SFA Architects Celebrates 50 Years

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SFA Architects Celebrates 50 Years of Design in Cincinnati


incinnati architecture firm SFA Architects celebrates its 50th year in business in 2017. The firm, which is located in downtown Cincinnati and also has an office in downtown Dayton, is commemorating this milestone with a renewed focus on new growth markets and an enthusiastic spirit that reflects its roots as a family-owned business that currently employs more than 70 architects, engineers, designers and other professionals. SFA’s story began in 1967, when the firm’s founder, Emilio Fernandez, opened the doors of his small architecture practice in a suburb of Cincinnati. Emilio had arrived in Cincinnati in 1961 after emigrating from Cuba with his young family. Although he was skilled at reading and writing English, Emilio did not speak the language when he first came to this country. However, in order to practice his profession, he needed to pass the Ohio State Board of Architecture Exam, a notoriously difficult five-day test that few master on a first attempt. Emilio’s hard work paid off; he passed all sections with his initial effort and in 1967, SFA Architects was born.

SFA Architects Founder Emilio Fernandez, now in his 80s, can still be found working on project quality constron and construction administration.

Today SFA is one of Cincinnati’s largest design firms, specializing in the creation of educational, healthcare, residential, institutional and corporate environments. With the addition of interior design services in 1992 and engineering services in 1999, SFA has become a multidisciplinary firm able to serve a wide variety of clients and markets throughout the region. In the past five decades, SFA has grown from a small practice into the largest minority-owned architectural firm in Cincinnati. In the 1980’s, son and fellow architect E. Thomas Fernandez joined the practice. He currently serves as the firm’s President. Founding father Emilio, now 87 years old, still works full-time, partnering with technical staff on project quality control and construction administration. His vibrant demeanor and passionate work ethic have planted the seeds of corporate success, and from these roots, SFA, along with its subsidiary, PDT Architects, has created an organization recognized throughout the area for its continued commitment to innovative design and client satisfaction.

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