#12.004: 30-Year Event, Now

You have a chance to be part of something that hasn’t happened in thirty years! That’s how long it’s been since the last City of Cincinnati Comprehensive Plan. Beginning Saturday at 10am, you can step up and share your opinions on how to shape the code that will shape your environment at Two Centennial Plaza, 805 Central Av, 4th Floor.

This five-day event focused on the initiative to create a Form-Based Code for the City’s neighborhoods is a community-driven process structured as an urban design workshop or charette. This is a hands-on event with interaction between community members and politicians, planners, designers, engineers, economists and more. A form-based code does not focus on land use like a typical zoning code, but instead allows the use to be flexible and new buildings to fit into a neighborhood with a pedestrian oriented environment that is great for businesses, property owners, and residents.

To learn more about form-based code, Plan Build Live, and other content of the event, explore the links below.

Plan Build Live

Charette Schedule

Cincy Planning Facebook

Form-based Code Institute

I was invited for a preview event today, and want to share with you some of the ways you will be able to share your thoughts and wants with the Plan Build Live team. The formation of a new code has a direct impact on architecture and the built environment, and the proposed Form-based code shifts the focus away from building use. *Special thanks to Jeff Raser, Della Rucker, Cameron Ross, and Alex Peppers for the invitation and their time.

The morning session will kick-off at 10am with a 30 minute presentation to present the days activities and Plan Build Live The second session will begin at 2 with another 30 minute introductory presentation. All 52 neighborhoods are represented at the charette space, but four neighborhoods in particular have stepped up to lead the city as test sites of implementing the form-based code. The four neighborhoods are Madisonville, Walnut HIlls, Westwood, and College Hill, two will be used for charetting in the morning and two in the afternoon. You can also use the maps available to talk to Plan Build Team members about your neighborhood in particular and express your wants and opinions.


There will also be a Visual Preference survey to indicate your preference of buildings of different styles, sizes, setbacks, materials, etc. Each image will show for a few seconds, make a decision, rate it from -5 to 5 and be heard.


If you have young children they can participate too, building with legos or drawings their own community, there’s a little bit for everyone.


Come down tomorrow to take advantage of the incredible and diverse knowledge that will be at the charette and be part of Cincinnati’s exciting future. I’ll be there and I hope to see some of you there too.

All info sources from Plan Build Live literature. Thanks to the Plan Build Live Team.


-Bradley Cooper


#12.003: Plan Build AND Live

Plan Build Live in Cincinnati is hosting charettes this weekend and early next week on Cincinnati’s initiative to implement Form-Based Codes. There is a full schedule of events over Saturday April 28th – Tuesday May 1st.
For a full schedule see the link below:
Event Schedule

What Are Form-Based Codes (Source: Della Rucker)
Form-Based Codes encourage strong neighborhoods, business districts, and downtowns by focusing on the shapes of buildings, streets, and sidewalks. Traditional zoning codes encourage patches of similar use, forcing long distances between the things we all need to do. Form-Based Codes allow different uses to cluster – restaurants, apartments, drug stores and grocery stores, for instance – as long as they stick to rules that address the ways they relate to the neighborhood.

This type of code, would have a significant impact on the shape and tenor of Cincinnati’s Built environment. I would urge anyone, even the slightest bit interested to attend some of the events. From the link below, you can see that this is part of an overall initiative to remake Cincinnati and the region into an even greater place to live, not just its urban core.

Center for Applied Transect Studies “promotes understanding of the built environment as part of the natural environment, through the planning methodology of the rural-to-urban transect. CATS supports interdisciplinary research, publication, tools, and training for the design, coding, building and documentation of resilient transect-based communities.”

The transect here is a cut of land from the urban environment extended all the way through to “natural zones” where few people may live.


Form-Based Code Institute


I hope to see some of you there!


-Bradley Cooper

#12.002: Stop and Smell the Building – Chris Patek

I recently had the privilege of participating in a program called ‘Architecture By Children’ whereby architects are sent into local classrooms to teach K-12 students about architecture and design. The primary purpose of the program is to advance public interest and education in architecture and design by educating them, in this case children, about the places they live, work, and play. The idea being that the more people know about and understand their surrounding environment, the more they will respect and protect it, and the more likely they will actively participate in that environment to make positive advancements.

The same is true for most things we encounter on a daily basis, like music and food and technology. The more you know about them, the more you appreciate and understand them, and the more likely you are to advance them in a positive direction. Take wine as an example. If you taste a variety of wines and learn why each one tastes the way it does and the process of making each of the wines, you will have a much greater appreciation for the next glass you drink. Over time, you will learn which wines taste good and why, and be able to make a more informed and educated decision the next time you buy a bottle.

Architecture is no different. When you consider the amount of time we spend in and around buildings each and every day, you begin to understand the impact architecture and design has on our daily lives. Yet, how many people really understand the places they live and work and play in? These are the places that define our city, our community, our neighborhood, and our home. They are the iconic landmarks that we associate with the game winning walk-off home run or annual holiday festival or wedding day celebration! They are the places in which we find daily comfort and religiously visit: our workplace, school, or community center.

It is essential that we not only appreciate our places, but that we also understand the impact they have on our lives and the lives of those around us, both positive and negative. It is this greater understanding that will allow the built environment to advance in a positive direction and benefit everyone now and well into the future.

We all need to take more time to learn more about the buildings we encounter on a daily basis and become active participants in our built environment. Our lives depend on it.


Chris Patek, AIA

President, AIA Cincinnati


#12.001: Welcome

Welcome to the ArchiNATI Blog! We are excited for the second annual ArchiNATI festival that begins in 159 days. Mark your calendar for opening weekend September 28th. The blog will serve as a forum featuring posts on the architecture of Greater Cincinnati up until about a month before the event begins. As the Festival nears, posts will focus on events for ArchiNATI 2012. The blog and the festival have the same mission: to celebrate the built environment of Cincinnati. That which we use and abuse on a daily basis deserves recognition from time to time and is worth a celebration.

Aronoff Center for Design and Art

Glencoe Place

Radisson Hotel


On this site you will hear from those intimately involved in architecture as practicing architects and those who are ardent observers. All contributors will share their thoughts, experiences, and talents regarding architecture of Cincinnati. In order to further appreciate this more, topics will engage the full spectrum of architecture.

The completion of a building obscures the process, often years in length, which leads to the end product. Codes, zoning, grants, climate, culture, geology and more are important factors to architecture’s production. We may not always see those players on the field, but they impact the results. So to do outside forces influence architecture and depict what future buildings may be, or perhaps it’s the other way around (Hall of Justice).

ArchiNATI the blog will feature posts that share the rich architecture that graces Cincinnati, the spaces and places we use daily. It has been built up and layered from the banks of rivers and spread over rolling hills. If you stroll onto the University of Cincinnati main campus, you will experience a place like no other, architecture that can be maddening and delightful. Over-the-Rhine boasts the largest collection of Italianate architecture and one of the largest intact historic district in the United States. There are other gems that stand out such as the Mushroom House in Hyde Park.


Mushroom House – Image source Kevin Trotman


Beckjord Station - Duke Energy

We often see others faces of the built environment that deserve recognition just as much as the gems. The industrial and manufacturing buildings lining the I75 corridor or the monstrosities dotting the majestic Ohio River offer incredible glimpses into efficient logistics and construction. These spaces and places begin to construct the environment we live in.

With unbridled spirit, there’s a lot to discover in the heart of it all. We look forward to future posts and to the ArchiNATI Festival beginning September 28th. We hope you’ll join us.


Bradley Cooper is currently an intern architect for GBBN Architects. He received his B.S. in Architecture before completing his Master of Architecture at the University of Michigan. At Michigan, he was editor-in-chief of Dimensions 23 and AND vol. 3-4 (University of Michigan). Other published work includes Accumulate, Curate (Dimensions 25, forthcoming May 2012). Bradley is current editor of the ArchiNATI Blog.