March 14, 2014

Meet Jacob Stollfuss

Jacob Stollfuss is welcomed to Bialosky + Partners' Cleveland office Jacob Stollfuss, a native of the sunswept Montana landscapes, grew up surrounded by a family who had a deep love for collecting and restoring classic automobiles. He fondly remembers his Montana home, which tallied more square footage in garage space than living space. With his father, who moonlighted as a drag-strip announcer, Jacob led an adventurous childhood at the races, witnessing and learning the trade of mechanics of the cars that surrounded him. Through cars, and discovering the fine sciences behind them, Jacob’s interest in understanding how things work blossomed. A career in architecture naturally followed.

Jacob owns two classic cars, here is his 1950 Studabaker

Jacob owns two classic cars, here is his 1950 Studabaker

Jacob also has this white 1960 Triumph, seen here on a perfect summer day.

Jacob also has this white 1960 Triumph, seen here on a perfect summer day.

He studied at Tulane University (MArch ‘99) in New Orleans, where both the college and city itself prioritize preservation and understanding the history of place. This resonated with Jacob, and has carried through his practice. And we should mention that in his young career, he is the unsung hero (at least we think so) behind the new Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA). Recruited by Rafael Vinoly Architects in 2003, Jacob packed his bags for New York to begin work on CMA as a Project Architect. For Jacob, the project became an encyclopedia of building systems and details. Having worked on a range of unique and challenging systems- from innovative high-performance gutters to delicate beams of glass, Jacob learned the value of studying and revising a detail until perfection. After two years in New York, Jacob continued his work on CMA at Vinoly’s long-awaited Cleveland office to see the project to realization in 2009.

The atrium expansion at the Cleveland Museum of Art, which Jacob worked on from 2003-2009. Source: Wikipedia. Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License

It is not surprising that Jacob counts woodworking as one of his passions. His Shaker Heights home is filled with furniture he has built himself- tv stands, bookshelves, end tables, you name it. His current project is designing  and building 6 walnut dining chairs, in what he calls a modern take on the historic Chippendale style (six, allowing him, his wife, and his two boys to have a pair of guests). Jacob is working with the Thinkbox at CWRU to fabricate elegant double arched back rails for the chairs. As his favorite saying goes, “The devil is in the details”, whether it is an internationally renowned building, or a single household chair. With this sentiment, it is no wonder that Jacob is an active member of the Cleveland Chapter of the Building Enclosure Council (BEC), an interdisciplinary resource to promote responsibly (but also beautifully) designed building skins and envelopes. We asked Jacob a few extra questions in case we missed anything: Your Alternate Reality Career: At one point I considered going to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena to become an automotive designer.  I still tend to look at every line and crease on a new car with a critical eye. The One Attribute Of Montana You Wish You Could Bring to Cleveland: I would start with more sunshine. True or False: Well-detailed buildings are more expensive. I hate to say this, because I am an advocate of well detailed buildings, but it is true.  A lot of buildings get built with corners cut and they still perform adequately, and an over detailed building can perform outstanding, but with diminished returns.  A well detailed building will cost a little more, but have paybacks in multiple ways – energy, comfort, durability and aesthetics. Favorite Object at the Cleveland Museum of Art:

Rodin's "The Thinker", damaged by a bombing in 1970 at CMA.

I could easily name 4 or 5 objects in the collection, but if I were to boil it down, Rodin’s Thinker on the south terrace would win out.  Being one of only a handful cast under the supervision of Rodin himself makes it intriguing enough, but to me it’s the bombing of the statue, the political commentary it implies, the conservation issues in its wake, the irony of its origins as Dante atop the Gates of Hell… and in the end, The Thinker still just pensively presides over it all. Your Ideal Dinner With One Architect or Designer: Raymond Loewy.  We would eat steak frites at the Cloud Club atop the Chrysler Building while drinking Rob Roy’s and talking about THE FUTURE.

October 23, 2013

Bialosky Designers Become ACE Mentors

With the recent start of the academic year, fellow Bialosky + Partners designer James Cowan and I have joined with local design, engineering and construction professionals to mentor a group of John Hay High School students in the ACE Mentor Program. ACE (Architecture Construction Engineering) is a national high school program that works with high school juniors and seniors who have interest in the building industry. The program introduces students to aspects of the profession which include programming, conceptual design, engineering processes, constructability and sustainability. As mentors, James and I will be working with the students through the academic year and will be offering insights into the field of architecture as well as helping the students develop their design project. This year, the students will be exploring the idea of "shelter" and defining its meaning for themselves and their project for the duration of the year. This idea, generated by the team's lead firm TDA Architecture, intends to offer the students a taste of a real-world RFP where they will be responsible for creating the program specifics as well as the design itself.

One of the many types of "shelter" that was discovered by the students at John Hay High School

One of the many types of "shelter" that was discovered by the students at John Hay High School

As a kick-off exercise, the students were taken on a photo scavenger hunt with the aim of finding as many different types of "shelter" as possible. With the majority of University Circle as the area included, there were plenty of possibilities to discover. We are certainly excited to see what these young, creative minds will develop for their project!  More on ACE Mentor Program To become a mentor, you'll find an application on ACE's website : [youtube][/youtube]

August 28, 2013

AIA Cleveland Tour of Uptown/University Circle Recap

Via their involvement with AIA Cleveland, Jill Christoff and Matt MacRaild of Bialosky + Partners recently organized a tour of University Circle that focused on Uptown Cleveland, designed by Stanley Saitowitz of Natoma Architects. Landscape design is by Field Operations, the designers of the High Line in New York City, who are also working on designs to re-imagine Public Square in downtown Cleveland. The tour, a collaboration between the AIA Cleveland Associates Committee and Urban Design Committees was a part of the Building Cleveland To Scale: S, M, L, XL tour series. Phase 1 of the project features $44 million of new construction, with new buildings on the north and south sides of Euclid Ave, between Ford Rd / Mayfield Rd and East 115th St, and multiple renovated 1970s vintage apartment buildings on the south side of the street. The project includes almost 60,000 sf of retail, and 114 new market rate apartments in the first phase. Phase 2, estimated at $21 million,  is currently under construction and contains 43 market rate apartments and housing for around 110 Cleveland Institute of Art students, with first floor retail. The tour was split into two halves:

The first half featured Chris Ronayne, President of University Circle Inc., who spoke of the history, current developments, and future plans of the greater University Circle area.

In the second portion of the tour, Ari Maron of MRN, Ltd., tells attendees the story of the development of Uptown under the shadow of Phase 2 of Uptown in the background.

Previous tours have featured the St. Luke's Hospital re-development in the Shaker-Buckeye neighborhood of Cleveland, the Farshid Moussavi designed MOCA Cleveland, the Cleveland Convention Center and Global Center for Health Innovation, a rehabilitation and renovation project to the Celebrezze Federal Tower, and The Transformer Station art gallery in Ohio City. If you're interested in staying abreast of upcoming AIA Cleveland events - sign up for their weekly email here!

August 9, 2013

AIA Associates and Urban Design Committee University Circle / Uptown tour

Join the AIA Cleveland Associates + Urban Design Committee on Tuesday, August 13th for the next tour of the “2013 S, M, L, XL: Building Cleveland To Scale” hardhat tour series! Put together by BPA's Jill Christoff & Matt MacRaild, this tour features Uptown ( and other developments taking place in greater University Circle ( to be led by Chris Roynane, President of University Circle Inc, and Ari Maron, Partner at MRN, Ltd. The tour, worth 2 CEUs, will be broken into two, one hour long sessions that will both include question and answer opportunities. Schedule: 5:30pm: Walking tour of UCI development led by Chris Ronayne. 6:30pm: Walking tour of Uptown led by Ari Maron.Euclid-NE-View Please meet in the loft space at the new Constantino’s Market in Uptown, located at 11473 Euclid Avenue! This first tour led by Chris Ronayne will end at the location where the tour with Ari Maron begins. Come learn about University Circle Inc., the development, service, and advocacy non-profit group focused on the growth of the University Circle area, hear the incredible story of how Uptown was developed, designed, and financed using unprecedented collaboration in Cleveland. Stakeholders included University Hospitals, Case Western Reserve University, MOCA, and the Cleveland Institute of Art coming together to create a new neighborhood at Uptown in University Circle! Pregistration is required: $5 for Associates, Students and AIA Members $10 for non-members. Register here: Hardhats are not required for attendees - do wear comfortable footwear, though!