A fond farewell to Craig Novak

After 34 years and many more memories Craig Novak, AIA, LEED AP retired from OPN on Dec. 20.

A 1977 graduate of Iowa State University, Craig joined OPN in 1986. He remembers knowing he wanted to be an architect after a tour of the House on the Rock while in elementary school.


“I remember the feelings of serenity and awe while experiencing varying spaces and vistas (and giant fireplaces!),” he says.

That feeling of awe inspired his work for more than 30 years.

“Architecture not only provides shelter and enclosure, but creates emotional and inspirational reactions that enrich our lives,” says Craig. ” “We are able to envision and create new environments that become real, tangible spaces. It’s exciting to see our visions become reality.”

In his more than three decades at OPN, Craig was involved in a variety of projects across all market sectors including education, health care, civic, corporate, and historic restoration projects. In recent years, Craig served as one of OPN’s senior construction administrators overseeing the construction of some of OPN’s most complicated projects, including the new 210,000-square-foot, $65 million College of Pharmacy at the University of Iowa.

“Each project is different and there are so many parts of our profession that every day brings variety of tasks and opportunities.”

In his time at OPN, Craig watched the firm grown from the less than 20 people in a single studio to the more than 100 in four studios today. One thing never changed, though, he says.

“The diversity of people — talents and personalities — all dedicated to providing impactful architecture while satisfying clients’ needs makes the working environment an exciting place to be every day.”

Always a good sport — both on and off the field — we will miss seeing Craig every day, but wish him the best in retirement. Congratulations Craig!


Craig (15)