July 31, 2023 // Announcements
After a remarkable architectural career of more than four decades, Elizabeth Corbin Murphy, FAIA, APT-RP, NCIDQ, has retired.
Elizabeth served as a leader of the esteemed Historic Architecture Studio Chambers, Murphy & Burge for 23 years until the merger between CMB and Perspectus took place in 2016. Throughout her tenure with Perspectus, she demonstrated exceptional leadership by spearheading our historical projects. This includes the award-winning restoration and rehabilitation initiative for Cleveland's Public Auditorium Music Hall and listing Cleveland's historic Sidaway Bridge on the National Register of Historic Places.
Elizabeth's unwavering commitment to preserving local historic architecture remains an undeniable testament to her enduring legacy. Her contribution to the development of our historical department has been essential to its success and will have a lasting impact that extends well beyond her retirement. Elizabeth will remain a close contact to Perspectus.
"The countdown has begun. I imagine that most of you have already heard. Elizabeth is retiring.
I have been working in the construction industry in one form or another since I was 14 years old…that is a lot of years. When I started in my Dad’s lumber yard, it was highly unusual to see women in a place like that. After a while, customers stopped asking for “one of the men”. When I went to architecture school, it was highly unusual to see women in a place like that. Notre Dame had a large group of women that year, I believe there were seven. When I became a principal at Myers Associates Architects in the 1980’s, it was highly unusual to see women in a place like that. I may have been the only female principal in an Ohio architectural firm not founded by a woman. When I became a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects, it was highly unusual to see women in a place like that. At the Fellows reception in Cleveland, one of the long-time fellows congratulated my husband, because it couldn’t have been me who became a fellow. When I taught at Kent State University, it was highly unusual to see women in a place like that. The faculty restroom had a sign on it that said “MEN”.
I am happy to say that some of that has changed over the years! I am pleased to look around and see the bright and talented young women here who will be an integral part of our future. I am even more pleased to be considered a mentor to many young women and men, whose lives have touched mine.
Many people have asked me about my intentions after I retire. I don’t really know yet, which mountain I will climb next. I have accepted a coaching position with Portage Lakes Rowing Association. I am reviewing a book for the Association of Preservation Technology. I am Chair of the Special Publications Committee for APT. I serve the City on the Akron Urban Design and Historic Preservation Commission. Since I am above a certain age, I can take classes at the University of Akron with the senior discount! When I was young, I used to design and construct my own clothes. Instead of dressing like the industry dictates, perhaps I will go back to being a bit fashion eccentric. So, I have plenty to keep me going while I make up my mind. There are a couple of projects that I will continue to follow—The Sidaway Bridge for example. The Sidaway Bridge project is a golden opportunity to heal effects of misjustice in our profession—its current condition is a result of deliberate red-lining.
Since I have been with Perspectus, we have lived through leaky roofs at Shaker Square, a world-wide pandemic, opening a new office… …but we have also had award winning projects with the City of Cleveland, we have supported many young people as they become registered architects, we have introduced leadership to clientele outside of health care, and a bit outside of comfort zone. Preservation, Restoration, Rehabilitation, and Reconstruction will continue here, I am assured. I would especially like to call out our Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. The work they are doing is so very important. The JEDI Council tried to start at zero to 60 in six seconds, but now has taken a more methodical approach. Please support them. How we treat each other inside the office will have a lasting effect on how we treat each other outside the office, and we can change the world one person at a time.
I cannot help but use just one more sports analogy… …in the late 1970’s, Luis Tiant pitched for the Yankees after having pitched for Cleveland and Boston. He was from Cuba and spoke broken English. He did TV commercials for Yankee Franks… …his only line was “Baseball has been very, very good to me.”
Likewise, Architecture has been very, very good to me."
We can change the world - one person, one project at a time.
Elizabeth Corbin Murphy, FAIA, APT-RP, NCIDQ