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Meet Juan Contin, Renbert Gordon, Boutros Bounahra and Sai Cheng of Contin Architecture and Design

Today we’d like to introduce you to Juan Contin, Renbert Gordon, Boutros Bounahra and Sai Cheng.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Our firm was started in Hong Kong in the year 2000. After four years in Hong Kong, we decided to move to Florida as Hong Kong is a transient place for many western educated professionals. At the time, we looked at several places to live and establish our business and we liked Lake Worth above all other places. We bought our building for our office and it became our first project in the United States. Since 2004 we have been working here with projects in Florida, New York, Colorado, Hong Kong and The United Kingdom. While in Hong Kong Juan Contin served as a guest lecturer at Hong Kong University which led him to an adjunct professor position at Florida International University (FIU). Our firm believes that the richness of teaching brings a great deal of ideas into our studio and new talent from the students becoming young architects.

We have grown into a full-service firm that can handle anything between complex zoning approvals to the design of 35 story towers which is the flexibility that we enjoy. We live for experimentation and design research in our practice.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Contin Architecture and Design has enjoyed great success due to our client relationships and our Architectural design approach. Since our opening in the year 2000, we have designed projects in Asia, Europe, North and South America. We are proud of our success and achievements. With all this said, when the global recession came in 2007 there was a shakedown in business and projects began to drop off. Interesting enough we did some charity work that year and gave plans to the Sarasota Conservation foundation pro-bono in order for them to receive a grant to purchase a property and build. The grant was successful and our pro-bono work became a full-blown project with 16 buildings and a campus to design. It is proof that good will always come back to you in some way.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Contin Architecture and Design – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Our firm is a boutique design firm specializing in high-end modern design whether it be homes, parks, streets or commercial structures. We also do a great deal of historic preservation work with over sixteen buildings on the National Register of Historic Places in Washington DC. Our clients rarely overlap in these two spheres of practice but we look at these very different types of practice having the same underlying importance through details. The details of historic preservation and cutting edge modern design share attention to detail that can make or break a project design.

Today we are involved designing residential Miami’s first pencil tower. The site is a dense urban site that is only 50foot by 50foot with a zoning allowance of 6 stories! This is typical in Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York and London but new to Miami. It show’s that the Miami housing market is mature to the point where urban planners, architects, and clients need to come together to find creative solutions for tight spots normally not considered developable.

We are also working on a temporary use permit to built a Temporary structure as an urban flexible space. This site will eventually become a tower but will be used for the next two years to host concerts, shows, exhibits, fashion gala’s and children’s events. It is another way of looking at Miami’s architecture scene becoming creative like no other city.

With regards to Historic Preservation, are working on 6 projects in Key West which include the Samuel Kemp house which is one of the largest privately owned homes in Key West along with the famed Six Toed Restaurant just next door to Hemmingway’s house. All and all, things are moving along and we are growing as a firm in many ways.
There are many other projects

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Our plans is to grow our firm based on projects that reflect our research and design outlook. We are currently working on several cutting-edge projects and international competitions that look promising. Our completed projects, and projects in development will be our way forward to establishing ourselves as a premier design firm. Our vision is to stay true to our core principles in design and the evolution of that design. Project and firm growth will not change our principles which have gotten us to the point where we are.

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