Miami’s Alexis Cogul Lleonart of Doo Architecture on Picking Up Where Tropical Modernism Left Off | Features

If you ask anyone who has ever visited Miami, you will hear that the city has a certain energy and vibrancy that is reflected in the surroundings built there. When one thinks of this region, for example, it is likely that visions of tropical modernity and luxurious design come to mind. At this delightful intersection, Barcelona-born Alexis Cogul Lleonart can apply his dual background in urban planning and architecture to help shape Miami’s architectural landscape.

After working with various practices, including Miami’s Oppenheim Architecture, Lleonart tried to leverage his expertise and start Doo Architecture. According to Lleonart, “We believe in the process. We are committed from start to finish and believe that our European roots have taught us to develop a dialogue with our clients and projects that goes beyond what is required.”

For this week’s studio snap, Archinect spoke to Lleonart about his intellectually curious practice and what it means to be productive without “repeating the same formula every time.”

Where did you study architecture?

I was born and raised in Barcelona and have a Masters in Architecture from ESARQ UIC of the University of Barcelona and a Masters in Urbanism from UB in Barcelona, ​​Spain.

How many people are in your practice?

There were currently seven full-time employees and three part-time employees.

What made you want to start your own practice?

I’ve always been a curious person and always think with an entrepreneurial mindset. For me, architecture has always been a true profession. However, the architecture business and how to create and create synergies between industries and art forms has been the main driving force for me to develop my own practice and design language.

Venitia residence. Image courtesy of Doo Architecture … doing business in architecture and creating and creating synergies between industries and art forms have been the main driving force behind developing my own practice and design language.

Dior Cafe. Image courtesy Doo Architecture

Atlanta theater. Image courtesy Doo Architecture

Is scaling a goal?

Absolutely. We are currently in a growth mode but are focused on getting smarter without losing our focus on design and boutique. Design and R&D is currently our main goal to develop our projects as design options.

What are the advantages of having your own practice? Stay small?

Our business and design culture is based on the creation process. It is based on the concept of mixing different disciplines or art forms into one result that becomes a project. Every scenario, project and customer shapes our ideas and influences the design result. We implement an inductive design process and do not subtract the results. We experiment with each tool to achieve a unique result. This approach is a very personal and developed way of creating architecture and I believe this is one of the greatest advantages of developing your own language or practice. I always tell my employees the same thing: We have to be able to produce work so that we can take our time for the design process.

Sky Park residence. Image courtesy Doo Architecture

Sky Park residence. Image courtesy Doo Architecture

What were the biggest hurdles for your own practice?

The goal is to always earn customers’ respect and ensure that you can do the job. I’ve come a long way and worked hard to find a position where people respect our portfolio and trust our organization for their projects or developments. It took some time to fill the company with the right actors and the right employees who shared our core values ​​and our corporate culture.

Where do you see your company in 5 years?

We mainly focus on the Miami market and also internationally. I hope the company will be recognized locally and internationally as one of the most forward-thinking architecture firms, a major architectural think tank, and a good reference in the Miami market for their unique projects and achievements. In this scenario, I don’t think the team should be more than 30 people with two locations. I believe that is what it takes to have a solid company that is efficient, fresh and unique. I don’t see the company as a company, but I see it as a large, high-performing boutique design studio with a presence in Miami and Barcelona.

Lake House residence. Image courtesy Doo Architecture I’ve been an architect for over 15 years and a lot of projects have crossed my mind, but I will say that my favorite projects are the ones that allow me to discover and that discovery is reflected in the result contrary.

Venetian residence. Image courtesy Doo Architecture

Venetian residence. Image courtesy Doo Architecture

Do you have a favorite project? Completed or in progress.

You always have projects that will grow on you over time. Maybe for their bottom line, or maybe for the process. I have been an architect for more than 15 years and a lot of projects have crossed my mind, but I will say that my favorite projects are the ones that allow me to discover and when that discovery is reflected in the result. We are currently working in a single family home in the Venetian Islands that complies with many of the elements and design principles that we always strive for.

Venetian residence. Image courtesy of Doo ArchitectureMiami architecture is always considered commercial by architects and developers to maximize program areas, code requirements, and liability. We differ from this approach, we believe in the process.

We are committed from start to finish and believe that our European roots have taught us to develop a dialogue with our customers and projects that goes beyond what is “required”.

How would you describe the architecture in Miami and how does your company’s design ethos support that description?

We design differently, we think about architecture from the perspective of its materiality, its typology, its light and its purity. Architecture in Miami is always viewed by architects and developers in terms of maximizing program areas, code requirements, and architecture [limiting] Liabilities. We differ from this approach, we believe in the process. We are committed from start to finish and believe that our European roots have taught us to develop a dialogue with our clients and projects that goes beyond what is required. ”

A project is an experience, a path to be followed with the client, and that is what we think architecture is about. We design based on this learning and as we say: replace fear of the unknown with curiosity.

301 Ocean Residence. Courtesy of Doo Architecture We try to create a seamless integration between architecture, interiors and landscape. We believe that a good project includes all of these components as a unit, so when we design a project, we also design the interiors.

301 Ocean Residence. Image courtesy Doo Architecture

Villa Moire. Image courtesy Doo Architecture

Villa Moire. Image courtesy Doo Architecture


Her residential projects touch Miami’s “Tropical Modernism” with a clean, modern flair, especially Villa M Residence and 301 Ocean.

We try to create a seamless integration between architecture, interiors and landscape. We believe that a good project includes all of these components as a unit, so when we design a project, we also design the interiors. We don’t understand architecture without it and vice versa. These two projects are a great example of how we try to create that seamless connection between inside and outside. In order to improve living as an open feeling, when designing the 301 apartments we took great care to create the openness of the layout to enhance the feeling of being outdoors that residents are looking for.

U residence. Image © Doo Architecture

U residence. Image © Doo Architecture

Can you talk about U Residence and the remodeling of a classic by Rufus Nims in 1949?

This is a very special project for us. My cultural background from Barcelona taught me architecture with a huge historical background, suitable for any project we could work on. When I moved to Miami, that historical component disappeared. There are few historical values ​​to bind myself to, but then I started to discover this great era of Florida modernism from the 50s onwards. I felt in love with her. A great experimental era in which American architects designed amazing summer homes based on an unconstrained Florida Building Code.

Today’s laws and requirements will not allow us to recreate this great experimental modern classic by Rufus Nims. 4-inch cantilever concrete slabs and simply hanging aluminum windows are simply no longer allowed. After understanding the jewel that had landed in our hands, we began to intervene surgically to meet today’s needs without, however, losing its original identity. We have re-used some rooms and added additional square feet outside the main structure to keep the original look of the street.

The original architecture is retained, including its original finishes and mullion windows, and the new architecture is 45 degrees from the upper volume and clad in a different material to respect and enhance the Rufus Nims geometry. The project is currently under approval and construction is scheduled to begin in the coming months. We are happy that this project was developed not only for the design itself, but also for the backstory that the project is made up of.

Villa Moire. Image courtesy Doo Architecture The architect I want to be influences life experiences through design, creating new forms of social interaction, urbanism, and the economy […] That’s what drives me as an architect: Don’t repeat the same formula every time.

What does it mean to be an architect today?

It’s relative. What does it mean to be an architect for people, for customers, for society? The architect I want to be is the one who influences life experiences through design and creates new forms of social interaction, urbanism and the economy. The way we live changes daily and the way we are programmed to need things changes too. That is why we have to constantly adapt, learn and change. That’s the beauty of the job … things are never the same. The more alienated the task, the bigger the learning curve, the better the result. At least that’s what drives me as an architect: not repeating the same formula every time.

If you could describe your work / practice in three words, which would it be?

Design curiously.

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