By Daniel J. Bollinger
Meet DXA Studio’s Wayne Norbeck and Jordan Rogove, who together have a combined 30 years in architecture. Currently, their company has over 40 projects from residential to commercial: yoga studios, townhomes, new developments, and hotels. I had a chance to meet up with Jordan and Wayne to find out a little more about their endeavors.
DXA Studio is one of the most trusted architect firms. What’s a typical day?Wayne Norbeck: Busy, busy, busy! The phone keeps ringing every day with new project opportunities. Each call is better than the one before. It’s a dream.
Tell us about new projects?
Jordan Rogove: We have been hired to do a 300,000 square foot multi-family residential building in Chelsea, a cast-iron restoration retail building in SoHo, a community facility in Fort Greene, a hotel in Midtown and a condo building with retail at the end of the N subway in Astoria, Queens.
That’s quite an array of diverse projects.
WN: One thing that DXA Studio prides itself is our ability to work on a diverse range of projects. For us, the thrill of this profession comes from learning and experimenting. So trying new projects and seeing if we can bring a fresh approach and rethink convention, is what we like to do.
How have you managed that with so many specialized architectural firms in the market today?
JR: It’s all about our process. Wayne and I are site-specific with our design and research-oriented in our approach. A lot of our time is spent at the sites, and we inventory everything of value there, like views, solar exposure, neighboring buildings, access, etc. Our designs always capitalize on these attributes. We also work intensely with our client to understand their program and aspirations and assess how we can bring value to it through thoughtful design. Together we create a narrative of all that is special about the place.
What does that process usually result in?
WN: It equates to why all of our projects look so different. No one can say that DXA has a specific style. This is one of the reasons why we have grown with a portfolio of work that is expansive and unique.
Could you give us an example?
JR: Of course! We have recently contracted to renovate a building on Broadway that was designated an individual landmark for its cultural significance as a studio to some prominent artists including Willem de Kooning. These painters made New York City the art capital; it’s an exciting project to be a part of.
How will you approach this project?
WN: We see this as an opportunity to celebrate these artists and pique everyone’s curiosity, encouraging them to learn more about de Kooning, Poons, Jenkins and the others who painted there. We have studied their work and found inspiration for the design.
Who are your architectural heroes?
JR: We have many. Starting with some of the early modernists in Le Corbusier and Carlo Scarpa through contemporary practitioners like Chipperfield, Adjaye, and Herzog & de Meuron. Their consistently thoughtful and innovative projects are something we strive to emulate.
Does DXA Studio have any limits on the scope and size of their work?
WN: Definitely not. We do everything from small coffee shops to massive campuses and more. We do philanthropic work up to high-end uber luxury projects. Some of our current projects besides residential are quite diverse, from music venues for the Blue Note Jazz Club, to multiple Manhattan hotels, to an orphanage in Zambia, to several tech-focused luxury office buildings in NYC. It’s quite an assortment of opportunities and programs.
What would you consider your most unique project?
JR: It was a philanthropic project in Namibia to help fight malaria. We developed a series of renovations to homes to make them mosquito-free and created a manual on how to install them. We spent time over there training a group of technicians from the health ministry how to perform the work, and they applied it to several thousand homes this year. It’s wild to think some small architectural interventions can save lives.
Any other specialties you would like to share with us?
WN: One skill bears mentioning that DXA has learned from doing such a diverse array of projects, including very high end private residential projects. Even if a project has a limited budget, DXA can design something that has the look and feel of a luxury product. This is a skill that has resonated with both our development clients and the buyers of their projects.
What is the next step for DXA?
JR: We are foraying into the development world. We have so much experience designing developments that we decided to throw our hat in the ring with the acquisition of a defunct hospital in Detroit that we are going to convert to condos.
For more information on DXA Studio, visit dxastudio.com.