Design for Innovation


Interview with Tom SchnellBob Wandel

“Have you ever been to this building?” Bob Wandel asked me.

“I haven’t.”

“You’re gonna go,” he said.

Carriage Place is a three-story building located in the Short North. The upper two floors initially served as a flophouse for destitute men and then transitioned into a rooming house for railroad employees. The first floor was commercial. It had a variety of occupants, but when the building was purchased, the first floor was home to an entertainment bar. “You love that, don’t you?” Bob asked me. “You know what that is, right?”

The concept of the building was to create versatile apartments and office space on the second and third floor and commercial shops, galleries, and a restaurant on the first floor. The occupants of the building originally stored materials with too much weight on the second floor, so all the floor joists were damaged. The building had insufficient exits and no elevator. “The building should have been condemned, but the owner didn’t want to do it.” The entire building was jacked up from the basement to replace the floor joists by adding columns to allow appropriate floor joist spans. “You’re really getting an education here today,” he added. 

Because the building sided with Italian Village, Italian metaphors were sprinkled throughout the second and third floor atrium, an area where natural light soaked from the light wells above. When High Street was widened, a new front façade was built, but the original brick, rear wall and windows were left untouched. 

“Okay, so now I can tell you what I learned, right?”

“Tell me what you learned,” I said.

“We learned… Yo! How are you?” Bob interrupted his thought to chat briefly with Nate Wendling. “Are you doing good work?” he asked.

“Depends on the job,” Nate replied quickly.

“Well, keep after it,” Bob said. “We learned how to…”

“Robert! I didn’t know you were here,” Tom Schnell exclaimed when he walked by.

“…find appropriate solutions to save existing buildings,” he added quickly. “How are you, Mr. Schnell?”

“She does a good job, doesn’t she?” Tom inquired, referring to this blog.

“The jury’s still out,” Bob joked. “She’s a little colloquial for me.”

1984 Pop Culture Facts

In 1984, McDonald’s made its 50th billionth hamburger. That’s it; that’s all that happened. Just kidding. The first MTV awards happened and Dan Aykroyd and Bette Midler hosted. Apple gave us the Macintosh personal computer. Cyndi Lauper had a big year. “Time After Time” was a number one hit and it totally made that entire dancing scene in Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion. Right?! Michael Jackson caught on fire while filming a Pepsi commercial and “Purple Rain” was the number one album. Robert Penn Warren was named the first poet laureate. So, some freak purple rain sprinkled the earth and “peace bloomed all afternoon.”*

*Excerpt from Kentucky Mountain Farm by Robert Penn Warren