Master of Design/Build

MNK Design Build

Born and raised in architecturally rich New Orleans, Matthew Kohnke found himself drawn to architecture and design at the age of 22. He’s worked in the field ever since. “I dreamed of living in a space that inspired me,” says Kohnke, whose first project 15 years ago was a small mid-century duplex. “Experience has been my education and training.” Today, Kohnke owns MNK Design/Build, which handles construction (renovations, restorations and new builds) of both residential and commercial properties. He especially enjoys the rewards of breathing new life into old spaces. “Historic houses are my passion,” he says. “That’s where I really cut my teeth.” Kohnke recently completed a job as lead sub-contractor on the painstaking restoration of the former McDonogh School No. 16. He’s also the designer/builder of craft cocktail bar CURE, which he co-owns. He stresses that working within the historic context of New Orleans requires a thoughtful balance of old and new; an ability to honor past and present ideas about how to live in a space. “There are some builders and designers that do one thing and one thing only really well,” he says. “We can go seamlessly into contemporary and historic and also combine the two.”

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