© Copyright 2016, Patrick Y Wong
Long time Austin-ite, Jamie Chioco has been changing the face of the Texas architectural landscape. In 2005, following a tenure at Dick Clark Architects, Jamie took a significant career leap opening his award-winning firm, Chioco Design.
Always mindful of function, quality and relationship of the ‘built environment’, Jamie continues to be a go-to for collaborative hungry clients. Chances are, you have experienced his creative vision by stepping into any number of his innovative commercial designs.
Over the last few years Chioco Design has been working with the Hope Foundation and the design of the new Hope Outdoor Gallery. Recently re-located from it’s toney downtown Austin zip code… the Hope Outdoor Gallery has moved East and found a partnership with Jamie that continues to inspire a new generation of activist artists.
Most recently, Chioco Design has been selected to design a micro-home for Mobile Loaves and Fishes Community First! and Tiny Victories 2.0. A master planned community providing permanent housing to our most vulnerable and chronically homeless residents, Community First! has a transformative effect through services and the built environment. There is a synergy between Jamie’s honest approach to design and quality of growth that makes this a winning formula.
We at Alexander Marchant are inspired by, not only Jamie’s architectural projects, but his passion to make a difference where and when it matters.
We recently chatted with Jamie to find out more about the genesis of his career, what he has learned along the way and how it has led him to his philanthropic choices.
Where does your love of architecture and design come from?
Jamie Chioco: I’ve always been acutely aware of my surroundings since I was a child but it wasn’t until I was a bit older that I realized I could effect my environment. My sister (10 years my senior) studied architecture and also had to baby-sit me from time to time so I would go with her to her studio. I loved seeing all the drawings, renderings and physical models. That really piqued my interest in architecture.
How did starting your career with Texas architecture luminary Dick Clark inform your work today?
JC: A great thing about working at Dick Clark Architecture was being exposed to many different project types and a working environment that was design focused without being too serious. Because of those experiences I like to take on various projects of varying scales. Ultimately, if we can learn something new or begin a relationship with a great client then we’re heading in the right direction.
What design tenants from your tenure with Dick do you adhere to today in your eponymous architecture firm?
JC: I think the most important principle learned from those years was the notion of “matter of factness”. This is applied to form, composition and material selection.
Living in Austin, you are aware we have an active non-profit community… we clearly are a community of people who care! In your opinion, what is it about this great city that drives the culture of giving back?
JC: I think that Austin is a progressive city in many ways which means we are aware of social issues. It’s also a prosperous city which gives many of us the ability to give back.
What was the genesis of your involvement with CF! and TV2.0?
JC: I was introduced to Community First! Village and TV2.0 through Christy Taylor, one of my project Architects. She thought it would be a great opportunity for us to be involved. Once I did a bit of research I realized what an amazing program they had created. Tiny Victories 2.0 was a perfect opportunity for us to use our knowledge and skills to give back.
You are a well-respected architect who creates beautifully functional private, commercial and public spaces… how does this inform your work with CF! and TV2.0?
JC: We firmly believe that any project of any scale and of any budget can be well designed. Basic principles of design apply even more so with these micro-homes because every decision you make effects the space, functionality and cost of the home.
If you could encourage others to give back… what impact has donating your skillset and time had on your either professionally or personally?
JC: We’ve gotten a lot of satisfaction out of contributing to this community program. Knowing that we’re helping shape this phase of development for Community First! Village is extremely gratifying. We hope to find more opportunities like this in the future.