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.

New Visions for Skyway Marina District

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Jason Jensen presented WJA’s “Design Guidelines” for the Skyway Marina District in a public meeting this month at the District’s St. Petersburg College campus.

The 75-page image-rich document includes recommendations and examples to serve as a helpful guide for developers, design professionals, city planners, project applicants, and the general community and public. The guide is largely related to the District’s revitalized notoriety, and robust plans for development, along with generally bullish sentiment about the community.

Jensen said, “The Skyway District is a unique destination on St. Petersburg’s waterfront with a strong mix of retail, residential, office, and boating. This vision has great potential to establish the District as a premier community and create a recognizable southern gateway to St. Pete and Boca Ciega Bay.”

“The guidelines take style cues from yachts and sailboats, embracing the waterfront environment. A pedestrian emphasis includes streetscape improvements, trails, shade, and outdoor seating. Overall, this guide will help developers relate with each other and reinforce contemporary architecture and lifestyle.”

With extensive design and style recommendations, some broad-stroke themes involve:

  • St. Petersburg’s reputation as a place that values art and culture.

“The Skyway Marina District has many opportunities to further embrace and implement this into their own design. Energizing the public realm through art.”

  • Preserving beautiful landscape, rich wildlife, and the multitude of resources.

“Proper planning and support can facilitate an easy transition for a growing community to implement sustainable practices and create a happy, healthy community.”

  • Inspiration from yacht and boat architecture blending with the coastal atmosphere.

“Look to transparency, elegant curves, crisp edges, and refined minimalism.”

Imagery offers examples of design practices, materials, and ideas – from bird-safe windows/lights and native landscaping, to wifi and charging stations for bikes, cars, and electronics – full design guide here.

Further info is available on the Skyway Marina District’s website and Facebook page.





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