Design for Innovation


Interview with Tom Schnell

“This was just another project,” Tom said as he leaned back into his chair and made the kind of sound you only hear when you’re laughing with your mouth wide open. “It kept us busy.” The Mews at Muirfield is a community of condos developed by Jim Jentgen, a client and friend of Tom’s. “We got that job because I did his back porch enclosure,” Tom said, unassumingly. Mews was the first project at Muirfield outside of the golf course. It was based on a development in Hilton Head that used wooden materials. Muirfield had strict restrictions and necessitated that certain materials were used. Cedar comprised the roof as well as the siding.

“The Mews had a unique quality while still abiding to the rules of Muirfield,” Tom said. “And they were all sold, so I’d say that made it a pretty successful project.” This was one of the earliest condominium projects in Columbus. Strategy for building them was only just starting to develop. They had to do drawings of each individual unit, one for the owner of the unit and one copy was kept on file. Over the years, Wandel & Schnell, Architects’ original drawings were used as the standard for condominium development. “We had these stamps of a certain scale of a house and of a tree. We’d draw in the roads and then we’d just throw the stamp down to set the scene. That was our computer,” he said as he held his index finger to his thumb to simulate the size of the stamps.

He raised his hand up to interrupt himself and said “You know, though, one winter it was pretty bad. Some of the units faced a wide open field and the snow drift would pack up against the front of the house and blow up into the vents. Some of those people had snow covered attic floors,” he told me. He was partly laughing and partly asking himself if he could have solved it. “They survived,” he concluded.

1975 Pop Culture Facts

Archie Griffin won the Heisman for the second consecutive year. Go Bucks! Muhammad Ali beat Joe Frazier in the “Thriller in Manilla” match as well. Meanwhile, Springsteen had a big year with his “Born to Run” album release and then he ran on over to Newsweek and Time Magazine to be on the cover. They were probably the only ones running in 1975, though, because the Ford F150 hit car lots and the amount of goodness on TV, like SNL and The Godfather, Part II (which won Best Picture at the Academy Awards) was probably keeping most of America on the couch with snacks… unless, of course, they were heading to the theater to see a huge great white shark eat humans for brunch.