BY SUSAN M. BRACKNEY
You can call them community organizers, minus the petitions, posters, and marches. Armed instead with feasibility studies, CAD renderings, and blueprints, the team at the all-female Springpoint Architects has been building community its own way since 2014. While 30 percent of the firm’s work is residential, the rest are projects like the Martinsville Youth & Development Center, the Spencer Pride community center, and the Lotus Arts & Education Foundation performance venue.
Springpoint Architects includes registered architects Dawn Gray, Jayne York, and Barre Klapper, as well as landscape architect Christina Kroeger, architectural preservationist Cynthia Brubaker, and CAD technician Vanessa Babcock. “If you look at architecture schools now—and when I was in school—the enrollment was at least half female, but it’s a very demanding profession,” Klapper says. “The way firms are often structured doesn’t allow for a lot of flexibility historically. That’s one reason we wanted to be owners and have our own office, so that we could create a practice that allows for the flexibility for the other parts of our lives that are also important.”
York adds, “While the field overall across the nation is still male-dominated, Bloomington does have a pretty high percentage of women-owned architecture firms. Bloomington’s just different that way.”
Switchyard Apartments—a new affordable housing project on South Rogers—is among the firm’s recent jobs. “It’s a partnership with the City which provided a long-term lease on the land,” Klapper explains. There will be eight affordable housing units built in the project’s first phase; an additional eight will be added in phase two.
“Affordable housing is a tough nut to crack, but we think architecture can play an important role in solving that problem,” Gray says. “Architects aren’t just looking at the form, although that’s the end result. We also look at solving a problem.” Suggesting more affordable building materials and employing careful pre-planning are some of the ways Springpoint helps make affordable housing a reality.
The firm is also on the design team for the Bloomington High School North pool renovation and the new Tri-North Middle School. And they just wrapped up the Monroe County Community School Corporation Early Learning Center on East Miller Drive.
Klapper appreciates the variety. “When you work in a small town, your practice is somewhat broad in nature,” she says. “That keeps everything fresh and interesting for us.”