Passion For Our Craft

The CR Way

You’ve envisioned it countless times. We’ve made it a reality countless times more. In some ways, space is all about confines. To us, it’s an opportunity to imagine what’s possible within those confines. Every project is a chance to give space life and personality and we’re hardwired to explore its full potential.

A PROCESS THAT PERFORMS

At CR, architecture is not just an art, but a discipline. Our work, our people and our processes revolve entirely around the way space and structure are realized.

DiscoveryConceptionCreationClient Relationships
Discovery

Before we act, we listen. Firmly believing that a space should seamlessly complement the people within and environment without, we begin by understanding our clients’ mission, values, challenges and vision for the project. This forms the foundation of our approach and serves as a baseline against which we measure our ultimate success. Whether recreating a brand image to provide hotel guests with a memorable escape or helping a school system become a leader in education through student-centered design, every project embarks with discovery.

Conception

Responsive design begins with a clear purpose. Once we’re able to paint a view of the big picture, we begin narrowing in on the details by integrating our team’s passion and technical expertise with close client engagement. Bypassing trends or pre-conceived solutions, we encourage a design that balances the imaginative with the practical. Through this iterative approach, we go back to the drawing board until a concept emerges that excites the client and inspires our team.

Creation

We craft dynamic market- and client-centric teams to encourage innovation across practices and weave design expertise and critical thinking into every project. This provides our clients with a dedicated team and a pool of engaged, available resources. Using an array of tools and technology – from hand sketches to full-scale virtual models – we work together to refine all aspects of the design, creating a space where architecture, interior design and engineering come together in a sustainable, cohesive way.

Client Relationships

Great design is just the beginning. Making it work in the real world is the true challenge. We are keenly attuned to the people, spaces and needs we design for. Carefully considering the function and placement of every detail, we finesse our work to ensure it solves a problem or anticipates a need. This awareness guides our process and fuels the strong relationships we build with our clients. Motivated by discovery and a vision for the future, we’re constantly working to uncover holistic solutions tailored to each of our valued clients.

How We Work

We solve complex problems, design intuitive spaces and engineer innovative solutions. From space planning to project delivery services, architecture to project branding and engineering to conceptual design, we provide a vast suite of capabilities. By integrating the experience of our team and involving experts at every level, we bring clients’ visions to life.

CR didn’t just come into this project and submit blueprints. They immersed themselves into our school and our community to meet our needs.

Princeton City Schools, Director of Secondary Schools

Leading with Conviction

Our leaders bring more than passion and conviction to the table. They lead by example, deeply instilling their vision into our teams, culture and practices. They make sure our plans and strategies make it to the most crucial step: execution.

David Arends, AIA, OAA

Chairman + CEO

Craig Fennig, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C

Chief Operations Officer

Susan Hathaway

Chief Financial Officer

Michael T. Buell, FSMPS, DBIA

Chief Business Development Officer

Leading with Conviction

Our leaders bring more than passion and conviction to the table. They lead by example, deeply instilling their vision into our teams, culture and practices. They make sure our plans and strategies make it to the most crucial step: execution.

William Carpenter, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C

Market Leader, Great Lakes Region

David Arends, AIA, OAA

Chairman + CEO

Leading CR as Chairman and CEO, David sets the highest standard of client service and satisfaction – one that he considers a personal responsibility to uphold. Equally dedicated to our mission and team culture, he meets with each candidate before inviting them to join the CR team. That level of commitment takes a deep-rooted love for what you do. A life-long entrepreneur, he’s built a reputation for openness and honesty, and for expecting the same in return. “When you make a mistake, which everyone does, come up with a solution. Never an excuse.” But even the most driven leaders need a break every now and then. Epitomizing the “work hard, play hard” motto, David embraces life outside the office with equal fervor, whether on the open water or on the golf course. Describing his personal leadership style as “10,000 feet and 100 MPH,” it’s clear he’s never let up on his vision for CR.

Craig Fennig, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C

Chief Operations Officer

Craig's success for identifying and implementing best practices to develop internal and external resource relationships that benefit the goals and objectives of clients and the firm will continue as the Chief Operations Officer for CR. He brings over 27 years of expertise, which includes a broad range and depth of experiences, roles, and responsibilities at a variety of national, international architectural and consulting firms. His passion for leadership is demonstrated while working closely with teams to provide oversight, to foster holistic and strategic planning to market, and to win and deliver projects around the world. “I promote an environment that is conducive to unique and advanced problem solving through the identification of pathways to success. It is my belief that practicing architecture is the blending of the arts and sciences; however, for it to maintain its relevance it must operate within principles of business, based on integrated entrepreneurial practices.”

Susan Hathaway

Chief Financial Officer

Susan joins CR with 14 years of CFO experience. She has built strong leadership and execution skills that deliver value to both internal teams and clients. Susan is passionate about the development of people and likes to teach, coach and mentor to help change outcomes for those around her. Susan loves ensuring the numbers make sense and creating economic prosperity. “Financial success for the business fuels future growth and more importantly the careers of our team members.” Never settling for average, she thrives on challenges, while understanding the value of teamwork and cross-functional business leaders to get results. When Susan is not focused on the numbers, you’ll find her in the kitchen cooking for her guests or cheering on her beloved Browns and Buckeyes!

Michael T. Buell, FSMPS, DBIA

Chief Business Development Officer

Michael brings 30 years of client development and strategic marketing leadership expertise to CR as well as a tenured prowess in speaking, training, coaching and mentoring.

He has worked with construction, architecture and engineering firms from regional to national in market size. Throughout his tenure, Michael has continued to build strong relationships with clients, colleagues and peers alike from coast to coast. Whether for his firm at any given time or for the thousands of marketing and technical staff he has lead training sessions for, Michael’s number one goal has always been to help others build stronger and more abundant client relationships. As a client development leader, effectively positioning for major projects and keeping pursuit win rates very high are what drive Michael every day.

Throughout Michael’s career, he has taken hold of numerous leadership opportunities with SMPS (The Society for Marketing Professional Services). Co-founding the Northeast Ohio chapter; chairing the hugely successful inaugural Heartland Regional Conference; and co-creating and being a lead instructor for their Business Development Institute are the accomplishments of which Michael is most proud. These efforts are the primary reasons why Michael enjoys such a healthy national reputation and network today. With his stage presence developed from an extensive theater performance background along with his industry expertise, Michael speaks at SMPS chapter and conference events and other industry and corporate programs on a regular basis (over 250 engagements to date) to rave reviews on a variety of strategic planning, trust building, business development, presentation skills and leadership topics.

William Carpenter, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C

Market Leader, Great Lakes Region

William has over 30 years of professional experience in managing and directing architectural projects locally, nationally and internationally. With strong competency in technical issues and passion for design excellence, he provides a combination of skills that transcends individual disciplines and traditional boundaries between design, production and management. He takes an active role in all aspects of the project from budget to design document to project close out and client retention. Each project he works on benefits from the experience he's gained serving a wide range of client types, who seek creative and inspirational design.