OPerA stands for 'Operative Practice Architecture.' Operative Practice is a design methodology wherein form is generated through the creation of systems, with a primary emphasis on how the system operates or performs to suit the needs of a project. The product is the singular instance of the formal system made to suit a particular site and use. Architecture can be seen as the moment when the repetitive and standardized products of industry are assembled to create the built environment. Systems are all around us: window wall systems, framing systems, mechanical systems, etc. In order for architecture (as a functional art) to be in control of building (as a necessity), we must harness these systems at their roots, and redefine them so that they perform in ways that serve our design, or else our designs become subservient to these systems. The first step is to look at how a thing is made, how existing typologies and methodologies need to be redefined, and how we can take control of certain aspects of production to achieve enhanced outcomes.
We accept that design can exist as the negotiation between the normative and the spectacular. Invention for invention's sake is a waste of resources; invention should find its way into each project where it can have the maximum impact. However, the artful negotiation of the interface between the prosaic and poetic allows for a successful blurring of the boundary between the two.
The things that we make should strive to be beautiful. The patterns and textures that we create in services of our needs to shelter and mediate our environments can weave their way through our built environment and inspire us and adorn our daily lives. Ours is a Maximalist architecture.
OPerA Studio is a full service architecture and interior design firm located in Brooklyn, NY, licensed to practice architecture in New York State. Our services span the length of a typical project, from initial feasibility studies through to the conclusion of the construction phase.
During the design phase we work closely with the client, our consultants, and as early as possible with contractors and fabricators. We provide fully detailed construction documents, including all interior design and material specifications. During construction we meet weekly with contractors on site to ensure that each aspect of the design is properly realized.
OPerA Studio is led by Thomas Barry, a licensed architect and LEED accredited professional. Thomas has over twelve years of experience overseeing projects of various building types and sizes. Most recently, from 2007 to 2010, he was an associate partner at Archi-Tectonics, a leading international design firm, which he joined in 2005. Projects that he led at Archi-Tectonics include new, ground up multi-unit condominium and mixed-use buildings, large scale conversions of existing buildings, smaller scale townhouse renovations and additions, high-end retail, high end residential, and commercial projects. Many of these projects received approval from the New York City Landmarks Commission, and for others he obtained zoning changes from the City Planning Department and the Board of Standards and Appeals. Prior to joining Archi-Tectonics, Thomas completed many projects at both Davis Brody Bond and Fox and Fowle Architects, including a series of educational and institutional building types such as hospitality, fitness, office, primary and higher education, community use, libraries, and laboratories. For a complete project list, please see the Experience section of this web site.
Thomas received his Master of Architecture degree from Harvard University and his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Syracuse University. He is currently an adjunct professor of architectural design at New Jersey Institute of Technology, has taught design at Cornell University and New York Institute of Technology, and has been a visiting critic at Syracuse University, University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University, and the Pratt Institute.
Thomas Barry is a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accredited professional, deemed by the US Green Building Council to oversee the LEED application process. LEED is a voluntary certification program that can be applied to any building type and any building lifecycle phase. The system promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in key areas. As associate partner at Archi-Tectonics, Thomas led the Little Red House Project in New York City, a conversion of an existing 30,000 SF warehouse to condominiums and commercial storefronts. The Little Red House project is registered for LEED gold certification. Prior the the implementation of LEED standards, while at Fox and Fowle Architects, Thomas was the project architect for the Black Rock Forest Center in Cornwall, NY. This project foresaw many of the LEED guidelines and implemented them before certification was available. In addition to using site harvested materials and systems such as composting toilets, passive ventilation and sun control, and geothermal heating and cooling, the building underwent simulated energy modeling to achieve maximum efficiency. At Opera Studio, our goal is to inform clients of the most cost effective ways to allow their projects to have the smallest possible impact on the environment. Visit the Client Resources section of this web site for more information.