With 10 years in construction and 7 years in architecture Joseph Kimbrell brings valuable experience in building and design to his work at MetroStudio. Joseph joined the MetroStudio team part time in 2007 while pursuing his master’s degree in architecture, and began work full time in 2009 after receiving his M-Arch 1 degree from Tulane University. During his time at MetroStudio, Joseph has played an integral role in several key projects both residential and commercial. His experience includes 9 residential design projects and 3 commercial developments. Joseph’s design skill and hands on technical knowledge enable him to add value through all phases of design and construction.
Joseph’s career in the building arts began after receiving his BA from Macalester College (St. Paul, MN) and returning home to New Orleans in 1996. At that time he joined St. Mark’s Community Center’s Home Repair Program team, first as an AmeriCorps member and later as assistant program director. During his 4 years of work with this Community Development Block Grant funded program, Joseph coordinated the work of AmeriCorps volunteers, completing over 120 home repairs for disadvantaged members of the New Orleans community, installing 70+ handicap ramps around the city, and renovating two historic Treme neighborhood buildings for community development programs (Community Grocery and Youth Training Restaurant). This truly formative experience gave Joseph both an intimate knowledge of and deep appreciation for the urban, architectural, and cultural fabric of New Orleans.
Building off his hands on experience at St. Mark’s, Joseph spent the next 6 years refining his skill as a craftsperson. Working primarily in the medium of wood his experience includes historic restoration, numerous local renovation projects (commercial and residential), custom furniture design, furniture construction, production cabinetry, and project management. Joseph’s work as a craftsperson culminated in the historic restoration for Laura Plantation (devastated by fire) using traditional tools and techniques (2005).
In response to the levee failures of 2005 and seeing the great need not just to rebuild, but rebuild smarter, Joseph applied to Tulane School of Architecture believing that locally invested design professionals would be key to the success of New Orleans’ rebuilding efforts. He committed himself to the study of architecture with a focus on sustainable design as it relates to the vernacular architecture and urban fabric of New Orleans. His primary mentors at Tulane were John Kingman (Richard Koch Chair) and Coleman Coker of Building Studio (thesis advisor). Both are known for their expertise in sustainable, regionally appropriate architectural design.
Joseph’s year long thesis studies explored the links between economic and environmental sustainability. This work culminated in a design project, a re-envisioning of Guste Housing Development in Central City. The goal of the project was to provide quality mixed income housing and economic development opportunities to the people of the community by weaving the development back into the its surrounding context, integrating the principals of sustainable design into the architecture, and adding urban farm infrastructure. The project earned recognition for design in May 2009.
Joseph is a New Orleans native and lifelong resident of the Magazine St. corridor. He currently lives on Magazine St. near Jackson Ave.