Join us as we sit down with twelve of the top Architects and General Contractors in New York City! This month we set down with Juan Matiz, CEO of Matiz Architecture and Design.
Adler Windows: What made you want to pursue a career in Architecture?
Juan Matiz: When I was a kid I liked building blocks and making things out of toothpicks. I thought it was interesting. No one in my family was in the industry which is an uncommon trend in the world of architecture today.
AW: Describe briefly your career journey so far.
JM: After graduating from Pratt Institute with a degree in Architecture it was the mid-90s’ and the economy wasn’t at its finest. I decided to move to Italy for two years and I returned during 2002 2002 to set up Matiz Architecture and Design with my wife, Sarah. Very early on in my career as CEO, I worked with Adler Windows on installing more than 1,000 windows at Pratt Institute.
AW: Tell me about opening your very own company Matiz Architecture and Design?
JM: It was always going to be a challenge but we were ready for it. Thankfully it all worked out and it has been very fulfilling.
AW: Matiz Architecture and Design is not your usual architectural firm as you also have a department dedicated to Branding, can you tell me how this came into fruition and where the idea originally came from?
JM: We are a slightly different Architectural firm as we also do branding and graphic design. We wanted to be able to offer our customers the complete package. Our commercial clients can now avail of our 365 degree design studio. It is always about going that extra step further for the client and here at Matiz Architecture and Design we can offer them something extra.
AW: Describe your architectural style
JM: I do not think that we have our own architectural style. We probably have what you would generally call a modernist touch or feel, but I think we are very versatile and you can see that in our online portfolio.
AW: Where do you get your inspiration from?
JM: My inspiration comes from exploring new and challenging projects, the projects themselves ignite my creativity and that is where I pull most of my inspiration from.
AW: A recent inspiration that stands out, from a recent trip perhaps?
JM: There is not a specific trip but I would say that nature wherever I am while travelling inspires me. To be more specific, it is the patterns in nature and the geometrical shapes carved out by nature that I am drawn to.
AW: What is one project that stands out in your mind as being one of your favorites or most memorable?
JM: This is actually another project that we worked on with Adler Windows. It was a project we did for the Neurological Center. MAD expanded a 5,000 sf townhouse on the Upper East Side to more than 9,000 sf by extending it both horizontally and vertically. We added copper paneling and large glass openings animate rear façade, which is visible from the terrace above the fully built out ground floor. Windows offer tenants a variety ways to distribute the interior programs while the animated facade creates varying shadow throughout the day.
AW: Have you had any particular watershed moments in your career to date?
JM: Starting to work with Universities was arguably the most significant move for the company as it has been as we have gotten so much follow up work and referrals.
AW: What draws you to a particular project?
JM: Exciting and open-minded clients who are willing to explore slightly different proposals and avail of unique opportunities.
AW: What are the unique challenges you face working as an architect in New York City?
JM: The rules and guidelines. Trying to get work done while following the wide variety of rules in New York City is testing at times.
AW: And the opportunities?
JM: New York City is probably one of the most exciting places to work as you get to see. I personally have gotten to see a lot of amazing buildings as we not do a lot of new construction. The opportunities in New York City are endless and that is what makes it so exciting.
AW: Has there been any particular major influences in your career? A mentor perhaps?
JM: Travelling – understanding how other cities build and use their materials. Also, getting to experience the culture in other cities has been very influential on my career.
AW: What do you believe to have been the biggest attribute to your success?
JM: Working hard, being responsive to clients and having a strong team behind me as you will be working with a number of different people on one project. You need to have a team that you can trust and rely on.
AW: What advice would you give to a young architect who is currently trying to make it in the industry?
JM: Be a sponge. Learn early, become an expert in your field and be open-minded. Aldo, do not let technology take over. Continue to sketch technical designs and hold onto your creativity.
AW: What is your favorite building in NYC?
JM: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on 88th 5th Avenue.