Famous architect inspired by landscapes
John James Toya is a Greek-American architect and partner of the award-winning architecture firm Ike Kligerman Barkley. After 13 years in New York he is proud to say that he opened the company’s office in San Fransisco in 2008 and was responsible for all their projects on the west coast. In 2014 he opened the TOYAstudio, which offered him more autonomy to explore his art, and in which he specializes in homes inspired by the landscape and traditional materials.
“I am head of TOYAstudio, which is an architectural office of high standards, specializing in designing residences. Their common feature is that they are perfectly tailored to customer needs. I like natural materials and their traditional use. We also like to work with artisans and people who use traditional techniques and we listen to their opinions and incorporate their expertise”, says John about his work.
John grew up in Chicago, where he developed his love for architecture. Along with his father – also an architect- they would oftenly go and visit sights. His mother was also a big fan of art. But of course the trips to Greece as a child played an important role in developing his pride in its heritage and growing his interest in architecture.
“I thought it is a very difficult profession that is not paid well enough. Even my parents advised not to follow it. But when I was a student and was contemplating on becoming a successful businessman like my uncle, I didn’t like the classes. I began to attend art classes, which I liked a lot but could not find enough sense in them. I wanted something that more directly involved with society and culture. I came to realize how much I love architecture”, says John in trying to describe why he became an architect.
He got his Bachelor of Science in Architecture in the Iowa State University, from 1989 to 1993. He started working as Junior Architect Hanconck Inc from August 1993 to December 1995, and as he says: “This is where I developed my eye for detailing”. He then started working for the Ike Kligerman Barkley, having many responsibilities for several projects from different posts (Associate, Partner, Project Manager). Currently, he is working on projects in Hawaii, Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Toya also enjoys cycling and participates in the AIDS Lifecycle, a 45-mile race, which takes place every year and raises funds for HIV groups in California. When at home, he enjoys listening to vinyl records, and has a collection of them that is growing constantly.