December 23, 2013

Meet Heather Ruwe

Heather Ruwe is an interior designer at Bialosky + Partners Architects, Cleveland.

Heather Ruwe has worked in New York, San Francisco and Chicago – and can now add Cleveland to the list! As our newest interior designer, Heather brings a background to the office covering the whole spectrum of interior design, including brand development and on-going client relationships. Already Heather has an incredibly versatile background in interior design: She’s done financial corporations. She’s done high end restaurants. She’s done underwear boutiques. But she speaks most fondly of the client Brown Forman, one of the kings in the wine and spirits business. In its fifth generation, the client worked with Heather when she worked at BHDP to sharpen and envision interiors/branding. All over the occasional lunchtime cocktail, of course! Her breadth of experience began with the University of Cincinnati College of Architecture, Art, and Planning’s  (DAAP) Co-Op program . For those unfamiliar with the DAAP’s School of Architecture and Interior Design, co-ops (aka internships) are built into the program. Coursework and real on-the-job experience alternates on a quarterly basis, which Heather found invaluable. She graduated in 2010 with a BS in Interior Design. While it is a rigorous program (DAAP's ID program recently ranked #1 in the country by DesignIntelligence), she had managed to squeeze in some unique elective courses. Namely, a course centered on tea and its origins and place in culture – taught by just the sort of instructor you would expect by a small, petite women who loved floral prints and all things British culture - basically the whole nine yards! A Stow native, Heather now lives in Lakewood with her husband, who is in the medical field. We asked her a few extra questions that we think you’ll enjoy. She’s given them quite some thought. Favorite Designed Object of 2013: Kinematics, Nervous System’s 4D Printed Jewelry.

Nervous System's Kinematics project is an example of luxurious 4D printing- and Heather's favorite designed object to come out of 2013.


I think the progress that has been made over the past few years with 3D printing is incredible and to see that they have come up with a way to 3D print flexible structures is amazing. The forms that Nervous System has created are really unique and actually pretty wearable.  Hidden Talent: I’m an Organizational Mastermind. I am way too organized for my own good. I have a place for everything and can fit more items into a closet or a suitcase than you probably should. Because of this, I tend to be a little over prepared for any situation, hence earning me the nickname Studio Mom in design school.  Your Alternate Reality Career: Jimmy Fallon’s Puppy Keeper.

"Late Night" host Jimmy Fallon interviews the winning New England Patriots puppy - in a parallel universe, Heather would care for the other 31 pups backstage. (from

If you have never watched Late Night with Jimmy Fallon before, you probably don’t know that he has a segment on his show called Puppies Predict where he puts out multiple bowls of dog food with Oscar nominees, sports teams, presidential candidates, etc. names on the bowls and then sends out multiple golden retriever puppies to see which bowl of dog food they will choose, therefore predicting who will win the game, race, etc. I think Jimmy Fallon is hilarious and I have a soft spot for golden retriever puppies so I love this segment and have decided that if I could, I would be the keeper of the puppies. Someone has to take care of them when they are on the set, right?!  Your Ideal Dinner With One Architect or Designer: Kristina O’Neal from AvroKO.

W Bangkok – the Kitchen Table by AvroKO and SODA. Ideally, Heather would meet Kristina O'Neal here for a dinner with some razzle-dazzle. (

They focus mainly on restaurant and hospitality work but the way they are able to take a concept and fully integrate it into a restaurant design down to the glassware and packaging is spectacular. You can walk into any of their spaces and easily understand the vision behind it. They have an office in Bangkok so we would go to one of the restaurants they designed there. I would want to ask her about where they pull inspiration from for their projects and their design process. I would also love to know more about the evolution of their company and how it has gone from an architecture and interiors firm to developing furniture lines and owning their own restaurants.  Bonus: Non-Architect/Designer: Hmmm…this one is tough. Probably Regina Spektor. I love her music and her songs are so bubbly and sometimes comical that I think we would have a pretty entertaining conversation.

October 17, 2013

Trends in Higher Education: The 2013 Ohio Educational Environments Forum

Being involved in most of our firm’s higher education projects, I was naturally excited to be invited to the Ohio Educational Environments Forum sponsored by KI Furnishings and Contract Source Inc. as a guest panelist on October 9th. With projects like Muskingum University’s University Center, which will begin construction this fall and Lorain County Community College’s recently completed Ben and Jane Norton Culinary Arts Center under my belt, I design knowing the importance of spaces and buildings that will support and foster the education of others. With a passion for life-long learning, I looked forward to exchanging ideas about spaces programmed for education.

Study space at Ohio State University's Mason Hall, which Bialosky + Partners collaborated with Kallman McKinnell and Wood for the renovation.

The forum included two presentations followed by a panel discussion on changes in higher education based on new teaching pedagogies, shifts in campus and student culture, and how technology affects the design of higher education spaces and buildings. The opening presentations covered a lot of ground, and gave engaging examples of 21st century learning spaces:

  • Amy Kiefer, Vice President, Education Markets for KI presented a CEU on Advanced Learning Spaces and Trends in Higher Education.
  • Paul Mitnick, Senior Account Manager, Soundcom Systems discussed applications of how technology has been implemented in some recent projects.

The "Learn 2 Tablet Armchair" from KI.

Lastly, the panel discussed the top themes and challenges each panel member sees in their roles and answered questions from the audience. I sat on the panel with our opening presenters, Amy and Paul, in addition to:

  • Jack Miner, Senior Associate Registrar, The Ohio State University
  • Tom Kemp, Director of Instructional Technology & Learning Management, Ashland University

We had great questions from the audience and the panelists discussed everything from how to maximize classroom utilization factors, safety on campus, incorporating distance learning courses into class offerings, and how to optimize learning environments with minimal funding. Education in general, and specifically higher education, is changing at a fast pace.  We as architects and designers have to understand the challenges our clients are facing and offer creative and effective solutions.  Many of the trends we see in corporate America are trickling down to higher education:

  • Generational shifts – Millennials are driving the trends in higher education and beyond
  • Global implications – the world is constantly getting smaller and more connected
  • Collaboration
  • Technology – of today, of the future, and how to plan for changes
  • Ergonomics/ health and safety

This chart highlights the differences in generations, and how these effect learning and society as a whole.

In addition to these factors, issues specific to higher education also have an impact on design:

  • Demographic shifts of the “typical” student
  • Teaching Pedagogies – the students of today no longer want to be lectured to, classes are becoming more interactive and collaborative
  • Blended Learning – the combination of online and offline learning
  • Age of our higher education institutions and their structures
  • Budget limits – doing more with less
  • Extending learning beyond the classroom – with technology, social media and collaboration, learning happens everywhere
  • Increase in STEM education – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

Collaborative learning spaces are being integrated into many higher education projects, as a result of Gen Z growing up and going to college.

This video, "Did You Know?/ Shift Happens" (Version 6, 2012) reinforces many of the ideas that are changing higher education. [youtube][/youtube] Our educational environments must transform and be designed to support the learning environments of the future.  There are no best formulas for these spaces.  Key team members must recognize the relationship between teaching style and physical space, acknowledge that change is inevitable and faster than ever, and determine what is best for each institution, building, classroom, and learning space.  There are no one-size-fits all solutions.  Instead, an assortment of creative solutions should be included to fit the needs of their individual circumstance, students, and faculty.

For further reading: The Learning Environment Sweet Spot. Amy Kiefer, KI Vice President, Education Markets

October 14, 2013

Job Opening: Interior Design Intern at Bialosky

Bialosky + Partners Architects is seeking an interior design intern with a passion for the field. This will be a paid internship with a minimum of 24 hours per week. Candidates should be collaborative, high energy, creative, well organized and confident. Proficiency in AutoCAD, Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Office programs is required. Revit and InDesign experience is a plus. Candidates must possess an eagerness to learn, ability to show initiative, exhibit a strong professional work ethic, be detail oriented and able to handle multiple tasks. Submit resume to Tracy Sciano Vajskop, Senior Associate, Bialosky + Partner’s Architects 2775 S Moreland Blvd.  Cleveland, OH 44120 or e-mail to

August 15, 2013

A Guide to Green Furniture

“Sustainable” and “Green” are commonly used when speaking of interior finishes, and are becoming even more present in the world of furniture. Whether you’re purchasing new or replacing existing there are several things to keep in mind when selecting furniture. 1. Sustainable furnishings have a broad range of attributes which may not encompass all of your desires within one product, so decide what is most important to you in your search for green solutions. Attributes to look for:

  • Recycled/Salvaged content
  • Durability & Longevity
  • Rapidly renewable
  • Bio-based materials
  • No or Low VOC
  • Recyclability
  • Companies Environmental Policy
  • Reconfigurable
  • Easy replacement
  • Serviceability of components
111 Navy Chair from Enemco is made of recycled content, specifically 65% Recycled PET and 35% Glass Fiber. Featured on Bialosky + Partners Architects Cleveland Design Blog

111 Navy Chair from Enemco is made of recycled content, specifically 65% Recycled PET and 35% Glass Fiber.


The Dash task light from Steelcase, and designed with Foster + Partners, is a good example of a product with longevity. Dash uses a mercury-free LED and a wireless current to eliminate PVC.

2. To aid in your search, look for third-party verification certificates. These certificates are based on industry best practices and require an extensive application process. Bialosky + Partners Architects Green Furniture Guide

3. Consider a product's complete lifecycle which covers a products origin, creation, shipping and disposal. Through established relationships, companies such as Humanscale aid in the disposal of product through, donation, refurbishment or recycling.

HumanScale Bialosky + Partners Architects

HumanScale's Diffrient World Chair is a mesh-based chair known for easy replacement and serviceability.

There is a whole sea of furniture in the green market, so use these tips when buying your next piece, whether for a client or for your own home!

June 25, 2013

Bialosky Wins At NAIOP Northern Ohio 2013 Awards of Excellence!

Bialosky + Partners Architects is proud to announce that we recently received an award at the NAIOP Northern Ohio 2013 Awards of Excellence, winning best Mixed-Use Interior Design project for the Cuyahoga Community College Hospitality Management Center & Pura Vida Restaurant located at 200 Euclid Avenue in the heart of downtown Cleveland. Check out the rest of the winners by clicking here!

Lobby and Demo Kitchen at CCC Culinary

Bialosky Announces Transition Plan