AC+Co Architecture | Community was founded in 1958 by Warren Carkin with the vision to provide a high level of design expertise and services as well as thorough understanding of its clients’ objectives. Carkin was soon joined by fellow University of Oregon graduate Robert Sherman as partner. Carkin & Sherman Architects served the greater Salem community with projects such as McKay High School, the Salem Post Office, Oregon Women’s Correctional Center, and the Chemeketa Community College master plan and several campus buildings.
Over the years, in response to a growing client base, the firm made key additions to its staff and expanded its core architectural design and planning services to include interior design. In 1989, architects Kim Arbuckle and Alan Costic purchased the firm, which became Carkin Arbuckle Costic Architects. In addition to its traditional education and civic work, the firm completed designs for a wide range of building types, including commercial offices, medical clinics, private residences, and places of worship throughout the state of Oregon.
Following Warren Carkin’s retirement in 1994, the firm invested in the Farrar Building, a historic landmark in downtown Salem. After a two-year process of design and construction, this beautiful 1917 Beaux Arts eclectic structure became the new home of Arbuckle Costic Architects, Inc. Renovating the building interior, Arbuckle Costic created a three-bay open office space with large quantities of natural light while preserving much of the historic structure. Experiencing a challenging project through the lens of an owner, developer and architect has given the firm a better understanding of the complex decision making process any owner must handle in balancing vision, budget, schedule and user requirements.
Arbuckle Costic Architects steadily expanded its design capabilities, completing several award winning community amenities such as the carousel building, pavilion, and Gilbert House Discovery Village located in Salem’s downtown Riverfront Park. Increasingly, the firm’s work focused on transforming outdated K-12 schools, working with over fifty different school districts throughout the state of Oregon. With the rapid growth of the Salem community, the need for more housing led to projects such the Meridian mixed-use development as well as affordable apartments and townhomes within the Broadway Town Square development.
Environmental design is an important goal in the firm’s work. Rehabilitation and adaptive reuse projects such as the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Willamette University’s M. Lee Pelton Theatre and Eaton and Waller Halls, as well as many of Salem’s historic downtown commercial buildings demonstrate how building reuse is one of the greenest forms of design. While these projects have led to a greater understanding and appreciation for the existing built environment, AC+Co is also interested in its future evolution, which includes the use of today’s technological innovations and sustainable strategies. Linus Pauling Middle School and Chemeketa Community College Center for Business and Industry are two award winning projects that have received LEED accreditation.
In 2014, AC+Co acquired the established architectural firm Deffenbaugh & Associates whose principal Lonny Deffenbaugh continued his professional practice as a consulting architect at AC+Co. Providing design services for over 30 years, Deffenbaugh & Associates has completed more than 950 projects in the Pacific Northwest, including the Oregon Department of Transportation Engineering Division, Creekside Corporate Business Center, the Samaritan Hospital Outpatient Treatment Center in Albany, Kettle Foods Potato Chip Production Facility in Salem, Howerton, Hopkin Oral Surgery Clinics, Phair Business Park, and Chemeketa Community College’s Woodburn campus. Lonny has also completed twelve projects for Linfield College, most notably Walker Hall (student center and courtyard), Riley Hall renovation (language arts building), and Dillin Hall (central dining commons).
With a new generation of leaders emerging, the firm adopted the name AC + Co Architecture | Community in 2016. In June of 2021, Alan Costic officially retired and the remaining partners, Richard Rothweiler, Lisa Mance, and Blake Bural continue to move AC+Co forward with many new and exciting projects. While the firm continues to serve many of its traditional clients such as K-12, higher education, office and religious facilities, AC+Co is also known for our notable work on remodels, adaptive reuse and rehabilitation of historic properties.
Our ideal client is a client that is engaged and has a vision for where they want to take their business and understands that the environment that they create for their employees and their clients can enhance the entire business relationship. Whether it be the physical form, the operational efficiency, sustainability, or the operational flow of a space, all can contribute to a business’s success. Therefore, our ideal client is one who becomes a partner in creating the space that reflects their vision and allows us to contribute to the longevity of their success.