Within a few days of first meeting with the architect who showed up, unexpectedly to say the least, in the parking lot of The Learning Center Charter School back in December 2016, I found myself asking questions of my daughter-in-law and her parents. I hate to admit that the first question went something like this. "Is this guy for real?
I'll never forget Jennifer's response. "Jimmy Hanis is a visionary. He has a gift of 'seeing' what is possible. He has put himself behind pro-bono projects before and all have come to completion."
Then my research began in earnest. I had to know more about the creative genius behind the "sense of possibility" that took root in me during the architect + educator walk-about shared in my September 2, 2021 blog post that introduces PROJECT BLU SKY. James Hanis tells his story best.
"When I was very young, I would accompany my father, then Director of Public Works, to his office at Navy Pier in Chicago on Saturdays. He would always suggest that we tour through the Drafting Room as he described his favorite city projects that his engineering staff was currently designing for construction. As we passed each drafting table, he would ask me to select a project and drawing sheet that I would enjoy tracing as my assignment for the day.
For lunch the tradition was walking to The Art Institute of Chicago and in doing so, each selected pathway provided us with a new direction to encounter the most beautiful Twentieth-Century buildings designed by Early Modernists. These extraordinary encounters + design lessons became the "touch stone" in the formation of my life career as an Architect + Artist....
I received a Bachelor and Master of Arts in Architecture from the University of Florida, a certification from the National Counsel of Architectural Registration Board (NCARB), and Registered Architect licenses with selective states. I have worked in the offices of URS, HOK + studio-e, 3D International, City of Daytona Beach-City Architect, and Walt Disney World Imagineering. Projects have included major aviation master planning and airport terminals, civic federal courthouses; federal Naval stations; entertainment parks, and universities. Among the most well-known projects in Florida are Tampa International Airport Terminal 'F', United States Federal Courthouse Tampa, Universal Studios Islands of Adventure Orlando, Florida State University Campus Master Plan, and United States Naval Air Station - Naval Aviation Technical Training Campus Master Plan, and United States Naval Air Station - Naval Aviation Technical Training Campus Pensacola. Several projects have been recognized with national and state design awards and published in journals."
Within a few month after meeting architect James Hanis, he would head to Paris with a Disney Imagineering project. Before leaving, he shared early project planning goals and instructions that would keep a team of dedicated, strategic educators busy for months to come.
Please, follow the developing weekly story of PROJECT BLU SKY, a tale of two visions:
BLU SKY OBSERVATORY Facility Replacement Project
BLU SKY INTIATIVE to Right the Future FOR Education