James Cleary received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and his Masters of Architecture from Yale University, where he was nominated for the Feldman prize and was selected as the school's sole nominee to the international SOM Traveling Fellowship.

He has been licensed to practice architecture in New York State since 1996.

He has taught in the architecture program at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Cleary's work has been published in The New York Times, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Design Bureau, Forbes, Interior Design, and Interiors, and has been featured on and


JCA is a full-service architectural firm that designs a variety of commissioned and speculative works. Our projects range from a re-imagined brownstone to a modern apartment building, from renovations to new ground-up construction, and from elegant urban apartments to Shaker-inspired country retreats.

As your project develops, our extensive practical knowledge of construction allows us to find ways to build creative design ideas in a manner that insures your project is carried out with the highest level of quality and the best possible use of your resources. We have a deep network of long standing relationships with skilled consultants, contractors, fabricators, and craftspeople, any of whom we can call upon to help realize your project.


JCA works in close partnership with our clients, transforming commonplace spaces into inspired & highly functional environments that give form to your needs and aspirations. While each commission is a unique undertaking, every JCA project shares a consistent creative vision that is fresh, contemporary, and unafraid of engaging with the architectural past.

Our work often mixes high and low to unexpectedly beautiful effect, pairing blackened steel with Carrera marble, or common industrial cement panels with teak millwork.
  • We are interested in architecture that is better, not different.
  • We overcome constraints, such as restrictive budgets, difficult existing conditions, or regulatory straightjackets, with inventive designs.
  • We enjoy discovering new materials for use in our projects, and we really enjoy finding new uses for old materials.
  • We simplify, then simplify again, until we eliminate the unnecessary.

At the end of the day, we and our clients take great pleasure that with each completed project, we are leaving the built environment better than we found it.

James Cleary Architecture