Architect Bruce Lopez

In Design

How would you describe your design philosophy? My designs are a balance of aesthetics, function and economics. My team at Synergy Design Studio and I develop an overall concept that helps to inspire the creative process and give each project its individuality. Depending on the project, the concept may be derived from something functional such as a building’s purpose or something more abstract. No matter what the concept ends up as, each project is a direct response to its surroundings and how they relate to the functions within the building. We strive to ensure that our designs function efficiency and that they also respect and enhance the natural environment.

Green architectural practices play an important role in your design philosophy. Why is going green so important, especially now? Some of the key areas relevant to today are  reducing energy consumption, reducing water usage, using renewable building materials and reducing construction waste. These strategies minimize the e#ects of the construction process on the environment and help to preserve resources, not to mention the impact of savings to the owner. Additionally, there are other design strategies such as controlling indoor air quality and providing views and proper lighting that contribute to the users’ good health and productivity.

It seems that giving back is an important aspect for you (Culloden Early Childhood Institute with Sandals Foundation and the Jonathan Stewart Library at Campion College), how do you choose your projects?

We all have a responsibility to give back to our community and bene!t from a stronger society. Culloden and the Jonathan Stewart Library were opportunities that I jumped at because I believe that education is one of the keys to building a brighter future for Jamaica. We need to ensure that everyone is given the same opportunities to follow their aspirations.

What design and architectural elements are you pursuing in the design for the Jonathan Stewart library? The Jonathan Stewart Library was one of my !rst projects after my return to Jamaica in 2009. It has been very ful!lling to see it come together over the last few years. There is an entire team of people who have devoted their e#orts to making it a reality. The design concept was developed from the location of the building. The forms directly relate to the position of the building within the  campus and the various functions happening around it. We have also utilized natural light and natural ventilation to

You have completed projects in Jamaica, as well as in South Florida. What are the major di!erences in designing for these two places? Jamaica and South Florida have somewhat similar climate types, however the high cost of electricity in Jamaica dictates that we look for more opportunities for natural ventilation and we strive to avoid signi!cant heat gains from the sun to limit airconditioning use. The typical house in Miami is usually designed to keep the elements out and the primary concern would be limiting heat gain with little concern for natural ventilation. When designing for Jamaica, natural ventilation is one of the main factors that we include to ensure we position the home to take advantage of our trade winds and nighttime o#shore breeze; this really helps to drive the design and develop the characteristic of the architecture. Other aspects that di#erentiate the design process between Jamaica and South Florida are the relative cost of real estate, varied clientele, availability of materials and building code issues, just to name a few.

What’s your dream project in Jamaica? My dream project would be a Jamaican cultural centre. We have so much rich history and talent in so many arenas that the inspiration for a project like that would be endless. It would also be a great opportunity to showcase some of what Jamaica has to o#er and hopefully educate Jamaicans and visitors about the possibilities for our future.


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