Exclusive ILMA Interview with Aspiring Architect, John Fernandes

About John Fernandes

I grew up in the Ironbound section of Newark, NJ. Coming from a Portuguese family made it quite easy to live and socialize with people in the area. I’ve gone to Portugal pretty much every summer of my life. Being that I live in the country side of Portugal, I get the two different sides of the spectrum of living. After I graduated the 8 th grade from Ann St. School, I moved to Summit, NJ where I attended high school. I took many different electives that somewhat related to architecture and the construction industry.

My pursuit for a career in Architecture didn’t occur until I started to take architecture classes in my junior year. The pursuit also came from an architect who now happens to be a friend and colleague of mine, Frank Cunha. He designed the house I live in now and every time he came over to talk about his work, you can see he was very happy with his job. So deciding to take up architecture, I enrolled at NJIT, and soon saw why Frank had so much passion for his work. I easily fell in love with the idea of architecture and design. I am now in my last semester at NJIT and will be graduating in May 2013. I have also been working at a firm as an intern since November of 2011 and have worked on residential as well as commercial projects.

Johh NJIT

Johh at NJIT School of Architecture

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Frank Cunha III
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Houston Ballet Center for Dance by Gensler

Photo © Nic Lehoux/Gensler

Program: A six-story, 115,000-square-foot home for the Houston Ballet and its academy, located in the city’s theater district. The project includes nine dance studios, a dance laboratory, dressing rooms, a common room, and offices. An open-air pedestrian sky bridge connects the new steel-structure building to the ballet’s performance space next door, the Wortham Theater Center.

Design Concept and Solution: Imagining the center as a living billboard for dance, Gensler wanted to create a building that would showcase the activity of the dancers within. The architects drew inspiration from the proscenium stage, stacking double-height rehearsal studios atop each other so that passersby below see the studios framed by the center’s black granite facade. The architects continued this framing effect on the inside by surrounding the studios’ interior-facing windows with walnut planking. They kept the fixtures and finishes minimal and neutral-toned to further emphasize the activity of the dancers: long, lean lighting strips and clear glass railings (along with the lines of the walnut planking) provide a static backdrop for the movements of the dancers.

Total construction cost: $46 million

Architect:
Gensler
711 Louisiana, Suite 300
Houston, TX 77002
Phone 713.844.0000