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Designing around the world. (Profile of the week: Ismael Leyva, Principal, Ismael Leyva Architects, P.C.).

In the Costa rican jungle, he's designed a glass house beside a waterfall. It's remote, as it should be--even the water closet is behind glass.

Closer to civilization, the skyscraper he most esteems is the Chrysler Building, gargoyles and all.

These are a few tidbits about Ismael Leyva, a 50-year-old, Mexican-born architect. Leyva was known for his interior work prior to 1996, the year that he established his own firm. The work he's done since is diverse, embracing myriad uses in sundry locales. In an age of specialization, Leyva's philosophy is all-purpose, seemingly unlimited. It's hard to pigeon hole the man's work, as tempting as such a goal is with any architect.

He studied architecture growing up in Mexico. Upon moving to the United States, Leyva began working with several famous architects such as Philip Johnson, Robert A.M. Stern and Costas Kondylis. His resume includes work on the AOL Time Warner Center, the new Penn Station and the Trump International Hotel & Tower.

Like most architects, Leyva speaks of his work philosophically. Some of the words he peppers the discussion with are "functional" and "efficient". Yet he brings an aesthetic to bear on his designs, if not his conversation--his residential buildings are sleek and contextual, with artful setbacks.

His work seems to duplicate elements of various 20th century architects but there is nothing derivative about the projects.

His latest project is the Post Toscana, a 31-story rental building on East 89th street. The $97 million project is expected to open next year.

"The Post Toscana features living spaces that are atypical of rental buildings in this area of Manhattan. Residents get a sense of space and visual privacy that is unique," said the 50-year-old architect during a recent interview at his midtown offices.

Luxury amenities such as granite kitchens, marble baths, wood floors and highspeed telecom service are status quo at the Post Toscana.

Leyva readily admits that his work is a collaboration between he and the client.

"There's no question that when the client listens to you and respects your opinion, the design benefits. It's also important for the architect to listen to the client," said Leyva.
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Article Details
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Author:Chapman, Parke
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1MEX
Date:Aug 28, 2002
Words:358
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