John Senhauser

In 1965, John Senhauser — the founder and driving force behind John Senhauser Architects — moved to Cincinnati to pursue a degree from the University of Cincinnati’s School of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP). Eight years later, Senhauser bought his first home in Mt. Adams. And, although the building was in terrible shape when he first bought it, the expansive view looking over all of Northern Kentucky and the bend in the Ohio River have kept him rooted in the same home for over four decades. 

“As an architect, I’m interested in taking advantage of the possibilities of a particular site so that the house is much more about the people who live in it and where it is sited,” Senhauser says. “Mount Adams is, for me, as much about the spaces in between the buildings as it is about the buildings themselves. Its topography has a lot to do with the character that the neighborhood takes on. The ability to make place and to have character and scale — that is what ties the memory and body to the place.”

After over 40 years of working in the Greater Cincinnati area, Senhauser has found Cincinnati to be a very sophisticated city with a deep respect for the arts and architecture. 

“I have had the pleasure of working with a number of very good clients and, frankly, good clients make good architecture,” he says.

For most of his practice, he has focused on clients interested in single-family homes, with a splash of historical restoration work here and there — like his recent work on Memorial Hall downtown. A number of residential homes he is particularly proud to have worked on can be found throughout the Indian Hill and East Walnut Hills neighborhoods. But since the last financial recession hit,

Senhauser says, he and his team have taken a little turn in their practice, migrating from single-family homes to multi-family urban high-rise projects that now embellish the persona of the entire eastern end of the Cincinnati skyline. 

Some projects that Senhauser and his team have worked on recently include the overbuild apartments that were added on top of the parking garage at 7th Street and Broadway. They also worked on a 17-story project called Encore Apartments, located at 8th Street and Sycamore, which consist of a 500-car garage and 133 units. One project, which is still under construction at 8th Street and Main, will consist of another 125 units designed by Senhauser. 

While high-rise apartments are a wonderful opportunity for a small team like his, Senhauser says they do present some difficulties. Unlike some of the single-family homes he has worked on, apartment projects are extremely budget-conscious. This means everything that is done has to be measured for its value, and the amount of personal expression that can be put into a project is much more limited. 

Even so, Senhauser has made a point to fit these apartments to the flavor of the cityscape around them, utilizing building materials, regular concrete structures and large areas of glass which relate to the early 20th century industrial architecture of the rest of the neighborhood. 

“We have done some projects I’m really proud of under even these [budget-conscious] conditions,” Senhauser says. “Urban projects like these really appeal to me. I enjoy working in the city. And, this has been, of late, a great opportunity to do those kinds of things. I still love single-family houses. But this isn’t necessarily different, just a lot more of them.”

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