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Matter of craft: Local architects make a case for craft-in-making firm

Designing men: Paul Cuta (left) and Marc Schellpfeffer swing for the fences.

Designing men: Paul Cuta (left) and Marc Schellpfeffer swing for the fences.

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At CaS4 Architecture, LLC, the space is fittingly unfinished. Visitors enter through a unique door of woven wood panels that was constructed in one afternoon by founders and business partners Paul Cuta and Marc Schellpfeffer. In the center of the main room, a large Ping-Pong table provides occasional stress relief and doubles as a conference table — a clear indication that Cuta, 49, and Schellpfeffer, 39, have come together to have fun as well as to design.

The partners, who worked together for over eight years at Engberg Anderson in Madison, launched CaS4 last August. For Cuta, it was an opportunity to “stay small by design and personally engaged with a small number of clients instead of trying to be everything to everybody.”

“It is more fun helping them drive their products than just responding to RFPs with people we don’t know,” he said.

When it came time to name the company, they got creative. C-a-S stands for Cuta and Schellpfeffer, they explained. The long “a” creates what they describe as a play on case for architecture, or case for design. The “4” stands for the firm’s four primary services: architecture, planning, interior design, and development assistance. 

CaS4 was funded with a mix of personal cash and a combination of a line of credit and a loan from the State Bank of Cross Plains. “In our business plan, we wanted to be able to tread water within four to five months of being in business,” Schellpfeffer notes. “We’ve been very lucky. Those goals haven’t been difficult. We thought we’d be in our line of credit for the first four months or so. [Nine months later] we’ve been in it for a week!”

Being financially conservative has been key, but a long to-do list remains. “There is some frustration in that our growth has been so quick that we haven’t instituted many things we talked about doing,” Cuta notes. “That’s the trade-off. Right now, everything needs to be done at the same time.” In January, they hired another architect to help handle the workload.

(Continued)

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