December 17, 2014

Help Envision the new Cleveland Metroparks Edgewater Beach House

We need your help! Bialosky + Partners Architects is leading a team with Cleveland Metroparks to design a new Beach House facility at Cleveland's Edgewater Beach. Cleveland Metroparks assumed management of Edgewater Beach and Park and other Cleveland lakefront parks in June 2013 creating the Lakefront Reservation.

To aid in the design process, we need your help to envision the future of this facility and vitality of the beach! Learn more about the project, give feedback, and take part in the conversation at the project MindMixer page:

Additionally, our team solicited feedback at three public meetings that took place earlier this month. The open house meetings focused on the overall $14 million of planned Cleveland Metroparks lakefront park improvements. Learn more about those meetings and other Clevleand Metroparks Lakefront Reservation projects here: 

In the late winter or early spring of 2015, our team will present developed designs at a second round of public meetings.

Cleveland Metroparks staff giving a short presentation a December Lakefront Planning Public Open House

Cleveland Metroparks staff giving a short presentation a December Lakefront Planning Public Open House

Bialosky + Partners Architects & Environmental Design Group staff discuss the Edgewater Beach House Project with attendees during a Cleveland Metroparks Lakefront Planning Open House.

Bialosky + Partners Architects & Environmental Design Group staff discuss the Edgewater Beach House Project with attendees during a Cleveland Metroparks Lakefront Planning Open House.

About the project: The new Edgewater Beach House shall be the “hub” of activity for the Edgewater Beach, replacing the current Edgewater Beach facilities. With a budget of $3.4 to $4 million, the project is utilizing a community-informed design process.  Construction shall begin in late summer of 2015, with completion in mid-2016. The project design will use sustainable design principles with a goal of LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Certification.

The new Edgewater Beach House, a two level approx. 9000sf facility, will include an observation deck, expanded concessions, restrooms, changing stations, and beach access, along with new outdoor amenities. Other program elements being considered are sundry/retail sales, recreational equipment rental, and educational elements. Site work will include plazas, patios, and spraygrounds, and landscaping.

The Bialosky + Partners Architects led team includes Environmental Design Group (civil and landscape architecture), Terracon (geotech), Karpinski Engineering (MEP), Barber & Hoffman (structural) and Predictive Service (LEED commissioning).

Existing Edgewater Beach House Site Location Plan

Existing Edgewater Beach House Site Location Plan

December 11, 2014

Meet Jon Spring and Julie Whyte

We’re a bit belated in welcoming two new hires to our growing team, Jon Spring and Julie Whyte.

jon spring_BW

Adding Jon Spring (BArch ’10) creates our fifth pair of name duplicates in the office. But seriously, Jon is a double. While he has an identical twin in South Korea, Jon grew up here in America, in McLean, VA which is right outside Washington, DC. He worked there at RUST | ORLING Architecture, on office interior fit-outs and new base-buildings. Now that Jon has taken hold of some of Bialosky + Partners projects, he’s gained a bit of a reputation as one of our speediest CAD drafters. It has led us to believe that, in another life, Jon was a rugged cattle rancher with the quickest draw in the West.

Jon Spring in a previous life. His reputation in the office as one of the speediest draftsmen naturally leads us to believe he was once a quick-drawing cowboy.

Jon Spring in a previous life. His reputation in the office as one of the speediest draftsmen naturally leads us to believe he was once a quick-drawing cowboy.

Trained at Carnegie Mellon, Jon graduated with a five-year Bachelor of Architecture, peppered with semester internships with Burt Hill. He can also add collegiate swimmer to his resume. Jon enjoyed his time as a student in Pittsburgh, and now looks forward to life in Cleveland, residing in the Cedar-Fairmount neighborhood.

Jon's answers to some of our favorite get-to-know-you questions:

Your Alternate Reality Career:  Being a roller coaster designer would be awesome and definitely validate the countless hours I spent playing roller coaster tycoon as a kid.

The City You Would Most Like To Visit: Even though I hate crowds, I really want to visit Tokyo someday.

If given a ticket to anywhere, Jon would fly to Tokyo (image from Wikipedia / Cors).

If given a ticket to anywhere, Jon would fly to Tokyo (image from Wikipedia / Cors).

Hidden Talent: I make a pretty good guac, if I do say so.

Favorite Designed Object / Project of 2014 :  The ZEB pilot House by Snohetta.

Your Ideal Dinner With One Architect or Designer:  It’d be fun to talk with James Timberlake at Ikea and over Ikea meatballs, about mass customization of architecture.

Julie Whyte (MArch, MUD ’12) adds great muscle to the firm's urban design chops. Her work ranges all scales and forms - from regional planning to alluring skeletal sculptures. Before joining us at Bialosky + Partners, Julie wrapped up her Post-Graduate Fellowship at the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative. As this program started with Julie, she was fortunate to mold the position- balancing practice, research, and mentorship to the CUDC's students. As part of the CUDC staff, she worked directly with the residents of 2100 Lakeside Men's Shelter to design and implement a garden in the vacant lot  adjacent to the shelter.

Team Up To Clean Up-2

Julie leading the Team Up to Clean Up event, where the neighborhood was invited to 2100 Lakeside's Men's Shelter for a picnic and a day of volunteerism to make their garden a reality.

It's important to add that Julie is a violinist and pianist, and is in good company with many fellow musicians in our office. We're waiting for the album that features her talents, along with the honorable Bialosky whistling trio. She is quickly approaching her wedding date, where she will assume the surname Roberts, in which case  we'll all have to fight the urge to call her Julia.

We asked Julie the same questions, and actually got one identical answer to Jon's!

Your Alternate Reality Career: A writer/researcher.

The City You Would Most Like To Visit: Tokyo – I have never been to Asia and would love to explore it.

Hidden Talent: Playing piano and dabbling in musical composition.

Favorite Designed Object / Project of 2014: Field Operation’s Urban Metabolism research project [for the 2014 Rotterdam Biennale].

Your Ideal Dinner With One Architect /Designer:  Adriaan Geuze of West 8 Landscape Architects; coffee at an outdoor café in Rotterdam; I would pick his brain about the design culture of Northern Europe and his Borneo-Sporenburg project.

Bonus: Your Ideal Dinner With One Non-Architect /Designer: I would have chianti with Ludovico Einaudi at the Piazza della Santa Croce in Florence. I would ask him about his process for composing music and we’d discuss how this process compares to the design process.

A beautiful setting for Julie to share a glass of wine with composer

A beautiful setting for Julie to share a glass of wine with composer Ludovico Einaudi.

August 14, 2014

Job Openings: Architect & Engineer at Bialosky + Partners Architects

ARCHITECT: Bialosky + Partners Architects, an AIA Ohio Gold Medal Firm and Northcoast 99 Winner as one of the “99 Best Places To Work” is seeking registered architects with 7-12 years of experience to enhance our collaborative team. Applicants must demonstrate a proven track record of technical excellence in the production of construction documents for complex projects in which quality design is a priority. Experience leading project teams and managing consulting engineers is essential. Proficiency in AutoCAD, Revit, and other digital design technologies is also required. Please submit resumes and recent project examples to the following e-mail address: No phone calls please.

ENGINEER: Bialosky + Partners Architects, an AIA Ohio Gold Medal Firm and Northcoast 99 Winner as one of the “99 Best Places To Work” is seeking a versatile licensed Mechanical Engineer with 10-15 years of experience. The selected candidate must be comfortable working alongside our architects on a daily basis, as he/she will lead the integration and coordination of both internal and external engineering into our design process.  Applicants should be entrepreneurial and driven individuals willing to step outside the traditional role of systems engineering. The selected candidate will lead a new collaborative design approach with balanced consideration given to both architectural form and engineering function. Applicants should also possess excellent communication skills, electrical & plumbing experience, energy modeling and passive design experience in addition to displaying proficiency in AutoCAD, Revit, and other digital design technologies. Please submit resumes and recent project examples to the following e-mail address: No phone calls please.

June 3, 2014

A Modern Farmhouse: Construction Update

A lot of construction happened since the last blog post and we have moved into our (mostly) finished house. It is proving to be a very comfortable home and we can hardly wait for winter to see how it performs in the cold. Okay, maybe we can wait a bit for that.

Earlier we explored the foundation system and in this post we’ll discuss the wall and roof systems. Let’s quickly review the four basic control layers to be considered in every building enclosure:

1. Water:  Keeps bulk-water out of the structure.

2. Air:  Keeps conditioned air inside and unconditioned air outside.  Air also holds moisture, so air moving through the structure is a bad thing.  As the saying goes, build tight and ventilate right.

3. Vapor:  Controls the amount of vapor permeance through the structure.  It’s inevitable that some amount of moisture will get into your walls, so you need to allow them to dry-out.

4. Thermal:  AKA insulation… Slows the transfer of heat through the structure.

The wall we constructed is a ventilated rainscreen system.  A rainscreen is an exterior wall construction where the siding stands off from the weather barrier creating a capillary break allowing for drainage and evaporation.  Some of the benefits of this system include prolonged life of the siding and finish (due to temperature and moisture equalization of the material), minimizing the chance of water intrusion into the wall structure, and keeping the weather barrier dry, thereby prolonging its life.  To minimize the penetrations through the weather barrier the wall construction was sequenced in this manner:  layout studs on floor deck, fasten plywood sheathing to face of wall, place rigid foam board over plywood (only tack in place), roll out building wrap over rigid foam board (do not fasten), place 1x3 furring strips over building wrap (located over each stud), fasten furring strips tight using 4” screws.  The furring strips are what hold the building wrap and the insulation board in place. Below is a list of how the 4 control layers were handled:

Water:  The metal roofing and underlayment keeps bulk water out of the roof system.  The cedar siding is a rainscreen, keeping the bulk water out of the structure.  Behind the siding the 3/4" air gap and building wrap act as the drainage plane for any water that makes its way through.

Air:  Although great care was taken to control air intrusion at the exterior of the structure by using flashing tapes and minimizing penetrations, the primary air control layer is the gypsum board on the walls and the underside of the roof truss (see red line on diagram).  The gypsum board was sealed to the wood structure to prevent air movement from the conditioned spaces into the wall and attic cavities.  We used an EPDM gasket that was easy to install and provides an excellent life-long seal.  We also used a similar gasket at the wall sill plates to seal the inconsistencies in the wood construction between wall and floor.  All rim joists at floor to wall junctures were sealed with spray foam as this is a notorious air-leaking point.

C:UsersptaylorDropboxTaylor Residencex_plans Model (1)

Wall Section Diagram


EPDM Gasket

Vapor:  The vapor retarder employed is latex paint over 5/8” gypsum at exterior walls and the 2nd floor ceiling.  It’s inevitable that some moisture will make its way into the wall system, so allowing the structure to dry back to the inside is important.  Latex paint creates a vapor retarder, not a vapor barrier which would not allow the structure to dry.  The attic is continuously ventilated at the eaves as well as the ridge which keeps moisture from building up within the roof structure.

Thermal:  The structure of the wall is 2x6 wood studs at 24” o.c. and the cavities are filled with high density fiberglass batts (R-21).  To enhance the thermal performance the exterior walls have 2” of XPS (R-10) continuous rigid insulation board. This continuity of insulation eliminates the effects of thermal bridging at the studs, resulting in a very high performing wall system.  The attic is filled with blown-in fiberglass at an R-value of 100. The trusses were designed with a raised heal to allow for more insulation at the typical eave pinch-point.  Care was taken to seal the baffles to the structure so air from the eave vents would not move through the insulation, stripping it of its thermal performance. The continuous eave and ridge vents keep the attic from becoming super-heated in the summer and keep it cool in the winter which prevents icicles from forming.


Combined with the foundation systems previously discussed and the Intus Eforte ultra-high performing triple-glazed windows, the building shell of the Modern Farmhouse should prove to drastically minimize the amount of energy needed for heating and cooling, all while keeping our family very comfortable.

May 22, 2014

Meet Chelsey Finnimore

Bialosky + Partners Architects welcomes our newest team member, graphic designer and Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) graduate (Communication Design BFA ’13) Chelsey Finnimore. Growing up Chelsey wanted to be a fashion designer, a writer or a detective. Combining her creativity, a passion for communicating, and a strong desire for problem solving, graphic design seemed like an obvious choice. Chelsey’s skill set will come in handy if the office decides well designed private detective work is a lucrative market. At CIA, Chelsey’s Communication Design program included an emphasis in Fiber and Material Studies. This interest in the digital and tactile resulted in developing skills in silk-screening. One such project included a series of “fake products”, like the Apocalypse Survivor Backpack. Backpack contents included tools like bug spray to protect one from giant locusts, and a rope with carabineer set in case of accidental accession. The project was a commentary on the role of technology becoming a hindrance to our survival in times of crisis.

Be Prepared For Anything... With Chelsey Finnimore's Apocalypse Backpack!

Be Prepared For Anything... With Chelsey Finnimore's Apocalypse Backpack!

Chelsey’s favorite professor at CIA was Graphic Design professor, Gene Pawlowski. Chelsey learned from Professor Pawlowski’s “old school” style of teaching typography. He was detailed orientated, pushing his students to be specific and precise in their designs. Chelsey’s favorite class with him was a Hand Made Bookmaking Class. The class included learning and using tons of ancient gadgets for bookmaking. Chelsey is continuously striving to find a legitimate use for the font Adobe Giddy Up in her work. She loves storytelling and believes that great design can be used to tell great stories. Her dream project would be to design a coffee table book of objects organized neatly in rainbow order.

Adobe Giddy Up aka the New Comic Sans.

Prior to joining the team at Bialosky + Partners, Chelsey worked at Agnes Studio where she had interned since 2011. In addition to her work at Agnes, she has worked on freelance projects for Case Western Reserve University, Cuyahoga Community College, and Reclaimed Cleveland. Chelsey was attracted to the Bialosky team, as many of her favorite projects bridge the gap between the digital realm and the real world as tactile objects. This could be through environmental design or other means, with a particular interest in the ongoing life of projects and materials once the designer’s “scope of services” is complete. She brings value to our team with a multi-disciplinary skill set to engage with print and environmental design in unique ways. A native of Sharon, PA and former elevator operator at The World’s Largest Off-Priced Ladies’ Fashion store. Chelsey spent much of her childhood making “bad” fan websites for her favorite bands. Chelsey currently resides in Lakewood with her two feline roommates, Steve and Trevor. In her free time she enjoys riding bikes, drawing terrible horses, and telling bad jokes. One day she will own a kayak or a hammock to aid in her favorite hobby: marathon weekend napping.

The Winner - A Sharon, PA legend.

We recently sat down with Chelsey to learn a little more:  Favorite designed object / project in the last year (could be a building, piece of graphic design, product design, etc.): I am a huge fan of pretty much anything Vallee Duhamel has produced in the last year—super playful graphic and motion design. I love to see designers bringing in tactile/handmade elements into their work.

Cover art and album design for the album Bellevue, from Montreal electro-jazz band Misteur Valaire.

Hidden talent: Not so much a hidden talent as much as a deep dark secret—I played bass in a sludge metal band called “Lightning Bug Collection” in high school. And I can solve a rubik's cube in a minute and a half. Alternate  Reality Career: A florist or a CIA agent. If You Could Have Dinner With One Architect or Designer, who would it be and where or what would dinner be? Spaghetti with Massimo and Leila Vignelli off of their Heller dinnerware followed by an intense game of Risk and fashion parade of Leila’s jewelry.

Chelsey's table setting for dinner with Massimo and Leila Vignelli would look something like this.

We’re ignorant architects. What is the different between a typeface and a font? The best analogy I’ve ever heard for explaining the difference is that typeface is to song as MP3 is to font. Typeface refers to the design of the letter forms where as font refers to the physical (or digital) means for reproducing a letter. Bonus sub-question: Legendary designer Massimo Vignelli once said a designer should only use 5 typefaces (bodoni, helvetica, times roman, century and futura) in their career. Is he right or crazy? I obviously love Vignelli and think he’s pretty on point with this—while I love playing with new typefaces, I find that most that really stay with me are offshoots of those “classic” five.