JP Architects, Ltd. Principal Owner, Jose Pareja, has endured quite the journey to an entrepreneur. This interview will give you some insight into his life history, passion about his work, involvement in the community, love for architecture and favorite aspect of working with his clients.
Q: What is your life story and history in architecture?
A: I was born in Ecuador, but for as long I can remember, I have lived in the Chicagoland area. My parents immigrated to this area, and early on in life, I learned about the value of hard work from watching my mother and father support our family by working two to three jobs each.
Upon graduating high school, I accepted a position that introduced me to architecture. My task was to take my boss’s hand drawings and generate computer models by inputting the rendering into the “new-age” computer programs. Teaching myself the program was a difficult task, but I loved the complexity. This position helped me realize that architecture was my passion and provided me with an understanding into the importance of accountability! I decided to further my educational career and study architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
After graduating from college, I was offered a job with a large corporate architecture firm. This was the complete opposite of my first job as there were 300 employees instead of two. I was here for two years, and then the recession hit. I began applying and landed a position with an educational architecture firm, where I stayed for seven years. During this time, I experienced and completed many large projects, including a local high school. This type of work allowed me to participate in all steps of the architecture process, from programming and schematic design to design development and construction administration.
Because of this experience, I began thinking about starting my own firm. I reached out to my bosses and peers and asked for advice, which ultimately resulted in words of encouragement and support. Given this feedback, I knew the time was right and started my entrepreneurial journey with the creation of JP Architects Ltd. in September of 2015!
Q: What makes you unique? Who is Jose Pareja?
A: On the most basic level, I know that I am one of the very few South American born architects working in the Suburbs of Chicago, but there is so much more to me than that. I have finally reached a point in my career where I am able to give back the community and industry I work in. I didn’t come up in the best area or have unlimited access to resources, and I want to show kids of all ethnicities and backgrounds that you can achieve anything in life as long as you put in the hard work and stay focused on your goals.
To make sure that I am able to reach these communities, I belong to and serve on the boards of several organizations including the Oak Lawn Chamber of Commerce, Arquitectos (Organization for Spanish Architects), the Oak Lawn Architectural Review and Design Commission and the American Institute of Architects. You will also find me speaking to high school and college students and attending career fairs.
Q: Your passion is in Residential, Educational and Business Architecture. Why is that?
A: Residential architecture was my first love. It was what I worked in right out of high school and in my first job after college. I really enjoy seeing the transformation of someone’s personal property as they have worked hard to save the necessary funds to make these changes.
Working in educational architecture is very rewarding to me because the way that kids are learning and teachers are teaching is completely different now than in the past. Architecture absolutely influences this!
Business Architecture is one that hits close to home with me. I am an entrepreneur myself, and I want to help other businesses form their identity by making their visions into a physical space.
Ultimately, this all reflects back on the JP Architects, Ltd. tag line. I want to INFLUENCE HOW PEOPLE LIVE, WORK AND LEARN, which is why I focus my energy in Residential, Educational and Business architecture. I believe that architecture and design can make a positive difference in everyday life.
Q: What do you love most about working with your clients?
A: First of all, I would like to thank every one of my clients for putting faith in and working with JP Architects, Ltd. I appreciate each and every one of you, and hope you are happy with the service my company provided.
Now, back to the question! I love taking the clients idea and turning it into a concept and building that physically exists. From the first phone call to the completion of a project, I enjoy getting to know the needs for each specific client and project. I also like to learn about your story and why you’re deciding to make changes to the way you LIVE, WORK OR LEARN! At the end of a project, I love to see the tangible product and my clients’ reaction!
Thank you for taking the time to reach this. I hope this information is useful and valuable in helping you gain an understanding into the type of person I am and firm I run!
Until next time,
Jose R. Pareja, AIA