Jonathan Levi is Adjunct Professor of Architecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design. Levi received his BA from Yale College and his Master’s Degree in Architecture from the Yale School of Architecture. He established a private architectural practice in Boston in 1984 after serving with the internationally-noted Chicago firm of Hammond Beeby and Babka, Inc. Mr. Levi’s work as project designer in that office received wide recognition through its publication in Global Architecture, Abitare, House and Garden and Architecture magazines.
In 1984, his project for a prototypical low-cost three-storey residence helped earn him recognition as one of 12 leading emerging architects in Boston (Bank of Boston, Establishing a Threshold Exhibition). The projects’s vertical living concept later culminated in the executed 1992 “Brookline Residence” which achieved international exposure (Whitney Library, Stern, Casas Internacional) for its audacious tower-like form, its maximization of site, view, and ventilation and its three-dimensional spatial sequence.
In 1985, Levi was appointed to the faculty of the Harvard Graduate School of Design where he has taught ever since in the areas of core program architectural design, architectural drawing, professional practice, and construction technology. He has guest taught, lectured, and exhibited widely with recent public lectures at University College, Dublin, Harvard University, Northeastern University and the University of Illinois at Chicago.
For his singularly distinctive architectural drawings, Levi has been accorded national attention as the recipient of the First Prize for Formal Architectural Rendering from the American Society of Architectural Illustrators. The watercolor painting of one of his own designs was shown as a featured work in the exhibition “Architecture in Perspective” held at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Dissatisfied with the decreasing quality afforded by commercially available building components, in the 1990s, Levi initiated a series of building material and detailing innovations intended for general use. These included executed proposals for new cladding systems, interior flooring, heating, exterior decking and windows. The latter, including 8 individual claims for inventions, was accorded a United States Technical Patent and is typical of Levi’s focus on qualities of materials and fine scale detailing which have a direct impact on the beauty and usefulness of architectural environments.
More recently, Levi has shifted his practice to public and institutional projects, applying the same rigor of detail and typological invention which characterized his earlier work in housing. His completed project for the Memorial to the Holocaust located in Marion Square, Charleston SC, synthesizes urban design with architecture and his own directly executed sculpture to produce an urban event of great expressive power. Dedication ceremonies celebrating the completion of the 7,000sf outdoor sanctuary were conducted with a performance of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and an audience of some two thousand in attendance.
Levi’s work has consistently been acknowledged internationally, nationally, regionally and locally through frequent awards, citations and feature articles in books and publications. In 2002, at the age of 48, his long-standing prominence as a designer was recognized by his election to the American Institute of Architect’s College of Fellows at the AIA National Convention in Charlotte, NC.
With his current firm, Jonathan Levi Architects, Inc., Levi recently completed a project for 143 beds of graduate student housing for Harvard University. The project pioneered a new housing type–a hybrid between dormitory and apartment dwelling. Strengthening the presence of academic community and facilitating interdisciplinary cross fertilization, the project also incorporates several programmatic features new to recent graduate housing at Harvard, including interspersed faculty housing, and a new 10,000sf rooftop academic garden courtyard. He is currently at work on the 400,000sf Northeast Headquarters for the Internal Revenue Service, a GSA design excellence project which will create a model workplace for the future of the IRS. Other recent projects include Levi’s flexDormdesign concept for a 21st century student residential community, and the 1,200 student aXon housing campus presented to Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned of Qatar in Spring 2007.