As Coordinator of Community Projects for the Miami University Center for Community Engagement in Over-the-Rhine, John Blake works directly with students, non-profit community organizations, professional designers, contractors and city officials to bring design-build projects from conception to fruition. In addition to teaching studios for Miami University’s Department of Architecture and Interior Design, John manages daily operations at MUCCE, which is an NCARB Community Design Center.
John’s architectural practice has concentrated on projects for the public good, including libraries, community arts centers, museums and affordable housing. He was on the design team for an innovative 25-unit affordable housing project in Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati– a “renter equity” project that acts as an alternative to ownership and encourages tenants to build wealth through maintaining their properties and fostering community.
Recently, John co-developed the “Atelier” program, which provides advanced architecture students with professional practice experience while offering community-based, non-profit organizations high-quality design services. The program differs from a co-op or internship as the student team is involved in every aspect of project delivery and is coached to lead the project from conception through design development. The Atelier has encouraged the renovation of a community arts education and early learning center as a net-zero energy facility, generated over $1 million in historic tax credit funding for a 13-unit affordable housing project, and proposed a mixed-use co-housing development on top of a 19th century brewery cellar.