opportunity for expression is boundless, only the proper match of
plan, theme, and site woven together with the will of the Owner
will result in a truly enduring and timeless Architecture, one
that will retain its Investment Value over time. For over 20 years
Award Winning Architect John Henry has proven -consistently, that
his unique capabilities and background can satisfy the desires of
the most demanding and esteemed client. Through continuous
personal research and a commitment to Design Excellence, in each
case the result is a 'one-of-a kind' residence that bears a
distinct 'signature style': timeless, a true classic."
John Henry is a practicing licensed architect in the state of
Florida and Texas with an office based in Orlando. He holds a
Bachelor in Environmental Design and Master of Architecture
degree from Texas A&M University.
Having apprenticed in a variety of prestigious
commercial and residential firms Mr. Henry's work includes
examples of decorative Traditional styles to ultra-Contemporary
designs which can be found in various communities and
metropolitan areas nationwide ranging from starter homes to
country estates, and commercial/institutional projects.
Winner of several local and national design competitions, his
work was voted the "People's Choice" Best of Show and Best
Architectural Design for "Villa Verona" in Alaqua's 1992 Street
of Dreams in Orlando, Florida. In 1995 the residential prototype
for Time/Warner's interactive cable "Twenty-first Century
Technology House" was completed in Longwood, Florida. In 1998 "Valmoreal"
received the Best of Show award for Philip Landing's Street of
Dreams showcase. (see below)
Philosophy of Design
Influenced by the archaeology of ancient Greece and Rome and the
Renaissance period in Italy, France, and Germany, plus the
Islamic architecture of the Middle East, Mr. Henry has developed
a personal view of architecture shaped by the rich cultural
influences experienced in his youth. The distinguishing
philosophy of Mr. Henry is the belief that classic architecture
may be executed in any style: but that style must be handled
with the proper understanding of historical development, by
focusing attention to particular details, materials and design
characteristics of the period, and by building appropriately to
site and environmental context. Above all design integrity is
paramount in order to insure a coherent and valuable statement.
John Henry's approach to traditional style is an inspirational
blend of academic classicism tinged with romantic overtones. The
work can be formal to eclectic: several styles can be brought
together to achieve a unique, one-of-a-kind response to a
client's discriminating vision. Period style facades combine
with practical and clever floor plans which can unfold according
to lifestyle, views, topography, and microclimate.
In a time that the faddists are experimenting with 'chaos
theory' and the commercial world is steeped in monotonous
functionalism, it is refreshing to find an architect who strives
for aesthetics and grace beyond just practicality. In this
politically correct era where judgment is suspended, an
architect is setting a standard of excellence. A bleary 'less is
more' world is thirsty for decorative detail that does not
overwhelm and visual interest that is evocative, complementary.
The interesting irony here is that John Henry received a
Master of Architecture from a university that was insistent on
adhering monolithically to Modern Movement tenets, prohibiting
the use of any form of historical revivalism in solving
contemporary building needs. Since the middle 1970's that idea
has been compromised in leading academic institutions allowing
post-modernist ideas and practice. While having the opportunity
and experience in modern architectural design, the residential
field has meanwhile followed the pendulum swing to traditional
and period style work, currently vogue. Before this swing was
apparent or as nearly complete as it is now, Mr. Henry
concentrated over 8 years of private research in the effort to
understand and be proficient in the 'art of the ancients',
resulting in one of the most competent and original architects
of period style design. His portfolio is resplendent with
various examples of Greco-Roman to Gothic residential (and
commercial structures) finished in a wide range of materials,
budget, and consequently integrity of the period.
This two-sided approach - one of function and practicality, the
other of aesthetic richness and historical allusion -- results
in a 'best of both worlds' resource. Add a flair for an exotic/
romantic interpretation of the classics, the insistence on
integrity of the design, and you have the makings of World Class
Architecture. If you feel that 'less is a bore' and you crave a
return to human-based scale and sensuous form; if you long for
the heroic and monumental, for the evocative - the sublime in
art, then John Henry must be your architect of choice. If you
believe beauty in art and architecture is still possible and
that a 'return to tradition' can satisfy a longing for the
elegiac imagery of the past please consider an architectural
classic designed by John Henry who has been successfully solving
living needs and enhancing lifestyles for discriminating
individuals, holiday offering a wide variety of experience in terms of
site and client briefs, and a tailored scope of services.
John Henry accepts commissions to partially or completely design
and detail luxury custom homes in any location of the world. The
results vary in scope depending on each Owner's unique
circumstances and program. Satisfying the conceptual model is
the heart of the project, and Mr. Henry has been adept at
'starting from zero' - a blank sheet of paper-to finishing
projects started in conjunction with other designers. The energy
and vision that an Owner brings to the table is matched and
synthesized into an enduring architectural statement which
becomes a valuable heritage investment.
Each program results in a 'one-of-a-kind' solution. It is
extremely rare to find the typical in John Henry's work. All is
special, a wonder. Truly, beyond four walls and a simple roof we
all attempt to create a distinct environment multi-layered with
meaning, an ephemeral habitation for our body and souls. John
Henry has an uncanny ability to 'draw out' (figuratively and
literally!) the genetic spark or thematic essence of each
Owner's vision. The conceptual response is unnervingly prompt.
He opens up various possibilities in the conceptual stage to
insure that the Owner has considered the principal options and
alternatives available before further development.
Because of the highly customized nature of Mr. Henry's practice
all commission requests unfortunately cannot be granted. Please
correspond as to the nature/ location/ scope and estimated
budget of your project, as well as a time/ schedule commitment.
You will be notified promptly if available time and resources
can be allocated to meet your needs.
You will find that the measure of John Henry's worth is based
on the value his services create: a lasting investment based on
timeless principles of design, not pasted with clichés or
caricature that will date and deprecate your investment. He is a
purist theoretically, but welcomes any challenge that would
further the boundaries of excellence in design - modern or
classical. In creating with any materials or designing under any
stylistic basis, be believes that without soul, without romance,
art, or drama - the project would fail in its most essential
purpose: to create an inspiring human environment that speaks of
its Owner's vision and aspiration. With great sensitivity to
harmony and balance, to color and light, for form and texture,
such an end may be realized. Rest assured that your project will
be "one of a kind" - exclusively designed by Mr. Henry and
personally executed to the highest standards.
Mr. Henry derives his greatest satisfaction from thoroughly
pleasing his clients which is possible by his comprehensive
manner and professional commitment, knowing that the
manifestation of the creative energy expended has resulted in a
truly timeless and classic work of architecture - a lasting and
Licensing, Academic and Professional Credentials
John C. Henry holds a Bachelor of Environmental Design and
Master of Architecture degree from Texas A&M University. He
currently maintains a professional license in Florida (AR 13013). Licensure allows an
architect the right to design structures of any size and type in
each respective state licensed. Usually, a structural engineer
must check the building structure for adequate member design and
specify certain details for steel, concrete, and wood framing.
He or she will stamp the structural drawing set and the Owner
may then present the engineering set with the architectural set
for permitting. Seismic and wind design is required by certain
states. Other jurisdictions may require environmental impact
Out of state architects may design residential structures in
states in which they maintain no license as long as local
engineering is accomplished and reciprocity is granted. In some developments the community
covenants and regulations simply state the requirement for a
licensed architect to be commissioned and may not specify in
which state the architect must be licensed. If prohibited for
some reason, an out of state architect ('Design Architect') may
contract with a local consulting architect ('Architect of
Record') to execute Construction Documents and follow with
Shahid Ahmad of Contempo
Design (321/229-7251 or 407/ 238-9590) working with John
Henry (photo above) during framing stage of ultra-custom
residence in Cypress Point, Orlando. Inspecting screeds for
stucco moldings below:
Long Distance Projects: National and International
Many of John Henry's projects take place out of the State of
Florida, where the prime office is located. However due to the
many benefits of telecommunications, much can be accomplished
with a combination of site visits and personal consultation
aided by telephone, fax and overnight drawings delivery, and
through same-day fax-modem file transfers directly to a local
Depending on availability/ scheduling, the scope of work, and
contract terms, Mr. Henry may make multiple visits throughout
the design-build process. If circumstances do not permit
extensive representation a local architect may be contracted
directly by the Owner or hired as a consultant under the Owner/
Architect contract. The local firm may fulfill the Contract
Documents phase for example and be asked to administer bidding
and contractor selection, review draw requests, and visit the
site as often as possible to insure that the Contractor is
following specifications and drawings to fulfill the complete
terms of the construction
Projects overseas may be organized similarly to those out of the
architect's principal working range. The squatters system for
programming and conceptual design is encouraged here since there
is more limited personal contact. Materials and construction
methods have a great bearing on style as well as political,
geographic, and climatic issues. Also, local custom and family
organization affect the layout of plans. A non-Western lifestyle
may usually be adapted under traditional Western architectural
forms, and many up-to-date internal conveniences/ appliances/
electrical and mechanical systems, as well as decorative
materials may be imported.
The Construction Documents often must be adapted to mimic local
standards, which includes drawings executed in the metric
system. This presents no real problem but attention to imported
electrical motors (voltage and current), cabinetry, windows and
doors, etc. must be taken to insure the proper utility
connections and fit in walls. Consulting architects must be
available unless the Owner might consider having the prime
architect locate a Field Representative to the site.
Logistics may hamper progress. For example, the importing of
certain materials may be prohibited or taxed; the duration of
shipping to the host country may delay the project. Local
contractors may not be familiar with the installation of certain
products as well. The availability of skilled trades and
craftspeople also presents a problem. Many of these issues
should be addressed in the programming phase in order to
reconcile the most reasonable and desirable design.
Awards and Citations
"...the thing of first importance
in architecture is beauty."
Charles F. McKim, Architect 1905
1990 Orlando Magazine, Achievements in Architecture, Best
Architectural Design, "Mere Belle"
1991 Golden Aurora Award, 11 State Regional Competition, Best of
1991 Best in American Living, National Competition, NAHB and
Professional Builder Finalist
1991 HBA Parade of Homes, Orlando Best of Show "Chateaux
1992 Custom Builder, National Competition, Best Architectural
Exterior Details, "Mere Belle"
1992 Grand Aurora Award, 11 State Regional Competition, First
Place, "Descombes Residence", (Frank Lloyd Wright style)
1992 'Street of Dreams', Best of Show, Best Architectural Design
1992 International Ironworks, First Place, Ceremonial Gates, "Mere
1993 Orlando Magazine, Best Architectural Design 1993, Residential
category, "Villa Verona"
1997 'Street of Dreams', Best of Show, Best Architectural Design "Valmoreal"
(w/ Bernie Johnson)
1998 Southeast Builder's Conference, Aurora Award "Valmoreal"
Builder, Chateaux Marseilles
1991 Florida Home Builder, Viscaya
1991 Sun Coast Architect, Viscaya
1991 Southeast Home Builder, Viscaya, Villa Verona
1991 Orlando Sentinel, "Million Dollar Estate, Mere Belle"
1991 Orlando Sentinel, "The Southeast's Best", Viscaya
1992 Professional Builder, Intellinet System, Mere Belle
1992 Florida Design, Viscaya
1992 Unique Homes, "Descombes Residence", Mere Belle
1992 Orlando Sentinel, Villa Verona
1992 Metro, Villa Verona
1993 Naples Daily, "The New Traditionalism"
1993 Orlando Magazine, Showcase/Bio
1993 Master Plan, Master Custom Builder's Council, Villa Verona
1993 Orlando Sentinel, "Winner Style", Mather Residence
1993 Florida Design, Villa Verona, Descombes Residence
1993 Luxury Homes, Villa Verona
1993 Custom Builder, Siding Choices
1993 Master Plan, "The New Traditionalism"
1994 Orlando Sentinel, "Traditional Architecture"
1994 Florida Design, Miami Herald, Tampa Tribune , 'Maison Grande'
1995 Orlando Sentinel, "21st Century House"
1995 Luxury Homes, Professional Builder, Florida Homebuilder, 'Maison
1995 Orlando Magazine, 'Dyer Residence''
1995 Southern Living, Wall Street Journal , ' 21st Century House'
1995 Wall Street Journal, Orlando Sentinel, Orlando Business
Journal, Progressive Architecture: 'A Wrinkle in Time'
1996 Wall Street Journal, Orlando Sentinel, Houston , Disney's
1998 Unique Homes,
Christie's Great Estates, duPont Registry of Fine Homes, Payne
Sentinel, The New Traditionals
Stone Design, Mere Belle
1998 Homes and Land,
1998 The American
Society of Architectural Perspectivists, Designated Entry, Levy
2000 Design Build
Business and Entablature. 'The Future of the American Luxury Home'
2000 Good Morning
"Chateaux des Reves" feature
2006 Orlando Magazine, Mediterranean Contemporary
2007 Orlando Homebuyer, Multi-Generational House
Chateau des Reves
click image above for exclusive video of interior space
Exactly how to proceed varies between professionals.
Following is a summary of how to begin working with Mr. Henry
apart from contact and procedure outlined in this web site.
You will find examples of John Henry's work in national
magazines, even commentary about his views on design and
planning issues in major newspapers and trade journals. Or,
referral is most common. A brochure will be forwarded on which
to help base your decision to commission the architect. After
examining more examples of his work, studying background and
credentials, reviewing recommendations, etc. you may request a
contract proposal and/ or schedule a personal interview. To meet
personally in Florida or Texas involves no charge, but to meet
outside these states, a time/ travel and accommodation fee will
apply (see brochure material). An initial meeting should involve
a site visit; if not, a topographical survey should be available
A portfolio of finished work as well as a group of sketches/
plans will accompany the architect in order to review several
projects of interest. You will gain information as to how
specific projects were accomplished, in terms of planning/
conceptualization and materials selection. A variety of styles
are apparent from which to help narrow a selection for your own
project. You will sense whether or not you will feel comfortable
on a personal level to embark on a long-term association as
well. If a contract proposal has not been submitted at this
point, Mr. Henry will develop a personalized contract for your
review within a week, or if time permits, on-site. If agreement
is reached on the terms and provisions of the commission Mr.
Henry may be available to begin a squatters session (see below),
or at least clarify your exact requirements in person.
Mr. Henry will require an outline brief of your intentions in
terms of site, budget, anticipated style and area needs in order
to customize a design proposal. Following the interview and
discussion of this proposal, some adjustments may be negotiated
until a satisfactory fee schedule and terms are accepted. A
retainer based on approximately 10% of the total contract amount
and contract signatures allow commencement of the design.
'Problem seeking' or the search for opportunities and the
development of the client brief (if not worked out beforehand)
marks the first stage of the planning process; it is a
pre-design phase (see above) on which everything else follows.
Changes to the original conception as understood prior to
agreeing to the contract proposal may warrant adjustments to the
contract due to a change in scope of work. For example, during
the Conceptual Design phase the site selected may not be
adequate for the size and style of home anticipated, or an
initial budget estimate may not support the degree of detail
required per area needs. Or, after developing the initial floor
plan schematics, the total buildable area may have to be
Squatters: Optional On-location Programming and Conceptual/
Schematic Design Session -- Phase 1 Services
In the late 50's two Texas A&M architects pioneered a process
by which the Owner's program was tested on-location in a
relatively short period. Combined with the French Beaux Arts
system of a timely competition under stressful conditions (the
famous charette) this process came to be known as a squatters
design charette. It was an intensive design session allowing
direct feedback by the Owner.
The architect(s) relocate temporarily in the city or town where
the Owner resides, preferably close to the site in mind. The
client's program brief is clarified, evaluated and possibly
modified. Upon agreement of the basic parameters, the architect
will study the site and begin sketching several alternatives in
'bubble-diagram' format until the proper spatial relationships
emerge. One approach is singled out after several attempts, as
the agreed-upon theme becomes key. A conceptual elevation or two
is proposed in order to sense the massing. Style, a result of
proportion, height, and preconception may precondition the
floor plan or may evolve depending on site and changing program
specifications. The Owner is reviewing each sketch overlay and
edits the progress of the work.
Next the diagrams are further developed into distinct geometries
and checked with the site conditions. Setbacks, microclimate,
vegetation, views, site improvements, context, vehicular and
pedestrian circulation must be observed and integrated. During
this process further alternatives may present themselves. If the
site is generous and relatively level, a plethora of layouts is
possible. If such is the case, a protracted conceptual design
session will occur before any 'hard-lining' is attempted.
When the ultimate conceptual plan and elevation is generated in
sketch form, John Henry translates the floor plan into a
computer generated scaled drawing, usually on a portable or
laptop computer that can be linked to a large screen television.
The Owner can observe and make changes to the floor plan as it
is being digitized. A flexible CAD program allows the movement
and alteration of any wall. Several small-scaled plans can be
hard copied and then a ¼" scale plan plotted on large sheets
from the computer disk. Doors, windows, plumbing fixtures,
cabinetry, porches, stairs, etc. can be altered and developed
into the initial Schematic Plan, fulfilling Phase 1 objectives.
A front view sketch based on the larger plot will be drawn up
next. Color and texture indications will be added. The style is
now clear and further manipulation of the floor plan may be
necessary to balance the composition of the façade. A style
change may be possible as well. Overlays and perspective
renderings may follow. If the Owner is very satisfied with this
product, further refinement and progress to the next phase will
follow. This section basically compresses several weeks of the
conceptual to schematic design phase in a matter of 3-7 days and
illustrates the basic strategy involved in producing an
acceptable plan and elevation. For complex projects of larger
scope (4-7,000 SF+) and on more difficult sites, some additional
drafting equipment will be necessary to keep the scale of the
work consistent and may extend the time period up to two weeks
Phase 2-5 Services
description for Standard and Ultra Architectural Services read
section on Design Process in
Creating the Custom Home or go to
The development of the concept is an orderly process, but as
mentioned earlier, can often loop back to an earlier stage
challenging all previously developed programmatic requirements
and philosophical approaches. This is not bad, but can either
lead to frustration or elevate the project to new heights.
Generally, the pre-construction design process is quite
satisfying and memorable to all parties. While the design
process is critical to the generation of the construction
documents, additional effort must be taken to insure that
construction is achieving design intent. That means a clear
tie-in between complete specifications and site observation.
A good architect will attempt to communicate the ramifications
for each design decision as clearly as possible to the Owner at
each step, although it is my experience that the finished built
product is almost always a surprise, a most pleasant one.
Unanticipated results may be mitigated by the production of
realistic renderings, models, and even CAD generated
walk-through programs. The Owner should attempt to gauge the
breadth and height of the anticipated spaces from existing
structures if possible.