for their hand screen printed, Cleveland centric products .

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April's work is Inspired by the Cleveland landscape

Who/What Inspires You? The Cleveland Landscape; Makers movement (D.I.Y) and social issues going on in Cleveland and throughout the country.

Your Alternate Reality Career? National Geographic Photographer.

Hidden Talent:Scratching” (A DJ and turntablist technique used to produce distinctive percussive or rhythmic sounds and sound effects by moving a vinyl record back and forth on a turntable while optionally manipulating the crossfader on a DJ mixer. (Wikipedia.com)

April in her element.

April in her element.

For additional information about APE MADE visit.

https://apemadeohio.com/

http://www.apemade.etsy.com/

November 24, 2015

Project Spotlight: The Midway Cleveland Conceptual Planning

Bialosky + Partners Architects recently earned a Merit Award at the 2015 AIA/IIDA Cleveland Design Awards, for conceptual planning and design of The Midway Bicycle Network for a stakeholder group led by Bike Cleveland. Thanks to all involved, in particular, Bike Cleveland Executive Director Jacob Van Sickle, Board Member Barb Clint, St. Clair Superior Development Corporation, and Ohio City Inc.

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Conceptual Midway Network Plan

The Midway seeks to re-utilize the historic infrastructure of Cleveland’s former streetcar network and leverages excess vehicular lane capacities to create an 80+ mile protected cycle track network. Protected cycle tracks provide continuous physical protection to cyclists while still being a part of the curb-to-curb street right of way. While the application of this typology to Cleveland is wholly unique, protected (or separated) cycle tracks are common throughout the world and are proven to make streets safe and comfortable for “all users from 8 to 80”. This infrastructure provides significant economic benefits and significantly increases the mode share of cyclists. Learn more about this vision at midwaycle.org andbikecleveland.org/midway/. Follow the project on Facebook here:facebook.com/TheMidwayCleveland

November 19, 2015

Ingenuity Festival Cleveland – The [switch] Box

Editor’s Note: The Bialosky team was proud to have Chris Persons be part of our team for a summer internship this past year. Chris is currently pursuing his Masters of Architecture at Kent State University’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design. This is a recap of an installation at this year’s Ingenuity Festival Cleveland that Chris and colleagues collaboratively designed, fabricated, and installed. 

The design team for this piece included myself  Adam Prtenjak, Greg Stroh; electronics and arduinos (an open-source electronics platform) by John Popple and myself; budget and grant acquisition by Greg Stroh and Nick Young; and construction was completed by Michael Carnessali, Adam Prtenjak, myself, and Nick Young.

Our original position was this:

Our original position was this:

The [switch] box is intended to be a low-resolution speculation on future architectural possibilities when digital technologies disrupt traditional built environments. Digital technologies< i.e. sensors, big data, smart cities > have the embodied potential to mediate spaces in a manner with no comparable historical precedent. In this case, the line drawn between user and observer of space in the form of a wall is blurred. Exterior passersby [observer] trigger, through an arduino-linked sensor, a binary color change of a specific interior module, thus informing the construct’s occupants [user] of ambiguous yet located activity outside. This tactic can not only be scaled up indefinitely; it can be implemented through digitally complex mechanisms to fundamentally alter the relationships between users, observers, architecture, and digital technologies.

June 2, 2015

Edgewater Beach House Design Progress to be Unveiled at Ward 15 Community Meeting

What: Ward 15 Community Meeting

When: Thursday June 4th, 2015 6pm to 8pm

Where: Louisa May Alcott Elementary School

Remember the Cleveland Metroparks Edgewater Beach House project? While things have been quiet publically, our team has been hard at work on its design! We have incorporated many ideas that were received at a series of public meetings in early December on the Cleveland Metroparks Lakefront Reservation planning and from the MindMixer project page! If interested you in learning more, please attend the Ward 15 Community Meeting, this Thursday June 4th from 6pm to 8pm at Louisa May Alcott School at 10308 Baltic Road.
More details:

Please join Councilman Matt Zone, Cudell Inc. and Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization for a special meeting to learn details about the upcoming improvements and reconstruction for the West Shoreway. Representatives from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) will be in attendance, along with Great Lakes Construction, the contractor for the project to answer questions and address concerns stakeholders may have.In addition, representatives from the Cleveland Metroparks will be updating the community on the construction and timeline of the new roundabout and bathhouse/restaurant at lower Edgewater Park.We will also update the community on the Shoppes on Clifton project.There are so many exciting projects slated to begin this summer in our community, please plan on attending this important meeting to get all the details!

If you're a facebook user, you may RSVP here: https://www.facebook.com/events/702273333216811/

For information about the West Shoreway reconstruction see ODOT's project page here: http://www.dot.state.oh.us/projects/ClevelandUrbanCoreProjects/LakefrontWest/Pages/default.aspx

May 13, 2015

The Year of the Advocate: Pro Bono and the Genius Loci

Pro bono, civic, and community projects have always been deeply embedded in the culture of our firm. We wholeheartedly believe that as architects, we have a distinct responsibility to serve and strengthen our community. But the value of pro bono work runs deeper than the neighborhoods it touches, it has transformed and elevated our very profession. Pro bono projects are a powerful medium for architectural firms to grow and empower leadership and heighten awareness of local expertise that can often be overshadowed. Too often we hear bemoaning around awarding projects to outside architects.

LeBron said it best, “In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.” In Cleveland, “being of this place” means rolling up your sleeves, and chasing what you want. For Cleveland architects specifically, it means fueling ourselves (and each other) to rise up, advocate for architecture, and serve our city.

Consider the following article I wrote for AIA Cleveland as a call to our local design community - to challenge the notion of pro bono work being categorized as simply “other”, “charity” or “unpaid” projects, but rather as an ingrained part of architectural practice.


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Pro Bono and the Genius Loci

Jack Bialosky, Jr., AIA Cleveland President-Elect

For AIA, this year is intended to be "the year of the advocate". The recent national "I Look Up" ad campaign has engendered comments, both positive and negative, about architecture and advocacy (for more information on the campaign, read AIA Cleveland President Aaron Hill's recent article Why "Looking Up" Is Important). It is good that there are strong feelings about this, especially if you ascribe to the theory that any press is good press. But more importantly, the campaign has empowered dispersed dialogues to surface as one national conversation.

Personally, I believe that every year should be the year of the advocate for architects and architecture. As President-Elect, and a fairly new comer (or late returner) to active duty in AIA Cleveland, I have been educating myself on the issues that our local members prioritize as the most relevant and important to our community. In response to our recent member survey, most of the respondents felt that one of AIA Cleveland's most important roles was to advocate for local architects. Many architects feel they have lost power, voice and position as leaders of the built environment. Furthermore, Cleveland and Northeast Ohio have suffered for years from a low self-image which has fueled a desire for outside experts. Compounded by an economic downturn spanning half a decade, this triple-whammy has left some architects in our community feeling under-appreciated and unable to compete for important commissions in their own market.

There have been past efforts at advocacy for local architects. The Design Forum of Cleveland was founded in 2006 as a multi-disciplinary organization with the goals of improving awareness of area design professional services, increasing the consumption of area design professional services, and enhancing and sustaining the professional careers within the local design community. The forum sought to educate area leaders on the quality of available services and the economic impact of the commissions going out of town. Unfortunately, the efforts foundered when confronted by the Cleveland malaise described above; Corporate cultures that inherently value the corporation over the community at large have failed to see the connection and synergy that strengthens them both, while political authorities focused on feathering their own nests or occupied with surviving the times.

Fast forward to 2015, Cleveland has been rightfully labeled as a "Comeback City", as a new sense of optimism pervades our town. The City of Cleveland has new momentum and the economic cycle appears to be stable and in our favor. Downtown Cleveland, no longer a ghost town at night, is experiencing a resurgence of pride from its residents. Clevelanders are feeling better about the future of their city and architects in Northeast Ohio similarly seem to be doing a bit better than years past. AIA Cleveland has new energy and engaged members in all stages of their careers. We have schools of architecture nearby who are engaged in the community and turning out great students, many of whom are choosing to stay in Northeast Ohio. Now seems like a good time to start the conversation again about local advocacy, and to develop our own virtuous cycle.

To propel the local architectural and design community to the  position of leadership and respect to which it aspires requires a concerted effort by the whole A&D community to work together in a collegial and non-self-serving manner; to strengthen and elevate the design culture of our internal community. If you want to be the best, play with the best; taking pride and ownership in our place calls for addressing challenges facing our community as thought-leaders of the issues we feel passionately about.

We become thought leaders by educating and pushing ourselves, by looking outside our own immediate surroundings, by learning from each other, and reaching out to the community at-large. I believe that local advocacy should not be the focus of our efforts, but rather the byproduct of how we lead our lives, demonstrate our creativity, navigate complex systems, solve problems, give back to and strengthen our own community.

If I look around, I see that this is happening even now in many encouraging ways, although we have never been good at bringing attention to ourselves. Just as it has taken many years for Cleveland to begin to understand its place as a world-class, second tier city, it may take a long time to establish Cleveland architects in the appropriate place in the hearts and minds of our fellow Clevelanders. That's no reason to stop trying.

I recently learned about a Not For Profit group in San Francisco called Public Architecture http://www.publicarchitecture.org/, who propose that firms donate 1% of their firm hours towards pro bono work and track these efforts* . I started thinking about this and wondered what percent of effort Northeast Ohio architectural firms are already donating pro bono to charity, faith-based, community development, or public policy agencies. My guess is it exceeds 1% of firm hours- Let's find out and demonstrate that we are the geniuses loci.

* Bialosky + Partners Architects exceeds this benchmark set by "The 1% Project", donating 2% of their firm hours annually towards pro bono work.