The 15 Best Architects in Cincinnati
Cincinnati is home to examples of fascinating architecture styles both historic and modern, from the Art Deco design of the Carew Building to the sleek lines of the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art, designed by Pritzker Architecture Prize-winner Zaha Hadid. Perhaps more importantly, Cincinnati architects have become a design community that concerns itself with urban problem solving and sustainable design, encouraging open-ended discussions on building healthy places that promote connectivity and economic development. Last year, the city hosted its fourth annual Design Week, with events designed to foster the region’s creative talent.
In every community, there are leaders. We’ve curated a list of Cincinnati architects who are at the top of their game and influencing the next generation. Whether their focus is on custom residential design or large-scale commercial projects, they all have an eye towards the future. Click through the list, and let us know your thoughts below.
Rob Busch The founding partner of his company, Drawing Dept, Rob has over 20 years of professional design experience and an easily identifiable style. Rob and his team thrive on every aspect of the building process, and offer a multidisciplinary approach that includes furniture and graphic design solutions as well as architecture and landscape projects. As a result of his project management and design, this AIA member and LEED Accredited Professional has received awards from the AIA Cincinnati chapter and Cincinnati Magazine, among others. Rob received his B.Arch from the University of Cincinnati School of Architecture and Interior Design.
David S. Arends As president and CEO of CR Architecture + Design, which merged with his own self-started company in 2002, David brings over 25 years of experience to the table. Urban design and contract management are integral skills as he builds and evaluates relationships with target clients. His company is listed in Design Leaders: Retail’s Top 20 Firms, and they received the 2015 AIA Cincinnati Design Award for Princeton Middle School, High School, and Viking Village. David holds a Master of Architecture degree from Miami University.
Andrew Schaub Andrew has been the president and managing partner at Architects Plus since 2011. Andrew has most recently refocused on the senior living, custom residential and retail markets, earning local AIA acclaim and a Custom Residential Architect Network Design Award for renovation. He is a LEED Accredited Professional and NCARB Certificate holder, and a member of the AIA Ohio chapter and the Cincinnati chapter of the Custom Residential Architects Network. Andrew holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Cincinnati, and is completing his MBA from Jack Welch Management Institute.
Brian Gernetzke By the time he was in high school, Brian knew he wanted to be an architect, and spent a lot of time reading about skyscrapers, airports, and city planning. While working as a co-op student at the University of Cincinnati, where he earned his Bachelor of Architecture, Brian realized that he was drawn to residential and light commercial architecture. As a principal of WiFIVE architects, he finds the personal relationships, shorter timelines, and ability to see a project through all phases extremely rewarding. The firm specializes in custom residential design, with an emphasis on incorporating universal design and aging-in-place principles.
Michael McInturf From the start of his career in 1988, Michael has been employing emerging technological applications and methods of fabrication in his designs. He received the National Progressive Architecture Award for his work on the University of Cincinnati’s Aronoff Center for Design and Art. Establishing his own firm, MMA in 1995, Michael has continued this integrative approach with award-winning projects like the Korean Presbyterian Church in New York. He earned his Bachelor of Environmental Design from Miami University and a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Illinois.
Cynthia Williams Cynthia has been the owner of Cynthia Williams Architecture for 29 years and a practicing professional for 35, specializing in custom residential design, interior detailing, and historic preservation work. Her firm has been awarded an Interior Design Award by Cincinnati Magazine, and Metropolitan Home recognized the firm with an honorable mention in their annual home design contest. Cynthia earned her Master of Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where she received the distinguished Alpha Rho Chi medal for professional merit and the Sinclair Kennedy Traveling Fellowship.
Michael Schuster Michael founded MSA Architects in 1985 with a vision of teamwork and respect among design team members, clients, and city officials. This integrated approach earned them the 2011 AIA Ohio Gold Medal Firm Award, the highest possible honor. A recognized leader in the architecture community, Michael was elevated to fellowship in the AIA in 2009, and he has served as the past president of both the Cincinnati chapter and state of Ohio AIA. Michael received his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Cincinnati.
Sally Noble A Cincinnati native, Sally’s love of this city has greatly influenced her design philosophy. With 25 years of experience in both design and construction, and a BS in architecture from Ohio State University, she is comfortable helping to build the relationship between the client and the builder. As a LEED Accredited Professional, Sally incorporates green building practices whenever possible, and considers the future of her clients with aging-in-place design. Her work has been featured in Cincinnati Magazine, The Cincinnati Enquirer, and on the television show “Around the House”.
Alexander Christoforidis An academic and practicing architect, Alexander has taught architecture and urban planning students at the University of Cincinnati for the past decade. He is an owner of Synthesis Architecture, which specializes in modern residential design, retail spaces, and Byzantine ecclesiastical architecture. The firm is the continuation of Carl A. Strauss & Associates, and Alexander spent five years working with Strauss, one of the pioneers of the modern movement in the Cincinnati region. Alexander holds a Master of Architecture and Master of City and Regional Planning from Ohio State University, where he graduated among the top of his class.
Steve Kenat Steve is the director of community development at GBBN Architects. He is also involved with the Urban Land Institute Cincinnati and Downtown Cincinnati Inc. This experienced LEED AP designer has managed projects from neighborhood planning to adaptive reuse projects. Due to his expertise in design and diversity, he was selected to be a member of Leadership Cincinnati Class XXXI by The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. Steve earned his B.Arch from the University of Cincinnati DAAP.
Jeffrey Sackenheim Since 2002, Jeffrey has been vice president of SHP Leading Design. With expertise in the generational impact of design, he exhibits synergistic trends in the corporate and educational markets to optimize spaces in each environment. Their work on the Dayton Regional STEM School and Walnut Hills High School earned them two Cincinnati Design Awards. He has served as president of the AIA Cincinnati chapter, chair of the Cincinnati Design Awards, and member of the non-profit group, cf3. Jeffery holds a Master’s degree in architecture from the University of Cincinnati, and a BA in architecture from Miami University.
John Senhauser Since 1979, John has been the owner of his self-titled firm, focusing on highly-personalized custom residences. He was elevated to fellowship by the American Institute of Architects in 1995, and his firm has received more than fifty design awards in addition to the AIA Ohio Gold Medal Firm Award and the AIA Ohio Gold Medal. John has served as secretary on the National Architectural Accrediting Board, institute secretary for the national AIA, and president of both the Ohio and Cincinnati chapters of AIA. He holds a B.Arch degree from the University of Cincinnati.
Rod Sidley Located in historic Wyoming, just outside of Cincinnati, Rod Sidley Architects has specialized in distinctive residential additions and remodeling projects since 1993. Under Rod’s direction the firm won awards from the Miami Purchase Association and the Architectural Woodwork institute. The Cleveland native is known for his service-oriented architecture, and he is currently working on approximately thirty-five projects ranging from residential additions and remodeling projects to new homes. Rod earned his B.Arch from the University of Cincinnati, and a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology from Harvard University, where he graduated cum laude.
Ryan Duebber Prior to founding his own private practice, Ryan spent six years gaining experience at Michael Schuster Associates, a prominent Gold Medal-winning commercial design firm. As founder and lead designer of Ryan Duebber Architect, Ryan provides collaborative design services and creates unique environments that provide sustained value to the client, environment, and the community. He has been Chairman of CRANawards for 2013 and 2014, a design awards program that promotes the work of licensed residential architects. Ryan holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Cincinnati.
E. Thomas Fernandez Thomas’ 33 years of experience at SFA Architects led to success in design, project planning, and the management of each project from the programming phases through the completion of construction. As principal-in-charge of the second-generation business, Thomas’ main objective is to ensure that the needs and expectations of the client are met and exceeded. He is the son of Emilio Fernandez, a Cuban immigrant who founded the firm in 1967. A Cincinnati native, Thomas earned his Bachelor of Science in architecture from the University of Cincinnati.
Cincinnati image via Flickr user Ian Freimuth
Rob Busch image via Clay Griffith / Cincinnati Refined