The Team

Thomas Barry

Thomas Barry

OPerA Studio is led by Thomas Barry, a licensed architect and LEED accredited professional. Thomas has over 15 years of experience overseeing projects of various building types and sizes. From 2007- 2010, he was an associate partner at Archi-Tectonics, a leading international design firm, which he joined in 2005. Projects he led at Archi-Tectonics include ground-up multi-unit condominium and mixed-use buildings, large scale conversions of existing buildings, townhouse renovations and additions, high-end retail, residential, and commercial projects. Many of these projects required 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 worked at both Davis Brody Bond and Fox and Fowle Architects in New York, where he gained experience in building types such as hospitality, fitness, office, primary and higher education, community use, libraries, and laboratories. Thomas also worked at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture in Rotterdam on a proposed expansion to the Whitney Museum.

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, where he teaches advanced elective design studios with a focus on design research in the development of systems-based design strategies. He has also taught design as a visiting professor at Cornell University and the New York Institute of Technology, and has served as a critic on design reviews at Syracuse University, University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University, and the Pratt Institute.

David Barr

David Barr

David Barr graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Cincinnati in 2005. In 2007, he received his Masters of Architecture, also from the University of Cincinnati. While a student, he served as a GA to the graduate school director, Patricia Kucker. He was also president of the Masters of Architecture Program within the School of Architecture and Interior Design (SAID), and treasurer of the Student Society of SAID.

During his time at school, David worked as an intern for SmithGroup JJR Architects (Phoenix, Arizona), Lippincott Brand Strategies (New York City) and Archi-Tectonics (New York City). Following graduation, David worked 3 months as a Designer at Michael Mcinturf Architects (Cincinnati, Ohio) before returning to work full-time for Archi-Tectonics. His current position at OPerA studio is Design Director, overseeing both office management and design responsibilities.

Throughout his career David has worked on many high profile projects, including Ports 1961 (stores in Shanghai, China, and Paris, France), and the high-end V33 Condominium Building (New York City). His work has been mentioned in publications such as Interior Design Magazine, Mark Magazine, The Architect’s Newspaper, and Surface Magazine.

As a designer, David is committed to finding solutions which react to site and cultural conditions, as well as exploring advanced fabrication techniques. His recent work has expanded upon these ideas by re-interpreting traditional materials and details through contemporary forms and fabrication methods.

Mercedes Cuvi

Mercedes Cuvi

Mercedes joined OPerA Studio Architecture in 2014 as a Junior Architect. Since joining the firm, Mercedes has worked on a number of residential and commercial projects. She is particularly interested in the construction process and is always looking for new ways to efficiently transform drawings or ideas into inhabitable and functional spaces.

Mercedes completed her Bachelor of Architecture degree at Cornell University in 2013. While a student, she was an active memeber of Cornell University Sustainable Design (CUSD) and contributed to the construction of a Schoolhouse in South Africa. Her professional work experience includes an internship at LTL Architects in New York City, in addition to some freelance design work. Mercedes is originally from Miami.

Hsiang-Wei Chen

Hsiang-Wei Chen

Hsiang-Wei received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Tunghai University in Taiwan in 2008, and a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University in New York in 2013. After completing his education in architecture, Hsiang-Wei worked for two and half years at Archi-Tectonics, where he led several large-scale renovation and building projects in Manhattan, and collaborated on several competitions including the Waterfront Competition for New Rochelle, NY and two urban design competitions in Yulin and Xiang- both in China. Throughout his architectural studies, Hsiangwei has been interested in typological research and developed a thesis project entitled “Fixed Flexibility.” He believes that the way a building’s program is defined and interpreted is the key to creating architectural prototypes.

Xiaoyuan Yu

Xiaoyuan Yu

Before joining the team at OPerA Studio as a Junior Architect, Xiaoyuan earned her Bachelor of Architecture degree from Chongqing University in China in 2013, and a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 2015, with a focus in Historic Preservation. She appreciates the complexity that arises from overlapping styles and movements in architectural history, and sees the role of design as conveying the spirit of a place, with an interest in the ways that buildings can embody the values of a society.

Brendan Comfort

Brendan Comfort

Brendan joined OPerA Studio Architecture in 2016 after graduating Magna Cum Laude from the NJ School of Architecture at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. While earning his Bachelor of Architecture degree, he was awarded the title of NJSOA Endowed Scholar in recognition of design and academic excellence. He was a teaching assistant in the NJIT FabLab, where he gained experience in advanced digital fabrication techniques. His interests lie in the means and methods of construction, and the relationship between aggregation, tectonics and affect. Brendan is originally from South Jersey.

Gosia Pawlowska

Gosia Pawlowska

Gosia completed her Bachelor of Architecture degree at Cornell University in 2016. Before joining OPerA studio as a Junior Architect, she has previously worked as an architectural intern at WWAA Practice for Architecture and Urbanism in Warsaw Poland, and Stephanie Goto Design Group in New York City. Additionally, she worked for one term as a curatorial intern at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, conducting research for the Department of Architecture and Digital Initiatives. While a student at Cornell, Gosia was one of the Editors-in-Chief of Association Volume 7- an annual publication of student, faculty, and alumni work at the school of Architecture, Art and Planning. She was also one of the student editors of the Cornell Journal of Architecture Volume 10, and worked as a teaching assistant in the wood and metal fabrication shop for three years. She is interested in material research and fabrication within architectural design, as well as the relationship of buildings to their site and context within the city.

Jesus Aguilar

Jesus Aguilar

Jesus Aguilar received his Master of Architecture from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2016 and a BFA in Architecture/Landscape/Interiors from OTIS College of Art and Design, Los Angeles in 2008. From 2011-2016 he taught at OTIS as a teaching associate in the department of Architecture/Landscape/Interiors and instructor for Summer of Art: K-12 & Pre-College Programs. He previously worked with Los Angeles based firms The LADG, DSH Architecture, Fièvre Jones and independently as a graphic and interior designer. While at Chicago, he was a teaching assistant and served as the Art Director for Fresh Meat Journal a publication from the School of Architecture. His interests within architecture include residential interiors, objects and graphics and their relationship to the built environment.

Past Contributors

Past Contributors

Nathan Minett, Project Architect

Marisela Vanegas, Architectural Intern

Alexander Cutrona, Architectural Intern