David F. Gantt Community Center

2013 7-31 Gantt rendering copy

DeWolf was commissioned to design and construct a more efficient use of current space, to enhance and expand programming/services for area youth, to update a building that is in need of modernization, and to provide a revised layout of the space for increased efficiency. The New Design will allow flexibility for future growth and program changes.

The existing structure is a 28,900 square foot facility constructed in 1973. The building is owned by the City of Rochester and operated by the Department of Recreation and Youth Services (DRYS). The facility houses a gym, game room, kitchen, teen lounge, meeting rooms and a weight room. The campus includes a tennis court (installed 2008), basketball court (installed 2008) and a football/soccer field.

The current renovation addresses the exterior facade wall system that consists of precast concrete panels with high transom windows.  The intent is to remove 50% of the concrete panels and replace with storefront windows to allow for more natural light to enter the building.  In an effort to open up the active spaces such as the Lobby, Game Room, and Fitness/Weight Room we chose to have an open ceiling which exposed structure.  Acoustical ceiling clouds were incorporated into the design to be both visually harmonious and to cut down on the noise reverberation.

Seneca Art and Cultural Center at Ganondagan

Just southeast of Rochester, New York, in the town of Victor, lies Ganondagan (ga•NON•da•gan), the site of a Native American community that was a flourishing, vibrant center for the Seneca people, where thousands of Native Americans lived 300 years ago.


The new Seneca Art and Culture Center at Ganondagan, tucked into the hill and set East to West within the surrounding vegetation to minimize its visual and environmental impact, will transform the visitor experience at the historic site.

Building highlights include:

• Multi-purpose auditorium for dance, music, films, and guest speakers.

• Educational facilities for optimal interactive experiences

• Audiovisual and distance learning capabilities – Indoor and outdoor exhibit space

• Gardens incorporating traditional Seneca and Haudenosaunee plants

The Center will enable Ganondagan to respond year round to the diverse interests of Native peoples, art collectors, regional, national, and international tourists, students of all ages, researchers, teachers, families, historians, gardeners, lacrosse enthusiasts and anyone with an interest in Native cultures.

The site features:

• A full-size replica of a 17th-century Seneca Bark Longhouse.

• Miles of self-guided trails.

• The mesa where a huge granary stored hundreds of thousands of bushels of corn.

• The history of the destruction of Ganondagan, Town of Peace, in 1687.

The architect of record is DeWolff Partnership Architects (Rochester, NY and Cleveland, OH) and the design architect is Francois DeMenil Architect PC of New York City. The Center will be built by the Rochester-based Pike Company in collaboration with the Seneca Construction Management Corporation (Irving, NY).

Site work is expected to begin Fall 2013, with a tentative building opening in 2014. The new center is 17,300 square feet.


Summer Octet


Ron Broida has worked on a wide range of architectural projects at DeWolff Partnership for  15 years. He produces architectural drawings and specializes in concept visualization.

“Architecture is uniquely visual-the sculptural qualities of a building- its massing, is a primary consideration in any design and it is constructed from a set of visual instructions-sets of drawings prepared by the Architect which inform and illustrate.

My prints unite technical discipline with abstract expressionism-the movement in painting I feel closest to. My background as a painter has infused my digital work with what I learned from pen and ink and brush and canvas”.


 Intruder, Ron Broida

Summer Octet
featuring the work of

Opening Reception

Friday, July 12, 6:00-9:00 PM

On Exhibit July 5-29
The Gallery at the Arts & Cultural Council

277 N. Goodman St., Rochester, NY 14607 (across from Village Gate)

Gallery Hours: Monday–Friday, 10:00 AM–4:00 PM  


Summer Octet, featuring the work of Ron Broida, is comprised of striking mural-sized digital prints developed over a number of years, originating from ink drawings. Broida graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology’s School of Art and Design in 1973 and has developed his style over many years through work in a range of artistic disciplines. In addition to his digital art, Broida has experience with oil paint on canvas, drawing, printmaking, photography, and mixed media. He has pieces in many private collections and in the permanent collection of the Rochester Institute of Technology.

© 2013 Arts & Cultural Council for Greater Rochester. All rights reserved.

Image courtesy of Ron Broida

The Monroe County Public Safety Building

DSC_1218 copyDeWolff Partnership Architects is currently finishing a four phase renovation of the Monroe County Public Safety Building.  The structure was built in 1961 as part of the Civic Center complex. This six story building is the new home for the Monroe County Sheriffs offices and is directly connected to the Monroe County Jail facility.

The initial work for each project included a demolition/abatement phase that essentially removed all existing interior components exposing the unfinished structure. The areas were then fully renovated to accommodate the program requirements. The building systems were removed and replaced during this phased process. Floors four through six and the lobby were completely renovated. A new mezzanine level was created for additional program space and connected to the existing elevator via an elevated walk. A physical fitness area and locker rooms were added at the lower levels of the building.

During this process The Monroe County Crime Lab occupied the fifth floor of the building  until relocated to a new state of the art facility – The renovation of the fifth floor is the fourth and final phase of work.

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Phases three and four, which included the renovation of the fifth and sixth floors are LEED certified for Commercial Interiors.

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The total scope of the project included the renovation of almost 100,000 SF.


The Arts & Cultural Council for Greater Rochester Architectural Design Showcase

aclogoOpen to both architectural firms and individual design professionals, this exhibition will showcase the original artistic concepts that are at the heart of architectural design, both built and unbuilt. Genesis: The Art in Architecture launches this annual series by focusing on the first step in the design process.

Submitted by DeWoff Partnership Architects:




This study of Claude Bragdon’s 1914 Rochester Grand Central Train Station is one of nine DeWolff has submitted to the exhibition. This building was an example of Bragdon’s use of regular geometry and musical proportion to harmonize buildings with their urban context. Tragically, this building was demolished in 1965.


An Infinity Pool Overlooking the Local Drumlin Fields


This small but highly complex project is to begin construction in August of this year. The Infinity Pool with it’s disappearing edge requires an unusual degree of precision compared to more conventional pool designs. The form of the pool will be embedded in the rolling glacial terrain of Victor New York and will employ a curvilinear poured concrete retaining wall and foundation. in addition, a subterranean pump house bunker will contain the machinery and filtration required to operate the pool. Consequently it has required 15 sheets of drawings to fully explicate the design. The owner’s view of a distant pond was the nucleus of the concept and a great deal of care was taken to harmonize the structure with the undulating landscape. This rendering and plan shows an early concept which featured a concave curve for the disappearing edge – The plan depicts the current design.



Ending the Era of Super-Sized Health Care Facilities

(From Health Strategies and Solutions, Inc.)

As the increasing costs of health care have dominated public discourse over the past several years, health care facilities are being scrutinized for their role in escalating the cost of care.  With health care facilities typically ranking as the second highest expense,  with the first being labor, hospital space – from construction to ongoing maintenance and the level of operational efficiencies present – poses substantial opportunities for cost savings.  These opportunities, however, have been largely ignored for an almost 30-year period that spawned the era of super-sized hospitals.
In 2008, the Health Environment Research & Design Journaldocumented the super-sizing trend of incremental growth that occurred in both room size and departmental square feet in adult inpatient units and interventional services from 1980 to 2008.  Some attribute this growth to increasing acuity, driven by the shift to outpatient care, and the transition to all private room facilities; however, during the same time frame, advances in miniaturization of equipment, integration of space-saving technologies such as high-tech booms in procedure rooms, electronic health care information systems of numerous types, and other efficiencies should have had some impact, or at a minimum, growth in space should have leveled out. Now, similar to the experiences of the fast-food industry, many hospitals have realized that the initial charm of super-sizing can develop into an unappealing and costly example that bigger isn’t always better.

artLooking at the Bottom Line and strategies for Moving Ahead

The initial capital cost of hospital space is high at roughly $600 to $800 per square foot and even higher in some markets.  In addition, the  average annual operating cost ranges from $15 to $20 per square foot depending on the use of the space.  Just as the health care industry has been challenged to provide care to more people, improve quality, and reduce costs, many health care organizations are now challenging themselves to also provide more care within the same or less space.Strategies that are now underway to dial back the super-size trend include:

  1. Taking charge of space.  Space has typically been allocated on a casual basis with departments becoming permanent owners of the space they occupied and the panacea for most operational problems being to request more space.  Many organizations are taking charge of their space and actively managing it by documenting the current utilization, setting standards for space allocation, and continuously evaluating space allocation.  A recent study in which occupants of select hospital departments were required to clean, organize, and declutter their space using Lean 5S techniques found that 25 percent of the staff found themselves happier and more productive as a result of the process, suggesting that some space issues can be remedied through improved utilization rather than more space.
  2. Maximizing utilization. High-tech clinical areas not only house expensive equipment but proportionally, they occupy a high percentage of space per piece of equipment.  Actions are being initiated by many hospitals to ensure that optimal scheduling and throughput are achieved before decisions to add equipment and major rooms are made.  In addition, prep and recovery spaces are now being designed in a flexible manner to support many modalities rather than a few.
    Similarly, efforts are underway at health care organizations to maximize the use of office space.  Outside of health care in the commercial environment, the industry standard is that at any one time, 40 percent of offices are empty, meaning their occupant is elsewhere.  Several small-scale studies in health care have indicated that the empty office rate may be closer to 50 percent or greater.  Many health care organizations in their quest to maximize space are equipping staff with cell phone and laptops and providing conveniently located and optimally designed hoteling space to be used as needed rather than permanently assigned office space.
  3. Marketing efficiency.  Historically, space in the form of large, private rooms or large operating rooms, for example, has been used as a marketing tool targeted at consumers and physicians.  With priorities now shifting toward efficient use of space and capital cost avoidance, many organizations have changed tactics and are marketing efficiency rather than space.  For example
  • Rethinking the need to place every ED patient in a private treatment room and instead, using a rapid medical evaluation area with chairs to treat patients faster, typically reducing the length of stay by one to two hours, and with less space.
  • Providing average size ORs to physicians but guaranteeing an attractive turnaround time or implementing standards that minimize delays.
  • Minimizing the size of the private room while ensuring that patient and family needs are met by focusing on increased nurse visibility and contact instead of oversized rooms.
As the financial impact of excessive space and overbuilding in health care facilities has moved to the forefront of discussions about controlling the costs of health care delivery, less emphasis is being placed on square footage as a determinant of quality (e.g., a bigger is better), and instead, the focus is shifting toward maximizing efficiency within space.  Determining the minimum space required to meet clinical requirements whether it be an inpatient room, operating room, or ED treatment bay will be more commonplace, and throughput will be the new yardstick with the minimum space allocated to maximize the care delivered.  When competitions are held to determine the minimum size of key rooms required to meet the needs of patients and clinicians, the official ending of the era of super-sized health care facilities will have occurred.
For more information on creating rightsized, operationally efficient health care facilities, contact Joyce Durham at 734-213-3151 orjdurham@hss-inc.com.This email was sent by: Health Strategies & Solutions, Inc.
1628 JFK Blvd., Suite 500, Philadelphia, PA, 19103, USA

The High-Performance Exterior Wall System


Capital Living Nursing and Rehabilitation Centre                                       Schenectady, New York

Early in the design process of Capital Living in 2009 it was determined that the exterior walls of the building would be metal studs.  This is a common practice, and when well designed can be a very cost effective wall.  At the time we were designing under the 2007 Energy Conservation Construction Code of New York State.  To meet the thermal performance demands of the code, we were required to provide a layer of continuous insulation (CI) on the exterior side of the studs in addition to insulation between the studs.  However, given the nature of skilled nursing facilities, one of our main concerns was indoor air quality and the potential for condensation to form on the surfaces of metal studs within the wall cavity increasing the potential for the growth of mold.

The application of fiberglass batt insulation in exterior walls is a common technique to provide the required R-Value to meet code requirements.  It does have drawbacks in environments with higher relative humidity, and condensation on metal studs during cold weather is not uncommon.  We investigated the relatively new practice of spray applied polyurethane foam (SPF) on the interior of the continuous insulation and surfaces of the metal studs.  This system not only increases the R-Value of the insulation system, but also insulates the exposed surfaces of the metal studs and creates a continuous air-barrier on the wall.


We contacted our Dow Chemical representative Eric Verley to meet with us to discuss the use of their Thermax® insulated exterior sheathing system for our project.  Eric was helpful providing us with case studies, product information.  Most of all, he ran thermal analysis for several combinations of insulated sheathing and SPF tailored for the Schenectady environment and the indoor relative humidity levels we anticipated.  The analysis helped us conclude that 1 ½ inches of Thermax® insulated exterior sheathing combined with 1 ½ inches of SPF would provide more than the required R-Value for our exterior wall.  Also, the dew point where condensation occurs in cold weather was within the Thermax® insulated exterior sheathing, outside of the metal studs.  This further reduced the potential of condensation within our exterior walls.  We thought we had the perfect system; then a monkey wrench was thrown into the mix.IMG_3256

The Construction Manager, BBL Construction Services, was analyzing the construction systems and costs.  They determined that the three two-story living units should be constructed of load-bearing metal studs.  Whereas before we were relying on a conventional steel frame structure with spray applied fireproofing to meet the one-hour fire requirement, now our exterior wall studs needed to be one-hour rated.  We informed Eric and found that nobody, including Dow Chemical, had a one-hour rated exterior wall system that consisted of CI and SPF.  Disappointed, we thought we would have to build a more conventional exterior wall, and for the next five months indicated such in our drawings.  During that time, I received a message from Eric that Dow was working on a UL Rated one hour wall system which he hoped would be available by the time we were ready for construction.  We were delighted when in mid-May 2010, UL listed the design, and we made the appropriate revisions to our documents.

The new one-hour rated exterior wall assembly was made possible by adding a layer of type-x exterior sheathing between the metal studs and the Thermax® insulated exterior sheathing.  And at that time, only Dow Chemical’s SPF met the UL Assembly tested requirements.

Working together with Eric Verley we improved the exterior wall design by applying Dow’s Froth-Pack® insulating foam in the voids around window and door frames.  We also boosted the overall building performance to reduce air infiltration at the roof with a Class A Foam –Sealant air sealing system at the perimeter of the roof deck and the roof penetrations.

Now that we are in construction, we have been closely monitoring the application of the SPF.  Starting in November, the first application of SPF occurred in the Area A living unit.  During a site visit on December 28, 2012, with the outdoor air temperature of 28 degrees, we were happy to find the interior temperature a consistent 55 degrees, and the construction heater was not running continuously to maintain the comfortable working environment.  We could detect small amounts of air infiltration at wall corners, door and window perimeters, but the Froth-Pack® insulating foam was not yet installed.  And most amazing to us, the Thermax® insulated exterior sheathing had not yet been installed.

We are very impressed with the performance of the SPF, and will continue to monitor how this exterior wall system performs as all the materials are installed and finished.