James D. Jordan Architects http://jdjarch.com/ JDJ Architects was founded in 2000 and specializes in commercial interior architecture. en-us Fri, 22 Oct 2021 19:28:33 +0000 Fri, 22 Oct 2021 19:28:33 +0000 JDJ Architects creates a serene, comfortable environment for financial firm’s expanded space http://jdjarch.com/blog/jdj-architects-creates-a-serene-comfortable-environment-for-financial-firms-expanded-space Fri, 12 Mar 2021 21:58:00 +0000 jdj@jdjarch.com http://jdjarch.com/blog/jdj-architects-creates-a-serene-comfortable-environment-for-financial-firms-expanded-space When Professional Wealth Advisors (PWA) expanded its existing offices to accommodate growth, the firm sought out JDJ Architects once again to design a serene, calming space that would reinforce the financial firm’s reputation for trust. 

The financial firm was founded in 2015 by Peter Wilmot and Stephen Potts, and later on, Josh Gerry joined the leadership team. Headquartered in Downers Grove in suburban Chicago, PWA recently added 6,300 square feet to its existing 4,200 square feet of space in the same building.

“The challenge was how to make the space ours,” said Potts. “We had very positive meetings with Manish Shah, Director of Architecture, and the JDJ Architects team. We talked about how we worked with our clients, which really helped JDJ Architects to understand our needs. We wanted lots of glass, natural light, and the ability to work with clients in individual offices. We wanted to be able to engage the clients around a table and a large screen and use technology in a personal way.”

Individual offices allow for plenty of natural light and will provide a comfortable, private space for client meetings.

With the pandemic in full swing, the plan, in the meantime, also had to accommodate social distancing for clients choosing to come to the office. The new space features a glass-walled conference room for these meetings, with a motorized Mecho Shade system providing meeting privacy at the touch of a button.

The conference room, used for client meetings during the pandemic to allow for social distancing features motorized shades for privacy. Abstract art provides pops of color against a palette of subdued neutrals. 

The charge was also to create a spacious feel for the new, larger office, which features more traditional finishes. Financial advisors in both the older and the newly designed spaces are in outside offices, each with a desk, soft, comfortable seating areas for clients, and a large viewing screen. Open areas accommodate administrative staff and offer additional “touchdown” spots for advisors visiting from other PWA offices. 

“Overall, we wanted our office to be bright and welcoming, with a prominent logo, but without a lot of distractions, such as a TV screen in the reception area,” said Potts. To add to the office’s refined, upscale look, the firm worked with Ashley Chavez, interior designer at JDJ Architects, to choose artwork for the new offices that was abstract and tranquil, in blue and yellow shades that would add essential pops of color to the office’s neutral palette. “We didn’t want representational art. Ashley showed us her inspiration pieces and gave our staff clear direction on what sizes were needed and where each painting would be placed.” 

Interesting contemporary art and clean-lined furniture in the reception area welcome clients to PWA. 

JDJ Architects also provided counsel on other design considerations, including relocating the kitchen, supplying cost options, and space planning. “Manish helped us with everything from traffic flow, to designing for natural light to privacy frosting on the individual office windows,” said Potts.

For now, advisors can choose to come into the office, which is at about 30-40% capacity, according to Potts. Clients can make appointments for in-person meetings in the conference room, or to communicate through Zoom or other conferencing technology. Eventually, as the pandemic fades out, Potts expects in-person meetings to again become commonplace and PWA will be able to again offer clients a calm, comfortable and private space for making those important financial decisions.  

JDJ Architects is not affiliated with LPL Financial or Professional Wealth Advisors.

JDJ Architects Updates Natural Contemporary Look for Irish Dairy Cooperative http://jdjarch.com/blog/jdj-architects-updates-natural-contemporary-look-for-irish-dairy-cooperative Fri, 08 Jan 2021 22:12:01 +0000 jdj@jdjarch.com http://jdjarch.com/blog/jdj-architects-updates-natural-contemporary-look-for-irish-dairy-cooperative Ornua Foods North America, a cooperative representing more than 13,000 dairy processors and farmers in Ireland, has turned once again to JDJ Architects, Chicago, to create a welcoming, natural contemporary look for its U.S. headquarters in Evanston, Illinois.

Ireland’s largest exporter of Irish dairy products markets butter, butter spreads and cheese under the Kerrygold brand for the U.S., Canada and Latin American markets. Kerrygold’s popularity continues to grow; it has become the No. 1 specialty cheese brand and the No. 2 butter brand in the U.S.

Double-digit growth each year for the past 10 years necessitated a move to a larger space to accommodate a staff of about 40, with the occasional addition of sales and marketing teams visiting from Ornua’s sales offices located around the country. A 12,000 sf office space in the same building became available and allowed Ornua to consolidate 10,184 sf of space on two floors to 12,000 sf on one floor.

JDJ Architects designed the original space 7,447 sf space, which had subsequently expanded to additional space on another floor. Having the Ornua team all on one floor was important to support collaboration and active meetings with the entire team, including the regional sales people.

The interior architecture firm worked with Ornua on the 2020 update. Listening is a staple for JDJ Architects and the client’s needs were clear. “Through 20 years of experience we have learned that all clients have specific requirements, budgets and design style preferences,” said Jim Jordan, JDJ Architects Principal.  “A successful workplace environment is that which becomes not only an extension of the way people work, but a contributor to their well being.”

Ornua wanted to retain the style of the space designed by JDJ Architects in 2015. The Ornua team liked the floor covering, which had become a popular part of the workplace aesthetic, but needed a modernized color palette to complement Ornua’s renovated branding.

The welcoming reception area takes advantage of the two stories of windows providing abundant natural light and views of the atrium.

The updated branding, with colors incorporating a darker shade of green, is evident there and throughout the space. “We have branded the office differently, with murals, images and landscape scenery and we’ve really gone all out with three-dimensional graphics that effectively fill the space,” says Shane Barry, Ornua HR Business Partner. “It actually replicates our Dublin office.” Highlights are three-dimensional graphics of product packaging and the logo, inspired by the cooperative’s grass-fed system, featuring a combination of white oak and artificial grass. The company’s history, with photos and text along with white oak rails and artificial grass forming the timeline, serves as a focal point in the space. Wall murals also showcase a customer testimonial and Ornua’s farm families. Custom film with a frosted patina of the Kerrygold logo provides privacy in the large conference room.  Ornua worked with Tree Towns Imaging and Graphics on the murals and frosted glass.

Employee comfort also was important to the Ornua team. JDJ Architects conducted an inventory of the existing furniture and was able to reuse the ergonomic Humanscale chairs and monitor arms. Sit-stand desks were added to keep the staff active and contribute to their well being.

The Ornua offices look out onto an outdoor terrace. The light-filled and efficient open plan for the sales and marketing staff maximizes the use of natural light and fosters team building. The sales team and senior managers now work in adjacent spaces, which fosters cross-collaboration.  A hot desk area accommodates sales people visiting from regional offices. The office also includes a large multi-function/training room and two huddle rooms for groups of up to six. “By bringing everyone together in the new space, we wanted to encourage collaboration,” says Barry.

Ornua is a legacy client for JDJ Architects. “From the very beginning we had common synergies with Ornua and it has been a privilege to work with them,” says Jordan. “Witnessing their growth and designing creative solutions to their evolving requirements has been extremely rewarding.” 

“JDJ Architects was involved in previous office moves, so the fact that we worked with them once again for this project speaks volumes,” says Barry. The Ornua team worked primarily with Jordan and interior designer Ashley Chavez on the project. “It was great to work with Jim again as he knows our business well and knows what our preferences are. He was able to bring that into the drawings he provided,” adds Barry.  “Ashley was a pleasure to work with, going above and beyond on many occasions and being very responsive to the many changes we made along the way! We’re very happy with the end result.”

Inspiring palettes http://jdjarch.com/blog/inspiring-palettes Wed, 28 Oct 2020 12:00:00 +0000 achavez@jdjarch.com http://jdjarch.com/blog/inspiring-palettes Ashley Chavez, Interior Designer at JDJ architects, shares some inspiration palettes. Our commitment to learn and continue to strengthen our services has made us raise the bar in our Interior Design services. As architects and designers, we know that the choices we make concerning product and material specifications can have a big impact on the health and wellness of building users. These palettes started as a way to explore and research new products and express our findings in a captivating manner. This blog was a natural next step in continuing to share that inspiration and knowledge in a more expansive and holistic way. This journey has prompted interesting conversations and expanded our awareness that materials have an impact that go beyond their beauty.

Biophilia palette

Boundless palette

Invigorate palette

Uplift palette

Here are some of the valuable resources we have come across so far...

Cradle to Cradle



(HPD) Health Product Declaration

The Living Product Challenge

Mindful Materials

Learning to adapt prefabricated/temporary healthcare structures as solutions to meet pandemic needs http://jdjarch.com/blog/learning-to-adapt-prefabricated-temporary-healthcare-structures-as-solutions-to-meet-pandemic-needs Thu, 18 Jun 2020 19:48:23 +0000 ManishShah http://jdjarch.com/blog/learning-to-adapt-prefabricated-temporary-healthcare-structures-as-solutions-to-meet-pandemic-needs Manish Shah director of healthcare projects at JDJ Architects shares his findings in prefabricated healthcare structure solutions. His interest in this topic developed earlier in his career, when he worked on the project involving mobile temporary units for imaging equipment like CT, and temporary mobile kitchen projects.

The first case of COVID-19 in the US, was discovered in January, and ever since the numbers have been exponentially growing, inundating healthcare systems around the country who scramble to find patient beds to treat infected patients. To accommodate the surge of patients, governments and local authorities are evaluating ways to treat high volumes of patients. One response has been the conversion of non-healthcare facilities like McCormick Place convention center into temporary hospital treatment areas for non-COVID patients. In India, the government is testing the conversion of train compartments into isolation type bays through which they can transport symptomatic patients.

Also, in response, hospital systems are focusing on converting some of their non-critical support spaces to treat the surge of COVID-19 patients. The strategy includes creating separate emergency room entrances for regular and COVID-19 patients, relocating emergency room triage space for regular patients outside the building in a protective structure and converting emergency room space to triage only COVID-19 patients.

The extreme surge of COVID-19 patients in this pandemic has forced healthcare systems to assess patient volume and project the facility modifications, expansion and temporary facilities that will be required. Hospital systems in non-urban settings with land and parking lot area may have advantages in expanding or building a temporary facility. However, building code approvals from local and state jurisdictions will play a vital role in expansions.

The expansion of existing healthcare facilities is not an easy task since planning, approval process and construction take time. Additionally, the lack of critical infrastructure such as HVAC and power can cause complexities and unforeseen costs. Hospital systems will need to evaluate available design and construction options that can be implemented quickly, cost-effectively, and with the available labor force. Prefabricated construction units built in a controlled environment seem to be one of the many viable options to meet these goals. Army Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, commander of the Army Corps of Engineers, told 60 Minutes that this situation calls for a "good enough design," not a complicated one.

A few prefabricated construction systems are available including the use of shipping containers and prefabricated modular construction units made of steel frame and metal panel infill. Companies such as Clinic in a Can make custom clinical units from shipping containers. Relocatable Building Systems’ flat-pack modular system is made up of steel frames, like shipping containers, and metal panels which can be converted into patient treatment units. Currently there are many construction companies around the country that can produce prefabricated modules to meet the requirements of custom patient treatment units. Key benefits of these custom modular units are that they are easy to transport on a standard flatbed truck and units can be delivered in 2-4 weeks. The recently built temporary COVID-19 hospital in Wuhan, China used similar prefabricated technology.

Given the temporary nature of prefabricated construction, it is important to consider what will happen to temporary structures after this use. Modules from temporary structures can be dismantled and transported to other hospitals as demand varies. These modules can also be sanitized and stored for future use or donated to hospitals around the country to use in times of shortage. This ability to reuse makes this an appealing sustainable option.

Utilizing temporary prefabricated structures for healthcare facilities may currently not meet all code requirements or solve all practical problems. However, prefabricated structures merit further study so they can become a viable solution to the challenges faced by hospital systems and governments in the current pandemic situation.

Time to get inspired and embrace the International WELL Building Institute™ (IWBI™) spirit. http://jdjarch.com/blog/time-to-get-inspired-and-embrace-the-international-well-building-institute-iwbi-spirit Fri, 08 May 2020 20:37:48 +0000 wredon@jdjarch.com http://jdjarch.com/blog/time-to-get-inspired-and-embrace-the-international-well-building-institute-iwbi-spirit With new challenges come new opportunities. It’s time to get inspired and embrace the International WELL Building Institute™ (IWBI™) spirit. JDJ Architects team member Wilma Rendon, WELL AP, promotes the use of the WELL framework in our projects. In these unprecedented times of rapid change, one size does not fit all. But one thing remains constant: our people are our greatest asset. The spirit of the WELL certification places people’s wellbeing at its heart and provides us with a framework or guide to evaluate/inform our building and design process. This knowledge is applicable to any size project or business. It is a way of thinking that informs a way of life.

The WELL v2 Pilot is comprised of the following concepts: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Movement, Thermal Comfort, Sound, Materials, Mind, Community, and Innovation. At our own practice, we decided to embrace the Well framework and rethink how we can implement these concepts in our studio. We took one action at a time. Let me describe the first six.


Action #1: Comfort - First, we invested in new office furniture. We researched the ergonomics and sustainability of our chairs and desks. As an architecture studio, we tend to spend much of our time seated at our desks, so we switched over to a sit-stand desk system. Initially, we weren’t sure whether our team would utilize the desks’ features. Two years later, I am happy to communicate that our desks move up and down quite often.


Action #2: Water - We invested in a water filtration system integrated in our café area to encourage our staff to stay hydrated and avoid bottled water. This small investment not only improved the health of our employees but also the health of Mother Earth as it eliminated the need for plastic water bottles.


Action #3: Nourishment - We all have a sweet tooth! However, we made talking about our food choices part of our office culture, fostering good eating habits to support a culture of good health. We decided to provide complimentary healthy snacks and fruit for our staff. We made a conscious effort to tell our very generous building product reps of our healthier food preferences. They now provide healthy, energizing meals for our Lunch-n-Learn sessions.


Action #4: Fitness - Through ongoing company contests and small company policies, we motivate our team to stay active and promote exercise and outdoor time. Our staff consists of marathon runners, triathletes, swimmers and yoga enthusiasts.


Action #5: Mind – Mental health has become a priority, especially today when there is much uncertainty. Routines have changed; shelter-in-place mandates have been imposed. We are adapting to a new reality. The traditional 9 to 5 job has been turned upside-down. Thanks to the benefits of smart technologies, we were able to quickly implement a work-from-home environment. We implemented digital connectivity through cloud-based solutions, continuing to serve our clients while supporting each other.


Action #6: Biophilia - Bringing nature indoors has been proven to contribute to our wellbeing. Before we return to our office, we will bring interior greenery to welcome our team to their space and celebrate being together again.

The current pandemic has made us more aware of our health than ever before. It has given us an opportunity to rethink our work environments within the WELL framework. We at JDJ Architects will continue to partner with you in this process. Let’s continue developing user-centric design solutions and policies that enhance the lives of everyone.

Light-filled, contemporary clinic design highlights influential podiatry brand http://jdjarch.com/blog/light-filled-contemporary-clinic-design-highlights-influential-podiatry-brand Tue, 29 Oct 2019 18:03:31 +0000 jdj@jdjarch.com http://jdjarch.com/blog/light-filled-contemporary-clinic-design-highlights-influential-podiatry-brand Designing a headquarters for a rapidly growing network of clinics presented an opportunity for a 54 year-old podiatry practice to highlight a successful and influential brand while providing patients and staff with a light-filled, contemporary space.

A new, more spacious headquarters location provided the opportunity for the Weil Foot and Ankle institute to introduce their innovative brand. “We wanted to create a new, modern space that offers both patient comfort and employee satisfaction,” says Dr. Wendy Benton-Weil, Coordinator of Special Projects at Weil Foot and Ankle Institute.

Weil Foot & Ankle Institute turned to JDJ Architects, Chicago to design the light, airy 23,000 square foot space, teaming up with Manish Shah, director of architecture and Ashley Chavez, interior designer.

Large windows and beautiful views provided the “wow” factor for the main clinic space on the first floor, and creative design enabled views from all common areas, with privacy where required.

A color palette of serene whites and grays was chosen, punctuated with touches of copper and bronze to add richness. “It’s a Center for Excellence, and we wanted a state of the art facility,” says Dr. Benton-Weil. The reception area features comfortable seating throughout, a coffee bar and an adjoining retail shop, where patients can browse through a selection of shoes, oils, lotions, braces, nail polishes, medications, socks and more. “It’s a comfort issue,” says Dr. Benton-Weil. “Our reception area has a calming effect, and our patients love it.”

JDJ Architects selected finishes for healing aesthetics and durability. “We wanted to create an ambience that has a positive effect upon the well-being of those who use the space, from patient to clinical staff,” says Shah, who heads up JDJ Architects’ health care practice. He noted that design for healthcare today is heavily influenced by the hospitality industry, with sophisticated furnishings, relaxing seating areas encouraging quiet conversation and amenities such as coffee bars, TVs, wireless access and more.

“JDJ Architects is seeing an increased demand for medical and healthcare offices that offer a “consumer-friendly” experience as well an enjoyable workspace for healthcare professionals and administrative staff,” said Shah. “We’re designing facilities that anticipate the future of healthcare, with careful consideration to workflows, patient and staff safety, privacy and technological advances.”

Other touches include contemporary pendant lights and slatted wood supports framing the reception desk, which is also accented subtly with lights. A graceful curve divides the wood entryway floor from the carpeted reception area. Dr. Benton-Weil brought in a muralist to showcase the Institute’s values with a painting accompanied by text in bronze.

The main floor also includes a physical therapy space, an MRI area and 13 treatment rooms, which are sleek and uncluttered, warmed by wood doors and bronze veining on the floors.

The fourth floor of the building houses the Weil Foot and Ankle Institute headquarters and administration space, accommodating about 75 employees working in administration, support, IT, call center and billing roles. The traditional gray and burgundy tones from the logo accent the walls and floors. Floor to ceiling windows bring plenty of light to the central open space. “The open space promotes more interaction and more effective communication,” says Dr. Benton-Weil.

Life & work learning at JDJ http://jdjarch.com/blog/life-work-learning-at-jdj Mon, 03 Jun 2019 10:00:00 +0000 jdj@jdjarch.com http://jdjarch.com/blog/life-work-learning-at-jdj After three years, Karisa Vargas leaves JDJ Architects to return to work in architecture in the Dominican Republic. She’s looking forward to having family close by, the beautiful weather and the more leisurely pace of life in the Caribbean.

“It has been a friendly and fun environment,” she says of her time at JDJ Architects in project management. “Working with a small firm, you have a sense of belonging. You also aren’t doing the same work all of the time -- you have to wear different hats. That keeps things interesting.” Karisa says she learned about her ideal workflow and maintaining work/life balance while working at JDJ Architects. And although she had strong design/creative expertise, she feels that her experience is more well-rounded as a result of her position at JDJ Architects. “I gained valuable knowledge about the technical aspects of interior architecture, and I got more involved with construction documentation, which will be important for my work going forward.”

She’ll remember some of her favorite buildings in Chicago, notably Marina City, the distinctive circular towers built in the 1960s by architect Bertrand Goldberg. “I love the idea of the utopian world, and how an architect can imagine what a building will be in the future,” says Vargas. She also loves the 17th Church of Christ, Scientist in Chicago, a concrete building designed by architect Harry Weese, and also built in the 1960s. “I love how the light filters through and illuminates the atrium.” she says. “There’s something special about sacred architecture and how designers can play with natural light to create a sense of peace.” In contrast, she says, the Dominican Republic features a mix of new, modern concrete buildings and Spanish colonial, renaissance and gothic architecture, along with some wonderful examples of Cuban victorian and Caribbean gingerbread design.

Her passion for architecture began more than 10 years ago when she first volunteered with Habitat for Humanity in the Dominican Republic. After working in residential design for several years in Santo Domingo, she moved to the U.S. to further her education. Karisa holds a Master of Interior Architecture degree from the Art institute of Chicago and a Professional Degree in Architecture from the Iberoamerican University in the Dominican Republic. She worked in New York and at a large architecture firm in Chicago in design and space planning before joining JDJ Architects.

She will be consulting with JDJ Architects on a project basis. Our JDJ family wishes her well!

CANstruction 2018 http://jdjarch.com/blog/canstruction-2018 Tue, 02 Oct 2018 14:51:00 +0000 jdj@jdjarch.com http://jdjarch.com/blog/canstruction-2018
CANstruction 2018 for the benefit of the Greater Chicago Food Depository is now a wonderful memory for The Salt of the Earth team. But no event of this magnitude takes place without the contributions of many and we’d like to pause and give thanks.


We extend our gratitude to our sponsors who made our participation in this event possible. Through your generous contributions, we were able to donate 6,259 cans of food to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Special appreciation to Ken Gassman of KENT Consulting Engineers for accepting our invitation to be part of our 2018 CANstruction team and for incorporating DSI Construction into the team. It was a pleasure to work with this team of talented, committed professionals who made this a fun, fulfilling experience.



Our team members: the employees of KENT Consulting Engineers, DSI Construction and JDJ Architects, enlivened the Morton Salt Girl. Our project description best defines our team’s contribution.

Basic.  Fundamental.  Goodness

Utilized as one of the oldest methods of food preservation, Salt is also an essential nutrient needed by the body in small amounts. It is here at CANstruction that we as reliable, caring, and generous individuals can come together, much like the grains of salt, to support and sustain a need integral to everyone, The Salt of the Earth.

Our project has been deconstructed but it remains a great memory for The Salt of the Earth team and its sponsors. 


Thank you to all! 

Special Thanks to All of Our Sponsors For Their Donations


Small changes, big impact for Class A building lobby renovation http://jdjarch.com/blog/small-changes-big-impact-for-class-a-building-lobby-renovation Thu, 26 Jul 2018 14:40:00 +0000 jdj@jdjarch.com http://jdjarch.com/blog/small-changes-big-impact-for-class-a-building-lobby-renovation A well-designed and maintained building lobby is critical to retaining and acquiring tenants. However, renovating a dark and austere lobby with budget and space constraints takes planning and design savvy. 

So when the owners of 300 N. Martingale, a 156,000 square-foot, Class A office property in Chicago’s northwest suburbs, decided to update the lobby, they reached out to JDJ Architects.The JDJ Architects team worked closely with the building owners to determine specific goals for the renovation, which included designing a warm and welcoming building lobby.

The JDJ Architects team brainstormed to determine a design that would create a big impact within the lobby’s current footprint.


Existing railings, reminiscent of a battleship, made the lobby busy, bulky, and dated and were replaced with sleek glass railings to create a modern, light-filled environment. New wood panels clad the existing dark walls to bring warmth and lighten the space. The existing terrazzo flooring, in good condition, was retained to keep costs down. The security desk area was replaced with a more contemporary desk and planter.

The large metal halide ceiling can lights were replaced by more energy efficient LED lights. Three modern Artemide pendant fixtures were installed, bringing an upscale elegance, like a fine hotel, to the lobby. In the elevator corridor, the low drywall ceiling was raised and a cove accent added to uplift the space.


With just a few carefully-planned changes, JDJ Architects has designed a lobby that presents a brighter, more welcoming environment for existing and prospective tenants.

Newest Chicago coworking space an inviting option for small law firms http://jdjarch.com/blog/newest-chicago-coworking-space-an-inviting-option-for-small-law-firms Fri, 08 Jun 2018 15:17:00 +0000 jdj@jdjarch.com http://jdjarch.com/blog/newest-chicago-coworking-space-an-inviting-option-for-small-law-firms amata-blog-5jpg.jpg#asset:502

Co-working spaces are evolving. Far from the narrow hallways, uninspiring colors and austere offices of the past, today’s spaces are vibrant, exciting and encourage collaboration with co-workers, colleagues and clients. 

Amata’s new co-working space, on the eighth floor at 150 N. Michigan Avenue in the heart of downtown Chicago, was designed to appeal to law firms, whether a solo practice or a 10-person law office. Amata currently offers co-working and virtual offices for law firms and small businesses at six prestigious addresses in downtown Chicago. 

The newest space includes 62 offices, three conference rooms, two huddle rooms and a cafe in 18,700 square feet. Opened last November, the space is a smart solution for law firms looking for an office in the city, where reasonably-priced space is hard to find. “We offer an alternative to traditional offices for law firms. With the ebb and flow of business, a co-working space allows attorneys to easily add or reduce the number of offices needed,” says Ron Bockstahler, CEO of Amata.  


“I wanted this space to be open and inviting when you first walk in,” says Bockstahler, who worked with JDJ Architects, Chicago, to realize that vision. “With a limited budget and tight time frame, our team came up with creative design solutions,” says Karisa Vargas, project manager at JDJ Architects. The team designed the industrial chic look, with its textural and earthy interplay between reclaimed wood and smooth raw concrete. 

At the entrance, the standout is a communal four-species live edge table that seats eight, made of white oak, gray elm, black walnut and ash. “We view this table more as an art piece, thinking that any employee using it as a collaborative surface would certainly appreciate having a bit of nature inside while they are working,” says Carrie Covert and Jaime Mroczkowski, co-owners of Coterie, a Chicago-based custom furniture company. Above the table is an eclectic hanging fixture, the inspiration for which Bockstahler discovered in a coffee shop in Indianapolis, and which serves as an abstract art piece. 

For the entrance walls, reclaimed wood panels from reSAWN Timber co. were proposed by JDJ Architects. Intended to be just a 10 feet expanse, the panels were so impressive that they were added to the rest of the entrance area. “It’s something that you would definitely notice,” says Bockstahler. “You expect to see wood in an attorney’s office, and it’s still here, but it’s a modern aged-wood look.” 


The reception area desk at the entrance incorporates reclaimed wood for the front panels, capped with sleek copper for the transaction surface. Behind the reception desk is a panel created with a DL Couch wallcovering; carefully-positioned lighting creates a clever design statement. 

The warmth of wood continues in the cafe, which features a large white oak reclaimed wood table with a waterfall edge, also created by Coterie.  

“We designed lounge and collaboration areas with inviting furniture pieces that provide the perfect environment for impromptu meetings,” says Vargas. “These spaces contrast with the private meeting rooms, which feature clear glass to maintain an open work atmosphere.” 


Colors, in the two huddle rooms and reception area, are muted brights that are not overpowering, but allow the main furniture pieces, all sleek and modern, to stand out. 

For easy maintenance, JDJ Architects selected porcelain tile that has a poured concrete appearance for the entrance area and elevator lobby floors. Carpeted floors in hallways, the 22-seat conference room and the two smaller conference rooms are black with white striations. 

Walls in the large conference room are a soothing blue, with gray forming a calm backdrop in the smaller rooms. The walls near the elevators are a gray wallcovering with a subtle geometric pattern that adds texture and interest.

For Amata’s newest co-working space, which is already 70 percent leased, the overall effect is cohesive and modern, made welcoming by the strategic placement of color and the warmth of wood.

​For Building Managers, Office Building Lobbies Become Marketable Assets http://jdjarch.com/blog/for-building-managers-office-building-lobbies-become-marketable-assets Mon, 12 Mar 2018 05:29:00 +0000 jdj@jdjarch.com http://jdjarch.com/blog/for-building-managers-office-building-lobbies-become-marketable-assets 772_03.jpg#asset:476:blog670x400

Activate your lobby.

An office building lobby can be more than just a simple pass-through: it can become a functional space that enriches the tenant experience.

“At JDJ Architects, we are seeing more requests to retrofit building lobbies with a design that moves away from a grand and austere environment to become a more welcoming, vibrant and highly-utilized space,” says James Jordan, principal. 

With advances in mobile and wireless technology and the strong integration of open space plans, employees and guests are increasingly using the lobby to make personal calls or for small gatherings. “The lobby has been transformed from a space to wait to a space to connect,” says Jordan.

Building managers are now looking at a lobby as an asset, providing tenants with space outside normal working hours for small group gatherings. Well-designed, attractive lobbies also can attract complementary businesses to the building, such as coffee shops and restaurants, adding value for existing tenants and enticing new ones.

A successful lobby redesign requires a thoughtful blend of interior design ideas with operational needs. For example, traffic patterns should be carefully considered to include checking guests in and out at the security desk while providing a friendly environment for visitors. Better wireless technology also requires upgrades in high-speed Internet and network connections and an update in electrical points should provide adequate charging stations to eliminate the need for cords and wires. 


How to start? “Building managers with tight budgets might begin with small steps,” says Jordan. “Simply updating the furniture layout to create separate spaces for quiet conversation and semi-private gatherings can result in a more welcoming setting.” 

And although office building lobby designs recently have taken cues from new boutique hotel lobbies, Jordan cautions building managers that a lobby refresh that uses well thought-out, timeless design elements will outlast expensive trends.

Amata's Redesigned East Loop Coworking Offices Were Built With Tech in Mind Mon, 24 Jul 2017 21:51:50 +0000 evan@studiopax.io Amata is a commercial real estate firm that specializes in coworking spaces and shared offices, a staple of tech and startup office culture. But until recently, their East Loop office, located at 150 N. Michigan, was still a decade behind. 

Corporate Coworking: How Flexible Workspaces Have Given Rise to Agile Offices Mon, 24 Jul 2017 21:49:42 +0000 evan@studiopax.io A few weeks ago, we wrote about how coworking spaces are dictating workspace design trends in Australia. Today, we're exploring how this trend goes beyond the borders of Australia and has reached downtown Chicago.

Press http://jdjarch.com/press Mon, 24 Jul 2017 21:17:24 +0000 http://jdjarch.com/press Blog http://jdjarch.com/blog Mon, 24 Jul 2017 21:09:36 +0000 http://jdjarch.com/blog JDJ Architects showcases a vibrant brand with a contemporary workspace for Ornua Foods North America Inc. Mon, 24 Jul 2017 10:00:00 +0000 evan@studiopax.io A fresh look to reflect the brand and a contemporary, multifunctional workspace for a young, energetic staff were key to the design of the Ornua Foods North America Inc. offices by Chicago-based JDJ Architects.

Co-working offices for small law firms feature modern, professional aesthetic, privacy http://jdjarch.com/blog/co-working-offices-for-small-law-firms-feature-modern-professional-aesthetic-privacy Wed, 01 Mar 2017 15:46:00 +0000 jdj@jdjarch.com http://jdjarch.com/blog/co-working-offices-for-small-law-firms-feature-modern-professional-aesthetic-privacy There are more than 100,000 attorneys in the state of Illinois, and many may be setting up an office for the first time. Others may be downsizing from a larger firm. For them, a co-working space minimizes the risk of a costly office and staff, says Ron Bockstahler, CEO of Amata, which provides co-working offices and virtual offices for law offices and small businesses at six centrally-located and prestigious addresses in downtown Chicago. 

Bockstahler knew that shared office suite tenants have many choices when selecting a co-working environment, so he chose to focus on serving small law firms for the new space, which is located on the 16th floor at 161 North Clark Street in Chicago.

He then turned to JDJ Architects, interior architects for several Amata co-working centers, to design the company’s new 20,000 sq. ft. aLaw Center.  

While the requirements for a co-working space for small law firms may be similar to that of spaces for entrepreneurial business enterprises, law firms need to ensure client confidentiality. JDJ Architects created private meeting areas as well as areas for collaboration and quiet, focused work. All feature easy access to integrated technology, which allows tenants to work more efficiently and take advantage of the flexibility of co-working and the networking and synergies between peers and colleagues.

“The result, according to feedback from attorneys, is that the experience of moving to aLawCenters from big-law spaces is a seamless transition from their previous law firm offices to the high-quality and thoughtful design of 161 North Clark,” says Bockstahler.

Each of the aLawCenters offers a slightly different design aesthetic. At the new co-working space at 161 N. Clark Street, the elegant palette creates a positive, soothing environment through the use of subdued colors, textures and simple lines. Colors range from the traditional Chicago grays, to wood tones and considered touches of vibrant teal. 

“Our design incorporates a sleek, modern aesthetic with dark woods for warmth,” says James Jordan, Principal at JDJ Architects. “The sense of light and space and the use of jewel tones give the offices an upscale, professional look that inspires client confidence.”


Easy-care white flooring in the elevator corridor features minimal texture, in contrast to the deep rich surrounding walls that open the space to a distinct reception area. Next to reception is the waiting area, which follows the current “resimercial” trend of creating a comfortable, familiar living room atmosphere to put clients at ease. A dropped ceiling in warm woods and an accent wall frame the waiting area and combine traditional elegant materials with more dynamic, colorful accents, resulting in a welcoming environment that caters to both young attorneys and senior partners.


Conveniently located adjacent to the reception area is the more formal conference room, with a large screen system for videoconferencing and a whiteboard for strategy sessions. Dark finishes, contrasting white tones and a subdued teal color create a serene palette. A frosted door and windows afford privacy while admitting light; also adding light and interest is the expansive city view opposite the door.


Jordan notes that furniture was selected in conjunction with Joanne Ciurla, furniture specialist at Arthur P. O'Hare, Inc. for the room’s function and ambiance. The design of the large conference room, with its long rectangular table, encourages the presenter or leader to ‘take charge’ of the room. In contrast, two smaller, more informal meeting rooms are furnished  with round tables seating up to six people to allow for collaborative exchanges; one small conference room has a small rectangular high-top table that seats up to four. Two huddle rooms for up to four people feature low-back, relaxed seating and coffee tables for reflection, discussions and exchange of confidential information.


Other shared spaces at Amata include a sleek, industrial-chic cafe with a high-top bar, tables and chairs and comfortable booths, fostering tenant interaction and networking. This space serves as a casual place for informal client meetings and work from a laptop or tablet. A high-backed banquette within the cafe faces a large screen display for small-group viewing of videos and presentations. Oversized light fixtures help to delineate the cafe areas.


Offices and office suites throughout the space introduce an earth-tone inspired palette that provides a harmonious vibe that evokes quiet confidence. Soundproofing and walls up to the deck minimize noise and protect confidentiality. And for small after-work gatherings, the co-working space features a Cognac Room, appointed with armchairs built for relaxation and a generous selection of celebratory beverages. 


For Chicago building, a contemporary new image with smart, cost-effective update http://jdjarch.com/blog/for-chicago-building-a-contemporary-new-image-with-smart-cost-effective-update Wed, 30 Mar 2016 20:44:00 +0000 jdj@jdjarch.com http://jdjarch.com/blog/for-chicago-building-a-contemporary-new-image-with-smart-cost-effective-update For building owners and managers, the appearance and upkeep of common areas is key to attracting and keeping tenants. Elevator lobbies, hallways, doorways, restrooms and other common areas impact the building’s image and the wellbeing of tenants.

Chicago-based JDJ Architects recently updated the common corridors and areas to complement a Chicago building's renovated building lobby. Keeping the budget in mind, the architectural firm looked at the main existing elements: ceiling, walls, floors and lighting and considered which interior finishes could stay and which needed to go. 

"Conceptually, the intent was to create a sense of space through the use of materials and light. The palette complements the recently renovated main lobby while also taking cues from the modernist architecture of the building itself, resulting in contemporary and inviting common areas," says Pablo Jones, project manager at JDJ Architects.

JDJ Architects’ team approach includes maintaining strong relationships with vendors so that information on finishes, product benefits, pricing and lead time is always available.  

The existing arched ceiling was incorporated as an element to inform the design of the renovation, and all interior walls and electrical points were retained. 

The new flooring In the elevator lobby was designed to mirror the geometry of the existing arched ceiling. The italian porcelain tile Casalgrande was selected  for its durability, ease of maintenance and low absorption properties, which makes it less prone to stains. A simple and elegant combination of white, gray and brown porcelain tile was installed in a settle pattern to accentuate the existing symmetry. 

"Casalgrande Italian porcelain tile has something for every application – interior and exterior, " says Tom Mikrut of Terrazzo &  Marble Supply Company. “Light to heavy traffic elevator lobbies are an ideal application for Casalgrande’s durable porcelain.”  

In common corridors, carpet tiles were specified, as they are easy to install and replace if needed. 

As to wall finishes, since the elevator lobby and common corridors are high traffic areas, Bolta and Genon vinyl contract wall coverings was specified to offer maximum durability and ease of cleaning.  A light color was selected for the elevator lobby to brighten the space and continue the monolithic design of the building's main lobby. For the common corridors, a medium gray tone was specified to minimize wear and tear resulting from normal use.

"Bolta and Genon wallcoverings are engineered to offer an array of design options without compromising performance in heavily trafficked commercial areas,” says Dan Brandt, MDC product manager.  “Whether the design vision calls for a deeply textured finish, bold signature prints, or wallcoverings designed to complement the surroundings, Bolta and Genon will meet all needs. The design offerings are aesthetically unique while offering one of the most cleanable and durable wall finishes available." 

Mindful of the budget, New lighting enhances the renovated space. LED wall sconces brighten up the elevator lobby, and LED perimeter fixtures enhance the glass tile in the restrooms. Direct/indirect fixtures provide the common corridors with a calm, glare-free appearance.

Common area restrooms are prone to wear and tear, so JDJ Architects incorporated a timeless and sleek design. A simple color palette and the use of traditional white subway tile with a hint of blue glass mosaic tile brings an elegant, more current look to the space.

Invest in building lobby to attract and retain tenants http://jdjarch.com/blog/invest-in-building-lobby-to-attract-and-retain-tenants Fri, 02 Oct 2015 21:34:32 +0000 jdj@jdjarch.com http://jdjarch.com/blog/invest-in-building-lobby-to-attract-and-retain-tenants You have only one chance to make a good first impression, which is why the design of a building’s main lobby is so important. The lobby, along with other common areas, plays an important role in attracting and retaining tenants.

“It can also add to a building’s overall value and make it more saleable,” says James D. Jordan, principal at JDJ Architects, Chicago. JDJ Architects renovated the building lobby at Columbia Centre, a complex of three office buildings located in Rosemont, IL. Building occupancy rose from 70 percent to 93 percent, and the complex recently sold. “JDJ Architects gave our building common areas the sophisticated, contemporary look we needed to attract tenants -- and a buyer,” says Tom Saletta of Saletta Realty. 

Here are a few things to consider when renovating an existing building lobby:

Tie in with existing architecture

New design elements should work well with building elements and architectural style for a cohesive look. “By incorporating classic, timeless design elements, a building lobby can look fresh and current for a very long time,” says James D. Jordan, principal at JDJ Architects, Chicago. 

Choose high quality, durable, finish materials

Painted walls require additional upkeep, and changing color trends will make the walls look dated quickly. “Consider wood, stone, glass, and metals as primary finish elements; they will stay in style longer and their durability will help avoid numerous maintenance nightmares,” says Jordan. 

Carpet areas should be limited in size, such as around lobby seating, and should be capable of handling high traffic without showing signs of wear and tear. Recessed walk-off mats are highly recommended for buildings in wet and snowy climates for numerous reasons.These mats will remove the majority of water and debris from shoes, speeding lobby floor cleanup. Permanently-recessed mats are not only more aesthetically pleasing than surface mats, but they avoid the inevitable curling of surface mats which can become a major tripping hazard and liability.

Lighten it up

Consider updating the lobby by incorporating natural light and views whenever possible and removing light-blocking partitions and other superfluous elements. Light-colored tile or stone flooring also can help to make the lobby brighter and more welcoming.

Evaluate existing lobby lighting and consider updating it with LED fixtures. Lighting accounts for 30% of a building’s energy consumption. Even if the existing lighting design does not need an overhaul, LED fixtures provide significant energy cost savings. In addition, LED fixtures can last for decades without needing replacement, providing a return on investment in a very short period of time. 

Plan for tenant comfort and security

Lobby seating should be provided for building guests and tenants. This can include easy-care chairs or space-saving benches. If the building has a security desk, the look and location should be in keeping with the overall lobby design. It should also be situated so that security personnel can easily see and be seen by guests entering and exiting the building.

Overall, sticking with classic designs and brightening up a lobby can help building owners and managers improve tenant satisfaction as well as occupancy rates. “Clean lines, high-end natural materials and good-quality lighting can have a dramatic effect on a building’s overall appeal in the marketplace,” says Jordan.

The new shared offices at Amata: cool, contemporary and collaborative http://jdjarch.com/blog/the-new-shared-offices-at-amata-cool-contemporary-and-collaborative Tue, 15 Sep 2015 23:28:00 +0000 jdj@jdjarch.com http://jdjarch.com/blog/the-new-shared-offices-at-amata-cool-contemporary-and-collaborative JDJ Architects returned after 10 years to redesign shared offices for Chicago-based commercial real estate firm  Amata, creating a vibrant renovation that encourages collaboration and interaction between the tenants, for an overall richer work experience.

“We have seen a real change in how workers are utilizing work space. Technology advancements allow workers to move around, utilize creative work environments and collaborate with fewer barriers. To meet these new demands, landlords have adjusted their floor designs, creating brighter, more functional environments and reducing the number of closed-off areas. Rather than just a kitchen area stuck in an interior room, large cafes with great views and multiple seating options are popular,” says Amata CEO Ron Bockstahler.

To meet these needs, JDJ’s redesign of Amata Office Centers, 150 N Michigan Ave, in Chicago incorporated concepts borrowed from the hospitality industry, with areas for planned and serendipitous meetings and conferences, a coffee bar and the popular Cognac Room for celebrations and after-work get-togethers.

“People’s ability to work from anywhere has given rise to new satellite offices and coworking spaces,” says Wilma Rendon, business development director at JDJ Architects, Chicago. “The change in the way we work required a rethink of the office environment to embrace flexibility, information-sharing and connectivity.” JDJ Architects worked closely with Amata, which has six Chicago shared-space locations and also offers virtual offices and leasing. “Amata does a very good job of staying connected with their clients and learning what their needs are.”

With cloud-based computing, the need for large work surfaces and file storage areas has been reduced, so the resulting shared-spaces are more open and light-filled. “Over the years we’ve seen the workplace change to become more dynamic and mobile,” says Rendon.

The new look begins with the central reception area for all of the shared-office guests, which layers color with texture to lead the eye through the space. A dynamic modular art panel forms the reception desk backdrop, and the open, flexible guest seating is set in two pods, flanked by Skyline glass featuring the graphic designs Alexander Girard.

“We wanted to create a contemporary, welcoming reception area for a vibrant first impression,” says Morgan Telang, project manager at JDJ Architects..

In addition to private offices for Amata’s shared-space tenants, the renovation created opportunities for flexible work areas, including tech-equipped huddle rooms, which provide a space for quiet collaboration and concentration; small sitting areas, with soft seating to encourage informal discussions; and a large conference room, incorporating impressive city views. The conference room, located near the Java coffee bar, encourages meeting participants to grab a quick coffee before meeting.

Socializing is welcomed at the centrally-located cafe, which features casual booth seating with dry-marker walls for fun, relaxed discussions. Traditional cafe seating combined with a high-top bar accommodates larger crowds and buffet-style serving for events.

After work, small groups of tenants and guests can unwind in the Cognac Room, sinking into comfortable chairs with a favorite beverage. The Cognac Room still retains the contemporary look and feel of the Amata space, but with a more “club-like,” relaxed vibe.

JDJ Architects worked closely with furniture manufacturers to create a workplace environment, carefully selecting furniture styles and fabrics to enhance the space and allow a cohesive look that contributes to the well-being of Amata’s tenants. The result is a comfortable sophistication that integrates color, texture and movement into the workplace environment.

“The word "evolving" is what keeps us engaged and moving forward,” says Rendon. “We’re designing workspaces that encourage productivity and creativity for the way we work today, and anticipating how we’ll work 10 years from now.”

JDJ Architects Does Natural Contemporary at an Irish Dairy Cooperative http://jdjarch.com/blog/jdj-ornua-foods-project-featured-in-office-insight Tue, 15 Sep 2015 00:35:00 +0000 jdj@jdjarch.com http://jdjarch.com/blog/jdj-ornua-foods-project-featured-in-office-insight Office Insight recently featured JDJ's office design for Ornua Foods North America, Inc. JDJ worked with Ornua (formerly Irish Dairy Board) to craft an 8,000 square foot collaborative work space that reflects the unique traditions and culture of the brand.

JDJ Architects was featured in workplace design magazine Office Insight. The article, "JDJ Architects Does Natural Contemporary at an Irish Dairy Cooperative," details our architectural design work with Ornua, formerly Irish Dairy Board, and highlights the importance of a collaborative team approach that involves the client in the design process.

How to plan for productivity and growth by redesigning your workplace http://jdjarch.com/blog/how-to-plan-for-productivity-and-growth-by-redesigning-your-workplace Mon, 08 Jun 2015 16:52:00 +0000 jdj@jdjarch.com http://jdjarch.com/blog/how-to-plan-for-productivity-and-growth-by-redesigning-your-workplace More than 15 years of experience creating office interiors with an array of functions, styles, locations and budgets have taught us that it’s not one size fits all. That is why we love what we do.

Moving, relocating, downsizing or expanding your workplace can actually uplift your business. It can improve employee morale, boost productivity and even help to energize your operation.

Before you start the search for your new office space, however, take the time to reflect, assess your current workspace and set goals. Do you need to add workspaces for future employees? Are you thinking of reorganizing your space because of changes in your company’s product or service offerings? Do you think that a new space will help your firm to operate more efficiently? What kind of growth are you expecting?

Engage an architect to help you brainstorm and develop a program and plan for your new office. With an architect as part of your team, he or she can evaluate possible office locations and help you choose a location best suited for your company’s needs. Your architect can work with managers at the buildings you have selected to do quick test fit layouts of the space.

How does this program get translated by an architect to fit your company’s personality, brand and future growth? Each client has a unique work style but all environments ultimately need to support the company's growth and the employees’ well being. You can develop your space to accommodate a range of design and work styles.

Recognizing the varying needs of the workforce is key. The current dynamic open space plan benefits companies with people who require continuous collaboration and thrive in this environment. In contrast, the conventional walled office offers advantages for employees who require a quiet space to excel and focus. This design also is essential for businesses that need offices for private discussions and exchange of sensitive information. Balancing these secluded, private areas with collaborative, casual environments allows for a diverse set of experiences during our work day. Some combination of public/private spaces will suit most companies.

Ultimately, a well-thought-out space is an extension of the company’s personality and brand. It inspires, motivates and supports growth. Sometimes we don't realize the impact of our workplace design, yet we spend many hours in it every day.

Stay tuned: in the weeks to follow, we will present simple, smart solutions and show you that there is a unique solution for every client and every budget and they all share a common goal: creating a happy, healthy and productive workplace.

Hanging out after work: The Cognac Room http://jdjarch.com/blog/hanging-out-after-work Mon, 08 Jun 2015 16:46:00 +0000 jdj@jdjarch.com http://jdjarch.com/blog/hanging-out-after-work ChicagoInno recently hosted an Office Hang challenge to find the best office spaces to enjoy an after-work beverage and conversation with colleagues and featured our client, Amata Office Centers. JDJ Architects designed the first Cognac Room and several subsequent Cognac Rooms for Amata Office Centers. It proved to be a popular space because of its elegant yet convivial feel, and has since been duplicated at all six Chicago area locations. 

While the look and feel of all of the Cognac Rooms are basically the same, the color palettes vary depending on the Amata Center location's tenants. Amata's 150 N. Michigan Ave. location in Chicago, for example, appeals to its marketing company clients, so the colors are vibrant and energizing; the Cognac Room at the Amata Center in Naperville, which has an understated, neutral palette, was designed for that location's mostly financial and banking clients. 

"The mission, for JDJ Architects, was to create a signature space so that Amata's shared-space tenants can relax and unwind with colleagues after a long day, or host a more casual client meeting or get-together," says Jim Jordan, principal at JDJ Architects. "The Cognac Room, while still modern, has a more classic look and offers a slight reprieve from the contemporary colors and styling of the other common areas."

Our Projects http://jdjarch.com/projects Fri, 30 Jan 2015 18:13:20 +0000 http://jdjarch.com/projects Tom Saletta, White Oak Realty Partners Tue, 11 Nov 2014 19:33:00 +0000 wredon@jdjarch.com Holly Duran, HDREP Fri, 07 Nov 2014 15:46:00 +0000 wredon@jdjarch.com Contact http://jdjarch.com/contact Sat, 04 Oct 2014 00:38:07 +0000 http://jdjarch.com/contact 2401 W. Ohio St.– Suite 1N
Chicago, IL 60612
Get directions

t – 312-850-2200
f – 312-850-2215

e – info@jdjarch.com

Homepage http://jdjarch.com/ Fri, 04 Jul 2014 02:59:59 +0000 http://jdjarch.com/ It’s all about spaces that inspire. Work environments that encourage collaboration but also enable privacy and quiet conversation. Inventive space planning for the way teams work now, with an eye to the ever-changing business landscape.

Jane Doe Wed, 23 Apr 2014 18:57:00 +0000 usha@paxrodentia.com Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna

Firm http://jdjarch.com/firm Mon, 06 Jan 2014 21:25:32 +0000 http://jdjarch.com/firm For more than a decade, James Jordan has transformed office environments throughout Chicagoland, creating dynamic, thoughtful, client-focused designs. Inspired by entrepreneurial verve, Jordan established his own firm in 2000. James D Jordan Architects, Ltd. meets clients' unique needs and aesthetic goals by delivering strong analytical strategy and bold imagination. Loyal employees and a roster of return clients are testimony to Jordan's uncompromising work ethic and commitment to excellence.

James Jordan holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago and is a licensed architect (Illinois). He is a LEED Accredited Professional, a Registered Energy Professional in the City of Chicago, and is a Chicago Self-Certified Architect.

Professional Wealth Advisors PWA http://jdjarch.com/projects/professional-wealth-advisors-pwa Fri, 12 Mar 2021 21:58:00 +0000 ahmed@studiopax.io http://jdjarch.com/projects/professional-wealth-advisors-pwa A serene, comfortable environment for financial firm’s expanded space

Projects http://jdjarch.com/portfolio/projects Thu, 29 Jan 2015 18:02:00 +0000 usha@paxrodentia.com http://jdjarch.com/portfolio/projects Bios http://jdjarch.com/about/bios Sat, 04 Oct 2014 00:30:00 +0000 usha@paxrodentia.com http://jdjarch.com/about/bios James D. Jordan, Principal, AIA, ALA, LEED-AP

For nearly 20 years, James Jordan has transformed building interiors and office environments throughout Chicagoland, creating dynamic, thoughtful, client-focused designs. Loyal employees and a roster of return clients are testimony to Jim’s uncompromising work ethic and commitment to excellence.

He formed JDJ Architects in 2000, specializing in commercial interior architecture. His previous position introduced him to commercial interiors, where he discovered his passion for the fast-paced work, mathematical calculations and the hands-on construction details.

Jim holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago and is a licensed architect in Illinois. A member of the AIA and ALA, he is a LEED-accredited professional, a registered energy professional in the City of Chicago, and is a Chicago self-certified architect.

Wilma Rendon, Business Development

Wilma Rendon’s career in architecture spans eighteen years. It began in Quito, Ecuador where she worked as an associate designer for DIPLAN, a prominent architecture firm in Ecuador. Ms. Rendon taught at two major Ecuadorian universities.

In 1994, she moved to Chicago and served as a project manager for Morgante Wilson Architects (MWA). In 1996, Wilma created and led the MWA marketing department, working with industry leaders to successfully promote the growth and national recognition of the firm.

Since 2000 in conjunction with her life partner James Jordan, she has contributed to the creation and development of JDJ Architects. Wilma believes in a holistic design approach in which teamwork is the foundation for an all-inclusive project solution. 

Manish Shah, Director of Architecture

Manish is a design focused, forward thinking architect with 20 years of experience that spans working with prominent clients and award winning projects throughout the Chicago area. He appreciates sustainable, modern design solutions, but admires the discipline of classical architecture.

Manish has managed a wide range of projects, from conception through completion, for the design and planning of hospitals, medical office buildings and mixed-use projects. He collaborates with the client’s team to translate their expectations into a unique design solution that focuses on the user experience. Manish has a strong conviction in “design thinking and innovation” as a catalyst for positive change in work places and healing environments.

Manish obtained his B. Arch degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Manish is an active board member of the Chicago HealthCare Institute (HCI).

Ashley Chavez, Interior Designer

Ashley has a deep rooted passion for Interior Design and the arts. After receiving her Associate in Arts degree from William Rainey Harper College, she was inspired to continue nurturing her interest in interior built environment and obtained a BFA in interior architecture from Columbia College Chicago in 2017. Ashley loves the variety and creativity her job offers, particularly in space planning and selection of finishes; there’s always an opportunity and a challenge to find just the right solutions for each client. A resident of Chicago’s northwest suburbs, she believes in contributing to her community and has volunteered at Design for Dignity and Habitat for Humanity.

Karisa Vargas, Project Management

Karisa knows that thoughtful design represents the spirit of the client and captures the essence of the space. Her designs are characterized by elegant clean lines and a sophisticated style that emphasizes new construction techniques and innovative sustainable materials. 

Her passion for architecture began more than 10 years ago when she first volunteered with Habitat for Humanity in the Dominican Republic. After working in residential design for several years in Santo Domingo, she moved to the U.S. to further her education. She's been involved in commercial design projects since 2012. Karisa holds a Master of Interior Architecture degree from the Art institute of Chicago and a Professional Degree in Architecture from the Iberoamerican University in the Dominican Republic.

Architectural Services http://jdjarch.com/services Mon, 06 Jan 2014 21:25:00 +0000 usha@paxrodentia.com http://jdjarch.com/services Tenant broker services
  • Analysis of prospective spaces
  • Pre-lease consulting services, including space programming analysis
  • Pre-lease space planning and schematic design 
  • Budgetary construction cost analysis
  • Tenant space design and construction documents

Building owner services

  • Commercial architecture interior design/redesign/refresh
  • Existing conditions documentation
  • BOMA square footage calculations
  • Lease exhibits/marketing plans
  • Building standard manuals
  • Code compliance analysis

Corporate clients

  • Space programming analysis
  • Culture and workstyle-based design development
  • Millwork design and furniture specifications
  • Construction documents
  • Bidding & negotiation
  • Permitting
  • Construction observation
For Tenant Brokers http://jdjarch.com/services/for-tenant-brokers Fri, 03 Oct 2014 23:30:00 +0000 usha@paxrodentia.com http://jdjarch.com/services/for-tenant-brokers We help make your deals happen, with a seamless process that enables us to quickly understand your client’s needs. We perform cost benefit analyses and test-fit plans in several locations so clients can select the optimum space for their needs. 

After that, JDJ Architects further develops the design, keeping in mind your client’s vision and brand identity. With approved designs, we move into construction documents and permitting. JDJ Architects is self-certified in the City of Chicago and also understands the complex permitting requirements of the numerous Chicago suburbs.

Ornua Foods North America http://jdjarch.com/projects/ornua-foods-north-america Fri, 08 Jan 2021 22:11:46 +0000 ahmed@studiopax.io http://jdjarch.com/projects/ornua-foods-north-america a cooperative representing more than 13,000 dairy processors and farmers in Ireland.

Our Clients http://jdjarch.com/portfolio/client-list Thu, 29 Jan 2015 02:24:00 +0000 usha@paxrodentia.com http://jdjarch.com/portfolio/client-list Selected Clients
  • Levi Strauss
  • Colgate-Palmolive
  • Pepsico
  • J Power 
  • Metlife
  • Amata 
  • Fiserv 
  • Verizon
  • Lufthansa German Airlines
  • St. Jude Children's Research Hospital 
  • Wyndham Hotels 
  • Young America
  • Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
  • Zurich North America
  • Holly Duran Real Estate Partners
  • McKesson
  • Irish Dairy Board
  • Benefit Express
  • Cavanagh Law Group
  • Crawford & Company
  • Epstein Becker & Green, LLC
  • Travelon 
  • Levy Family Partners 
  • Liberte Investors, Inc. 
  • Williams Group Holdings 
  • Open Advanced MRI 
  • Clarion Associates, Inc. 
  • Sperling & Slater 
  • Green Courte Partners
  • WLS-TV
  • Fleetmatics
  • FFastfill
  • Elliott's Off Broadway Deli
  • Verizon
Careers http://jdjarch.com/about/careers Sat, 04 Oct 2014 00:30:00 +0000 usha@paxrodentia.com http://jdjarch.com/about/careers We are a small growing architecture firm in Chicago that specializes in commercial interior projects for corporate clients and building owners. Our experience working with an array of clients has provided us expertise with a variety of project sizes, budgets and styles. JDJ Architects designs user-focused workplace environments that place our clients’ sensibilities and aspirations at the heart of each design process.

We believe that our employees are our biggest asset. Thus we value the contribution of each team member and encourage collaboration to promote growth within our team. We currently offer the following opportunities. Send your  material to info@jdjarch.com, attn: Wilma Rendon to apply for these positions and we'll be in touch!

Positions Available

Part-Time Office Administrator

Interior architect/ Interior Designer

For Building Managers/Owners http://jdjarch.com/services/for-building-managers-owners Sat, 04 Oct 2014 00:02:00 +0000 usha@paxrodentia.com http://jdjarch.com/services/for-building-managers-owners It’s all about first impressions. Whether your building needs a total renovation or a budget-friendly refresh, JDJ Architects redesigns lobbies, elevator cabs, common corridors, fitness centers, cafes, roof decks, restrooms and other common areas to help attract and retain tenants. We work with building managers to evaluate traffic flow, effective use of space, and creative reuse of materials whenever possible.

JDJ Architects can ease the arduous process of building records documentation and management, code compliance, leasing services and more. We survey a tenant space or an entire building to create an existing condition plan and transform dated blueprints into current CAD drawings. We also perform all building floor area calculations in accordance with BOMA standards. JDJ Architects evaluates existing, new and renovated tenant spaces for building code and ADA compliance and supplies proper evacuation plans for all floors and spaces as jurisdictions require.

To assist with leasing and property marketing, JDJ Architects also offers development of a building standards manual, which describes available finishes, and provides marketing plans to promote building amenities, highlight floor plans and describe location assets.

Network Data Systems http://jdjarch.com/projects/network-data-systems Sat, 18 Jan 2020 01:18:59 +0000 evan@studiopax.io http://jdjarch.com/projects/network-data-systems Bold colors and textures energize tech company headquarters

For Corporate Clients http://jdjarch.com/services/for-corporate-clients Sat, 04 Oct 2014 02:47:00 +0000 usha@paxrodentia.com http://jdjarch.com/services/for-corporate-clients We do our best work to help you do yours. For nearly 15 years, we have designed workplaces for a diverse roster of clients, from boutique offices to large corporate spaces, and for each, we strive to realize our client’s singular vision, incorporating the company’s brand and work style. At the heart of the process is our collaborative studio approach, which allows the JDJ Architects team to combine experience and knowledge to design comfortable, energizing spaces that foster productivity and creative thinking.

Corporate Workplace http://jdjarch.com/projects/corporate-workplace Fri, 03 May 2019 22:32:00 +0000 evan@studiopax.io http://jdjarch.com/projects/corporate-workplace A work place that evokes a sense of openness ideal for both business and ease

For Medical Professionals http://jdjarch.com/services/for-medical-professionals Wed, 26 Jun 2019 21:25:36 +0000 usha@paxrodentia.com http://jdjarch.com/services/for-medical-professionals JDJ Architects designs healthcare facilities, which can include patient and client-focused spaces and private areas for laboratories, administration and patient services. We carefully consider the future of healthcare, with increased attention to workflow, patient and staff safety, privacy and technological innovation.

Today’s healthcare offices offer an enhanced consumer experience, often including areas for relaxation, refreshments, quiet conversations and technology access.


Medical and healthcare offices should provide patient/client comfort in a serene setting, as well as efficient, pleasing work spaces for healthcare professionals and administrative staff. We design medical and healthcare offices for internal medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, dental, pediatrics, OB/GYN, orthopedics, dermatology and women’s health practices.


Visioning and comprehensive data collection is vital to successful programming, which defines healthcare space needs. After evaluating culture, operations, technology and innovation, JDJ Architects collaborates with caregiver groups to prepare a matrix of space and blocking diagrams.

Weil Foot & Ankle Institute http://jdjarch.com/projects/weil-foot-ankle-institute Tue, 29 Oct 2019 18:05:00 +0000 evan@studiopax.io http://jdjarch.com/projects/weil-foot-ankle-institute Light-filled, contemporary clinic design highlights influential podiatry brand

CMA CGM Group http://jdjarch.com/projects/cma-cgm-group Wed, 15 Jan 2020 22:16:00 +0000 evan@studiopax.io http://jdjarch.com/projects/cma-cgm-group Stylish and sleek design for a global shipping leader

QAD http://jdjarch.com/projects/qad Sat, 18 Jan 2020 01:19:10 +0000 evan@studiopax.io http://jdjarch.com/projects/qad Serene earth tones create inviting look for tech company workspace

Snapfish http://jdjarch.com/projects/snapfish Sat, 18 Jan 2020 01:19:00 +0000 evan@studiopax.io http://jdjarch.com/projects/snapfish A serene, minimalist workspace for online photo printing company

300 N. Martingale, Schaumburg, IL http://jdjarch.com/projects/300-n-martingale-schaumburg-il Thu, 26 Jul 2018 14:41:00 +0000 ahmed@studiopax.io http://jdjarch.com/projects/300-n-martingale-schaumburg-il Small changes, big impact for Class A building lobby renovation 

Amata Office Center - 150 N. Michigan http://jdjarch.com/projects/amata-office-center-150-n-michigan-1 Mon, 11 Jun 2018 16:45:44 +0000 ahmed@studiopax.io http://jdjarch.com/projects/amata-office-center-150-n-michigan-1 Newest Chicago coworking space an inviting option for small law firms

Liquidus http://jdjarch.com/projects/liquidus Wed, 14 Dec 2016 18:48:00 +0000 stephan@studiopax.io http://jdjarch.com/projects/liquidus Flexible space for fast-growing technology firm 

Connamara Systems http://jdjarch.com/projects/connamara-systems Wed, 14 Dec 2016 18:48:00 +0000 stephan@studiopax.io http://jdjarch.com/projects/connamara-systems Industrial, yet refined space 

55 Shuman http://jdjarch.com/projects/55-shuman Mon, 12 Mar 2018 21:59:00 +0000 evan@studiopax.io http://jdjarch.com/projects/55-shuman A functional space that enriches the tenant experience

Amata Office Center - 150 N. Michigan http://jdjarch.com/projects/amata-office-center-150-n-michigan Thu, 09 Jul 2015 16:15:00 +0000 wredon@jdjarch.com http://jdjarch.com/projects/amata-office-center-150-n-michigan Repeat clients are king. They are testament to a happy client.

Ornua Foods North America http://jdjarch.com/projects/irish-dairy-board Wed, 08 Oct 2014 20:26:00 +0000 ahmed@studiopax.io http://jdjarch.com/projects/irish-dairy-board Maximizing natural light and integrating new spaces for collaboration

Columbia Centre Complex http://jdjarch.com/projects/columbia-centre-complex Wed, 08 Oct 2014 20:12:00 +0000 ahmed@studiopax.io http://jdjarch.com/projects/columbia-centre-complex Refreshing lobby and common areas for improved occupancy

Akoo International http://jdjarch.com/projects/akoo-international Fri, 10 Oct 2014 01:54:00 +0000 usha@paxrodentia.com http://jdjarch.com/projects/akoo-international Incorporating a vibrant brand identity

Oasis Legal Finance http://jdjarch.com/projects/oasis-legal-finance Mon, 06 Apr 2015 17:21:00 +0000 wredon@jdjarch.com http://jdjarch.com/projects/oasis-legal-finance Distinctive color palette for growing funding firm

Offices of Amata Law Centers http://jdjarch.com/projects/amata-161-n-clark-1 Wed, 14 Dec 2016 18:48:00 +0000 stephan@studiopax.io http://jdjarch.com/projects/amata-161-n-clark-1 Co-working space for legal firms helps them to grow

American Digital http://jdjarch.com/projects/american-digital Wed, 26 Feb 2014 21:03:00 +0000 usha@paxrodentia.com http://jdjarch.com/projects/american-digital A sleek, contemporary workspace 

211 E. Chicago Ave. http://jdjarch.com/projects/211-e-chicago-ave Fri, 24 Jul 2015 18:21:00 +0000 wredon@jdjarch.com http://jdjarch.com/projects/211-e-chicago-ave Modern look for storied 1965 building

Amata Office Centers http://jdjarch.com/projects/amata-office-center Wed, 08 Oct 2014 22:12:00 +0000 ahmed@studiopax.io http://jdjarch.com/projects/amata-office-center Maximizing space in shared office center

Cavanagh Law Group http://jdjarch.com/projects/cavanaugh-law-group Wed, 08 Oct 2014 18:05:00 +0000 ahmed@studiopax.io http://jdjarch.com/projects/cavanaugh-law-group Traditional + contemporary for Chicago law office

Colgate Palmolive http://jdjarch.com/projects/colgate-palmolive Wed, 08 Oct 2014 19:41:00 +0000 ahmed@studiopax.io http://jdjarch.com/projects/colgate-palmolive Energizing work environment preserves brand identity

J-Power http://jdjarch.com/projects/j-power Wed, 08 Oct 2014 20:35:00 +0000 ahmed@studiopax.io http://jdjarch.com/projects/j-power Minimalist design for Japanese energy firm

Williams Group http://jdjarch.com/projects/williams-group Wed, 15 Oct 2014 00:34:00 +0000 usha@paxrodentia.com http://jdjarch.com/projects/williams-group Light-filled space encourages collaboration

Integra Credit http://jdjarch.com/projects/integra-credit Mon, 11 Mar 2019 16:45:00 +0000 ahmed@studiopax.io http://jdjarch.com/projects/integra-credit An open flexible space with an industrial, progressive vibe that reflects their fast-passed dynamic business culture