Paragon Theatres: Construction Continues on JGMA and Starwood Retail Partners’ ten-screen theater project in Wellington, Florida

JGMA and Starwood Retail Partners are collaborating to develop an existing furniture store anchor into a new ten-screen theater in Wellington, Florida. The project will occupy 40,000 sf of the second floor, requiring the roof to be raised in place to accommodate the stadium seating within the auditoriums. Along with the roof raise, an existing loading dock will be transformed into an inspiring new entry for the theater and adjoining restaurant.
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JGMA’s Vision for Food Infrastructure Featured at Chicago Architecture Foundation

As part of the "50 Designers, 50 Ideas, 50 Wards" exhibit at the Chicago Architecture Foundation, JGMA explored through architecture and design the question: How can we use our food waste to generate energy and drive healthy communities?

Food is at the center of our daily lives: fueling human bodies, supporting the natural energy cycle and one of the most significant reflections of human culture. Despite this, food is continually wasted in the City of Chicago—to the rate of 55 million pounds per month, according to the USDA. Anaerobic digesters can capture this food waste and generate usable energy in the form of methane gas, creating a clean substitute for more traditional energy production (coal, gas) within the city. In the city’s 22nd Ward, the Crawford Generating Station has burned coal for nearly a century, polluting the air, land and water and contributing to health problems across the city. Bio-digesters could transform this negative legacy to a future of clean-energy promise and community-centric infrastructure built around food, including a new international public market, restaurants, public parkland, wholesale food distribution and educational facilities; even a museum dedicated to a century of energy in Chicago.

See JGMA's entry here: Food Infrastructure JGMA 22nd Ward

See the full exhibition here:

NE Corner Aerial

Architect’s Newspaper visits JGMA Studio for In-depth Feature

The Architect's Newspaper stopped by the JGMA Studio to discuss the firm's unique office culture and philosophy and to look at four key projects: the UNO Soccer Academy; KLEO Life Center; NEIU El Centro; and Cristo Rey - St Martin.

See original posting here The Architect's Newspaper, or text below:

Our studio visit with Chicago’s JGMA

"Trains rumble past the large, plate-glass windows of the oft-overlooked Holabird & Root McClurg building on the east end of Chicago’s Loop. And though the train is less than 20 feet away from the second-story office of JGMA, one is more likely to hear the discussion of facade materials and patterning over a raucous game of foosball as the young office takes lunch. Despite the office’s very “Chicago” setting, it bears littleresemblance to the more well-known behemoths of Chicago architecture, many in buildings less than a block away.

At only 18 employees (there are 16 desks, so someone is always standing, model building), JGMA is atypical for a Chicago architecture firm in almost every way. Small firms in Chicago are often relegated to smaller projects, and they are rarely given the opportunity to design the kind of challenging architecture that is now JGMA’s signature.

The office’s work ranges from exhibitions to high-rises and everything in between. With a reputation for producing  projects that are particularly sensitive to the client as well as the surrounding community, JGMA founder and president, Juan Gabriel Moreno, is quick to point out that he has no intention of specializing in socially conscious design. “I love to say that we are not specialists,” he said. “People try to pin me down, they ask, ‘What do you specialize in?’ I just say, ‘Architecture.’”

As its projects rake in awards, JGMA continues to challenge what architecture can be in Chicago. Each project takes on new distinctive forms and colors. The work is decidedly radical in a city of black glass boxes. Yet even as conservative as the world of Chicago architecture can be, JGMA has found a way to resonate with the traditional establishment as well as the greater public. Its latest major structure, the Northeastern Illinois University El Centro building, has won both a Chicago AIA Honor Award and the Chicago Neighborhood Development Award, a distinction usually earmarked for housing projects.

All of this happens in an office that prides itself on the mentorship of its young employees. With more than a dozen projects on the boards, everyone is expected to pull his or her weight, and those with more experience are expected to keep the projects in check. “What happens here, and my approach just holistically, is that everyone has a voice, period. I don’t care if you just arrived. What I am trying to establish is an environment where people are courageous enough to say what is on their minds.” 

JGMA Wins IIDA RED Award for SAIC Project

JGMA received a RED Award for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago Admissions and Career + Co-op projects.  The award was for the best in the Higher Education category, given by the Illinois Chapter of the International Interior Design Association.

JGMA Establishes Nohra DeFrancisco Scholarship at NEIU El Centro

JGMA has established the Nohra DeFrancisco Scholarship at NEIU El Centro. It provides the opportunity for an El Centro student to experience the magic of travel. The scholarship is inspired by Nohra DeFrancisco, mother of JGMA founder Juan Moreno, who announced at the CNDA awards that its monetary award from the Richard H Driehaus Foundation would be paid forward to this cause.

JGMA Wins Three Awards at ALA Award Night

JGMA and Christian Community Health Centers broke ground on two new building additions in South Holland, IL (Sibley Ave.) and Calumet City, IL (Torrence Ave). In attendance were CEO Ken Burnett and CAO Samantha Oliver-Mitchell of CCHC, President Juan Moreno and Vice-President Jason Nuttelman of JGMA, Calumet City alderman Thaddeus Jones and the Village of South Holland's Mayor Don De Graff.