Category Archives: Architecture Firms

HDC President Spotlighted by Women Presidents’ Organization

HDC President Charissa W. Durst was recently highlighted as a “Member of the Moment” by the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO). Charissa was invited to join the WPO Columbus Chapter II in 2014 and she has continued to be an active member. WPO was founded in 1997 by Dr. Marsha Firestone as the ultimate affiliation for successful women entrepreneurs worldwide. Its mission is to accelerate business growth, enhance competitiveness, and promote economic security for women-led companies through confidential and collaborative peer-learning groups.


Hardlines President Charissa Durst co-hosts design:ROLLS this Sunday!


(originally posted by Andy Sewell on October 1, 2014)

This Sunday, October 5, 2014, Hardlines Design Company President Charissa Durst will be the “host” at the Lincoln Theatre, one of seven stops for the design:ROLLS bicycle tour of downtown architectural projects. The bicycle tour starts at 1 P.M. at the The Center for Architecture and Design, 50 West Town Street.

The itenerary includes the following stops:

Cristo Rey/Old School for the Deaf: Built in 1899 and renovated 2014

Columbus Museum of Art: Built in 1932 and renovated in 2012

Long Street Cap and Cultural Wall: Built 2014

Lincoln Theatre: Built in 1928 and renovated in 2009

Yellow Brick Pizza: Significant for yummy pizza!

Trautman/250 South High Street: Built in 2014

Land Grant Brewery: Built in 1921 as Capital Lift and Manufacturing Company, renovated in 2014

Tickets are still available at the Center for Architecture and Design website:

Hardlines welcomes our new Director of Architecture, Brad Curtis!

(by Charissa Durst, originally posted October 29, 2012)

Hardlines Design Company is pleased to announce the hiring of Brad Curtis, AIA, as our new Director of Architecture. Brad brings 22 years of experience in architecture to the firm, with previous experience at large and small firms such as NBBJ, Lusk & Harkin, MKC, and Schorr Architects. He received his architecture degree at OSU when I was there as a graduate student, but he somehow managed to avoid being one my students.

Brad brings a wealth of experience and expertise to Hardlines, working for both public sector clients and private corporations.  Some of Brad’s projects include renovations for The Ohio State University, Newark; serving as Architect of Record for the new Richland County Jail; and overseeing the renovation of historic buildings into living spaces for seniors and for the hospitality industry. Brad received the AIA National Design Citation Award and AIA Kansas City, Missouri Award for his work on the Johnson County Adult Detention Center in Olathe, Kansas; as well as the 2003 AIA Dayton, Ohio award for the Salem & Grand Avenue Senior Apartments, which saved an abandoned historic building through renovation into a 70-unit senior housing complex.

In addition to all this, Brad is also working on becoming a certified PGA Golf Professional. We think we had a stroke of good luck landing him!

Five Things to Keep in Mind About Historic Building Renovation

(by Charissa Durst, originally posted on October 4, 2012)

We often take for granted the history of a neighborhood. Where once stood an Art Deco office building, now sits a cookie-cutter strip mall. But what if an architect had taken the time to study the history behind the Art Deco building? How would they have gone about completing an historic building renovation that not only would house shops but could also have a positive impact on the neighborhood as a whole? By following a few guidelines, renovating a historical building doesn’t need to be the money pit many developers would have you believe.

Do your research. Understanding the history of a community will give you a huge advantage when beginning your restoration project. Just as architectural periods segue from one style to another, neighborhoods reinvent themselves over time. Through careful research, patterns will emerge that will help you tackle your project while maintaining the building’s integrity. Historically, research has always been a bit of a treasure hunt. Hours of library research often turned up scant details while other days you could immerse yourself in a building’s original plans. Luckily, the internet has opened up the world’s historical archives and sources such as Sanborn Fire Insurance maps collection give you an instant picture of a neighborhood’s character.

Review regulations. Every city has its own regulations on historical preservation. Taking the time to learn know your area’s regulations will definitely save you time, money and headaches. Submit plans early in the process; you might need the extra time to make design adjustments. Also, check the historical designation of the building you are restoring. Is it listed in the National Register of Historic Places or as a contributing structure to a historic district? Contact the state historic preservation office, the agency that oversees historic preservations, and ask if your project has any restrictions you’ll need to follow. Generally, historic renovations should follow the Secretary of the Interior’s Guidelines for Rehabilitation (link to NPS site?). Finally, check if your property is located in an area subject to review by a local area commission, architectural commission, or historical commission. I sit on the German Village Historic Commission here in Columbus, and believe me, we are way more strict with buildings in our district than a property that is merely subject to state or federal regulations!

Secure funding. Historic building renovations can qualify for a variety of federal grant programs. These programs, which help offset the high cost of preservation projects, have various requirements so make sure you know your projects parameters and goals before applying. The Main Street Grant program assists historic downtown areas retain their tradition and character.  Our company is currently working on a façade improvement project in the City of Xenia that was partially funded by a Main Street grant.

Rendering of proposed facade improvements in Xenia, Ohio

Federal historic tax credits and new market tax credits have been a source of funding for renovation projects since the 1980s. When coupled with state historic tax credits, a significant percentage of the project’s costs can be covered. Our Woodward Opera House project recently applied for federal and state tax credits, which allowed the project to expand from a $2.5 million “just fix-it” construction budget to an almost $15 million state-of-the-art performing arts center budget.

The Woodward Opera House in Mount Vernon, ca 1916

Reuse and recycle. Bringing modern conveniences and materials into your historical renovation can be a labor of love. By installing environmentally friendly products during your renovation, you can bring warmth and savings to your building. Reuse, restore or repurpose flooring you salvaged during demolition. Creating a ‘sustainable-use plan’ prior to construction will expedite the material recycling and help you organize the inventory for future use. If your goal is a sustainable project, consider obtaining LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. A project earns points for each sustainable criteria met.  A total building renovation qualifies as a LEED New Construction project, which requires 40 points for basic certification, 50 for Silver, 60 for gold, and 80 for platinum. HDC is currently renovating a historic elementary school with the goal of achieving LEED for Schools Silver Certification.

Stewart Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio, with the original 1874 building in the front

Hire the Right Team. The pool of design firms that provide historic renovation services seems to grow as the economy shrinks and property owners stop building new and start focusing on maintaining their existing real estate. In reality, many firms actively avoid historic renovations because they are, as one engineer told me, “dirty.” The site can be full of unknown contaminants,  there are too many restrictions on the design work, and you never know what will be uncovered during construction that will require a sudden change in the plans. In a new construction project, all the mistakes are your own and you don’t have to deal with inherited issues. But if you ask most people, they would much rather live and work in a nicely renovated historic building than in a modern building. The materials, proportions, and craftsmanship of historic buildings just cannot be replicated today without breaking the bank.

Undertaking an historic building restoration doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Thoroughly researching the project before you begin will save you both time and money. Hiring the right team will save you headaches during design reviews and construction. The reward for your effort, though, is knowing you saved a piece of history for yet another generation to cherish

The Hardlines Design Company Story Part 2 – Our Name

(by Charissa Durst, originally posted November 8, 2011)

Where did the name “Hardlines” originate?

Back in the 1980s, after Don Durst and I had successfully completed several projects together at the University of Maryland, we started to joke about starting a firm. Don suggested something using our last names, like “Durst and Wang,” which prompted me to note that if his name was first, we should call the company “Durst Wang Inc.,” and use DWI as our acronym, complete with a fuzzy drunken-looking logo. And that pretty much ended the idea of using our names for the company. Years later, one of our employees asked me why we never used a reconfiguration of our names. I thought about it again briefly and realized that with a slip of the tongue, we could all too easily become erroneously known as the “Dang Wurst Company” in town. Again, another good reason not to use our names!

Seriously, the real reason we didn’t name the company after ourselves is because we thought employees would just feel better working for an entity instead of for two specific people. The name of “Hardlines” came about in 1988. Don and I had both spent summers working for the National Park Service preparing HABS/HAER drawings for deposit in the Library of Congress. The final drawings were produced using a “hardline” as opposed to freehand technique, and credit was given to the “delineator.” So, we named our newly formed partnership “Hardlines: Design & Delineation” and abbreviated it as HDLS.

In 2000, the partnership became a corporation, which required the official name to include the word “company” or “inc.” The staff at the time decided that the company name should be shortened, and after a vote, Hardlines Design Company (HDC) was declared the winner.

Another name changed occurred in 2005, but this time the name was mine: Wang became Durst when Don and I got married that year, after 20 years of being together and (most important) a year or so  after HDC bought out Don’s share of the business–we both knew that 24/7 hours of togetherness would have tested even the most devoted relationship. And so our partnership continued, just on a different track, and some might be tempted to add, for better or wurst!