A Conversation with Peter F. Spittler

Today we sit down with Peter F. Spittler to talk about his career and ideas. Peter F. Spittler is a graduate of Kent State University’s school of architecture; today, Peter F. Spittler spearheads efforts at Forum Architects.

Q: What do you see as a direction for the future of building design and city planning?

Peter F. Spittler: Without question, the future lies in urban infill and density. Sprawling suburbs with generic subdivisions, strip malls and big-box stores are clearly on their way out.

Q: Why do you think things are headed that way?

Peter F. Spittler: Cities and metro areas can’t sustain that kind of growth anymore. Too many cars, too many roads, too much pollution, too many stresses on resources and tax bases, it’s a model that can’t work anymore.

Q: What about buildings specifically?

Peter F. Spittler: I really would like to see more buildings that adhere to sustainability and green-building practices.

Q: Can you give us some examples?

Peter F. Spittler: Things like using white roofing materials to reflect light, using natural lighting and skylights whenever possible, installing high R-factor insulation and HVAC systems, low-water or waterless urinals, carpets and furnishings that don’t contribute to indoor air quality problems.

Q: You were involved quite a bit with Cleveland’s Flats project, correct?

Peter F. Spittler: Yes, I’m proud to have been a part of that.

Q: What does the Flats project entail?

Peter F. Spittler: We have been able to take a classic Rust Belt brownfield area and renovate it into a mixed-use zone of residential, retail, offices, entertainment and light industrial.

Q: Tell us about the Greater Cleveland Aquarium…

Peter F. Spittler: Sure. The Greater Cleveland Aquarium is a complete refit of a 1910s power station on the Cuyahoga, overhauled into a totally modern urban aquarium. The city saved millions on this refit as compared to building a new aquarium from the ground up.

Q: That’s a useful segue point. Don’t some people still think that green building is too expensive?

Peter F. Spittler: Yes, we still fight that misconception.

Q: It pays off, though, doesn’t it?

Peter F. Spittler: Absolutely. Things that may cost more on the front end, to come into compliance, will more than pay off over the years when you figure in savings on energy efficiency.

Prior to starting the firm Forum Architects, Peter F. Spittler served as principal and president at GSI Inc. and as project manager with Figgie International and The Austin Company. Peter F. Spittler is a member in good standing of several professional groups.

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