Friday, April 1, 2016

The latest JMA media!

A recent feature piece in Multifamily Executive outlines the non-traditional side of JMA, architectural development.  JMA has branched out from the typical Design-Bid-Build model of practice and added development to its resumé.  This puts the project into the hands of one entity from start to finish and allows JMA to create its own work and to be a first-mover in up-and-coming neighborhoods.  Read more about this side of JMA here.

As many of our projects are located in long-established urban contexts, we've developed a dedication to designing contemporary buildings that aesthetically complement their existing neighbors. The following publications reference some of what goes into designing in this fashion.

Real Estate Weekly
New York Yimby

And be sure to check out more of our recent press on JMAPC.COM!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Remodeling Magazine Feature

JMA's renovation of a Gramercy Park apartment featured in Remodeling Magazine addresses the sometimes unexpected challenges faced by architects. The scheduling circumstances were challenging, but satisfying with a little hard work and passion.

Friday, December 18, 2015

24 years of being an architect!

24 years ago on this day, I received my degree as an architect. It has been a long and challenging, yet fulfilling road to today. If I were to have to go back and choose my career path again, I wouldn't change a thing. As proud as I am of my architectural achievements, my accomplishments as a father are equally, if not more gratifying.

24 años atrás, me recibía de arquitecto. Fue un camino largo, por momentos complicado, pero siempre satisfactorio. Si volviera el tiempo atrás y tuviera a elegir volver a elegir, volvería a elegir el mismo camino. 
Estoy muy orgulloso de mis logros, y también de mi mayor logro, el de ser padre de 2 hermosos hij


Thursday, December 17, 2015

4th St Construction Progress

A recent progress photo of a project on Jersey City's 4th St coming to life.  The architectural intent was to create a unique building that is representative of 2015, yet relate to its existing urban context in proportion and scale.  Once completed, it will provide Jersey City with 3 high-end residential units and green spaces for its residents in the backyard and on the roof.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Structural Expression in Architecture

A notable architectural movement that took hold in the 1970's is the use of structural expression.  As use of steel and concrete became more prevalent and practical, architects began using the structural components as a notable visual element in the design.  These buildings began to take on a machine-like aesthetic with their technical components and sometimes inner workings, revealed and accentuated in the design.

Norman Foster has been a recurring name with this architectural style.  From the HSBC Building in Hong Kong (1986) to his designs today for buildings like the Hearst Tower and the Leadenhall Building, he still often uses this approach today.

HSBC Building, Norman Foster

Hearst Tower, Norman Foster

Here are some other examples:

Centre Pompidou, Richard Rogers

Hancock Center, SOM

In contrast:

One of the most exciting aspects of emerging technologies is the effect on what is possible for an architect.  Architects today have so many options at their disposal with rapid advancements in structural and building system technologies.  This allows for an antithesis to structural expression.

"The best engineer a few decades ago was someone who could create the most beautiful beam of structure; today it's to do a structure you cannot see or understand how it's done.  It disappears and you can talk only about color, symbols, and light.  It's an aesthetic of miracle."
-Jean Nouvel

This approach to architecture invigorates people's imagination and makes them wonder "what makes that stand up?"  This is in dramatic contrast to structural expression which reveals how it works to anyone who can see it and tells its own story with structure.  This approach nearly hides it and makes it a mystery.

Here are some notable examples:

Marina Bay Sands, Moshe Safdie

Barclays Center, SHoP Architects

Villa Kogelhof, Paul de Ruiter

As an architect, I find it interesting to see how structure can be such an integral part of the aesthetic in buildings or completely hidden in the design.  

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Holidays in the country with my family.

I was on vacation with my family for the holidays. It was nice to have some time off and enjoy family and friends. It was good that my phone didn't work and I didn't have access to my emails.
Well, now I have more than 500 emails to read...
In these pictures, with my 2 sons, Kael, who is 5 years  old and Kiano who is only 4 months old.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The City Designs

In our preview post Preserving Reminders of the Past we talk about the architectural intervention in old structures and how this can improve both the building and its context.

The city is our context and it is changing every day. It is a dynamic organization that whether we try to organize it by setting rules and laws, at the end of the day it is uncontrollable. I think that is what makes cities interesting for painters, writers and film makers.

Over the past five hundred years, urban planners tried to design what they called Ideal Cities. From Thomas Moro and his Utopia to Le Corbusier and F. L. Wright, many architects spent their lives thinking about how a city should be like. Some of those thoughts remain and a few were brought to reality. Palmanova, in the north east of Italy, is a good example of a typical renaissance concentric city. Its structure and internal organization did not change over the years so it is possible to see what these perfect cities looked like.However, if there is something we have learnt from ideal cities is that there is no such thing as perfection when talking about cities.

In the last decades, some architects started rethinking how to bind together old buildings with contemporary interventions. Some of the best examples are the Tate Mordern Gallery (London), the Morgan Library (New York), the Caixa Forum (Madrid) and the Reichstag (Berlin). These are masterpieces of linking different materials, concepts and programs, but sometimes, the city goes beyond architects and clients and does it for itself.

Designing a glass box over an industrial brick structure is a well-known strategy and it seems that the city of New York can link its own elements. Close to our office (SoHo) is the Trump Soho building, a geometric glass skyscraper that does not represent the neighborhood identity at all. However, behind this building, in the same block, rests a former industrial brick structure which has no additions or subtractions but has the typical SoHo image.

These two constructions are not related in any sense and they were not meant to be so. But the city is uncontrollable and unpredictable. Thus, while walking down the streets we change our perspectives and sometimes the city offers us more than what architects had designed.