About Us

Designing God's House and Your House

Firm

CJK Studio is an ensemble of three (3 - Design, Sacred Space, OREXI) separate but synergistic teams of Design, Problem Solving and Technical professionals.

CJK Design Group is a full-service architecture, planning, and interior design firm with an award-winning international practice in faith, community, and residential building design. Expertise offered by our experienced staff is all inclusive and begins by defining goals and needs through facility programming, site master planning, facility evaluation, and spatial analysis. This continues through a symbiotic process of architectural design, interior design, and project implementation. The design’s development is based on the integration of the symbols from significant memories & images representing one’s own Roots & Ethos, with the desire to leave something for posterity.

CJK Sacred Space creates artifacts, furnishings and details for Faith, Residential and Community Environments. The Sacred Space Team designs, procures and installs the work to create a seamless, total experience from concept to reality.

CJK OREXI creates a process, that as a mindset, takes 2+2 to equal 5 plus. Discerning real estate challenges whether small or large, whether it be through a study, analysis or purposeful methodology, OREXI’s mission is to “think outside the box” to develop productive and creative options where others have drawn mediocre or neutral conclusions. Our “street smart” approach will test the feasibility, create the brand and spirit from initiation to occupancy. OREXI has the team and resources to provide seamless effective process and results.

 

Vision

 

We believe that Architecture is a verb. Thus creating vision, inspiration and value for our clients. Our architecture becomes a means of helping communities to meet the challenges today on many fronts.

We believe the past and the future are a continuum in the image of Culture, Faith, and Values that are expressed in the communities we build today. 

 

CJK strives to create these special places of Faith, Community & Dwelling for the celebrations of generations to come.

We also believe in reciprocal education: we offer workshops, visual aids, tours, and lectures regarding historical roots and liturgical symbolism in religious art and architecture, believing that a heightened cultural and aesthetic awareness of our faith illuminates and inspires a community.

CJK’s Founder and Principal, Christ J. Kamages, FAIA together with his Design Team, share a common mission of providing high quality informed solutions on every project throughout its duration. With the proven record of over two hundred successfully completed projects, the firm stands ready to provide premier services, that are reflective of our client’s vision and aspirations while addressing the varying needs and desires of our growing communities. Our deep appreciation of the spiritual diversity of our clients, with their traditions, vision and aspirations, has a major impact on our design approach and sensibility. We recognize the importance of evoking the most appropriate solutions from the interplay between the client / user needs, community and the environment in which it becomes a living part.

CJK - Creating Heaven on Earth

 

Biography

Christ J. Kamages, FAIA builds faith. Architecture is spiritual work for him. This began at 14 years of age. An MIT science fair award for Byzantine Architecture, where he elegantly demonstrated how to place a round dome on a square base, permanently sealed his career and life mission. Kamages became immersed in the Rationalist School of the 1960’s with undergraduate work at the Boston Architectural Center where he was exposed to the design methods and process architecture of Walter Kroner.


Community work in architecture arose from Master’s studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he was deeply involved with the Buffalo Organization for Social and Technological Innovation, begun by John Paul Eberhard, FAIA and Michael Brill, and Building Science Incorporated, another brainchild of Eberhard Christ Kamages went on to teach at SUNY-Buffalo in the 1970’s.

He has since become a guiding force as principal in a series of architecture firms. First of all at Cannon Design, Inc. Grand Island NY & Boston MA, where he further developed the strong relationship between traditional practice, applied process, and community participation. The 1980’s saw Kamages move to San Francisco, where his tenure at The Ehrenkrantz Group in San Francisco reinforced the process and methods foundation for design and also expanded the community focus with successful civic projects, like the Pasadena Police Department Building, designed with Robert A Stern, FAIA and Ezra Ehrenkrantz, FAIA, which won an AIA Architecture in Justice Award for 2002. Kamages acquired the firm and changed the name to EKONA Architecture and Planning, and expanded his work to church projects. The firm has today become CJK Design Group, with multi-million dollar projects throughout the US.

 

Christ Kamages has truly advanced the profession of architecture by achieving that synthesis between the rational/analytical aspects of building design and the emotional/ cultural forces of community interaction in the design and construction process. This has led to overwhelming success in working with hundreds of Clients to inspire them with his passion for a rebirth and creativity. For Kamages, “Architecture is a verb, not a noun,” aimed at involving people in transformative space. “What’s lacking in society is a sense of community, faith, and spirituality. All the great buildings manifest some kind of community purpose.” Kamages goal is “holistic architecture” which combines creativity, strategic thinking and research to create individual buildings and special spaces of memory and distinction which make a difference to the users and also the casual observer.

In a moving ceremony in Constantinople in 2000, Patriarch Bartholomew inducted Kamages as an Archon Architekton, the first in history to bear this title, as recognition of his efforts in Ecclesiastical architecture, a befitting title for a person who has been designing Sacred Space for almost 40 years. His  projects have become landmarks and have consistently garnered awards and extensive press coverage .In 2015 he was inducted by the American Institute of Architects(AIA) to their College  of Fellows , the highest honor with the AIA.

 

Services

The broad spectrum of services offered by CJK range in scale from artifact to facilities master-planning, from historical preservation/renovation to seismic retrofit, and from concept image design to creating mission statements. The range of facilities CJK designs include:

  • Sanctuaries/Places of Worship

  • Administration Centers

  • Education and Conference Facilities

  • Social Facilities

  • Cultural Facilities

  • Recreational and Athletic Facilities

  • Pre-Schools

  • K-8 Educational Facilities

  • Senior Housing

  • Starter Housing

  • Housing

  • Mausoleums

  • Memorials

CJK offers services as discrete elements or as comprehensive, interrelated packages which address the following client challenges:

  • Mission Statements/Strategic Planning

  • Needs Assessment and Programming

  • Master Planning/Vision Development

  • Feasibility Studies

  • Conditional Use Permit Process and Hearings

  • Funding Coordination and Planning

  • Parish and Community Relations and Communications

  • Vision and Design

  • Site

  • Architectural

  • Interior

  • Furnishings

  • Artifacts and Vestments

  • Design Research

  • Image Development

  • Historical Research

  • New Products

  • Technical Research

  • Construction Cost

  • Estimating and Planning

  • Cost Modeling

  • Construction Coordination

  • Existing Facilities Analysis

  • Operational and Maintenance Analysis

  • Pre-purchase

  • Adequacy Analysis (Space + System)

  • Historical Renovation

  • Adaptive Re-use

  • Project Management

  • Design Build

We believe that each project is driven by the unique needs of our client. The best projects are products of collaboration. We work closely with our clients in order to best satisfy their needs & requirements.

Awards

  • Golden Trowel Award – The Texas Masonry Council – Forty Holy Martyrs Orthodox Church and School, 2007

  • Texas Masonry Award – Associated Masonry Contractors of Houston

  • AIA – Architecture in Justice Award – Pasadena Police Building & Jail, 2002

  • 911 Oakland Masonry Award – Oakland, CA 2000

  • Winning Design Competition, City of Daly City – Bayshore Community Center 2000

  • Los Angeles Conservancy Preservation Award, George Ellery Hale Building (City Hall Annex), Pasadena, CA, 1995

  • Pasadena Beautiful Award – City of Pasadena, George Ellery Hale Building (City Hall Annex), Pasadena, California, 1995

  • California Preservation Foundation Preservation Design Award – George Ellery Hale Building, Pasadena, California, 1995

  • Design for Excellence Award – Southern California Edison – Betty Lou Lamoreaux Juvenile Center, Orange County, 1991

  • Award of Merit, Golden Nugget Award Program – Pasadena Police Building & Jail, 1991

  • Architectural Concrete Award for Excellence – City of Beverly Hills, Jurgenson’s Gourmet Market,1990

  • Architectural Excellence Award – City of Beverly Hills, Jurgenson’s Gourmet Market,1990

  • AIA/ACA Awards & Citations – Sonoma Honors, Sonoma County, Honor Farm, 1987,1988

  • Governor’s Award for Design Excellence in Community Related Projects – Columbus Center, Springfield, MA, 1987

  • Progressive Architecture Design Award – For oeuvre 1985-1986

  • AIA/ACA Awards & Citations – Sonoma Honors, Sonoma

  • County, Main Adult Detention, 1985 – 1986

  • Excellence Award – Annual Exhibition for Justice – The Sonoma County Honor Farm, California, 1985

  • IMPC Excellence in Parking Design and Program Innovation – Columbus Center, Springfield, MA, 1985

  • American Association of School Administrators Award for Merit – Binghamton High School, 1985

  • Western Massachusetts AIA Merit Award – St. George Greek Orthodox Cultural Center, Springfield, MA, 1979

  • AIA Regional Awards – for Excellence in Design – St. Mary’s Hospital Rochester N.Y., 1978

  • AIA Regional Awards – for Excellence in Design – Niagara Falls Medical Center, Niagara Falls, N.Y., 1977

  • Western Massachusetts AIA Award Excellence in Design – Springfield Fire Headquarters Facility, 1977

  • Maurice Gianni Memorial Design Award, 1967

  • Boston Society of Architects Award Design Excellence, 1966.

  • MIT Boston Globe Science Fair Second Prize Byzantine Architecture, 1964.

  • Western Massachusetts Society of Industrial Engineering Award, 1964

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© 1985 - 2020 CJK Design Studio

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