Technology And Design

In case you haven't heard, Apple recently released a new technology called ARKit, allowing users to create "unparalleled augmented reality experiences for iPhone and interact with the real world in entirely new ways." Playing off of this new technology is a fun new tool for all the architects out there- an accurate, augmented reality virtual ruler! Using your phones camera, you can now throw away that heavy, bulky contraption known as a tape ruler and calculate distances in 3D. ArchDaily reported on this fun new tool, and even shared some video of what users can expect to see when the app is officially available. 

Another new technology I've become very interested in is reality capture. This uses scanning, digital photography, and drones. Coming from a marketing and business development perspective, these tools would clearly enhance our models, allowing us to include construction progress and analysis, and overall give a better perspective of the design world and how it unfolds. Can you say #winning?! 

Last but not least, I think it's important to note that architecture is evolving to include smart house technological advances. Amazon created "Alexa" and the Echo system, while Apple has "Siri" and these "bots" are now entering our homes, challenging architects to make these devices invisible when including them in the design. Even here at the CWM offices we operate with a Nest Learning Thermostat system! We love seeing the progress of integrating technology and the space is occupies in design, and wholeheartedly accept these game-changing challenges! 

Heard of a new technology changing the architecture world that we didn't mention here? Share it with us in the comments below! 

About the author: Darra is our Marketing Coordinator, and although she's not an architect herself she still finds the developments fascinating. She brings plenty of organization to the team, paired with an annoying obsession for turning things in on time (aka early), and a lot of loud laughter. 

Alternative Summer Fun

When you can go to the beach all summer, why not try something new and more meaningful on Independence Day? Architectural Digest came up with 18 of the most beautiful US Landmarks, and although they forgot to mention Buffalo on the list, we still think you should take a look! Here are some of our favorites from their list:

1. St. John’s Church, Richmond, Virginia

"In this historic building, Patrick Henry gave a speech that would spark the revolution leading to the United States’ independence from Great Britain. To really feel the power of "Give me liberty or give me death," reserve a seat in the church on July 4th for a full reenactment of Henry's inspiring words."


2. 1 World Trade Center and 9/11 Museum, New York City

"Standing a significant 1,776 feet tall and housing Condé Nast (and AD), 1 World Trade Center is the crown jewel of the New York City skyline and a beacon of resilience to Americans after the tragedies of 9/11. Visit the moving 9/11 Museum and the reflecting pools that stand in the footprints of the original Twin Towers, encircled by the names of those who lost their lives in the attacks."


3. The Hoover Dam, Nevada

"Built during the Great Depression, giving thousands of jobs to out-of-work Americans, the Hoover Dam is a revolutionary structure spanning 1,244 feet across Black Canyon to control flooding of the Colorado River."


4. Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida

"One small step for man, one giant leap for America! Take the day to explore the nation's pioneering advancements into space. While you’re there, grab some astronaut ice cream to get the full space experience."


Make sure you let us know if you choose any of these alternate routes for some summer fun!!

Historic Preservation Month: Redevelopment


In Buffalo, our historic architecture speaks to the growth of our industries, the impact it has had on our residential stock, and the eventual fall from that perch. The opportunity to resurrect that culture in a current time of growth and confidence in our city sets preservation as a top priority and becomes top of mind, especially during the month of May which is recognized nationally as Historic Preservation Month. 

In order to find a balance between past and present structural importance, one must understand that Preservation is an all-encompassing term that is improperly used for any project dealing with a building older than twenty-five years, but preservation projects can range anywhere from restoration to renovation to reconstruction type developments. 

Although new structures may seem simpler to design and implement, redeveloping historic structures allows us to create a result that is both charming and unique. 

Why is preservation important?

  • Economic incentives spur development of otherwise typically undevelopable buildings 
  • Job creation and spin off investment
  • Further understanding of the lineage of a location or building and the impact on society
  • Opportunity for the architect to engage in a design that interacts with history
  • Opportunity to regain confidence in our city

When first approaching a historic preservation development, if it is identified as a possible project, it is critical to determine if it is eligible for National Registry and therefore tax incentives. It is also important to consider how to make the project viable by inspecting the surroundings to determine what made the building deteriorate, deciding who should be the caretaker or developer of the building, and breaking down the building’s condition and character. 

What are the greatest challenges of preservation?

  • Perception: negative stereotypes of the approach as one that prevents change and growth can be hard to overcome 
  • Dependent on the project, problems could arise based on financing or the building’s stability
  • Architecturally speaking, it is difficult to establish a new paradigm in a building that was not designed for that purpose while maintaining a high level of preservation standards

What are the greatest outcomes?

  • Seeing a building left for demolition restored and brought back to operation
  • Seeing business thriving and the public enjoying the project 

With the right team in place, you can likely find a solution that manages all interests and results in the project being created. The Historic Tax Credit programs at the State and Federal level are to thank for the restoration of major commercial buildings. It is important to maintain these tax credits, as many historic projects are being completed by individuals who are investing without much help. The passion and commitment that many have for preserving our region’s buildings is irreplaceable and the rebirth of our city hinges on our ability to support these individuals. To learn more about the Historic Preservation efforts throughout Buffalo, or to find out how you can get involved, visit: The Preservation League of NYS at or The Landmark Society of WNY at

About the author: Steven Carmina is a Partner with Carmina Wood Morris, DPC an Architecture Engineering and Interior Design firm, and has been a Buffalo Niagara Partnership member for two years. Steve’s experience spans more than thirty years of planning, design, and project implementation for a diverse range of projects. An AIA member, Steve is also an active board member of Buffalo Place, March of Dimes, Buffalo Hearing & Speech, and Traffic on Main Street.

Sweet Sixteen

Today Carmina Wood Morris (CWM) celebrates our 16th year of designing & restoring Buffalo! We want to sincerely thank our entire team and amazing clients for helping us do what we love for so long! Sixteen truly couldn't be any sweeter. 

A leader in local historic preservation efforts, we have spearheaded the restoration of numerous buildings throughout the city of Buffalo, with several projects currently in progress. We are a full-service firm that also specializes in distinctive residential, adaptive re-use, commercial, health care, corporate, and education designs, with licenses to practice in the states of New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and South Carolina. CWM is also LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, and we also create handicapped-accessible structures for numerous projects. 

Our firm had an especially eventful year in 2016, with many celebrations and announcements: 

•    We reached a milestone anniversary, celebrating fifteen years as a firm.

•    CWM promoted Michael R. Bray, AIA to partner!

•    Completed the renovation of the Phoenix Brewery into loft apartments, which was then recognized as Buffalo Spree’s “Best Preservation Project in WNY 2016.”

•    Our work on the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church (LAPC) Lofts was featured in a National Trust For Historic Preservation editorial. That project also won “Outstanding Project” in the 2016 Preservation Buffalo Niagara Preservation Awards!

•    Completed the construction of the Salvatore’s new boutique hotel, The Delavan.

•    CWM was honored as a Buffalo Business First “Best Places To Work.”

•    Promoted Paul Lang, AIA to an Associate!

•    Hired four new employees, and two interns.

•    Completed the redevelopment of the Bosche Lofts at 916-918 Main Street, Buffalo.

•    Partner Jon Morris was honored as a Business First C-Level Executive, which recognizes WNY’s most effective business leaders.

•    We completed the renovation of the sixth floor of our office in downtown Buffalo, and began work on the fifth floor reception area.

The principals of CWM: Steven J. Carmina, AIA; R. Christopher Wood, PE; Jonathan H. Morris, AIA; Pamela Timby-Straitiff, CID IIDA; and Michael R. Bray, AIA; credit the success of their firm to the attention to detail, aesthetics, and service given to each project and client. They are a dynamic team collaborating to achieve innovative solutions, grounded in core values, respected in their profession and community. Again, thank you for these sixteen years. Cheers to sixteen more!

If TV Characters Were Architects

It's January in Buffalo, which means most of us take the rare gift of a snow-day and use that time to binge watch a show or movie on Netflix. I'm personally guilty of a binge-session or two, but watching this myriad of shows got me thinking- some of our favorite TV characters would make great architects!

Take Sherlock Holmes (from the show Sherlock, a series based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes detective stories) for example. Sherlock's exceptional intellect and remarkable powers of observation would enable him to create architectural masterpieces that transcend conventional design techniques. 


Another character that would make an interesting architect is Dr. Derek Shepherd, from Grey's Anatomy. Not only did he design his own house on the show, but think of all the intricite architectural creations he could come up with using his immense knowledge of the inner workings of the human brain! 

grey's poster.jpg

Call me crazy, but I could even see Spongebob Squarepants making a name for himself in the architecture world! I mean who wouldn't want to live in a pineapple under the sea?!


Don't think we've forgotten about our female characters! Imagine if Leslie Knope from Parks And Recreation were an architect! Her determination and spunk alone would serve her well in the design world. Her desire to pursue a life of public service could certainly be served in the architecture field, perhaps in the historic preservation sector?! If all else fails I'm certain she'd design an excellent waffle house. 


What if you could take one of YOUR favorite television characters and make them an architect? Who would you choose? Let us know in the comments below! 

An Architect's Dictionary (according to CWM)

Arch Daily ended 2015 by posting an article, "150 Weird Words Defined: Your Guide to the Language of Architecture," which got me thinking about some of the stranger things I've heard around the CWM office. The English language is a fickle thing, with several words having multiple interpretations. Some more typical architectural terms I've heard our team use include:

  • Aesthetic (adjective): The way something looks; to designate a particular style.
  • Charette (noun): An intensive design event in which architects get even less sleep than usual and encourage each other into ever more insane, we mean creative, ideas.
  • Facade (noun): The face (exterior) of a building.
  • Sustainability (noun): Go green! To minimize the negative environmental impact of buildings by efficiency and moderation in the use of materials, energy, and development space.
  • Space (noun): The architect's canvas, otherwise known as the total built environment. 
  • Motif (noun): A repeated figure or element of the design. 
  • Inspiration (noun): Although not always easy to come by, these great ideas start the process of planning, designing, and constructing cultural works of art.

As the Marketing person at the firm, I've definitely had to do some research after listening to our designers discuss project details! Architects truly have their own language, and after delving further into the varied concepts of design, I have certainly gained an appreciation for this second-language my co-workers speak. 

We know this is a pretty small list; do you have a favorite architecture-related word or phrase? Share it with us in the comments below!

About the Author: Darra is our Marketing Coordinator. Armed with her Bachelors in Marketing, she brings plenty of organization to the team, paired with an annoying obsession for turning things in on time (aka early), and a lot of loud laughter. 

Historic Preservation Education

As any Historic Preservation Architecture buff should know, the month of May marks "National Preservation Month!" Last year, we created a list of the 5 reasons old places matter; this year we'd like to make sure you've been paying attention to all the wonderful acts of preservation happening around our hometown of Buffalo, New York! 

At CWM, we've been doing everything we can to help educate and inspire our community on the importance of Historic places! Buffalo is a preservationists dream city. We've already played a part in the redevelopment of numerous buildings; including the Hotel @ Lafayette, the Tishman Building, the LAPC Lofts, the Bethune Lofts, and the Remington Lofts on the Canal to name a few. But that's just the beginning! 

Currently underway is the redevelopment of the Phoenix Brewery Building, the renovation of the A&P Warehouse Building, the 1502 Niagara Building (The Crescendo), and the historic White Building at 298 Main Street

The opportunity to regain confidence in our city is one of the biggest reasons these preservation projects are so important. Buffalo's historic architecture speaks to the growth of our industries, the impact it has had on our residents, and the passion and commitment that many have for preserving our region's buildings. 

All of these projects have contributed to the sustainability of Buffalo. Why continuously build new structures when you can save one from being demolished? We should strive towards a world where we appreciate history and all it can offer us. There is something exciting about visiting historic places that carry a story. There is so much we can learn from these buildings, if we only take the time and care to listen. 

Women's History Month

Celebrating "Women's History Month" With The Ladies Of CWM:

Last October, we celebrated "Women In Business" month with an interview of the women that make up the Carmina Wood Morris team, which resulted in some surprising insights! Now, in honor of "Women's History Month," we're going to revisit that initial interview and dig a little deeper into what makes the ladies of CWM who they are. 

At CWM our entire team is passionate about the work we do. When Pam, Partner and Director of Interior Design, was asked about her passions she said; "I am passionate about my family and my work. I strive to be the best I possibly can as mom, wife, coworker, designer, and advocate for my clients." Danielle, from our Architecture department, answered that she strives to learn something new every day. Shari, also from our Architecture department, brings her passion for music, traveling, and all art mediums to each project she works on. 

Our team gains inspiration from fellow women in business, such as Katherine Hepburn, who according to Jessica in our Interiors department, "knew how to work with the boys while still being a lady." Wendy, an associate of our firm, said her first architectural boss, Gail, inspired her to be compassionate and always try to put herself in the clients shoes. Wendy says, "We did a lot of community outreach and while the paycheck was important, it wasn't the end goal. Gail just happened to be a woman. I love CWM because they have the same culture." 

Motivation is never in short supply in our office. Whether it be perspective, advice, or just a cup of coffee- our team sticks together to bring the best out of one another. Our Administrative Assistant, Stephanie, always says "don't give up," and is constantly bringing cheer to the office. Lee from our Interiors department uses her "famous" chocolate chip cookies to make others happy (you certainly won't hear any complaints from us about that!). 

This March, we thank the women that have impacted us, and hope we can continue to do what we love with the people we love, and maybe inspire someone else along the way. 

About the author: Darra is our Marketing Coordinator, and although she made all the ladies answer these “silly” questions she feels weird answering and writing about them herself. So all she’s going to say is that she brings plenty of organization to the team, paired with an annoying obsession for turning things in on time (aka early), and a lot of loud laughter. 

National Engineers Week

It may not be as widespread as National Pizza Day, but to us here at CWM, National Engineers Week is much more important. Celebrated from Feb. 21- Feb. 27th, EWeek is dedicated to ensuring a future engineering workforce by increasing awareness and interest in engineering and technology careers.

Buffalo Business First posted an article challenging us to start thinking of engineering, even before EWeek commenced, where female engineers posted photos of themselves using the hashtag "#ilooklikeanengineer" to break stereotypes generally associated with female engineers  and other technological careers. Here at CWM, we may not currently have a female engineer on our team, but we're continuously partnering with WBE firms and are advocates for the national movement to improve outreach to females in the engineering world. (Plus, we're currently conducting interviews for a civil engineer. So if you can get past our modest self plug, email with qualifications!). 

One way YOU can help out this EWeek is by logging on to social media on 2/24 for Global Day of the Engineer and partaking in the thunderclap! What's a thunderclap you ask? It takes the idea of a flash mob and helps spread the word by posting the same message at the same time! What are you waiting for?! Help out now by visiting: Thunderclap

As you may have recently read in the New York Real Estate Journal, CWM just celebrated our fifteenth anniversary of designing Buffalo! We couldn't have gotten this far without our outstanding Engineering Department, so let's get to know the team a little better, shall we? 

R. Christopher Wood, PE Partner  Favorite Hobby: Running  What do you listen to at your desk? A little bit of everything.

R. Christopher Wood, PE Partner

Favorite Hobby: Running

What do you listen to at your desk? A little bit of everything.

Kyle Blackall  Favorite Hobby: "Are video games a hobby?"  Who is your hero? "My dad."

Kyle Blackall

Favorite Hobby: "Are video games a hobby?"

Who is your hero? "My dad."

Joseph Palumbo  Who would you most like to have dinner with? Darth Vader  Favorite thing about Buffalo? Canada.

Joseph Palumbo

Who would you most like to have dinner with? Darth Vader

Favorite thing about Buffalo? Canada.

Jonathan Barniak  Who is your hero: Anthony Bourdain  What do you listen to at your desk? "Just the 'Random Thought of the day' by Kyle Blackall".

Jonathan Barniak

Who is your hero: Anthony Bourdain

What do you listen to at your desk? "Just the 'Random Thought of the day' by Kyle Blackall".

Adam Hanley  Favorite Hobby: Golf or Hockey  Who would you most like to have dinner with? Carrie Underwood

Adam Hanley

Favorite Hobby: Golf or Hockey

Who would you most like to have dinner with? Carrie Underwood

If you'd like to learn more about EWeek events, or are interested in becoming involved, visit the National Society of Professional Engineers

BN360 Spotlight: Look East to the Next Frontier

Last October, The Buffalo Niagara Partnership young professionals group, BN360, posted a blog from Paul Lang, one of our project architects. In honor of Buffalo's continued rebirth, we decided to repost Paul's article here. We hope you learn a little more about what great things are soon to come for this great city!

"Our region, specifically our city, has been experiencing a renaissance as of late, fueled in large part by our rediscovery and reutilization of our heritage.

While some in the community look for a downtown football stadium or a new convention center as the next steps in our rebirth, I believe our renaissance will continue with development gravitating toward the East Side of Buffalo.

I believe the East Side’s existing infrastructure, historical building stock, and sense of community will lead to investment and the ongoing resurgence east of Main Street, specifically to the Historic Polonia neighborhood.

Admittedly biased by my volunteer efforts throughout this community and specifically my involvement in the Central Terminal Restoration Corp., I see tremendous potential at a reasonable cost which would ultimately create one of the most dynamic and culturally rich districts in the City.


Anchored by the historic Broadway Market, which now functions as a  year round indoor farmers market with community service components, the neighborhood is an extremely short commute from the downtown core, and only one mile from Larkinville. A walkable community, the East Side is home to three cathedrals and other active congregations, interspersed among commercial shopping districts, and intact residential blocks.

Adding to the uniqueness and desirability of the existing district, is the growing urban farming community where Wilson Street Urban Farm and others are re-imagining the vacant lots as active fresh produce producing fields further supporting the growing green initiative inherent to this area.

The potential of this district is where it truly shines. Despite the region’s craft brewing boom, the former Schreiber Brewing facility sits vacant.  Imagine a brewery moving into the historic facility reactivating the frescoed tasting room on the second floor.

Equally exciting are the other historic structures in the district such as Union Stock Yard Bank and Eckhardt Department Store who wait patiently for a new use, despite being in remarkably good condition. Both properties are eligible for Historic Tax Credits and other related redevelopment funding.

There is even a growing movement to create a historic designation for the neighborhood in order to make  additional properties eligible for grants and tax credits.

The most iconic of the historic structures is the Buffalo Central Terminal, which serves as the southern boundary of the neighborhood. The Central Terminal Restoration Corp. will be reopening the concourse for rentals and events in 2016 while reinstalling utilities and moving forward with other critical projects.

As progress advances on restoration of the 523,000 square foot facility, the public will get an enticing taste of what full building utilization will be like. To accomplish this, the organization will be looking for talented and motivated volunteers to help market and manage the facility, as well as explore critical grant funding to finance renovation efforts.

I would encourage all of those who want to make a difference in Buffalo, especially our region’s future leaders, to get involved now and help re-envision a uniquely Buffalo neighborhood.

Not everyone can buy and redevelop a historic property, but simple acts like volunteering, attending events in the area, or simply shopping at the market all goes a long way to advancing the progress. Buffalo’s renaissance is moving east.

Now is the time to get involved to help change the perception of this neighborhood and create a new reality for Buffalo’s East Side. To learn how you can get involved with redevelopment efforts on the East Side, please visit:

Buffalo Central Terminal
Wilson Street Urban Farm
Broadway Market

About the Author: Paul Lang serves as Project Architect at Carmina Wood Morris D.P.C. and also is the Vice Chair of Central Terminal Restoration Corp. Paul has worked on many projects in Buffalo, restoring buildings for mixed-use including The Hotel Lafayette."

BNP Member Spotlight

This month, our friends at the Buffalo Niagara Partnership invited us to be their Member Spotlight! Below is the finished article written by Martin Haumesser: 

Imagination Unlocked

Since its founding in 2001, Buffalo Niagara Partnership member, Carmina Wood Morris DPC, has made its mark across Western New York as a leading architecture, engineering and interior design firm. The firm’s talent and creativity can be seen across the region in a variety of award-winning projects from luxury lofts in historic Lafayette Square to renovations at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

“Carmina Wood Morris has earned a distinct reputation for our design and technical skills, specializing in historic preservation, adaptive re-use, multi- and single-family housing, and commercial work, “explains Darra Kubera, Marketing Coordinator at the firm. “We offer a comprehensive scope of services with full capabilities to take a project from concept through design to completion.”

With headquarters in downtown Buffalo, Carmina Wood Morris is home to a dynamic team of 23 professionals including architects, engineers and interior designers who collaborate to deliver unique, innovative results for their clients. The firm’s name is associated with countless projects that shine as examples of the resurgence underway in the Buffalo Niagara region.

Building the community

The Hotel Lafayette. Seneca Street Lofts. The Phoenix Brewery Apartments. Those are just a few of the projects that demonstrate the firm’s philosophy of doing great work that help to make our community better.

It is a company culture instilled by firm principals Steven J. Carmina, AIA; R. Christopher Wood, PE; Jonathan H. Morris, AIA; and Pamela Timby-Straitiff, CID, IIDA, and shared by every member of their team.

“We believe in making a difference, in our work and in what we can do to support the community, from volunteering to getting involved with organizations such as the Partnership,” says Steve Carmina.

Carmina himself has been called one of downtown Buffalo’s biggest boosters, evidenced not only in the firm’s work, but also by the fact that he makes his residence in a restored historic building on Genesee Street.

The Partnership in the plans

Carmina Wood Morris became a member of the Partnership more than two years ago, citing the networking opportunities as a major reason for joining. As the firm has become more familiar with the Partnership, they recognized all that their membership has to offer, and firm associates continue to get more involved. Partner Pamela Timby-Straitiff is a member of the Partnership’s Executive Exchange Commitee and a number of associates are part of the Partnership’s BN360 program for young professionals.
In fact, firm architect Paul Lang was recently named as a 2015 BN360 Spotlight Professional, an annual BN360 program that highlights individuals in our area who exemplify today’s rising, young leaders. Paul recently wrote an article for the BN360 Spotlight Series that centers on re-envisioning Buffalo’s East Side neighborhoods. Read the article HERE.

Going forward

Obviously, revitalization efforts and new development in the Buffalo Niagara region has resulted in an increased demand for services provided by Carmina Wood Morris. The firm currently has several positions open in its engineering department and it recently recruited a young architectural intern to Buffalo from Florida. Darra Kubera notes that all the exciting things going on in Western New York were added incentive for the emerging professional to make the move here.

While projects in downtown Buffalo have garnered plenty of attention, the firm is finding success throughout the region. Work currently underway includes interior design for Courtyard by Marriott in a signature building in Niagara Falls; design work at Crescendo apartments in a circa 1911 former Bison Storage and Warehouse complex on Niagara Street; and design work at the Delevan, a 60-room boutique hotel that will adjoin Salvatore’s Restaurant in Lancaster.

As Carmina Wood Morris continues to grow, Darra Kubera sees the firm’s involvement with the Partnership growing as well. “We are pleased to be a part of the Partnership and have found them very responsive any time we’ve had a question or needed assistance,” she concludes.

Women In Business: What the ladies of CWM bring to the office

October is celebrated as “Women In Business” month. According to the National Women’s Business Council, women account for 28.7% of all businesses nationwide while the United States ranks first for female entrepreneurship. In honor of this celebration, we took some time to interview the ladies that make up the Carmina Wood Morris team, resulting in some surprising insights! 


When asked to name a woman in business that has been inspiring, Partner and Director of Interiors Pam Timby-Straitiff named Ann Freer, the owner of Chez Ann Salon, saying “she has tremendous passion for her business, clients, and employees. I trust her judgment implicitly and often say to myself, ‘what would Ann do’.” Lee Schlatterer from our interiors department says her younger sister, who is a MSS MLSP LCSW licensed therapist, is a woman in business that inspired her by giving a voice to those struggling with incredible difficulties and “always being up for the next challenge in life.” If you ask Shari Servillon and Danielle Johnson (both from our architecture department) that same question, their answers would be Tina Fey and Leslie Knope, respectfully (which we think is quite a fitting pair of answers; if you are familiar with the “Parks and Rec” character, you would agree).

Our team is pretty inspiring in their own right too. We asked Jessica Muehlbauer from our interiors department to share her passions, interests, and goals. Her response? “I must admit I love plants. I love to take care of something and then marvel at the beauty of your labor.” She aspires to one day open her own boutique, featuring a unique way to shop for interiors. Our Administrative Assistant, Stephanie Lutz, is currently attending college to reach her goal of becoming a financial advisor. When we asked Stephanie what impact she has had on the CWM office she said, “Making people happy here, whether it’s joking around to make them smile or always giving a cheery ‘good morning’. They also like to hear me say I’ve made coffee.” 

One of our associates in the architecture department, Wendy Ferrie, feels her impact on our firm stems from her strong relationship with clients, coworkers, and consultants. By treating people with respect and compassion Wendy has made our entire team feel at home, which is just how she’s felt here personally. Her advice to anyone: “be honest with yourself and those you work with. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t think that you are above or below anyone. Work with people as peers and show your appreciation.”

Our next question to the ladies of the office: What motivates you? 

  • Pam: “The people I have around me. I’m fortunate to have great relationships and people in my life that spur my imagination, make me strive to be better, and catch me when I fall.”
  • Lee: “Making others happy. Simply said, but it’s what makes me, me. I love seeing our clients at home in their new space, hearing others impacted by a renovation we helped bring to life, or making someone happy with a batch of my “famous” chocolate chip cookies!”
  • Shari: “Selfless people, acts of kindness and love, and our beautiful planet.”
  • Danielle: ”A deadline, feeling a sense of accomplishment.”
  • Jessica: “A challenge- I love learning something new and having to work hard to figure it out.”
  • Stephanie: “My little brothers. Knowing that they look up to me makes me want to do the best and be the best person I can be.”
  • Wendy: “I want to be proud of the work I did at the end of the day, whether that is with work or with family.”

We couldn’t celebrate the success of women everywhere without asking our team for their perspective and advice for other women looking to make their start! Pam simply says “If you want something, go for it and never give up.” Jessica answered, “Be bold! Have a personality and never apologize for it.” From Shari, “Stand out, create value, and take risks.”

Finally, we asked: what is the first thing you do when you wake up and start your day? Whether it be drink coffee, exercise, snuggle with families or pets, or turn on The Today Show- these ladies come to work every day with a passion for what they do. Thank you for being such inspiring members of our team, not just this October, but all day every day. 

About the author: Darra Kubera is our Marketing Coordinator, and although she made all the ladies answer these “silly” questions she feels weird answering and writing about them herself. So all she’s going to say is that she brings plenty of organization to the team, paired with an annoying obsession for turning things in on time (aka early), and a lot of loud laughter.


Curtains Up: Architectural Theatres

In light of Buffalo's 2015-2016 theatre season kickoff a few nights ago, we thought it would be appropriate if we published a post on theatrical architecture! 

Photo courtesy of  Trip Advisor

Photo courtesy of Trip Advisor

1. Why not stick close to home to start off the list? Shea's Performing Arts Center here in Buffalo recently underwent a major restoration, restoring the proscenium arch, high walls, and ceiling area to bring back that "movie-palace grandeur" we Buffalonians have come to adore. 

Photo from January 1984, courtesy of  Saenger Museum

Photo from January 1984, courtesy of Saenger Museum

2. Next up, on the National Register of Historic Places, the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans, LA survived multiple renovations, including one after Hurricane Katrina. Designed by Emile Weil with an atmospheric interior and Italian Baroque courtyard, this theatre is no stranger to special effects. 

Photo courtesy of  Providence Center

Photo courtesy of Providence Center

3. Originally a home for silent movies, the Providence Performing Arts Center in Rhode Island sparkles like no other theatre, thanks to the "gilded, intricate plasterwork, columns of imported marble, and huge crystal chandeliers" [Architectural Digest]. Also on the National Register of Historic Places, this theatre managed to bypass demolition to allow for its renovation and modernization that we marvel at today. 

Photo courtesy of  Historic Hutchinson

Photo courtesy of Historic Hutchinson

4. Designed by Carl and Robert Boller, the Art Deco stylings of Fox Theater in Hutchinson, KS are unparalleled. Opened in 1931, its "pressed-aluminum and metallic-glazed terra-cotta reliefs, door moldings, capitals and bases, cartouches, friezes, and other decorative features" [Architectural Digest] are reason enough for this structure to have deserved its spot on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Photo courtesy of  San Diego Historic

Photo courtesy of San Diego Historic

5. Last but not least, the Balboa Theatre caught our attention by its name and kept our attention by its story. Constructed in 1924 and remodeled in 1934, this theatre was known for featuring Spanish-language films; however, it was also utilized for U.S Navy offices, housing, and it even starred in an action-film! 

If you have a theatre you think should be added to our list, let us know! We'd love to continue exploring these architectural beauties with you! 

Breaking The Mold: Architect Barbie


If you're an avid follower of the CWM social media outlets, then you may have spotted our birthday celebration photo between Shark Girl and the CWM Barbie. Well that photo sparked our realization that some of you may not know that "Architect Barbie" actually originated here in Buffalo! Thanks to Despina Stratigakos and Kelly Hayes McAlonie, both architects working for University at Buffalo, Architect Barbie was taken from just an idea to the winner of the 2011 "I Can Be" doll line. According to a press release from UB, "Mattel was looking to highlight careers where women are underrepresented and 'architect' seemed to be the right fit." 

Barbie's Dream House may not be LEED certified, but this little architect certainly challenges the typical stereotype that many associate with the profession. Kelly Hayes McAlonie hoped it would create awareness of "the importance of design and the architectural profession" and "encourage architectural education in grade schools." 

I find inspiration to break the mold every day in the CWM offices, as we are fortunate to have eight talented ladies sharing their creativity with us. Coming from different backgrounds and experiences, our team is made up of the best of the best and we couldn't be more proud! I encourage you to visit the "Our Faces" section of our website to learn more about the women that make up the CWM team!

Why You Should School Yourself On These Universities

Which schools have the most unique campus architecture you ask? Well the team at CWM is here to answer (or at least give a few opinions)! Here's our list of some of the most beautiful and inspiring pieces of university architecture:

1. Tulane University- This New Orleans university captured our attention when we discovered it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (we have quite the soft spot for historic preservation). Founded in 1834, Tulane was the 15th medical school in the United States. Covering 110-acres of land, the campus architecture incorporates several styles including Richardsonian Romanesque, Elizabethan, Italian Renaissance, and Mid-Century Modern. The landscaping should not go unnoticed either, proven with just one example in the photo below. 

Photo courtesy of the  New Orleans Shakespeare Festival   . Select information above via  Wiki

Photo courtesy of the New Orleans Shakespeare Festival  . Select information above via Wiki

2. Sonoma State University- Located near San Francisco, Sonoma is actually one of the top green/sustainable campuses in the country! The student center is a 59,000SF facility, constructed using reflective roofing, recycled rubber indoor track, recycled glass reinforced structural brick, recycled seat belts to upholster seating, and reclaimed water plumbing non-potable water systems.

Photo & select information courtesy of  The Best Colleges 

Photo & select information courtesy of The Best Colleges 

3. University of Minnesota- The Robert H. Bruininks Hall is another internationally recognized green building through LEED certification. With expansive views of the Mississippi River, this campus is truly a landmark site that houses technology serving thousands of students annually.

Photo courtesy of  Campus Maps

Photo courtesy of Campus Maps

4. University of Pittsburgh- Another landmark on the National Register of Historic Places, the 42-story, late Gothic Revival Cathedral is the most renowned characteristic of the University of Pittsburgh. Founded in 1787, the cathedral is the second tallest piece of university architecture worldwide. 

Photo courtesy of  Pitt Website

Photo courtesy of Pitt Website

5. University of Oxford- Although there is no clear date of founding, the University of Oxford retains evidence that reaches back to the 11th century! From World Wide Learn, "Among the many architectural majesties and curiosities of this ancient campus are the courtyard at Christ Church College and the famous Divinity School in the Bodleian Library, built in the 15th century and home to an ornate English Gothic vaulted ceiling."

These are just five architecturally inspired universities that we came across; do YOU have a favorite that you think should have made our list? Tell us about it in the comments below!