If you’ve been anywhere in Oxford, chances are you’ve been in a building designed by Scott Webb. DuBois Book Store, Kofenya and Stewart Square are just some of the places where Webb has left his mark.
Webb’s path to helping turn Oxford into what it is today began when he was in junior high, working with his father on their family home.
“While I thought it was really fun to participate in the construction, I was super fascinated by the drawings,” Webb said.
That led Webb to wonder, “Who's the one that gets to tell us what to do?”
Webb grew up in Oxford and went on to graduate from Miami University in 1985. There, he honed his skills in the Department of Architecture before moving to Cincinnati to work for a number of years. However, Webb ended up coming back to his hometown.
“It never occurred to me that I can work 20-some years and run this practice 90% in this town,” Webb said.
He has constructed over a dozen buildings in Oxford alone, working in both commercial and residential sectors. Some of the most notable of his designs have been the plethora of mixed-use developments he has contributed to the Oxford landscape.
Webb’s mixed-use designs also provide housing for students off campus. Rory McNutt, a junior majoring in finance and real estate at Miami, lives in Stewart Square. This square houses favorite local restaurants like Gaslight Brewhouse and Patterson’s Cafe, as well as the apartment McNutt resides in. All of these were all designed by Webb in 2006.
McNutt noted the archway just outside her place makes the space “very visually pleasing.”
“It's a fun place to start to see if there's something from history that we can bring back,” Webb said of the archway. “We actually saved that from the old school, and that's why we named it Stewart Square because it was [originally] the Stewart School.”
In a small town like Oxford, lots of the buildings are historic, posing a certain challenge for anyone looking to create new buildings here.
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“We’ve come to call it forensic architecture, trying to figure out how these old buildings are built,” Webb said of the town’s aesthetic.
Lyndsey Carter, a senior marketing major, works at Kofenya, another historic building that Webb helped redesign. The now-functional coffee shop used to be the location for a horse trading business in Oxford long before Webb redesigned it.
“It's a really old building, but I find it functional and cool,” Carter said. “I feel like there's enough space for people to have their space, do their work and then we definitely have enough space back here to do what we need to do.”
This is something that Webb values in his design process.
“Architecture is equal parts art and problem-solving,” Webb said.
That’s the approach he takes to all his projects, making sure that what he builds fits the needs of the people he is building for. It’s also what makes him most proud in particular buildings like the DuBois Book Store.
Webb recalls working on the project with the owner of the store, who is a third or fourth generation DuBois. The importance of leaving behind a building that can be used for generations to come was something Webb wanted to honor in his design.
“It's been a unique practice in that I don't have any competition,” Webb said. “And my clientele just seems to share my interest in wanting to do good work, not just profitable work.”