Architects Redesign Emerald Glen Clubhouse for Free

Construction Donations Now Needed To Make Changes Happen

A group of young Central Ohio architects have re-designed – for free – the community center at Homeport’s Emerald Glen rental complex, opening the door for donors to step forward and fund the much needed changes.

“We wanted to do a project that mattered and could make a difference in Columbus,” said Susan Earp, a member of the Columbus chapter of the American Institute of Architects. “Emerald Glen needs a more open and larger layout for the community center in order to accommodate their residents. Hearing that children must be turned away daily due to lack of space is heartbreaking.”

The local AIA chapter opened a competition this year for local non-profits to nominate projects that would benefit from free architectural services. Homeport submitted Emerald Glen, in Southwest Columbus, for the AIA “Weight of Architecture” grant. It was selected as one of four projects. A group of architects were chosen for each assignment and after brainstorming sessions and on-site visits created designs that included floor plans, elevations and renderings.

Four other members of the AIA chapter, Jake Busch, Mandy Thomas, Brian Simpson and Hannah Evwaraye, joined Earp on the Emerald Glen assignment. Together they committed approximately a month to the job in after-hour time.

“Accomplishing a successful solution within the tight constraints, both budget and site, was quite rewarding, along with the response the project received from the Homeport Team,” said Simpson, a project manager at M+A Architects.

Emerald Glen counselor Mark Childs was among those who provided input to the architects and praised the outcome.

“I thought they would have to make a new building. After they were done, it opened my eyes to what you can do with existing space. It was amazing to me to see that process,” Childs said.

Homeport nominated the architects for the national American Institute of Architects Excellence Award, praising their dedication, enthusiasm and talent, and for understanding the organization’s mission of creating and preserving “healthy, stable and affordable communities, one neighborhood, one person at a time.”

Homeport President/CEO Amy Klaben wrote that the “wonderfully creative repurposing of the current footprint” provides an additional 416 square feet that could increase the building’s use up to 100 children.

The key is adding space, Childs said. “Right now we can only get 30 children in after school activities. We have 10-15 on a waiting list,” Childs said.

The full-color build out plans provide a visual tool to solicit donors for the renovation, estimated at $158,874.  In the last two years Homeport has been successful in completing two similar projects at its Marsh Run and Pheasant Run rental communities.

Earp, an architect with New Albany-based Shremshock, and a member of Homeport’s Young Professionals Committee, said she and her team would be very happy if construction dollars can be raised. “We really hope it happens, that we can see it,” she said.

The redesign for Emerald Glen has been on display at The Center for Architecture offices the month of November in downtown Columbus. 

Individuals or companies interested in donating to the renovation of the Emerald Glen Community Center should contact Debbie Catri, Homeport’s Director of Philanthropy Operations, at (614) 545-4823, or