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MICHAEL BENKERT | Architectural Portfolio

Master of Architecture
Bachelor of Science in Architecture

100 WEST ELDER DEVELOPMENT | Master's Thesis Project . . . . . . . . . . . .

NEWPORT APARTMENT BUILDING | CR Architecture. . . . . . . . . . . . .

'THE GABLEFRONT' | Who's Next 2.0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

PORCH PROJECT | Over-the-Rhine Community Housing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

'THE FOUNDRY AT MADISON' | Niehoff Studio. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

'THE EXCURSION' | Billes Home Design Competition . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


CRANBROOK SPA | SEC Studio. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

WILLIAM McDONOUGH + PARTNERS WORK | Co-op . . . . . . . . . . . .


MULBERRY REDEVELOPMENT | Over-the-Rhine Studio. . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

100 WEST ELDER DEVELOPMENT | Master's Thesis Project

Though desirable for buildings to be economic, environmental, and social assets that benefit both shareholders and
stakeholders, the fragmented development process curtails such building projects. The inherent integration in the
architect-developer model, however, facilitates the aims of triple top line development and is evidenced in this mixeduse redevelopment located along Findlay Market in Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati.This design project, which was developed
in conjunction with a 100+ page thesis document in fulfillment of the University of Cincinnati's Master of Architecture
requirements is approached from the standpoint of an architect-developer and features both a building design and
project pro forma (which includes an operating statement, costs summary, and financing breakdown). The 100 West
Elder project is composed of two, first floor commercial spaces with six residential units above, all of which share an
outdoor roof terrace above the new addition. The development is made financially feasible through the leveraging of
historic tax credits and a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) as equity, both of which represent social and
environmental value.


As an intern architect with CR Architecture + Design

water and Cincinnati skyline. Expected to achieve LEED

in Cincinnati, I was a member of a small project team

for Homes certification when construction is completed

tasked with the design and construction documentation

in 2012, the building was designed and detailed exclusively

of a 93-unit apartment building in Newport, Kentucky.

in Revit, allowing for superior coordination, both in-house,

The development, which is located along the banks of the

and with the structural and MEP consultants who were also

Ohio River and sits in front of a nearby flood levee wall, is

utilizing the BIM software to produce their own drawings.

raised above the 100-year floodplain via structured parking,

My individual contributions to the project ranged from unit

which also provides residents with exceptional views of the

design, to detailing, to area calculations and code research.

'THE GABLEFRONT' | Who's Next 2 0

The GableFront Home is my submission for the
Who's Next 2 0 competition sponsored by
FreeGreen The project is designed to suit the
profile of a young family looking to use a loan to
purchase an energy efficient home with a traditional
exterior and modern interiors The GableFront is
configured to fit within the constraints of the long
narrow lot lines populating many of the nations
older suburbs and is dimensioned to accommodate
standard framing modules to minimize material
waste and cut down on labor With regards to
program, the first floor consists of the living and
dining area, the kitchen, and the master suite while
the second floor features two children's bedrooms,
a homework nook, and a covered outdoor space
Leveraging natural systems to produce open, airy,
light-filled interiors with little to no additional upfront costs the home is comparable in scope and
size to other single-family homes, making it eligible
for financing, yet provides a design quality above and
beyond much of what is currently on the market

Floor Plan Key

01 - Main Entry
02 - Front Porch
03 - Living Area
04 - Dining Area
05 - Kitchen
06 - Half Bathroom
07 - Master Bedroom
08 - Master Bathroom
09 - Basement (below)
10 - Office Nook
11 - Children's Bedroom
12 - Full Bathroom
13 - Laundry Room
14 - Children's Bedroom
15 - Rear Porch
* - Garage Not Pictured

PORCH PROJECT | Over-the-Rhine Community Housing

This project was completed as part of a summer internship for Over-the-Rhine Community
Housing in Cincinnati and serves as a gateway to the new City Home development on Pleasant
Street. The previous porch for the Over-the-Rhine Community Housing office had been
converted to accomodate an additional bathroom in an unsightly and structurally unstable
manner and yet was poised to anchor a multi-million dollar development the organization was
collaborating on with the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC) and Eber
Development. Obviously, the old porch was not making a good first impression on potential
buyers and needed to be replaced in a context that was both sensitive to the historic building
and complementary to the new construction. The new form of the structure acknowledges
historic porches in the neighborhood while the color scheme reflects the patterning of the
box bay windows, which is a staple of the City Home project. Permit drawing for the project
were reviewed and stamped by local architect, Alice Emmons.


'The Foundry at Madison' is a development proposal

composed by myself and two classmates as part of
the 2009 Niehoff Urban Design Studio. The site, a
former machine manufacturing campus, is located in
the Cincinnati suburb of Oakley, and is bordered by a
major highway to the west, big box retail to the north,
and a large non-denominational church to the east.
Our planning concept focuses on utilizing the site to
connect these otherwise fragmented activity centers
(along with Oakley Square) through a network of
great streets to provide access and create a sense of
place, which is currently lacking.
The economics and program of the development
are centered around the GO Cincinnati Plan, which
was released in 2008 to help the city increase its tax
base through targeted place-based developments. The
Foundry meets all parking and SLP requirements, and is
phased in such a way that the project retains a level of
financial feasibility lacking from most student projects.
Rendered perspectives by teammate, Katie Conner

'THE EXCURSION' | Billes Home Design Competition


The Excursion is a sustainable affordable single-family residence

designed for an infill site in Uptown New Orleans. The design is
influenced by three staples of the New Orleans Culture: the shotgun
house, the front porch, and the streetcar, and is lifted 8 off the ground to
avoid water damage from a potential storm surge. In terms of ecology,
strategically placed operable windows permit cross-ventilation and allow
for abundant natural lighting, while SIPs construction ensures a tight
building envelope. Economically, solar thermal panels and photovoltaics
help lower utility bills, while a versatile layout permits the owners to
rent out space as an additional source of income. The Excursion is
expected to achieve LEED Gold status while maintaining affordability.



The Cranbrook Spa and Wellness Center project was a culmination of two

contrasts not only reinforce the design intent, but enable a great deal of systems

quarters of integrated studios in which the issues of structure, environment,

integration with regards to structure, environment, and construction. The

and construction were thoroughly examined and integrated into an individual

inhabitable brick masses take on multiple roles within the project as they help

building design.The architectural intent of this project is for the building to serve

to defining program, resist gravity and lateral loads, contain various mechanical

as a mediator between the formal aesthetic of the Cranbrook campus and the

systems, and house all means of vertical circulation. This allows for the voids in

organic nature of the forest beyond.This is achieved by approaching the building

between to be completely open and extremely flexible spaces in the event that

as a forest of heavy brick masses contrasted with light-filled volumes. These

the user needs to make changes to the program down the line.




Working for William McDonough + Partners was career changing in that it redefined the way I view architecture
and design as a whole. All the projects I worked on in the WM+P office were crafted with human and environmental
health taking top priority and with principles of nature (such as waste equals food, utilizing current solar income, and
celebrating diversity) serving as primary design guidelines.The ultimate goal of this Cradle-to-Cradle philosophy being
the creation of net positive projects in which buildings work like trees and cities like forests.
Some of the notable projects I worked on during my six months at WM+P included Brad Pitts Make It Right project
in New Orleans, Hines Isola project in Milan, Italy, and the Greenbridge mixed-use development in Chapel Hill, North
Carolina. Personal responsibilities included model-making, computer rendering, materials research, diagramming and
exploratory studies



This group studio project exploring sustainable/affordable housing
opportunities takes form in the redevelopment of two adjacent
properties in Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati. The Mulberry project is
unique in that it is just as much a real estate development project as
it is an architectural one, requiring site selection, property purchase
solutions, and funding proposals in addition to design work. It was the
first studio project any of the team members had taken on in which
budget became a factor in design decisions
The design driver for the project is a trombe wall made of salvaged
windows whose structural grid wraps the existing buildings and
establishes the geometry for the exterior decking systems and
surrounding site development. This strategy unifies design elements,
visually distinguishes old and new construction, and provides residents
with privacy and thermal protection from the elements.
The team structure proved beneficial in that it allowed for the detailed
exploration of multiple systems ranging from material selections
to mechanical systems to site development, pricing, and energy
calculations. ***Rendering courtesy of teammate, Jess Linz.