NYCOBA|NOMA HIGHLIGHT

ZEVILLA JACKSON PRESTON, R.A.

Name: Zevilla Jackson Preston, R.A., 2005 NYCOBA President.

 

Firm: J-P Design, Inc.

 

Practicing City: New York, NY

Type of Work: J-P Design, Inc. (JPD) is a full service architectural design firm. Services include all phases of architectural work from pre-design to post-construction. Committed to maintaining a diverse portfolio, JPD’s past and current projects include a vast array of building and project types. In addition, JPD provides a full complement of supplemental services that include: feasibility studies, zoning analyses, presentation drawings, construction documents, building programs, site planning, proposal writing, maps for analysis, along with building department, historic preservation and planning commission research and filings. 

Featured Projects:

01

Speculative Affordable Housing

Bronx, New York

JPD: Architect/ Un-Built

 

02

Affordable Housing

New York, New York

JPD: Architect

 

03

Social Service Office

New York, New York

JPD: Architect

 

04

Harlem Gateway

Streetscape Design

New York, New York

JPD: Distinctive Doormats

 

05

Textile Facility

New York, New York

JPD: Architect

 

06

Textile Facility

New York, New York

JPD: Architect

 

07

Technology Center

Bronx, New York

JPD: Architect

 

08

Speculative Community Facility

New York, New York

JPD: Architect/ Un-Built

 

09

Frederick Douglass Circle

New York, New York

JPD: Construction Documents

Artist: Algernon Miller

 

10

Not-for-Profit Office

New York, New York

JPD: Architect

 

11

Brownstone Restoration

New York, New York

JPD: Architect

 

12

Speculative Affordable Housing

Bronx, New York

JPD: Architect/ Un-Built

 

Q&A

 

How did you first learn about architecture and when did you decide that it was an area of interest for you?

Architecture came to me late in life, if high-school is late!  As a child I wanted to be a lawyer. It seemed like an honorable profession. As a teenager, I attended Brooklyn Technical High School and was introduced to Architecture. I was hooked immediately!  For this reason, I am a staunch believer in exposure, exposure, exposure for young people. Our life experiences mold who we are and who we will be. I shudder to think that I may have been a lawyer instead of an architect had I not gone to Brooklyn Tech.

 

What do you do?

As JPD firm principal, I am responsible for JPD’s day to day operations, marketing, financial matters and staffing. Beyond the firm’s administrative functioning, I oversee all of the firm’s design and production work across all phases from pre-design to post-construction.

 

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Architecture is an interesting profession in that it is so multi-faceted. Whatever one likes, whatever your passion is –– the architectural profession provides a niche for its expression. As someone who is socially aware, I enjoy the fact that architecture provides me with a vehicle to explore the physical space that houses "physically depressed communities" or "communities that have been historically under-served by the profession”. Hence, I am most satisfied when I am able to overcome design challenges posed by the cultural, social and economic constraints associated with working within these communities to craft unique and distinctive spatial environments.

 

What excites you in the work you do?

Everything about architecture excites me! I enjoy the pre-design process of getting to know old structures that are to be rehabbed or a vacant lot to be developed. I enjoy talking to end users and developing questionnaires to ferret out the details of space and activity programs. I enjoy the design process when site and existing building constraints pose interesting challenges. I enjoy developing custom details and identifying inexpensive materials that provide a visual ‘BANG’ for client’s limited dollars. I actually enjoy reviewing CD sets for errors and omissions and I enjoy administering the construction contract so that I can help to ensure that each client gets the highest value for every dollar spent.

Who or what inspires you professionally?

I am most inspired by my clients, the people who trust me to create spaces that they will ultimately occupy on a daily basis.

What is your proudest professional accomplishment or achievement?

My proudest professional accomplishment is the founding of J-P Design and its commitment to Design Excellence.

 

How long have you been involved with nycoba NOMA?

I have been a NYCOBA member since 1990 and I was the 2005 NYCOBA President.

 

Why are you a nycoba NOMA member?

I am a NYCOBA member because of my respect for the legacy of Max Bond, Jim Doman, Henry LeGendre, Garry McNeil, Don Ryder, Harry Simmons, L.E. Tuckett and Frank Turner, all of whom touched me personally. By being a member, I also celebrate and remember Roberta Washington and NYCOBA’s other founding members. As an architect I stand on the broad shoulders of these individuals who have shared their knowledge and advocated to open doors that many younger architects, including myself, have walked through.

 

What do you value most about your nycoba NOMA membership?

I value the legacy of NYCOBA’s founding members and the road map that they left for 1) The development of architectural firms from NYCOBA’s ranks, 2)Professional development of young Black architects entering the profession and lastly, but not least 3) Aggressive advocacy for economic parity and opportunities for member firms to grow. It is this legacy that I sought to build upon during my 2005 tenure as NYCOBA Prseident.

 

To learn more about J-P Design, Inc., please visit http://jpdesigngroup.com/