I was initially licensed in the state of New Jersey in 1993, followed by Florida in 1999 through reciprocity. Upon arriving in Southwest Florida, I was the project architect at Mark J. Leonardi Architect in Naples, completing numerous residential, institutional and corporate buildings in addition to a three building private middle school campus expansion. I began accepting private architectural commissions in 2003 when I founded the firm, James Knafo Architect, located in Naples. My apprenticeship was fulfilled in New York City, designing private urban and suburban residences, as well as corporate offices. While attending Syracuse University, where I received the Bachelor of Architecture in 1986, I traveled abroad in France and studied in Florence, Italy for one year and exhibited an urban design proposal at the 1985 Venice Biennale.
I have been active within our design community by serving on the AIA Florida Southwest board of directors from 2003 – 2006 in the roles of Treasurer, Secretary, Vice President and President. Additionally, I chaired the 2004 & 2005 AIA Florida Southwest Design Conferences at The Coconut Point Hyatt Regency & Naples Beach Hotel respectively. As well, I’ve had the privilege to be a trustee for my local religious organization since 2004 and serving as the 1st VP, Building & Grounds chairman and Nominating Committee chair. I grew up in the suburbs of New York City and came to Naples from Buck’s County Pennsylvania in 1997.
Syracuse University, BArch, ARCHITECTURE