WJ @ Tampa Bay Design Week

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This past weekend, the WJ Team presented the “Cuban Roots” installation for Tampa Bay Design Week.

“Cuban Roots” is an installation concept that brings together the history of Ybor City, the creativity of Cuban culture and cuisine, and a future pathway for a sustainable healthy community through the visual and tactile experience of an herb garden. By creating a pop-up Herb garden, we hope to bring forward a public discussion about the urban re-development of Ybor city in the context of a vibrant Cuban history. Farming and locally grown food and cuisine create a unique and iconic culture to Ybor city that is highlighted with a display of herbs common to Cuban food and drink in a creative design of recycled plastic material containers.

About Tampa Bay Design Week
Tampa Bay Design Week brings together designers, enthusiasts, community leaders, and citizens to celebrate and explore how design improves the quality of our lives and our community. Launched in 2014, Design Week takes place each fall and includes a collection of design-related events hosted by several like-minded organizations working together to promote the design disciplines. Included are numerous tours, presentations, installations, films, round-tables, events, family activities and more, all with the goal of exposing the community to design.
To learn more visit

Top Design Award for Madeira City Hall

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Top architecture award goes to Wannemacher Jensen for transformative Madeira Beach City Hall

The Dean Rowe Award is AIA Tampa Bay’s highest annual design honor

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (November 21, 2016) — Tampa Bay’s chapter of the American Institute of Architects awarded St. Petersburg-based Wannemacher Jensen Architects (WJA) with the region’s highest design honor at its flagship annual event this month.

The H. Dean Rowe, FAIA Award for Design Excellence recognized WJA’s design of the acclaimed Madeira Beach City Hall. Notably, a city hall had never won any design award in the Tampa Bay region. Arguably the most compelling city hall around Tampa Bay, the 14-acre municipal complex also includes a fire station, recreation center, and large community park and event space.

The jury commented: “Civic presence with simple modern materials and forms. Project beautifully engages the site with strong parti. Creates a grand civic experience on a tight civic budget.”

Jason Jensen said: “It’s often difficult to do inspiring civic design – politics can easily get in the way – but Madeira leaders have a vision for a truly unique destination.”

Project Manager Harold Somarriba said: “The project provided opportunity to weave large multi-use public space with core civic activity. The highly functional municipal structure blends with parkland to form a community center. It fosters new relationships between public space and public service, allowing exterior circulation to be used by all as event spaces.”

The award was presented to the Madeira Board of Commissioners on December 13.

About the Dean Rowe Award for Design Excellence

Recognizing built projects by licensed individuals or firms from any category, the highest honor for design excellence awarded by AIA Tampa Bay is named for the late H. Dean Rowe, FAIA – an award-winning designer and mentor to many of Tampa’s talented architects. Each year, AIA Tampa Bay honors architects, philanthropists, public servants, and organizations committed to improving communities through design excellence, and for outstanding accomplishments and service to the architecture profession and the community.

About AIA Tampa Bay

AIA (American Institute of Architects) Tampa Bay is the professional association for architects and the architecture field. AIA Tampa Bay is the regional chapter representing approximately 650 members in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk, Hernando, Citrus, Sumter and Pasco Counties. The AIA provides programs and services including educational programs, design competitions, community service programs and serves as the united voice of the architecture profession. The regional chapter office is located in Ybor City.

More about the Madeira Beach City Hall complex

The City of Madeira Beach is making leaps in its continued evolution as the unofficial progressive flagship of Pinellas County beach cities. Designers sought to create an atmosphere that might inspire new perspectives or ideas, or even encourage new people to take part in municipal meetings and get engaged with the local government of a small forward-thinking city.

The 14-acre complex brings a litany of new opportunities and amenities for the public as well as public servants. The waterfront Recreation Center, City Hall and Fire Station were designed as a community park complex with civic presence.

Inspiration drew from aspects of nature, fitness, outdoor activity and waterfront views. The new city hall’s basic program requirements include office areas, building department services, commission chamber, multipurpose room, a small gym, and a covered boardwalk.

With use of extensive Low-E glass, flexible interior office space, covered exterior circulation, and an elevated structure; the building promotes opportunities to reduce energy consumption, actively engage with the outdoor environment, and promote wellness for city staff and the general public in a positive and familiar atmosphere. This city hall is truly for all residents to play, work, and govern.

The buildings were designed for maximum efficiency, while taking advantage of the full waterfront exposure for both the new city hall and recreation center. Floor to ceiling windows in the multi-purpose room and fitness center offer waterfront views, as do the city hall offices. A covered boardwalk fronts the city hall entrance, then wraps around to create a deck behind the multi-purpose building. The special event spaces are all adjacent to the water.

The commission chamber is available to residents for community events. The chamber is extracted from the typical interior location and is exposed as a transparent volume that serves both as a place of civic engagement and as a lantern that invitespeople to the expansive park and waterfront edge.

A permanent stage and concert area has attracted such acts as Sugar Ray, Boy George with Culture Club, Everclear, and The Wailers. Three baseball/softball fields, two tennis courts, and a basketball court each have water views. R.O.C. Park, initiated by nonprofit Remember Our Children, features paved walkways, fountains, engraved stones, a “Lock Palm Tree” and sitting areas spread throughout. A reflection area looks over the waters of Boca Ciega Bay, and the liveliness of the recreation center and patrons enjoying the grounds foster a positive and familial atmosphere.

The former city hall was about 50-years-old when demolished in 2014. The City of Madeira Beach opened its new City Hall in 2015. The complex is designed to last 75 years.

Info and images available at:

Additional images and materials readily available.

More at:

West Manatee Fire Station opens

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This month Wannemacher Jensen celebrated yet another fire station ribbon cutting (the firm has completed several fire stations, with several more in the queue).

West Manatee Fire Station 1 replaced an outdated fire station, while adding about 2,000 square-feet of space (from 7,696 to 9,500 square-feet).

The project involved the analysis of multiple sites; and the evaluation, design, and replacement of the existing station via the design-build delivery process.

The new facility includes: three apparatus bays, an officers’ office, additional office, reception, laundry room, mechanical room, data room, medical records room, and break room. Living quarters consist of eight dormitories, three bathrooms, a dayroom and a kitchen with pantry and dining. New unique features include fueling on-site and parking for eight additional district vehicles including emergency response trailers.

Last Saturday community leaders and neighbors joined fire officials for a public dedication ceremony and open house with tours, exhibits, and demonstrations.

Information about West Manatee Fire Rescue is available at:

Further info is available on the West Manatee Firefighters Association Facebook page.

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New era for St. Petersburg College

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The storied and growing St. Petersburg College has selected a team of LEMA ConstructionPerkins + Will, and Wannemacher Jensen Architects (WJA) to design and build a new $25-million flagship building at their St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus, to be known as the “Student Success Center.”

“We appreciate the student-centric, forward-focused approach of St. Petersburg College,” said WJA’s Jason Jensen. “We’re thrilled to contribute toward such a progressive education vision.”

Completion is planned for fall 2018. Information at:

Information about St. Petersburg College at:


Pier Upland Project

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The St. Petersburg Pier District will create new experiences between St. Pete’s vibrant downtown and its expansive waterfront park system, the St. Pete Pier, and Tampa Bay

Wannemacher Jensen and partner New York-based W Architecture & Landscape Architecture are in the process of developing designs for the St. Petersburg Pier “Approach” (also known as the Uplands project, or the Pier District).

The Pier Approach connects the downtown core to the new St. Petersburg Pier with an active and seamless art-lined pedestrian promenade, offering flexible event space, waterfront dining, market venues and more. A proposed shaded pedestrian promenade will provide both access to the pier and a venue for pop-up tents.

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The St. Petersburg waterfront park system is the third largest in North America, encompassing 34 acres of city waterfront. The project will repurpose Beach Drive from the Vinoy Hotel to Pioneer Park, with walkable streets and an Anchor art piece centered in a Grand Pier Approach entry.

The approach will include a wide array of circulation options including the downtown looper trolley, the beach trolley, the ferry, and wide/consistent waterfront pathways. Construction is planned to start September 2017 with completion in September 2018.

Learn More:
New St. Pete Pier Updates
Pier Approach Presentation
Bay News 9 Coverage
Pier Approval


The James Museum coming soon

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Culminating from years of planning, Tom James (Executive Chairman of one of St. Petersburg’s largest and well known publicly traded companies) announced plans about the anticipated $55-million Tom & Mary James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art  – opening in 2017.

Wannemacher Jensen is proud to collaborate with Yann Weymouth and Harvard Jolly on this important and generous cultural contribution from Mr. and Mrs. James, to St. Pete’s residents and visitors for generations.

More than five hundred pieces of artwork are coming from the Tom & Mary James/Raymond James Art Collection. The James Museum will encompass the first two floors of downtown St. Pete’s 100 Central Avenue building, covering more than 133,000 square feet of museum space alongside mixed-use, public and retail space – a theater, a cafe, and community event space.


Mr. James has long supported the prominent and ever-evolving St. Pete arts scene in many ways, including serving as president for the Dali Museum Board of Trustees.

The James is one in a game-changing series of downtown Saint Petersburg renovations and developments in the works, such as the “One” complex across the street, the Central Avenue 400 block, the American Arts and Crafts Movement Museum on the other side of downtown, and the Pier District.

Much more:

James Museum website

Tampa Bay Times

Tampa Bay Business Journal

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St. Pete Free Clinic expands capacity, capabilities

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St. Petersburg Free Clinic’s new Virginia and David Baldwin Women’s Residence is now open in downtown St. Petersburg. The new building has substantially increased the Free Clinic’s capacity, now allowing the nonprofit to assist nearly 150 women transition to self-sufficiency each year.

The Women’s Residence provides a safe place for women to live while they develop skills necessary for independent living. Designed by WJA, the new Women’s Residence includes a large commercial kitchen with teaching areas to share healthy cooking techniques, an open dining area to foster a sense of community, and training rooms to help with job-seeking and other life skills.

Open since 1989, the St. Pete Free Clinic receives about 1,800 inquires annually.

Read more about the new facility at SaintPetersBlog and TampaBayNewswire.



FL Business Observer names Jensen 40 under 40

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Jason Jensen, Principal, Wannemacher Jensen Architects (38)

Jason Jensen is proof that interns can become owners. According to the principal of Wannemacher Jensen Architects, all it required was “taking ownership before actually taking ownership.”

For Jensen, that meant finding a way to make an impact at the business and working to grow the firm from day one. For example, he encouraged the business to submit for design awards and join in public art displays to get its name out — both of which brought notoriety to the firm. “It was the firm’s name, not my name,” Jensen says.

It’s part of the reason why he was able to propel his way up the ladder so quickly, becoming a partner only seven years into his career.

Read more at the Business Observer here.

Madeira Beach celebrates City Centre grand opening

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City of Madeira Beach (October 15, 2015) — The new waterside complex houses city hall, the council chambers and the fire station. The complex is also home to ball fields, biking, running and walking paths, parkland, a memorial garden and more. A permanent stage and concert area was also included in the design.

The complex’s master plan was designed by Wannemacher Jensen.

Wannemacher’s Jason Jensen said the experience was “an incredible opportunity to weave together large multi-use public space with core civic activity. Highly functional municipal structures blend with parkland and recreation to form a community complex that fosters new relationships between public space and public service.”

Read more about the new facility here or here.

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