Brenda Rigdon

Ms. Rigdon has twenty years of experience as an Architect, primarily in historic preservation and the adaptive reuse of existing buildings. Her work involves field documentation, research, design, and preparation of construction documents and specifications.


Registered Architect, State of Michigan, License Number 1301049427.



Bachelor of Fine Arts, University of Michigan, 1985

Master of Architecture, University of Michigan, 1997




National Trust for Historic Preservation

Michigan Historic Preservation Network

            Presentation, MHPN Conference, 2014: “A Sense of Place: The Croswell Opera House”

United States Green Building Institute (LEED)



Lifetime Member and Volunteer, Lenawee County Historic Museum

Exhibit Co-curator: “HomeCraft: Historic Quilts, Needlework, and Decorative Arts of Lenawee County”

Board of Directors, Adrian Symphony Orchestra, Adrian, MI

Board of Directors, Samaritis Affordable Living Community, Adrian, MI

Volunteer, Art-A-Licious Fine Arts Festival, Adrian, MI



108-110 W. Maumee St., Adrian, MI 49221

Project manager for the in-progress renovation of Chaloner’s tobacco shop in Downtown Adrian. The business had been a local icon since it opened in 1872, but was forced to close in 2015. It was revived by local investors as a regional destination for cigar and pipe lovers. The façade was restored to circa in 1888 based on historic photos. The project will feature public and private cigar lounges, along with a bar, on the upper floors. To accommodate the size of the cigar lounges and provide a secondary means of egress, the investors have also purchased the adjacent building, the first floor of which will be home to a gourmet coffee shop/coffee roasting business.  Completion– January 2019.

Strongback Properties, Adrian, MI

Adrian Design Group, Adrian, MI

Lead Architect for the historic preservation and facade restoration components of this $4.5 million project, at the Four Corners of downtown Adrian. The Underwood Block and two adjacent historic buildings were completely renovated. The upper floors were interconnected and converted to 17 apartments. The first floors of the buildings were designed for future tenant buildout. A variety of MEDC and local incentives, and therefore design requirements, were involved in the financing package that makes this development possible. Construction was completed in September of 2017. 

Rice & Barley Taphouse

101 E. Maumee St., Adrian, MI 9221

The prominent first floor corner of the Strongback Development at 101 E. Maumee St. was built out as a Pan-Asian restaurant by the owners of a local craft brewery and distillery. Restaurant design, particularly in an existing historic space, presents many challenges. This requires working closely with the owners to develop equipment layouts, mechanical, and electrical systems. The resulting space will be both functionally efficient and creatively furnished, promising an exciting new eatery for downtown Adrian. Completed Fall 2018.

Inter-Connections / Pathways Recovery Engagement Center

209-211 W. Maumee, Adrian, MI

The non-profit organization Inter-Connections, a drop-in center for persons with mental illness and substance abuse issues, moved to 209 W. Maumee in September 2017. They were joined by Pathways, a program run by Lenawee County Mental Health Department, on the other side of the building in October 2017. The existing spaces needed to be quickly renovated to meet the needs of their clients. Existing offices were converting to create casual gathering spaces, full kitchens, additional ADA-compliant restrooms, a shower, and a laundry room. The renovations, in two phases, were completed at the end of 2018.


Capital Senior Living

Dallas, TX (Adrian Design Group)

Renovations to multiple senior living facilities in Ohio and Indiana. Capital Senior provides independent, assisted living, and memory care residences. Projects included remodeling of tenant apartments, creating new gathering spaces such as pubs, coffee shops, and fitness centers, and exterior renovations. 

Potter Stewart U.S. Courthouse, Cincinnati, OH

Quinn Evans Architects, Ann Arbor, MI

Project Architect in charge of exterior work including masonry and window restoration, roof replacement, and boiler replacement as part of $30 million renovation and modernization of a historic 1936 courthouse. The courthouse is nine stories and approximately 500,000 sf with some 900 window units. Responsible for restoration design, construction documents, field surveys, and coordinating specifications and consultants.


College for Creative Studies Administration and Student Services Building, Detroit, MI

Elisabeth Knibbe Architects, Ypsilanti, MI

Designed, prepared construction documents, and provided construction oversight for $3.2 million project to renovate two derelict historic homes at Ferry and John R for use as offices. The homes were connected by a new three-story tower to provide handicapped accessibility and a link between the two buildings. The combined buildings housed the CCS boardroom, executive offices, and admissions department. Project received a Detroit Tri-UMPH Award 2002 from the Detroit Historic District Commission.

Detroit Charter Schools 2002-3 (Elisabeth Knibbe Architects)

Woodward Academy and Hope Charter School involved the phased renovation of existing facilities, including requirements for meeting American with Disabilities Act, updates to building codes, and working with state licensing requirements. The Woodward Academy was a former medical facility, and the Hope Academy was in a historic school building. Each presents the common challenges of converting obsolete buildings into modern, function, and aesthetically pleasing learning environments.


Assumption Nursery School and Toddler Center

St. Clair Shores, MI 48080 (Elisabeth Knibbe Architects)

An existing, mid-1970’s era elementary school was extensively renovated for use as a private preschool associated with the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in St. Clair Shores. Extensive abatement of hazardous materials was required due to the presence of asbestos and lead paint. Energy-efficient windows replaced the single-glazed windows throughout. All interior finishes were updated.

City of Adrian MEDC Façade Improvement Grant Projects

  • Dan Maloy Accounting, 150 N. Main

  • Encore Dance Studio/Lenawee’s Heart & Soul, 124-128 E. Maumee (Adrian Design Group)

  • Stewart Building, 101 W. Maumee

  • Mark Wenn Building, 123 W. Maumee

Historic Tax Credit Certification Projects, Various Michigan Locations

Elisabeth Knibbe Architects, Ypsilanti, MI

Involved in field documentation and preparation of tax credit applications on the following: Casa Del Rey, Pontiac; Burroughs Graphics Arts Building, New Amsterdam Historic District, Detroit; Calle Brothers Building, New Amsterdam Historic District, Detroit; Stroh Tower (Grand Park Centre), Grand Circus Park Historic District, Detroit.

National Register of Historic Places Nominations

Elisabeth Knibbe Architects, Ypsilanti, MI

            Argonaut Building, Detroit, MI, author.

            Sugar Hill Historic District, Detroit, MI, editor.


National Park Service Indefinite Quantity Contract, Midwest Region

Quinn Evans Architects, Ann Arbor, MI

Researched, authored, and managed multiple Historic Structures Reports for projects within the Midwest Region of the National Park Service. These reports involved research of the building(s) and site history, assessment of existing conditions, development of recommended treatment options, and preparation of cost estimates. The projects had in common the challenge of providing handicapped access to the sites in a sensitive manner and the introduction of new mechanical and electrical systems with minimal disruption to the historic building fabric.