As a Project Manager and Designer at Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Goettel, Jennifer Szczesniak integrates sustainability into every aspect of the projects in which she’s involved.
When she joined Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Goettel (PWWG) in 2015, Jennifer Szczesniak also became a member of GBA through PWWG’s corporate membership. Jennifer holds a LEED AP BD+C credential and is a Living Building Ambassador.
We asked Jennifer to share with us a little about herself and what she’s working on now, which you can read about below!
What do you value about your GBA membership?
We’re using our GBA membership and events to stay on top of rapid changes in the areas of sustainable practices, products, and initiatives. Our GBA members bring that information to the other architects and younger interns here at PWWG, to engage more deeply with sustainability in our design projects and in our workplace.
What are you working on right now that’s exciting? What makes you excited about it?
The Roxian Theatre is a super exciting renovation and transformation of a 1928 vaudeville theater into a new live music venue that will accommodate 1,500 people. The project includes a stage, several viewing platforms and 3 separate bar areas. The Roxian remodel will extend the life of a great building through adaptive reuse; and breathe new life into a structure that has been vacant for over 20 years. PWWG’s design juxtaposes the form of the semi-classical theater with its new life as a modern concert venue. We worked hard to retain as much of the existing building as possible, while slipping in new program areas such as bars, a VIP suite, and green rooms. A state of the art sound system, and energy efficient lighting and mechanical systems where integrated into the existing building fabric, while preserving its character defining architectural features.
Renovation of the theatre will have great impact beyond the building itself – the Roxian is located on Chartiers Ave. in McKees Rocks, the main thoroughfare that the CDC has been rehabilitating to establish a new identity as a hot spot for creative and performing arts. The start of construction in late spring will kick off a very exciting new beginning for the cultural life of the community.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love the wide variety of projects I’ve had the opportunity to work on. In my two years at PWWG, I’ve worked on an existing theatre rehabilitation, a new apartment building in Shadyside, the adaptive reuse and new construction of a high-rise apartment building in the Cultural District, the adaptive reuse of a warehouse to a day care center for CMU, and a few others. With each new project comes specific opportunities and challenges, especially in dealing with existing buildings. I like the challenge.
In what ways does sustainability play a role in your work?
Sustainability plays a part in each project that PWWG undertakes. It is finding the balance, especially when working within the context of an existing building, of realizing the owner’s goals, implementing sustainable strategies, and creating designs with integrity and craft, all while meeting the budget.
Sustainability is incredibly important to me and I want it to be inherent in our designs. Currently, I have been given the opportunity to create a sustainability program for PWWG which will help to further the integration of sustainable methods into our work flow, designs, and ways of thinking.
If you want to get involved, like Jennifer, in building a greener future for our region, become a GBA member today.
Our members are the heart and pulse of our organization. We regularly spotlight some of the individuals and businesses leading this vital work. You’ll love getting to know them and learning how they’re making real change to create healthy, high performing places throughout Western Pennsylvania.
Want to suggest an organization or person for the Member Spotlight? Let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org.