Updated: Jan 29
As NDC turns 38 this year, we’re taking time to reflect on our long history of bringing high-quality design solutions to Central Ohio neighborhoods. We asked a few NDC alumni—previous interns and staff—to share a little information about their experiences at the design center.
Their responses remind us that part of the NDC’s mission is to train future design professionals, with technical skills and critical thinking, to use design as a tool to address social equity and solve pressing problems.
Daniel Ferdelman, AIA
B.S. Architecture, 1991 | The Ohio State University Year(s) worked for NDC: 1989 – 1991 Current position: Senior Project Manager at M+A Architects NDC office locations: (1) Franklinton (Broad & Princeton); (2) Olde Towne East (18th & Main)
The most memorable project worked on? 782 North High Street: The Wood Company had an option on the building at 782 North High Street. The building was last used as a car wash but had been abandoned for a few years. The NDC was asked to develop schemes to install storefronts, awnings, and signage, to convert the space to office use. As was often the case, projects would later get funded via grants or loans by the City of Columbus from our work. Two years after the concept scheme at the NDC I worked on the same building to develop a restaurant (Frezno Eclectic Kitchen) and office (Baker Henning Productions) while in the employ of John Haytas Architects. The property is now the Union Cafe!
How did working for NDC influence and prepared you for a professional career in the design field? The NDC introduced me to the concept of architecture as a change agent serving all people, not just the wealthy patrons one learns about in architectural history. I learned that you should work to provide the best product for your client on their budget; to truly listen and leave the ego at the door. At last but not least to advise and educate people at all levels of understanding about the values of good design—after all “Good Design is Good Business” (a sign that hung in our offices).
MCRP, 1987 | The Ohio State University Year(s) worked at NDC: 1988-1995, Director of Planning Current position: Urban Infrastructure Manager, Department of Development, City of Columbus Interim Executive Director for 18 months
NDC Office Location (1) Franklinton; (2) East Main Street (at Carpenter); (3) Parsons Avenue
Most Memorable Project worked on? The renovation of Blackburn Park in Olde Towne East. Also, mapping of Neighborhood Commercial Revitalization districts (loved mapping!), which led to GIS mapping at the City of Columbus.
How did working for NDC influence and prepare you for a professional career in the design/public sector field? I worked with a significant number of city staff while at the design center, so it helped to know them when I transitioned to the public sector. Also, NDC and the City of Columbus were working on some joint projects and I was able to continue those from the city side
William John Batson Jr.
Bachelor of Arts (Art) 1982, BsArch 1991, and MArch, 1995 Year(s) worked for NDC: 1989-1990 Current position: Associate Professor of Architecture at Prairie View A&M University NDC office location: East Side Office, 937 East Main Street
Most memorable project worked on? My most memorable project was a proposal to design a Neo-Art Deco façade (requested by owner) for the Paul Williams Gallery located in an abandoned building at 1137 West Broad Street. The challenge was to design a façade that reflected Art Deco character of the 1920’s, especially those in Miami. The owner had a small budget, so we decided to use Dryvit, a relatively inexpensive and plastic-like material that enabled the facade to take on shapely surface embellishments and varied color applications. We also added curb appeal to the front entryway by adding a piano noble and grand marquee.
2007 BSLA | Ohio State University 2012 MLA | Harvard University Year(s) worked for NDC: 2004-2007 Current Position: Associate at MKSK NDC office location: East Main Street
Most memorable project worked on? The plaza across from Lincoln Theater in the King-Lincoln District.
How did working for NDC influence and prepared you for a professional career in the design field? I give a lot of credit to my time at the NDC preparing me for professional work. The projects are real projects with clients and budgets so you get to understand the entire design process from concept through implementation. It is an environment that allows you to learn the skills you need for professional work in real-time as you are going through the design process.