GBBN’s Court & Walnut Project Design: Finding the Poetry of Fitting in & Standing out in Cincinnati’s Court Street Historic District

One of GBBN’s latest projects, the mixed-use Court & Walnut project that will house downtown Cincinnati’s newest Kroger, faced an interesting design challenge. Since the southern half of the project resides in the Court Street Historic District, the project needed the support of the Historic Conversation Board to move forward. GBBN approached this need by considering the context of the building in the community balanced with the aspirations and needs of the people that will experience the development. The result is a fresh, modern design that also fits in with the nearby structures.

To accomplish this, we intentionally designed the lower levels of the project to match the scale of surrounding buildings, which helps the building integrate from the street view perspective. Along with this, window notches in groups of two and three replicate surrounding building patterns, but in a fresh, modern take.

The project is respectful to the surrounding buildings, but GBBN principal Steve Kenat put it best in the WCPO feature article on the project: “It’s a building that’s for the future. It’s not for the past.”

GBBN presented to the Cincinnati Historic Conservation Board on July 24 for approvals to continue development. The board not only unanimously approved the project, but they also praised the project as well.

To see more about the design challenges, as well as the complete article and an interview with GBBN Principal Chad Burke, check out the WCPO article here.