Leo Sguera is a licensed architect in New York state with over 15 years of experience in the field. Leo attended McGill University and holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Pratt Institute and a Masters of Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University in New York City.
After working for more than a decade at renowned architecture firms like Ateliers Jean Nouvel, HOK and Soma Architects, Leo has developed some of his own small projects, giving him an acute awareness of the costs involved in building. Leo has modeled his architecture business on that experience. He feels that one of the primary roles of an architect is to serve as a financial advisor to the owner with regards to project delivery methods. Both owners and architects are often unaware of how much value they can add to a project by embracing the financial logistics of a project early on. For those reasons, he has been an early adopter of Integrated Project Delivery methods. He has advised owners on the use of Construction Manager as Constructor (CMc) contracts as well as typical bidding procedures. He believes architectural creativity can be fostered by both spatial and financial constraints.
Leo is equally comfortable working on larger scale commercial projects as he is on the intimate scale of a kitchen or bathroom. He finds all design scales exciting, from objects to buildings, as they all relate to life and the possibility of living it better. His expertise lies mostly in the realm of residential architecture and hospitality.
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Leopoldo’s childhood was spent in the Apennine mountains that form the seismic spine of Italy, a country known for its natural beauty and majestic architecture. His outlook on aesthetics and form making were deeply informed by this period in his life. As a boy he would travel daily between the village where he lived, high on a mountainous slope to a large construction site that his father and grandfather were transforming into an expansive resort complex which included a hotel, motel, restaurants, pools, athletic facilities, horse stables and a large column-less congress hall which remains state of the art to this day.
Each day he observed the medieval architecture and urban planning, of seemingly random design, and absorbed intuitively how skillfully it navigated the demands of the massive terrain while providing social connection and intimate scale. Arriving at the construction site to join his father, he was always in awe of the gargantuan congress hall being built and in skeletal form. It soared to over forty feet high and spanned over one thousand feet in all directions without a single column for support. This was yet another example of how architecture could synthesize the disparate needs of physics and social communion. It was this daily meditation on the new and the old, the large and the small, the powerful and the delicate that still informs his refined architectural sensibility today.
Leo, also noted at a very young age how restaurant and hotel spaces become an effective whole and create a sense of place. The construction of that sense of place and noema are something that struck a deep chord with him and guided his career path many years later. After having spent many years working in the family hotel and restaurant in Italy as well as others in NYC and Montreal, he eventually decided to pursue a career in architecture which was his primary passion.
Leo returned to Italy as an adult and apprenticed in Rome for the renowned French architect, Jean Nouvel. During that time he assisted in the design of modern structures for Bergamo, Firenze and Perugia while closely studying the ancient architecture and urban planning of Rome. He then returned to NYC to complete his Masters at Columbia University and work with other world renowned firms before opening his own architectural practice. He ultimately combined his dual passions for architecture and hospitality and designed award winning restaurants in the process.
Take a virtual tour of Workshop Kitchen + Bar, the James Beard Winner of Best Restaurant Design in America.