Category Archives: Hardlines Design Company

Making Historic Buildings Accessible

On a recent episode of WOSU’s All Sides with Anna Staver experts in historic preservation discussed the difficulty in making historic buildings fully accessible. Typically these challenges come from a  combination of lack of space and desire to not alter the historic character of the exterior. One of the first issues to consider is getting someone in a wheelchair from their car to the building entry, which typically involves restriping to provide a van-accessible parking space with signage and a curb ramp. Making an entrance accessible can involve, generally from most to least expensive: a new addition with an at-grade entry, a wheelchair ramp with 12” of length for every inch of height plus landings, an exterior mechanical lift, or a portable wheelchair lift. Although the last option is the least expensive and requires the least alteration of historic buildings, it does not allow the person in a wheelchair to enter the building without assistance. Once inside the building, we have to provide restrooms with space for a 60” wheelchair turn radius, provide at least 32” of clear space at door openings, and provide an elevator or lift to access multiple floors, among other items.

Hardlines Design Company has designed several accessibility solutions to meet different needs and budgets.

Left: A wheelchair ramp designed for Newark Resident Homes, where the ramp landing incorporates a deck for the residents. Right: Side elevation of the Davis-Shai House where a wheelchair ramp provides access to the new elevator, whose shaft is tucked discreetly at the juncture of the gable roofs.
Stewart Elementary School with new ramp and steps to doors at the addition and historic building from the parking lot and parent drop-off to the left.
A separate ramp at the right provides access to the cafeteria in the lower level.

HDC Welcomes Back Vivian Majtenyi!

The void left by the passing of Cathie Senter was thankfully filled by the return of Vivian Majtenyi in March. Vivian worked for HDC from 1999 (we were her first full-time architecture position) until 2013, when she left to take a break after working almost non-stop on our signature projects. During her 14 years at HDC, she traveled the country to complete facility assessments on Air Force Materiel Command installations and conduct research and documentation of historic buildings on navy bases. Vivian worked with Charissa Durst on the initial fieldwork at the Woodward Opera House through the rehabilitation of the second floor. She was also the project coordinator for both the addition to and renovation of the Lincoln Theatre and the addition and renovation of Stewart Elementary School. Vivian also obtained her architecture license in 2011. In the 10 years since she left HDC, her diverse work experience included the in-house design department of a construction firm, a large (over 650 employees) full-service A/E firm, and researching and writing historic architectural reports for cultural resources projects. Since HDC started new projects with the City of Columbus and State of Ohio this year, we are very happy to have Vivian back!
Left: Vivian leading a tour of the Lincoln Theatre. Right: Vivian’s celebratory cake upon passing the architecture license exam.

Office Dogs Supporting HDC Projects

HDC had previously posted a blog on the benefits of having a dog in the office, but what about bringing a dog onto the job site? It turns out that HDC’s office dogs have a long history of tagging along to job sites, especially those located in rural areas or near parks. Here’s a summary of the adventures of Bagle, Donut, and Ziti on job sites.

Bagle the Beagle

Bagle was with the office from 1992 to 2004. During the 1990s, HDC conducted numerous historic building inventories and evaluations for the Wayne National Forest in southern and southeastern Ohio. In one memorable trip she had to be carried over the metal pedestrian bridge over the creek because instead of a deck, it had rungs like a ladder. On the return trip, Bagle chose to cross the shallow waters. Bagle also got posed in front of numerous monuments in Washington D.C. as well as HDC’s first project with the State of Ohio and our first new construction project, the 7,000-square-foot outpatient center in Hamilton, Ohio.
At left, Bagle the Beagle referees a chess game in Washington, D.C. in 2000 and at right, in front of Sojourner Center in Hamilton, Ohio, in 2001.

Donut the Beagle

Donut’s tenure with HDC lasted from 2004 to 2018. During this time, HDC worked on many projects for ODOT and completed our first project with ODNR at the Day Lodge in John Bryan State Park. Donut came to many meetings in John Bryan State Park. If it was cool she stayed in the car. If it was warm she ended up under a big tree tethered to the picnic table. On warm days she could hear the meeting in progress through the open windows and barked loudly to express her displeasure at being left out. As a result, meetings finished quickly so that “poor Donut” could go for her walk in the park. Donut’s biggest contribution to the office was to bark while president Charissa Durst was on the phone with an ODOT auditor, who was demanding more paperwork to support a change order. Once the auditor was told the “noise” was the office beagle, he calmed down and mentioned he had a beagle growing up and assured us he would take care of the change order. Our payment arrived within a week!
  At left, Donut poses next to a statue of Fala at the Franklin Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C. in 2010, and at right, by the Day Lodge porch in John Bryan State Park in 2017.

Ziti the Noodle Dog

Since Ziti grew up with her littermates for 9.5 weeks, she is used to being surrounded by others. We used to joke that Donut had FOMO (fear of missing out), but Ziti definitely has a fear of being left out! As a result, she accompanies Charissa Durst everywhere she goes, even if Ziti just ends up waiting in the car in a parking garage. Fieldwork trips where Ziti was a big hit with clients she met on site at the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in South Point, Mount Zion Baptist Church in Athens, and the Lathrop House in Sylvania. Ziti loves when our projects are located in parks!
  At left is Ziti at the Lathrop House in 2020, which is in Harroun Park in Sylvania and at right she is in front of the Meade House in 2021, which is in the Meade Historic Preserve in Symmes Township.

HDC Documents Another Building at Taylor Farm Park

HDC is working with the City of New Albany to document the Chicken House at Taylor Farm since the building sits in the flood plain and may have to be moved or reconstructed at another location. The design for this half-monitor chicken house was invented by the University of Illinois Extension and became quite popular on rural properties in the Midwest throughout the 1920s. Since these buildings typically did not have electricity, the south-facing windows let in plenty of light to warm the nesting boxes used by the hens along the north wall in the winter. The high windows in the monitor draws hot air up and out for ventilating to keep the hens cool during the summer. The steep north roof causes cold north winds to blow over the building and there are no windows on the north wall. This building sits on a concrete foundation that features three square openings under the south-facing windows that allowed the chickens free access into the yard. The interior would have been divided into three individual rooms with removable walls for easy cleaning.
  At left is an archival photograph of the southeast corner by Jeff Bates and at right is a cast iron corner brace at the screen door.

HDC Continues Successful 10-year Relationship with Kramer Engineers

HDC first worked with Kramer Engineers at Hocking College in 2013 on a feasibility study to renovate a former bookstore building for the School of Music. The team is currently working on a new storage building for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in Fernwood State Forest. In the intervening years, major projects together include the Scioto Southland Recreation Center, Devon Pool Bath House and Mechanical Building, administration buildings in Clark County, and the John Bryan State Park Day Lodge. The relationship has also worked in both directions with HDC working as Kramer’s consultant on their projects for the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and Department of Developmental Disabilities.
At left, the Hocking College Bookstore, which the team concluded was originally a modular building, and therefore not acoustically suited for a music school and at right, the interior of the John Bryan State Park day lodge, with built-in devices in the ceiling to lift the one-piece solid wood table.
  At left, the new Devon Pool Mechanical Building designed to match the Bath House and at right, the Scioto Southland Recreation Center with the renovated gymnasium left of the new entry and addition.

HDC Remembers Cathie (Chris) Senter 1966-2023

The historic preservation community was shocked to hear of the sudden passing of Cathie Senter on February 27, 2023, of a heart attack. Cathie started her career in Canton, Ohio, where her passion for historic preservation earned her multiple awards, including Stark County Citizen of the Year. Cathie first interviewed for a job at HDC in 2007 but ultimately decided to go back to school. Before she started school, she worked at HDC over the summer on the window package for the Woodward Opera House and helping to finishing the HAER drawings for Monongahela River Locks and Dam project for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District. After getting a degree from Belmont Technical College, she stayed to become a beloved instructor of the preservation trades, including doors and windows, model and mold making, plaster, roofing and flooring, and all types of historic masonry. Cathie came back to work for HDC in 2017 and endeared herself to preservation clients, who appreciated her knowledge and willingness to explain proposed solutions. She conducted assessments and prepared reports for the St. Louis Arsenal, caretaker lodges and chapels at national Veterans cemeteries, and was working to complete the final phase of the rehabilitation of the Historic Gardner Homestead. Her attention to details and desire to take care of her clients often led to extended schedules, but her premature passing is one deadline we gladly would have postponed.
Cathie (Chris) at work at HDC.
At left, a 2007 drawing from the Monongahela Lock and Dam documentation project and at right, the restored windows at the Woodward Opera House in  Mount Vernon.

HDC Looks Back On and Forward to Black History Projects

In recognition of Juneteenth this month, HDC looks back on our projects that were associated with Black history.

In early 2002, HDC started a project to prepare a renovation master plan for the Gammon House in Springfield, Ohio. The Gammon House was built in 1850 by George Gammon, a Black abolitionist and is one of the few Underground Railroad sites in Ohio that was owned by a free person of color. HDC subsequently implemented the first phase of the renovation plan to stabilize the exterior.

The Gammon House before (left) and during (right) stabilization in 2007.

In 2003, HDC was commissioned to prepare a feasibility study to renovate the Lincoln Theatre in Columbus into a modern performing arts center. The Lincoln Theatre, an Egyptian Revival theatre that opened in 1928, was funded by a Black developer, designed by a Black architect and built by a Black contractor. HDC’s study was used to secure funding from the City of Columbus and Franklin County, with the remaining funds raised by private donors. The grand re-opening occurred in 2009, and the project received awards from Columbus Landmarks Foundation, Heritage Ohio and the Ohio Historic Preservation Office.

The interior of the theatre before (left) and after (right) rehabilitation in 2009.

In 2005, the City of Wichita commissioned HDC to prepare a redevelopment study for the Dunbar Theater, which was constructed in 1941 and named after Paul Lawrence Dunbar, the Black poet and author from Dayton, Ohio.

It was the focal point of a commercial and entertainment hub that served the McAdams neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods that were predominantly African-American in origin until 1963, when the theater closed. Power CDC, a developer that specializes in inner-city Wichita, acquired the building in 2007 and restored the façade and marquee in 2012-2014.

The Dunbar Theatre continues to be a work in progress.

In 2007, HDC prepared a Historic Structure Report and implemented the stabilization and exterior rehabilitation of the Lathrop House, which was built c. 1850 by Lucian Lathrop, a prominent white abolitionist in Sylvania, Ohio. The house contains an Underground Railroad Museum in the new basement and HDC completed an update to the Historic Structure Report in 2021 to rehabilitate the interior of the house and make it accessible.

The Lathrop House before (left) and in 2021 (right).

In 2017, HDC prepared a master plan to rehabilitate the Ozem Gardner House in Sharon Township near Worthington, Ohio, which was built in the 1840s by a local abolitionist, into offices for the Flint and Walnut Grove Cemeteries. The Gardner Family donated the original land to create the cemetery in 1821. The pandemic set the project back from its goal of opening in 2021. It is currently anticipated to be completed in 2022.

The Ozem Gardner House before (left) and after restoring the original masonry window openings (right).

In 2020, the City of Athens commissioned HDC to prepare a renovation master plan to convert the Mount Zion Baptist Church, built in 1904 by a Black congregation, into a community center and museum of African American Appalachian culture. The study was used to obtain a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to start the rehabilitation process.

The Mount Zion Baptist Church in Athens, Ohio.

HDC recently worked with architect O.A. Spencer on the interior renovation of the Martin Luther King Jr. Performing and Cultural Arts Complex in Columbus, whose mission is to connect community through the arts by engaging central Ohio through performing, cultural and educational programs of high artistic merit that increase and disseminate knowledge regarding the vast and significant contributions of Black Americans to the culture and history of America and the world.

The main Auditorium with new flooring, ceiling and lights, looking through the updated column (left) and looking into the Lobby past the mural by artist Wali Neil (right). Photos by Shellee Fisher Photography.

And finally, HDC is very honored to have been awarded the project to prepare a Historic Structure Report of the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Lawrence County, across the Ohio River from Huntington, West Virginia. The church was built c. 1849 and is one of the first Black churches constructed west of the Appalachian Mountains. The team is looking forward to starting work in August!

The Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in South Point, Ohio.

Ziti Looks Back on a Productive 2021

Ziti always looks as if she’s having a blast at The Gated Dock (left). Ziti looking not too impressed at the ribbons she’s racked up for 2021 (right).

Ziti participated in 32 FastCAT races and earned enough points to achieve BCat, DCat, and FCAT levels! She is currently the fastest beagle in the country with her fastest three runs averaging 26.07 MPH. Ziti, however, looks much happier actually running the races than posing with her awards.


Click HERE for a copy of the 2022 Ziti Motivation Calendar

Interesting Feature of a Water Meter and Backflow Preventer Building

The southwest corner (left) and interior of the building while under construction (left)

HDC was on M-Engineering’s team to design two buildings to house new backflow preventers and water meters where Ohio State University’s water system connects with the City of Columbus’ infrastructure. Construction completion was delayed due to issues in delivering the specified brick, but the contractor was able to achieve substantial completion in December of 2021.  The available infrastructure made traditional floor drains very expensive, so the team was charged with coming up with another solution if the equipment suffered a catastrophic failure and flooded the building.

Our solution: flap valves on the rear elevation that only open with sufficient water pressure!

The southeast corner shows the round openings that are the flap valves that release water during a catastrophic failure