Bill Brock, a native Lexingtonian, and Ernst Johnson met while students at Yale University, where the latter was a classmate of Internationally known architect, Eero Saarinen. Mr. Johnson was the 1934 Paris Prize winner at Yale and toured Europe before becoming University Architect at the University of Kentucky under the late Dean Graham. There he designed many of the early university buildings, such as the Funkhouser Building, Erikson Hall Home Economics Building and the Engineering Quadrangle in the late 1930’s. After the formation of Brock and Johnson Architects, the firm designed the UK Peterson Service Building, the original Fine Arts Building, and Mr. Johnson was the architectural designer for the UK Memorial Coliseum as part of a joint venture with John T. Gilig and Hugh Meriwether. The firm began designing public schools from the very beginning and has consistently had a school building on the boards since that time.
Byron Romanowitz, a Past President of the firm, received a Civil Engineering degree from the University of Kentucky and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Princeton University, where he won the Hiron’s D’Amato and Butler prizes. After a year as an instructor of design in the Princeton University School of Architecture, and a tour of duty as a construction officer in the United States Navy, Mr. Romanowitz joined Brock and Johnson Architects as a project architect.
Byron Romanowitz became a partner with Ernst Johnson and the firm name changed to Johnson/Romanowitz/Architects in 1962. In 1972, Byron Romanowitz reorganized the firm as a corporation, retaining the same name.
The firm’s practice at that time consisted primarily of educational and institutional projects. However, as a result of Romanowitz’s interest and background in downtown Lexington, gained as a member of the Urban Renewal Commission, and as Executive Vice President of the Citizens Association for Planning in the early 1970’s, the firm soon expanded heavily into the private market. It was during this time that the firm also established a strong planning component.
In addition to work on twenty University and College campuses and a large number of public school clients and medical projects, JRA has served as architects for over $150 million dollars in private commercial construction in downtown Lexington and Louisville. Today, the firm has a long list of architectural design awards, and a prestigious array of clients ranging from institutions to private real estate developers.
The firm is led today by Rob Deal who serves as the President.
Many of our projects begins with a master plan, a traditional part of JRA Architect’s services for the last 45 years. We have completed health care planning at University Hospital in Louisville, Ky, Woodford County Memorial Hospital, Wayne County Hospital, and UK Medical Center in Lexington. Also, JRA has provided campus master planning services at the University of Louisville, Asbury College, Asbury Theological Seminary, Berea College, Western Kentucky University, Midway College, Georgetown College, Kentucky Wesleyan College and Transylvania University. Over 20 religious facility master plans have been done for a variety of denominations including Fern Creek Christian Church, St. James Catholic Church, and Living Hope Baptist Church. We are also proud of having completed over 350 elementary and Our philosophy and primary responsibility is meeting needs and satisfying objectives of clients.
Our goal is to provide each client with well-planned and attractive buildings at a reasonable cost.
Serving clients is the reason that we exist. Serving them well is the reason that we succeed.