Studio Cooke John, founded by Nina Cooke John, is a multidisciplinary design studio that values placemaking as a way to transform relationships between people and the built environment. Working at the scale of the human body; individually or collectively, in the home or on the street, they respond to how we use space in our everyday lives, whether in the family unit or as a community.
Studio Cooke John plays out intimate relationships in the privacy of our homes, but in public, in the streets, they play out important relationships with our neighbors. It is where they strengthen the bonds with those whose backgrounds might be different from ours as they build community. It is in public space that Studio Cooke John provides a place for and acknowledges the presence of those who have been systematically silenced.
Throughout the design process, Studio Cooke John’s collaborations with clients and community members yield insights that inform how they, alongside a network of craftsmen, fabricators and consultants, transform spaces within the home and in the public sphere. What emerges are spaces tailored to each client’s needs, revealing elements of serendipity and surprise.
Nina Cooke John’s work has been featured in The New York Times, Dwell, NBC’s Open House, the Center for Architecture’s 2018 exhibition, Close to the Edge: The Birth of Hip-Hop Architecture and PBS NewsHour Weekend.
Born in Jamaica, Nina has always been inspired by the creativity she witnessed in her homeland: the art of people transforming everyday hardships and limitations into innovative solutions through multiple spheres of life. She imbues the spirit of transformation and innovation into every design project, from the structure of a home’s interior to the streetscape of a city block. Nina began her professional career designing houses in Connecticut, Arizona and Virginia with the architecture firm Voorsanger and Associates. She went on to work on large cultural institutional projects like the New York Botanical Gardens master plan, the Clinton Library and the Biltmore Theater at Polshek Partnership (now Ennead).
Nina collaborated with Reddymade Design on retail design, corporate offices and custom residential construction and interior design for seven years before forming Frame Design Lab in 2012. Studio Cooke John is the evolution of that collaboration.
For two decades Nina has been a sought-after educator, having taught architecture and design strategy at Syracuse University and currently at Parsons the New School for Design and Columbia University. Nina is a 2022 USA Reiss Fellow. She has been a registered architect since 2000 holding licenses in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. She earned her Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University and a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University.