The Best Designs Start with People

Photo by Wes Battoclette


Designing spaces for people to live, work, play, discover, heal, learn and worship is the focus of Champlin Architecture. With an emphasis on collaborative design and innovation, community and employee engagement, and trends and research, the firm is poised for future growth in order to better serve its clients.

With a focus on collaborative design and innovation, community and employee engagement, and research, the firm is poised for future growth in order to better serve its clients.

Built on a sound foundation of commitment to design excellence, outstanding service, and creative solutions, Champlin Architecture recently moved from their 30-year home on Fourth Street to a new location in downtown Cincinnati. 

“Our innovative design process was utilized to create our new workplace,” says Jason East, one of the firm’s designers and a principal with the firm. “Environmental changes such as open planning, hoteling stations for our satellite office staff, and touchdown spaces allow us to work more collaboratively.”

Dating back to the turn of the 20th century, Champlin Architecture has been making its mark on the Midwest by creating stunning architecture and designing unique facilities that exhibit creativity, innovation and value.

“The best designs start with people,” Volz says. “Our buildings work for people because we design around the end user.”

Champlin Architecture provides architecture, planning, interior design and environmental graphics services. It also specializes in six niche markets: civic, corporate, healthcare, higher education, science & technology and worship. 

“When our architects and designers cross-pollinate between those markets,” East says, “Innovative ideas come out of this brainstorming that have ultimately provided more creative and innovative designs for our clients.”

Champlin’s wide range of expertise is demonstrated on projects that range from Teachers Hall at the University of Cincinnati to Paycor’s new corporate headquarters to the renovation of the Clifton Cultural Arts Center. 

Recently, the firm collaborated to design both a 154,000 square foot tower that will expand Mercy Health’s Jewish Hospital in Kenwood, and with a new tower for Mercy Health’s Anderson Hospital, and renovations of each hospital facility. Champlin also designed two new branches in Reading and St. Bernard for the Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County. These beautiful and unique buildings were designed as community hubs with a special “makerspaces” that allow patrons to experiment with 3D printers, sound booths and much more. 

The firm is currently collaborating with HGA Architects on the design of a 306,000 square foot research laboratory building at the University of Kentucky. This modern, state-of-the-art facility will allow researchers to study a variety of health disparities that affect patients throughout Kentucky. The firm also has projects under construction at BGSU, Ohio University and Wright State University.

“Before we even begin designing a project, the most important thing we do is research,” Volz sa. “We involve our clients in an exploration and discovery process to determine their needs and then we look to see what is trending locally, regionally and across the country with similar clients and facilities to uncover any hidden opportunities.”

 “Our design teams have traveled to top-ranked healthcare facilities across the country to share best practices for integrated care delivery which has assisted with the design of facilities for our clients,” Melissa Lutz, principal and director of marketing shares. “Research is woven into the exploration process that we carry out for all of our clients and projects across all niches.”

Getting to know their clients is considered instrumental to Champlin’s design process. The strategy has proven to be successful, as 85 percent of their business comes from repeat customers.

“We’re proud of the fact that our strong relationships with our clients have given us the opportunity to work with them many times over the years,” East says. “These relationships work by having a mutual sense of trust, a commitment to excellence and a common goal.” Another key to Champlin’s continued success is understanding the underlying company-wide goals of a client.

“When we first started working to design a new church home for Crossroads Church in Oakley, is was important to us to connect with them and have an understanding of their overall culture. For this client, we needed to create a space where people could engage with one another, instead of creating an atmosphere that gave the feel of a private club. We had to be sure that the space fit the church’s vision,” firm principal and president Ben Richards says.

“Client satisfaction is the heart of everything we do,” adds Volz.

In addition to research, cutting-edge designs and customer service, Champlin places an emphasis on developing their team of more than 60 employees.

“The best designs start with people,” Gary Volz, principal of Champlin Architecture says. “Our buildings work for people because we design around the end user.”“On average, our employees have a 12-year tenure with the firm,” Richards says. “A majority of our project managers have been here for 20 years or more. We look for young talent, cultivate them and allow them to pass on their knowledge to others.”

To follow Richards, Lutz says, “We have an onboarding process which has contributed to the engagement and commitment of our staff. Each employee is assigned one or two mentors when they are first hired. The new employee will work with their mentor to learn about the firm culture and to become entrenched in our processes. This partnering process allows for a smooth transition into the Champlin team.”

In order to enhance the knowledge of their current employees, Champlin provides ongoing educational training opportunities and company initiatives that range from wellness programs to organized sports teams and teambuilding events, Champlin believes that they can cultivate their own talent in-house.

“We give our employees the opportunity to chart an experience their own personal and professional growth,” Volz says. Champlin also emphasizes the importance of community service to their employees. “We feel pride in giving back to communities in which we live and work,” Richards says.

During the holidays, Champlin employees “adopt-a family” and buy Christmas gifts for families in need, as well as volunteering to ring the bell at The Salvation Army kettles. Other volunteer projects include packing meal boxes for Wesley Community Services, operating a station for the American Heart Association’s HeartChase, and leading a middle school career Explorer Post for the Boy Scouts of America. 

Champlin Architecture’s headquarters overlooks the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, and its success has allowed the company to expand with offices in Dayton, Indianapolis and Northern Kentucky.

Champlin Architecture is located at 720 East Rose Way, Suite 140, Cincinnati, OH 45202. You can reach them at 513.241.4474 or visit their website at