Scott Jacobs: Building By Social Design


After graduating from Howard University’s School of Architecture, Scott Jacobs partnered with two colleagues and purchased his first residential apartment building to begin his social design journey.  The design and development of the 4-unit building, located in Washington, DC, would be the first of many residential properties touched by Jacobs’ architectural talent and entrepreneurial spirit.

Now, as the Senior Design Manager at Safeway, Inc., Scott Jacobs is one of the key leaders in the design and construction of Safeway’s East Coast flagship store.  Through his innovative design and structural concepts, Scott manages to leave his signature stamp on every project he touches.

I had an opportunity to chat with Scott Jacobs about his personal brand and his unique approach to architectural design. Here’s what he had to say:

As an accomplished businessman, how do you describe the Scott Jacobs personal brand?
I define my personal brand as “Living F.U.N.K.” where spaces provoke a sense of Feeling, Urbanization, Nostalgia with Kinetic Energy that’s functionality.

What type of design have you done with the residential properties you have engineered?  What is your signature stamp design?
My last project was a rehab of a two story abandon row house.  The concept was an open floor plan, with a loft area with surrounding glass that welcomed natural light.  My approach is to treat each project as a different piece of canvas similar to an artist. I would say my signature stamp on design would be open spaces that create communal and social gatherings that incorporate natural light and ventilation.

How do you keep your designing ideas FRESH?
I draw 50% of my inspiration from music and art. I think architecture follows a similar essence where rhythm and technique can create design intent. Throughout history, each period in time has created cohesion between music, art and architecture. The other 50% comes from how people interact in spaces and ultimately the science of architecture overall.

What other independent projects do you have coming down the pipeline?
Right now I’m currently working on a tavern/restaurant that will be an extension of the “Living F.U.N.K” concept.  This venture will also continue to encompass the social and communal vibe.  The idea is to create a space where people feel comfortable as if they were in their own homes regardless of their social or economical background.

Do you have any advice for people that may have the same interest and want follow in your footsteps?
My advice, especially to kids who want to pursue architecture, is draw from your own personal experiences and study how people interact within buildings and home environments. Study different types of cultures and how they approach architecture. Learn from the past and present to help improve the future. We all have a sense of design inside of us and the willingness to improve and make a difference.

While providing leadership and mentorship to his junior staff and fellow colleagues to ensure quality productivity, he also lends his expertise to speaking to young visionaries that share the same architectural passion.  He says, “Giving back to the community helped him shape who he is today”.

Scott has been awarded the industry’s notable Donald J. Smith Award and is a member of the American Institute for Architect (AIA), Architects for the Washington DC Chapter and National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA).

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