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Three Years of Gratitude for Hoosier Heroes

Three years ago, I launched a new solo architectural practice, Griffy Creek Studio LLC, focused on energy-positive, healthy, resilient architecture. Today, I am feeling deep gratitude for the 32 client heroes in 15 Indiana counties who decided to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem since I began. They asked me to be their guide to a preferred future for their families and their planet. In addition to 13 new zero-energy-ready homes, four will also be water positive, harvesting more water on-site than they use. I have had the opportunity to work with passionate commercial and cultural client projects, including a Carnegie library renovation, a new zero-energy-ready veterinary clinic, a historic office building sustainable design charrette, and a restaurant conversion concept. Along the way, I have enjoyed working with and learning from contractors, including one who asked me to design their new custom modern energy-positive home.

Before moving to Bloomington for a nine-year adventure to lead Indiana University’s sustainability efforts, my previous architecture career involved designing public libraries, K-12 schools, and higher education facilities with large firms. I worked with interdisciplinary teams of gifted professionals. Now I do everything myself, including things I never had to do before. It has been an intense learning experience that has made me appreciate more the contributions of experienced architectural detailers, bookkeepers, marketing directors, and drafting teams. I have had to leverage new software programs, including some that allow me to offer clients the opportunity to experience their designs in virtual reality and predict their buildings’ energy performance early in the design process.

Three years ago, I also became an adjunct professor in the new Indiana University J. Irwin Miller Architecture Program in Columbus, teaching future architects about “Energy and Environmental Design.” I learned a long time ago that the best way to learn is to teach, and my brilliant grad students keep me on the cutting edge. In return, I teach them how to design buildings that produce more energy than they use.

Griffy Creek Studio LLC operates out of my barn loft studio overlooking mostly wooded Griffy Creek Farm, so named because Griffy Creek bisects it. Though I must turn work away, I have resisted the urge to expand because that would mean I would have to leave this special place. I would miss my walk breaks in the woods and my 100-foot commute. But who knows what the future may hold? I have taught many talented students who could make my life easier.

For now, I am grateful for the opportunity to serve all my Hoosier heroes and looking forward to meeting more in year four. Happy New Year, everyone! May 2022 be your best year yet!

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