Julia Munro, For The Miami Student

A quick walk to Alumni Hall now provides much more of a journey thanks to the newest installation in their Cage Gallery.

Miami University students participating in the Atelier Program have brought their work from Cincinnati’s Over the Rhine back to campus to show the campus the real changes they plan to make in the historic neighborhood.

The Atelier Program, specific to Miami’s Architecture Department, is slightly different from the more known and more popular Over the Rhine program.

In Atelier, students work for CR architecture + design, an accurately named studio based in Over the Rhine. Here students are involved in real-life work in planning and orchestrating a design.

“[Atelier] is much more of an internship than a design-build studio … we have to wear suits, not construction boots,” senior JP Luikart said.

In the Over the Rhine program, open to most majors, students live and work in Over the Rhine.

However, the work is much more hands-on and usually at a faster rate. Architecture and Interior Design Professors Tom Dutton and John Blake, who is also the coordinator of Community Projects, direct both programs through the Center for Community Engagement.

This year’s Atelier students were tasked with the job of creating more space in the CR architecture + design firm building. According to students and professors alike, this was implemented to accommodate its growing size and to improve the day-to-day running and efficiency of a modern design firm.

The design includes a two-story addition to the current structure as well as a reorientation of the interior and repurposing of a neighboring building for more spacious conditions and better lighting.

Inside the Cage Gallery the display is minimalist, allowing the viewer to pay full attention to the few presentation pieces available.

First and most obvious is an enormous rendering of the façade of the renovation hanging from the ceiling spreading across four panels. Just in front of these panels is a large model of the renovation built by the students in the program.

The model shows how the inside construction of the building will define spaces and create more necessary room for the firm to grow. The entire west wall is covered in organized, detailed analysis, with yards and yards of trace paper illustrating circulation, sun patterns, hierarchy, designation of spaces and more information one takes for granted while walking through any space.

In addition to providing an outlet of off-campus experience, the Atelier Program is designed to help expand the skill sets of community- oriented students.

“Being able to build on what I’ve learned in Oxford in an office and in an urban environment like Cincinnati has been a highlight of my time at Miami,” Luikart said.

Because so much of the modern architectural career base includes a long-term internship, the Atelier Program allows an experience close-to-home as well as one with the guidance of professors and the expectations of professionals.

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