Employee Spotlight: Jose “Chefe” Benitez

Jose “Chefe” Benitez, OTJ Senior Project Architect | Studio 5, holds a Masters in Architecture from The Catholic University of America. He manages day-to-day project activities and works hand-in-hand with the design team to transform the client’s vision into spaces that aim to impress. Jose’s nickname, Chefe, has a unique and interesting background story – one that he is frequently asked about. It’s derived from a combination of his first and middle names; every male on his father’s side of the family is named Jose, so they each have a nickname based on their middle name. His full name is Jose Fernando so “Che” is short for Jose and “fe” are the first letters of Fernando. So the end result – Chefe!

What made you decide you wanted to be an architect?

I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of creating spaces. I spent a lot of time during my summers designing and building sand castles.

What do you enjoy most about being an architect?

Earning a client’s trust means a lot to me. Knowing that you made a positive impact through your ideas is very rewarding too.

What is your favorite building and why?

That’s a hard one….In DC, it would be the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art. The simplicity of its design and its materials, yet the intricacy of every single detail coming together impeccably, it never stops to impress me every time I set foot in the building. You can look at the angles in any plane (top, bottom, sides) and every single joint meets seamlessly.  I like the contrast between the solid, heavy, and opaque façade and the open, bright, light interior atrium.

Where were you going the first time you flew in a plane?

Probably Salt Lake City, Utah. My grandmother used to live there.

If you could live in any country other than the U.S., where would it be and why?

Spain. I would move to Barcelona in a heartbeat! The history, the culture, the architecture, the food, the beach…it’s pretty much the total package. Oh, and I’m also going to live in Greece some day!

What is your absolute favorite sweet treat?

Bee Stings from Baked and Wired

What animal best describes your personality?


What is your go-to movie?

The Hangover

If you have any questions, please contact OTJ Architects today by calling 202-621-1000 or visit www.OTJ.com today!  You can also follow OTJ on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+.

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