The Mirror Groundbreaking

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Earlier this week the WJ family celebrated the ground breaking for The Mirror, mixed-use development project in downtown St. Petersburg.

The new 6-story 32,000 sf facility will included three-floors of commercial office space and three-floors of residential condos. The project is being developed, designed, and built by WJ and will be the future home of the WJ family of companies.

To learn more on the project visit

Fire Station 7 Opens

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After years of planning St. Petersburg’s Fire Station #7 opened last month.  The a 9,270 square foot, 3-bay apparatus, drive-through fire station designed was designed with a priority on efficiency and ease-of-use throughout the building to ensure the crew would be optimally positioned to serve the community at all times.

View Project Page





Morningside Recreation Complex Opens

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Earlier this month the City of Clearwater opened the doors to the newly completed Morningside Recreation Center Designed by WJA. The new 20,998 sf facility houses an athletic gymnasium, fitness center, locker rooms, offices and a large dividable multi-purpose room. The new recreation center was built adjacent to the existing community pool and shares locker rooms and offices for administrative staff.

To learn more about the programs offered and operations hours for Morningside Recreation Center visit the City of Clearwater’s website.

Social Change Center coming to South St. Pete.

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The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg has selected WJ to design and build a Social Change Center in South St. Petersburg.

The 23,000 sf space which formerly housed a 1960’s grocery store will be completely renovated inside and out. The new social change center will serve as a flexible venue, forum, workshop and office for community members and non-profit organizations to come together, share resources, develop strategies and carry out initiatives. The new Social Change Center is being designed and built by WJ’s design-build division WJCreate with construction scheduled to begin November.

To learn more about the project and the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg view the official press release. 


New Fire Station for Plant City

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Earlier this month WJA completed the design for Plant City’s new Fire Station #3. The new 8,400 sf Fire Station will feature a glass bay to showcase the departments 1927 American LaFrance fire engine, 7 private dormitories, individual bathrooms and fitness center.

In an article published by the Plant City Observer, WJA’s Jeff McDowell, City Manager Bill McDaniel, and Chief Azzariti, spoke about the many features for the new Fire Station. The full article can be found here



Academy Prep Breaks Ground

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On January 10th, Academy Prep Center for Education in St. Petersburg broke ground on their new $2 million dollar multipurpose building. The new 2,610 sf multipurpose building will serve as the heart and gathering place for the school where they will meet every morning for pledge and for various other school wide gatherings. The building will include a mobile stage, warming kitchen and large covered outdoor cafeteria.

The new facility is being designed and built by WJArchitects / WJCreate. Serving as designer and builder, WJ is providing comprehensive architecture and construction services, managing the development of the project from concept to completion.

Art Basel Miami 2017

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WJ is in early concept design for an exhibit for Art Basel Miami 2017. We are investigating, with the use of technology, the redefining of the interstices between Havana, Cuba and Miami, Florida. We are designing two identical rooms, each with a projector, camera, and speakers. One room will be in Cuba and the other will be located within a gallery in Wynwood Wall, Miami. The technology will be installed in each location and synchronized to enable one-to-one scale dialog between the two cities. The exhibit exists to celebrate the rich relational history of the two cities and to celebrate our fascination with technology as a definer of interstices.



THEA Selects WJA for Kotfila Memorial Dog Park

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The Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) has selected WJA and LEMA Construction to serve as Architect and Construction Manager (respectively) for the Deputy John Kotfila Jr. Memorial Dog Park in downtown Tampa. The park will transform about 20,000 square-feet under the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway to memorialize the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Deputy who heroically lost his life last March.

With ample room for large and small dogs to stretch, run and play, the park will use innovative K9Grass, an artificial turf designed for pets. Unlike generic artificial grass, K9Grass is more realistic and won’t hurt paws of smaller breeds. Highlights also include: water fountains with built-in pet bowls, large circular bench-style seating, and a memorial garden and monument that will stand as tribute to the hero deputy – a solemn reminder of his bravery and sacrifice.

Opening this March, the park is located between Raymond Street and 12th Street, at the northern end of the Channel District.

We are honored to play a role in this meaningful project.

About Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority:

Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority is an independent agency of the State, which provides innovative tolling transportation solutions to the Tampa Bay region. More information is available at

About LEMA Construction:

LEMA Construction is a forward-thinking construction management and general contracting firm specializing in superior, sustainable projects for the higher education, healthcare, and commercial markets. Founded in 2005, LEMA Construction has helped create some of Tampa Bay’s most iconic spaces and structures. Our LEED AP certified staff takes pride in their contribution to crafting a sustainable community for future generations. More information is available at

Jensen talks smart design with “Dean of Big Data”

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From local schools to the world’s largest companies, today’s design solutions more often involve dynamic/malleable spaces – with mobile and multifunctional elements that allow customizable configurations. Designers must bring informed perspectives and innovative mindsets – considering possibilities of every nook of space – to address different needs and purposes, and fit different styles and situations.

Practical to stimulating, sometimes disruptive, awareness-nudging spaces can help spur unexpected experiences, new collaborations, mindfulness and innovations.

Jason Jensen recently discussed these topics with uncle-in-law and Chief Technology Officer for Dell EMC Services, Bill Schmarzo. Schmarzo’s predominant focus on Big Data sparked interest in Jensen’s perspectives on smart entities and agile design, which resulted in this blog post by Schmarzo, where he astutely articulates how “agile design supports the execution of smart.”

Schmarzo touches on machine learning as an actuator that helps make adjustments in a range of critical processes throughout daily life – and changing needs and roles of human actuators. From workflow innovations and communications, to health and well-being, a smart design is deeply considerate of those that experience the space – along with the community, environment, and/or industry in which it lives.

To do this effectively, a design team must immerse itself in the client’s practices and culture. We need to know how museums and city halls and fire stations work – what their people need and want, combined with the analytical data – to be able to create appropriate, comfortable, stimulating, productive, and highly functional spaces.

Schmarzo writes, “In the design of a smart classroom, according to Jason, the first step in creating a smart school is to divorce teachers from their classroom ownership.”

“In designing a smart classroom, the classroom is no longer defined by the teacher who occupies the classroom. Instead, the students and the type of learning and teacher-to-student interactions that are occurring in that space define the smart classroom. If a classroom subject requires small workgroups, then teacher creates a group study area. If the classroom subject requires individual lessons, then the classroom needs to be able to be morphed into a study area with various seating options where the students can define their optimal learning environment.”

From learning patterns per subject matter and teacher/student styles, to, yes, types of chairs – design recommendations and specifics should come from exhaustive data gathering and the resulting analytics to inform the team’s critical thinking and purposeful decision-making throughout the design process. More here.

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