Business & Development, Springfield

Everything is a design decision’

Jenna Fribley at the door of her firm, Campfire Collaborative, Architecture & Design, located at 341 Main St. VICTORIA STEPHENS/THE CHRONICLE

SPRINGFIELD – With many irons in the fire, Springfield architect Jenna Fribley goes beyond the standard definition of what an architect is and does.
She and Kelsey Buzzell are co-owners of Campfire Collaborative Architecture & Design, the company responsible for about one third of the renovations in the revitalized 300 block of Main Street in Springfield.
”We have a lot of projects,” Fribley said. ”We do a little bit of everything.”
Working from old photographs, Fribley restored rows of transom windows along Main Street storefronts, adding authenticity by recovering elements of the original designs.
Design is something that Fribley delights in. One building’s original porcelain tile was uncovered during the remodeling process and was used as a design element throughout the building, adding unity to that theme.

Researching and finding the soul
Campfire Collaborative is located in a humble storefront at 341 Main St. Fribley has researched its history as Vern’s Lunch, a diner from the 1940s, to its conversion to Rockstein Optical in the ’60s. She has acquired historical photos from each era, tracks the development of the structure to its current state and makes design decisions based on the information she finds.
Fribley does this with each of the buildings she remodels, as if to find its soul and stay true to its original story as its life carries on to the next phase of history, restoring key elements from former times.

Design awareness, honoring heritage
Fribley said she seeks to bring awareness of the influence of design in people’s everyday lives. ”Everything is a design decision,” she said. ”Someone made the decision to make it that way.”
Her goal is for people to realize and to see the value of design and its impact in their world. She said even a bathroom can be compelling and have a design that ”takes your breath away.”
In April 2017, Fribley and Buzzell, both part-time instructors at the University of Oregon, launched the Booth-Kelly Makers District, a collaboration of local creatives that gathers monthly to celebrate and explore with other craft-industry entrepreneurs at their Springfield businesses.
They saw the history of craft within the mill industry Springfield is founded upon and were motivated to honor that heritage. The Makers District is part of a national makers movement, with Eugene/Springfield scheduled to host the 2020 Nation of Makers Conference next year.

Community accessibility, vision
Fribley efuses to be put in a box. The business she runs includes all types of eclectic elements – not at all what traditionally comes to mind when thinking of an architectural firm. These include a Design Resource Center with an inspiration library and materials resource room open to the public every Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The resource room includes materials that people can handle and explore that are not commonly found in traditional big box building material stores.
”There are so many products out there,” she said. ”There are more options and it’s worth taking a look.”
She also plans to add a light box so people can make color-accurate photos to compare materials.
The inspiration library includes design books of all types to assist with project ideas. The Design Resource Center was birthed out of an idea on how to engage the public with some type of asset and be good stewards of the building and the values of community they hold. In their industry, they don’t depend on street traffic to bring in business. ”We get most of our projects by word of mouth,” she said.
Besides the Resource Center, Campfire Collaborative also offers 40-minute design consultations for $80 a session. These include advice on all types of ever-evolving areas such as visual design, graphics and branding as well as interior and architectural design, creative problem solving and brainstorming.
She said the purpose is to ”help people overcome barriers to entry to hiring help.”
Because of her passion for history, especially the history of buildings, along with her skills as an architect, Fribley has a vision for renovations that actually restores them to life, revitalizing entire areas.
Three locations where she finds that soul and history include rebuilding a hotel on the original Springfield Hotel site at the entrance to town, creating a kind of memorial near the site where the original spring in Springfield was, and restoring the Paramount Plaza area as potential future projects. Collaborative efforts
Fribley is a commissioner on the Springfield Historic Committee and was newly elected to the Springfield Museum Committee. She is also involved with Springfield Renaissance Development Corporation, an organization specializing in enhancing the culture, economic vitality and livability of Springfield, as well as other involvements with the community, where she continues to build relationships.
Additionally, Fribley is working with a group called ”History Here” – a collaboration between the Lane County History Museum and the Shelton-McMurphey-Johnson House. Four laminated posters have been installed around Springfield with photos of the original architecture and a history of the building previously at that location, in order to inspire public awareness.
Campfire Collaborative also is the company that designed the city of Springfield’s Discover Downtown Springfield campaign, which included publications and social media for community outreach to promote tourism and events.
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