Since 2014, the Infill Committee for the Over-the-Rhine Foundation has overseen new construction within the revitalizing neighborhood by supporting designs for new buildings that fit within the historic context of the area.
In other words, there's a group of people who care enough about the overall aesthetic of the neighborhood to actively discourage development that would bring uninspired, cookie-cutter construction to OTR. This would, in turn, preserve the distinctive look of the area by avoiding diluting it with cheap, easy development.
You know what I'm talking about. Prefabricated homes in the suburbs that all look the same, and retail that, while functional, isn't architecturally significant. While those may work for other neighborhoods, many feel Over-the-Rhine deserves special attention. One of the biggest draws to Over-the-Rhine is its collection of 19th Century architecture, so when there comes a time for filling an empty lot, the OTR Foundation seeks to promote the most inspired designs to preserve that feature of the neighborhood.
Recently, the Foundation held a friendly competition between local and national architects to see who could create the best design for a hypothetical new building at the corner of Vine and Benton Streets (specifically, 1716-18 Vine Streets). The winner, who received $5,000 as a reward, had no obligation to build upon the land, but the competition was meant to test the guidelines the OTR Foundation created while inviting the design community to flex their creative muscles.
Additional $1,000 and $500 rewards were given to 2nd and 3rd place designs.
12 entries were submitted to the competition, each different and impressive in their own way. Though the proposed structures varied, they all contributed to imagining what contextually appropriate modern design could look like in a neighborhood that prides itself on its old look.
Each design is presented in the gallery above. The winner of the OTR Design Competition is the final image.
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The Over-the-Rhine Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit that was founded in 1992.