Testimonials

“CFB’s first commission at Bucknell was the near restoration of our early twentieth-century Carnegie Library building. The CFB team, led by Bill Brennan, brought a standard of care in their professionalism and approach to the project that surpassed our expectations.

The drawings were well executed and the construction administration was exceptional. They brought both expertise and enthusiasm to our project. Our long time contractors, subcontractors and material suppliers were treated firmly but fairly as the team worked hand in hand to restore the architectural gem to its former grandeur. It was truly very refreshing to work with a firm that believes the practice of architecture and design should be more of a profession than a “business”.

That project was the beginning of what I am certain will be a long term relationship for Bucknell and the firm of Celli-Fiynn Brennan.”

– James D. Hostetler, Director of Construction & Design (Retired), Bucknell University, PAView Project »

“I’m not a religious person, but I think of that space under your dome as my “little cathedral,” and the musical moments and acoustical perfection I experienced there during the Bach Cello Suites Workshop were absolutely spiritual. I formed some incredibly close friendships, learned good lessons, laughed, cried, and made some beautiful music there. I believe the space actually played a part in all of that.”

– Jenn Dungan, Freelance Writer
Speaking of a her time at Buchman Pavilion at The Sage Colleges

“I wanted to let you know I am hearing very good things about your work……… It’s very gratifying to know our search process works so well. Keep the head of steam into the new year”.

– James D. Hostetler, Director Construction & Design Group, Bucknell University, PA

“When a prospective student enters the new science building, his jaw drops. It is the WOW factor”.

– Rev. Malachi Van Tassell, T.O.R., Ph.D., President, Saint Francis University, PA

“Tom Celli came to our campus and he “Just Got It”.

– R. Thomas Williamson, Ph.D., Past President, Westminister College, PAView Project »
“When I was a teenager I wanted to be an architect. Though I never fulfilled that personal dream, I had ample opportunity to take part in architectural design and execution as I worked with Tom Celli and his architectural team at Celli-Flynn Brennan on three different campuses.

The first project, in the early 1980s, was expansion and upgrade of the library at Wheeling College (now Wheeling Jesuit University), where I was chief academic officer. We wanted to heighten its role as a learning center for faculty and students. The design was challenging because of the library’s attachment to a larger administration building and its position on a downward slope. Celli-Flynn Brennan’s concept of interior “terraces” stepping down the hill from the main library area, with comfortable seating and a glass outer wall with an expansive view, made creative use of the terrain and was an immediate hit with the campus community.

Ten years later I was chief academic officer at Susquehanna University when Celli-Flynn Brennan was selected to design a renovation and expansion of the 1960s science building. Instead of what might have been an uninspiring addition at the level of the existing structure, a new wing rose up the adjacent hillside. It featured an atrium surrounded by open hallways with windows looking into science laboratories; the same scheme was utilized in renovation of the existing space. The “science neighborhood” thus created also featured interdisciplinary research spaces and informal “zones” for faculty-student interaction. Tom Celli’s innovative design was recognized by NSF’s Project Kaleidoscope; but best of all, science enrollments rose rapidly and exceeded the University’s expectations.

Another decade had passed when as president of The Sage Colleges in upstate NY; I hired Celli-Flynn Brennan to develop a master plan for the Troy campus (Russell Sage College). Tom Celli quickly identified the College’s greatest need: in an urban setting dominated by 19th century brownstones, there was no central gathering space. A traffic tunnel ran beneath the pedestrian way dividing the campus, which was narrowed by walls on both sides and large exhaust fans for the tunnel. Today, the walls are down, the fans are gone, and a wide plaza leads to the Buchman Pavilion, named for its generous donor. The “Buch,” in student lingo, offers café-style dining and has an outdoor terrace, a wall of glass doors, and a large domed skylight. The exterior back walls of three adjacent structures—two classroom buildings and a student residence–form the interior walls of the Pavilion, which renders all three wheelchair-accessible. This project and the completion of other pieces of the master plan earned Sage an Excellence in Historic Preservation Award from the Preservation League of New York State in 2005.

Looking back, I note some consistent hallmarks of Tom Celli’s vision for the colleges he has served: gathering spaces that encourage community; windows that breach or replace walls; and light, the universal symbol of learning. These are great gifts to higher education.”

– Jeanne Neff, Ph.D., President (Retired), The Sage Colleges, Former Chief Academic Officer at Susquehanna University, Former Chief Academic Officer Wheeling Jesuit UniversityView Project »

 

“Thank you also for the superb presentation on Ostrander and ACS’s Learning Center. I think we are in an excellent situation now for moving forward – the Trustee approval, the scope of the plans, the add-ons that may be possible, the scale for this particular school and more. We are all excited about the next steps”.

– Trustee of American College of Sofia, Sofia, Bulgaria

 

Quote Midwest Reader – regarding the documentary of the Timeless Award…a philosophical view article

“How really wonderful for both Mario and Tom. We send our congratulations. Legacies are intended to be forever and the chapel goes directly to that point. As Tom says in the article we are a “tear down” nation and so many of our intended beautiful legacies are gone forever. But this one has been saved; and, even though we have never seen it – we are very proud to know of a man who has continued his Father’s ( Mario Celli FAIA) dream. It must be a peaceful place for contemplation. We can only imagine!”
– Suzanne Clark Haug, USA, Midwest

 

“Thank you (again and again) for this extraordinary place.”
– Phil Foxman, Director of Alumni Affairs, Allegheny College, Tippie Alumni CenterView Project »

 

“We have been facing recruitment issues at the college. Tom suggested a relocation of our college classrooms to an underutilized building at the center of campus. They were right. Design is underway.”
– Anthony McGeorge, President, Valley Forge Military Academy and CollegeView Project »

 

“Tom Celli did a ‘Walkabout‘ on our campus that generated many ideas. The first one was so obvious to him, but overlooked by us. Implementation was completed in two weeks. What a difference a fresh set of eyes can make!”
– Doulgas Perry, VP of Finance, Olivet Nazarene University

 

“When we first shared our dream of building a new athletic complex, you were able to take our various needs and wants…and mold them into an initial drawing that began to give shape to our many ideas [which] eventually gave way to the beautiful and stunning facility that we recently dedicated and have become the rave of the entire Erie community.

Selecting an architect to take on such an important task as building the Cathedral Prep Events Center was one of the most important decisions that we as a school have ever had to make. We needed someone who we could trust, who understood our needs, who was creative, who appreciated our limitations, and who could produce on our tight timeline. Thank you for more than fitting the bill. Not only did you design an attractive facility that incorporates many of the key architectural features of our original building, the facility is also ready for future expansion. Based on our very positive experiences with you, I would certainly recommend you and your team to any other group that is considering a building project.”
– Father Scott W. Jabo, President, Cathedral Preparatory SchoolView Project »

 

“Then, there are the true ‘builders’ who for a span of time become essential parts of our community…From architect Tom Celli who helped us get the exterior design that would “sit comfortably” on our classic, timeless campus and yet have a contemporary flair and fill…to architect Ron Collier who played the quintessential Quarterback from Construction Day One – right through today. Our architects and contractors truly embraced our community and you have helped cultivate our unique sense of place.”
– Laura Carpenter Bingham, Former President, William Peace UniversityView Project »

 

“The effects of the renovation have exceeded our most optimistic goals. There has been a 69% increase in science majors over a five-year period. Today over 25% of our students are science majors. Biology has already surpassed its long-range goal for the total number of majors. Geology has exceeded its once ambitious goal of 40 majors, largely because the new facility has enabled a programmatic expansion into environmental sciences.

Fisher Science Hall has become a model for science facility enhancements. It has been studied in a series of visits from other colleges, and was featured in a Project Kaleidoscope conference for its cost-efficiency and flexibility in the spaces and equipment. On campus, our new science facility has been a real catalyst. A larger, better-equipped and aesthetically pleasant space; the sense of progress that comes from moving into new quarters; and the recent addition of new faculty in several departments have combined to inspirit the sciences at Susquehanna and to further realize our potential as a truly fine university.”
– Joel Cunningham, Former President, Susquehanna University

 

“The attention of the firm’s principals, Tom Celli and Bill Brennan, throughout the project has earned the full confidence of this office. They have been intensely involved in the design and construction process. It is, in part, because of that personal commitment, that this project has been a success.”
– James C. Marker, Chairman, Somerset County Board of CommissionersView Project »

 

“Classic Hall! What memories that very name must evoke among our alumni and faculty who had classes and taught in that building for many years. We feel very fortunate to have met Tom Celli, the architect from Pittsburgh, PA, several years ago and to have engaged him to do a “walkabout” on our campus. For 24 hours in April 2008 Tom, in the company of R.G. Kirby, our plant operations director, “walked about” campus…and in and through Classic…in order to propose some creative ideas to us for further upgrades to our physical plant. In the last three hours of Tom’s visit, he offered one enticing idea after another for not only Classic but other spaces as well.

“Have you ever thought of Classic as a center for music and the arts?” he asked. All of us present at this debriefing session said, with astonishment and curiosity, “No.” He went on to wax eloquently about the tall trusses on the third floor and the possibility of opening the ceilings to this expansive configuration. The longer he talked, the more excited we all became…so much so, in fact, that we hired his firm to provide us with a concept design that placed the Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art on the first floor and music—practice rooms, offices, music library, and dedicated rehearsal space for band and choir—on the second and third floors. The exterior would be restored to its original stately appearance, and the interior gutted to permit this intriguing redesign. At this point Tom Celli and his colleague are working to develop the true designs for this total renovation, and we hope to begin actual construction during 2011…the 100th anniversary of the “birth” of Classic Hall.”
– Marianne E. Inman, President, Central Methodist UniversityView Project »

 

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