Articles Tagged with: Jeffrey S. French
Senior Principal Jeffrey S. French, FAIA Retires from Ballinger

After spending his entire 40-year career at Ballinger helping to grow the firm into a national architecture/engineering presence, Jeff French begins his retirement today. Jeff served as a Senior Principal since 1990, and Ballinger benefited tremendously from his professional expertise and leadership, strength of character, and collegial manner.

When asked the secret to his successful career at Ballinger, Jeff responded – “Collaboration.  I was afforded continuous opportunity, and I sincerely tried to exceed expectations with each.  But I also found teammates who understood that together, rather than alone, we could make something better.”

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Jeff joined Ballinger soon after graduating with his Master of Architecture degree from the University of Virginia in 1978. He was Class of 1976 at Princeton where he majored in architecture and played varsity baseball.

Early in his career, Jeff gained experience on a wide variety of project types including, most notably, research facilities. Upon completing the first phase of SmithKline’s (later Glaxo) million square foot R&D consolidation in Upper Merion, PA, he was asked in 1985 to be the full-time on-site project manager for the construction phase of the next 800,000 sf. This 15-month assignment ignited a career-long interest in scientific facilities.

Following completion of the SmithKline project, Jeff began what would be a 30-year relationship with Johnson & Johnson, creating an extensive portfolio of projects across many of their affiliate companies. This experience led to work with many other significant pharmaceutical companies, positioning Jeff as a highly regarded science and research facility expert.

After attending the International Conference of the Society for College and University Planning in the mid-1980’s, Jeff became interested in leveraging his corporate research expertise, leading him to become one of the pre-eminent national academic science and research facility experts.

Jeff’s practice leadership resulted in his being named a Principal in 1990, launching the firm’s trajectory towards becoming the nationally-recognized practice for academic science teaching and research facilities that it is today. He developed an extensive portfolio of significant projects across the country, with notable clients such as Princeton, Brown, Cornell, Johns Hopkins, Wisconsin, Pittsburgh, VCU, Berea, Swarthmore College, the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health at Rutgers, and the Wistar Institute amongst many, many others.

As a noted national science and research facility expert, Jeff was frequently requested by the National Institutes for Health, the National Science Foundation, and other federal agencies to be a research grant application reviewer. This led to him co-authoring the National Science Foundation’s highly-regarded publication entitled “Planning Academic Research Facilities: A Guidebook.” He chaired workshops for the New York Academy of Sciences, published in an edition of their annals, was an invited contributor for the Higher Education Colloquium on Science Facilities, and lectured at many conferences and symposiums for more than 30 years.

His national contribution to architecture for science was recognized in 1999 by his elevation to Fellowship in the American Institute of Architects, making him one of the youngest ever at that time to receive the AIA’s highest individual honor.

Looking beyond Ballinger, Jeff’s next chapter includes finding volunteer roles and contributing significantly to his community. His immediate goal is to spend more time with his family – Anne, his wife of 36 years, their three children and spouses, and two grandchildren.

The Emerging Open Scientific Environment

Ballinger Principals Jeffrey S. French, FAIA and Craig S. Spangler, AIA participated in Tradeline’s College and University Science and Engineering Facilities 2016 Conference. Their presentation “The Emerging Open Scientific Environment: Challenges, Solutions, and Lessons Learned” examined Ballinger’s recent and ongoing science and engineering projects at Swarthmore College, the University of Wisconsin, the George Washington University, and Rutgers University.

New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health wins top Honor Award from AIA New Jersey

Ballinger’s design for the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health at Rutgers University won the top Honor Award for built work from the New Jersey Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The award was announced at a reception held in Somerset, NJ Thursday.

The New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health (IFNH) physically co-locates and strategically aligns diverse disciplines to address society’s pressing challenges in cardio-inflammatory disease, cancer and obesity. The Institute’s centerpiece is a highly sustainable interdisciplinary research building that embodies the concepts of movement, activity, and wellness that are central to the Institute’s mission.

The iconic building is transparent to nature, inviting faculty, students and the community to engage in the nutrition and health activities housed within. A large solar “parasol” is the organizing feature of the design. The interior features a student health clinic, a human performance lab, a nutrition research clinic, a healthy eating courtyard and a preschool dedicated to educating parents and children on diet and nutrition. The remaining spaces house wet and dry labs, faculty and administrative offices and outreach meeting spaces.

Ballinger’s design approach to interdisciplinary buildings featured in Tradeline Report

Can architecture create a culture of collaboration? Tradeline’s recent article “Transforming Organizational Culture through Building Design” explores the goals and challenges faced by Dr. Peter Gillies, Founding Director of the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health (IFNH) at Rutgers University, as he launched the Institute and imagined an open environment that would foster such a culture.

Ballinger’s approach to interdisciplinary facility design fosters cross-discipline collaborations and emergent outcomes. Our design for the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health, opened in July 2015, reflects the ambitious goal of the barrier-breaking Institute: connect a wide range of disciplines to solve the childhood obesity epidemic. Co-located within the building are a student health clinic, a human performance lab, a nutrition research center, a healthy eating courtyard and a pre-school, as well as wet and dry labs, workspaces and outreach meeting spaces. An open stair integrates the building vertically and features New Jersey’s largest indoor living wall.

The article, based on a conference talk given by Ballinger principals Jeffrey S. French, FAIA and Craig S. Spangler, AIA, along with Dr. Gillies, also examines convergent environments at the University of Wisconsin and George Washington University, whose characteristics of transparency and visual access informed some of the IFNH design strategies.

Link to Article

Ballinger Designed Natural Sciences and Health Building Breaks Ground at Berea College

(Image Above – Berea College President Lyle Roelofs second to the left, Ballinger Principal Jeff French far right)

On Thursday, April 21st, Berea College broke ground on the Ballinger-designed Natural Sciences and Health Building.

At the ceremony, Berea College President Lyle Roelofs stated about the building, “This new 125,000 square foot building will provide an interdisciplinary learning environment, space for enhanced collaboration among disciplines such as biology, chemistry, and Berea’s well-known nursing program, the oldest college-affiliated nursing program west of the Allegheny Mountains.”

Upon approaching the Berea campus from the north, the new building provides a landmark presence blending a contextual Georgian exterior character with a daylight-infused, transparent, contemporary interior environment of flexible pedagogy.

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To read more about Berea’s Natural Sciences and Health Building, click here.

For more renderings of the building, click here.

Rutgers Dedicates New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition & Health


A dedication ceremony for the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition & Health took place Tuesday. The IFNH is a signature initiative by Rutgers University to provide research and education related to society’s pressing challenges in cardio-inflammatory disease, cancer and obesity.

The Ballinger-designed interdisciplinary research building is the centerpiece of the Institute. The iconic building is transparent to nature, inviting faculty, students and the community to engage in the nutrition and health activities housed within. A large solar “parasol” becomes the organizing feature of the design.

New Jersey Institute for Food Nutrition & Health at Rutgers College: New Brunswick, NJ, Architect: Ballinger Architects

The building features a student health clinic, a human performance lab, a nutrition research clinic, a healthy eating courtyard, and a preschool dedicated to educating parents and children on diet and nutrition. The remaining spaces house wet and dry labs, faculty and administrative offices, and outreach meeting spaces.

Ceremony attendees included New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, Rutgers president Dr. Robert Barchi, the Institute’s Director Dr. Peter Gillies, and Ballinger’s own Jeff French and Craig Spangler, among others.

Ballinger Wins Two Philadelphia AIA Awards

Two Ballinger projects were honored with Design Awards from the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The awards program recognizes the best in architectural design among AIA Philadelphia members.

Ballinger’s Undergraduate Teaching Labs at Johns Hopkins University received an Honor Award. Light-filled and open, the four-story building accommodates a variety of teaching methods and learning styles, and its flexible and open layout enables cross-disciplinary learning and research opportunities.

The Nexus Building at Adelphi University received a Silver Award, the highest honor in the Unbuilt category. Ballinger provided architecture, planning, interior design and engineering services for this innovative learning environment prominently located at the entrance to Adelphi’s campus.

Ballinger Senior Principals Lead Tradeline Session on Adaptive Reuse

How are leading academic medical and allied health organizations weathering the storm of healthcare reform, performance-based hospital reimbursement, and declining NIH funding? Ballinger principals addressed this question at the 2014 Tradeline Facility Strategies for Academic Medicine and Allied Health Conference.

Senior Principals Jeff French, FAIA, Louis Meilink, Jr., AIA, ACHE, ACHA and Todd Drake, AIA, LEED AP led a session titled “Patients, Procedures, + Pedagogy: Retooling Facilities for a Very Different Healthcare Future.” In it they described how organizations are adapting facilities across the research, training, and care continuum to maximize the value of existing space, particularly in response to changes in patient physical location.

Based on Ballinger’s expansive healthcare and academic portfolio, they provided insight into how institutions can adapt new and existing spaces to a broader functional spectrum, determine candidacy for facility adaptability or renewal, and evaluate facilty needs.

Tradeline is an industry resource that presents high level conferences focused on the latest planning, design, operations and financial thinking for the built environment. This year’s Facility Strategies for Academic Medicine and Allied Health Conference was held in Boston.

Link to Presentation

Ballinger at the Wistar Institute’s Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony and Gala

In September 2014, the Wistar Institute’s new, seven-story research building at 3601 Spruce Street in Philadelphia, PA opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and gala.

In addition to the design of this start-of-the-art research building, Ballinger provided existing facility assessment, master planning and programming to determine the best solution for Wistar to expand its research operations, recruit new faculty, and pursue a collaborative workplace model to support emerging areas of science.

In the above photo are representatives of the Ballinger team with the Wistar Institute gala’s master of ceremonies — former NFL head coach Dick Vermeil (from left to right:  Jeff French, Ed Zinski, Brendan Vaughan, Dick Vermeil, Eva Lew, Trish Cosgrove, Steve Bartlett, Todd Drake)

Repurposing Existing Facilities for Modern Science

At the 2012 Tradeline College and University Science Facilities Conference, Principals Craig Spangler, AIA, Jeff French, FAIA, and Jonathan Friedan, PE, LEED AP explored the challenges associated with making the judgment to invest in an existing facility struggling to retain its functionality.  It is easy to wipe the slate clean and start with a blank piece of paper.  Each Principal approached this from the opposite perspective, working on the fundamental premise that extending the life of a building is the ideal outcome, even if modest additions are key to unlocking success.

Link to Presentation

Ballinger Senior Principals Present Successful Models for Co-Locating Science + Engineering Programs

At Tradeline’s 23rd Annual College and University Science Facilities Conference, Senior Principals Bill Gustafson, FAIA, Craig S. Spangler, AIA, and Jeffrey French, FAIA presented recent trends in science and engineering facilities. They reviewed a series of recent projects that reflect three planning trends: the research / teaching neighborhood, the emphasis on collaborative spaces, and the disappearance of boundaries both physical and psychological. The underlying principles that drive these trends are measurable: higher utilization of space, higher research productivity, and greater emphasis on shared resources, both space and equipment. Ballinger provided university leaders with measurable benchmarks for these complex phenomena.

Tradeline is an industry resource that presents high level conferences focused on the latest planning, design, operations and financial thinking for the built environment. This year’s College and University Science Facilities conference was held in Scottsdale, AZ.

Link to Presentation