First Met Groundbreaking Event



A new mixed-income senior housing development in Houston began construction with a groundbreaking ceremony on February 2nd, 2023. The four-story building is located at 8870 W. Sam Houston Parkway on a parcel of land formerly owned by First Metropolitan Church.

The church's founding pastors, Bishop John Ogletree and Dr. Evelyn Ogletree had envisioned senior housing in the church's master plan over 20 years ago. Now, Brinshore Development and the Harris County Housing Authority are turning the long-held vision into reality, developing a community that delivers affordable and accessible housing for the aging population in Houston. The new development is a meaningful step toward improving the quality of life for seniors in the area, helping to ensure older adults can age with dignity and independence, maintain social connections, and live in a safe and secure environment.

The building will comprise 157 apartments of various sizes, 85 of which are low-income, offering seniors a range of options to suit their needs and budgets. The development is designed to foster the well-being of its residents with amenities aimed at promoting social interaction and a sense of community. Amenity spaces include a club room and activity room, media center, private event suite, fitness center, business center, and pool.

First Met Senior Apartments is set to complete in 2024.

The Place at Fifth + Broadway Receives AIA Chicago’s Design Excellence Honor Award

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We are delighted to share that The Place at Fifth + Broadway has been awarded AIA Chicago's Honor Award for Design Excellence in the Architecture Large category! The PHamily was at DESIGNIGHT on Monday, September 12th, to cheer on our Fifth + Broadway design team: George Pappageorge, Timothy Kent, Gregory Klosowski, and Scott Schultz.

The Place at Fifth + Broadway is a 34-story residential building at the west end of the Fifth + Broadway development in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee. The master plan also includes an office building, retail, restaurants, and entertainment components organized along an L-shaped internal alleyway. The rehabilitated city block replaces the city’s former convention center with state-of-the-art facilities that invigorates downtown Nashville and spotlights the city’s vibrant culture renowned for live music, honky-tonks, and nightlife. The residential building’s podium complements this historic urban context while the tower’s modern, gray glass volume stands out as a recognizable feature in the city’s skyline.


Challenges and Resolution to Achieve Client/Design Goals

Alleys tucked away from main streets that provide intimate retail and dining experiences are a part of Nashville’s unique streetscape that the client wished to recreate throughout the Fifth + Broadway development. These narrow alleys are a defining theme for the commercial block as well as a key element in the design of the residential building.

The spatial configuration inside takes its cues from the programming of the larger Fifth + Broadway master plan. The L-shaped commercial alley is designed to feel full and compact, and this spatial compression creates a feeling of intimacy that drives human interaction. The heightened energy, as a result, makes the space feel more dynamic and lively. Inside the residential building, various private and semi-private rooms are organized along a central circulation path, recreating the scene outside. Every nook and cranny is an opportunity for different textures and experiences that echoes Fifth + Broadway’s eclectic combination outdoors.

Nashville’s deep-rooted culture of music and entertainment is also mirrored in the collection of unique amenity spaces at The Place at Fifth + Broadway. The building boasts a wide array of aesthetics and materials in each recording room, screening room, business center, gym, yoga studio, and several other indoor and outdoor entertainment spaces. Community lounges and balconies at every third level of the tower are positioned on the east side of the building, allowing residents to visually engage with the entertainment from the commercial scene below.


Unique Design Features and Originality of the Design

The design of The Place at Fifth + Broadway is focused around two clear volumes influenced by Nashville’s architectural precedents and the city’s urban lifestyle. With the timeless architectural language of the building’s podium paired with a sleek, elegant tower above, the building’s design represents a thoughtful partnership between traditional and modern values.

A loft-like brick base podium embraces the historical aesthetics found on Broadway and conveys a sense of permanence and age. The iconic main street is full of legacy bars and local’s favorite restaurants, forming a street wall of mostly low-rise buildings comprising mixed brick and terra-cotta details. The base of the residential tower emulates these traditional building features in a continuation of the pedestrian experience along the street.

While the podium is a visually heavier masonry block that melds into the existing streetscape, the tower is a dazzling contrast that lightly rests atop its base, designed to stand out as a recognizable feature in the city’s skyline. Tying the two masses together is a repeating grid pattern that rises from the structural grid of the podium. The apartment tower’s grey glass volume is overlaid by a black aluminum grid designed to anchor the tower and accentuate the building’s form, making it both legible and distinct from the surrounding structures.

2021 PH Pumpkin Carving Contest



The annual PH pumpkin carving contest is here!

A time when PH architects get to reminisce on the long grueling hours in architecture school making models with an X-Acto knife in hand, realizing that architecture school did in fact prepare us for the real world: carving the best pumpkin on the block!

Check out the winning pumpkins from this year and all other honorable mentions!

Happy Halloween!

1st Place Winner - Baby Yoda

Team Members: Michael Henning, Justin Palmer

2nd Place Winner - Mummy

Team Members: Greg Klosowski, Robert Harris, Chris Chiu

3rd Place Winner - Puffer Fish

Team Members: David A. Haymes, Kathryn Katz

Honorable Mentions! (All Others)

40 Years in 40 Seconds

4400 Grove: New Mixed-Use, Mixed Income Housing Development Complete In Bronzeville

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The Grand Opening Ceremony was held on Thursday, October 1st, to celebrate the opening of 4400 Grove. The redevelopment at the corner of 45th and Cottage Grove Avenue in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood encompasses a phased transformation of an entire city block, which was left vacant since the demolition of the former Washington Park Homes public housing project in 2002. Almost 18 years later, this new development along Cottage Grove Avenue breathes vibrancy into the neighborhood. The first phase of the project, 4400 Grove, consists of two four-story mixed-use residential buildings that run along the length of South Cottage Grove Avenue with a public plaza mid-length. The pair of mixed-income apartment buildings provide 21 units reserved for Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) residents, 34 affordable units for households earning up to 60 percent of the area median income, and 29 market-rate units, ranging from one to three bedrooms. The buildings also include a combined 15,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor as well as a community plaza and a landscaped park extending to the west half of the parcel, which will include the second phase of the development with sixteen single-family townhomes surrounding the park.

Cottage Grove has long been an important north-south route of the south side, connecting Hyde Park and the University of Chicago to the Chicago Loop, and the project aimed to reflect the historical character of the brick buildings in the area while still exuding contemporary curb appeal. This is accomplished by breaking down the building facades into modular segments that suggest individual buildings. Each segment alternates between modern aesthetics, which uses darker grey brick and metal panels with minimal detailing for a sleeker look, and a more historically influenced appearance with classic red and yellow brick. These segments also utilize traditional brick techniques, such as rusticated columns and cast stone detailing similar to traditional limestone detailing. Entire sections push in and out from the building plane to further define each facade and add visual interest to the building. Different window sizes allow for different sill heights, and varied window operations and colors amplify the unique look of each segment. The resulting design gives the impression that the buildings have been built over time and organically evolved into a street wall along Cottage Grove Avenue.

In addition to providing attractive and affordable housing for the community’s growing residential population, the project spurs commercial and social activity in the neighborhood. The centrally located plaza and park not only act as amenity space for the residents but also serves as a physical link to the community by lending its space for public gatherings, events, and an extension of retail activities. The twelve street-level retail spaces are outfitted with finishes, bathrooms, drinking fountains, and lighting, which is atypical as more often, developers will leave these spaces raw. The spaces are move-in-ready on a basic level, allowing tenants to set up shop with a limited budget.

Project Team: David A. Haymes, Greg Klowsowski, Chris Chiu

Christopher House Joanne L. Cicchelli Middle School Dedication Ceremony


On March 4th, 2020, we joined our client, Christopher House Charter School, at the dedication ceremony of their new 15,300 sf addition, The JoAnne L. Cicchelli Middle School. A multi-phased design project developed and constructed over the last 10 years, PH considers the Christopher House campus in Belmont-Cragin as the cornerstone of our expanding educational design practice.

The school offers classes from early infant through 8th-grade curriculum, as well as after-school and parent education programs. With much to offer many people, the building is a true cultural anchor for the neighborhood. Its ambitious mission and modest budget translated into unique challenges for us as architects, with many stakeholders and special circumstances to consider.

Designed to enhance the Reggio Emilia philosophy that Christopher House follows, the school is a vibrant, playful, and efficient design that captures the imagination of students, providing them spatial variety and opportunity for discovery while supporting their sense of security and belonging.

The client team of Christopher House — the board, benefactors, and faculty — inspired us at every turn. Their tireless efforts and enthusiasm are what helped to drive a seemingly impossible program, into something real. We are proud to be part of the Christopher House family and to have contributed our part to their growth over the last decade.

Project Team: Jeff Renterghem, Ron Weber, Michael Henning, Heather Faircloth, Peter Evanich

The Old Colony Building: Pushing The Limits Of Design



PH Partner, Kenneth DeMuth, AIA, presented at the 50th Anniversary of CTBUH World Congress on October 31st, 2019, divulging historical details behind the inception of the Old Colony Building and its recent preservation efforts. Ken's full essay has been published in CTBUH's "First Skyscrapers Considerations of Critical Buildings and Technologies in Skyscraper History".

In 1891, several Chicago architects hastily designed 15 downtown office skyscrapers to beat a deadline for a surprise building height ordinance. Incredibly, Holabird & Roche (H&R) would design five over a single weekend, four of which were built, and three of which stand as landmarks today. Among these, the 17-story Old Colony Building (OCB) would stretch the limits of contemporary design and engineering expertise with raft foundations, lateral bracing, and height, thereby creating a template for the speculative office tower. High-rise evolution and the role played by skeletal framing is much celebrated, but less attention is given to other aspects such as soil engineering, wind bracing, component prefabrication, and the emerging role of the specialized engineering and construction techniques required to realize this evolving new archetypal form.

As a truly American invention, the modern business office tower pursued ever-increasing scale, efficiency, and innovation to become profitable and competitive in the rapidly expanding city centers. The scheme for OCB provided a footprint exceeding the lot area on the reasoning that the greater construction expense was justified by greater rents obtained. Reducing masonry weight by increasing glass areas allowed load-proportioned footings to carry a taller building, stiffened by a first-of-its-kind portal bracing system. Former bridge engineer Corydon Purdy nested Bessemer steel arches between prefabricated “Phoenix” columns, allowing the narrow 17-story structure to offer unimpeded floor layout plans while spreading overturning loads across the wide foundation mats. Repetitive, system-based structural components and innovations in masonry construction sequencing sped the construction process.