Our name is a reflection of our culture, our Creative Research Method; a vibrant studio environment where creative thinking and research converge to form great places. Started in 2009 in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, our team of architects and designers is led by founder and principal director Jeffrey Smith and associate director Alex Johnson. Always intrigued to step beyond the traditional role of an architect, the studio’s leadership brings together extensive experience in real estate development, design build, and branding. Being versed in the language of each results in a comprehensive understanding of how the design, economics, constructability, and marketing of a project work together. These sensibilities are carried through every commission and are key to assembling a unified vision among stakeholders.
Curious by nature, we relish in the intensive research and discovery that is a part of every new project. By leading a dynamic interaction between the design team and stakeholders, the programmatic and aesthetic aspirations are established. These aspirations are connected with the optimal resources and materials by maintaining an understanding of current building systems and products as well as investigating new technologies. Clarity is a defining character of our work, carrying a project’s intent through composition, details, and implementation. We practice responsive design, not only addressing physical context, but equally considering culture, sustainability, and accessibility. The input of those who are part of the wider conversation is valued, including neighborhood advisories, design boards, and city agencies who represent the interests of the community at large. The studio is a natural extension of relationships with like-minded colleagues including developers and builders who share an appreciation for design driven solutions in transforming real estate and subsequently to enhance the life, education, work, worship, and play of today’s world and beyond.
With a sophisticated perspective on contemporary life, the studio’s works are recognized for their witty blend of modern sensibilities with elements of surprise and delight. Works in many typologies have been completed including housing of multiple scales, hospitality, workplace, and retail including both ground up new construction and adaptive reuse of existing buildings. They range in scale and location from custom residences in rural environments to mixed-use buildings in urban settings. While society has increasingly embraced environmentally sensitive building practices, the studio believes that the reuse of existing structures is the most significant form of sustainability that the built environment can offer. In today’s urban age, the reinvention of abandoned or under-utilized properties provides new value and vitality to individual properties and the neighborhood alike. We enjoy the polarity of developing solutions that are reverent of a building’s or place’s history while accommodating the needs of today’s lifestyles.