NJRA Architects was founded in 1977 by Gerald R. Nichols. The firm operated as Gerald R. Nichols & Associates for over 20 years starting in a small office below the Rio Grande Hotel with 3 employees. In the year 1998, the firm was incorporated and the name was changed to NJRA Architects, Inc. with Gerald R. Nichols, Vinson M. Johnson and Wayne Ricks at the helm. Gerald R. Nichols retired in 2008 and Selvam Rajavelu became the president of the firm. Selvam joined the firm in 1990 fresh out of Architecture School at the University of Utah.

NJRA was founded on the idea that design can have a direct and positive impact on people’s lives. This is achieved through research and innovation, always questioning the status quo and our tireless effort to understand our clients needs and mission. From healthcare and education to banks, credit unions and mixed-use, we design for a sustainable and resilient future and to enhance the human experience through the built environment.

We bring humility, laughter and resilience to work each day. We work hard, and balance that rigor with a healthy dose of fun. We come together to celebrate birthdays, professional accomplishments and life’s milestones. We join forces to support causes dear to our hearts and seek out opportunities to feed the spirit and cultivate wellness.

At NJRA Architect, we dive in and dig deep. We enjoy what we do and the people we do it with. We’re curious, empathetic and (mostly) ego-free. We push each other to be even better, support each other when things get stressful and go all out to help our clients achieve their goals.

For many people, the pursuit of a healthy work/life balance seems like an impossible goal. With so many of us torn between juggling heavy workloads, managing relationships and family responsibilities, and squeezing in outside interests, it’s no surprise that many people find themselves “super stressed.” That’s not balanced—or healthy. Here at NJRA Architects, we work hard promote better balance by offering ways in which to achieve better work/life balance.

We begin by setting manageable goals each day.

Be efficient with your time at work.

We have flexible office hours so that employees can get kids off to school, watch school performances, go to Dr. appointments.

We encourage all of our employees to take breaks throughout the day to help clear their head.

Stay active and healthy- At NJRA, we offer a gym reimbursement plan. We encourage our employees to go to the gym on lunch.

We are a kid-friendly place. We understand there are times when children are home. We encourage our employees to bring their kids to the office.

We believe diversity drives innovation and inclusion sparks creativity. It’s that simple. When different perspectives from people of different backgrounds come together, something incredible happens: They paint a shared canvas of ideas with bolder, brighter colors. They unleash infinite potential.

By embracing diversity and inclusion, NJRA is designing a more vibrant, dynamic world. We’re helping communities move beyond socially constructed barriers and stereotypes and toward an open, united, engaged, productive society. We’re empowering people.

At NJRA, we create opportunity by inviting, embracing, and celebrating differences. This goal remains at the heart of our efforts to champion inclusion and diversity throughout our organization. To achieve that goal, we must continue to build an inclusive workplace that empowers and inspires but also attracts and nurtures the very best talent.

Every process begins with listening.

Mission Driven

We start every project by understanding the mission, vision and values of our clients, and considering how the built environment can reflect and amplify these core goals. This is the foundation for ideation, and the ultimate measurement of design success.

Exploring Options

Designing with options is fundamental to how we work. We approach design as an iterative conversation that tests multiple ideas at successive scales, giving clients the opportunity to make engaged and informed decisions at each step of the process. We employ a variety of tools in this exploration – from hand sketches and digital modeling to full scale, detail mock-ups in our maker workspaces.

Expertise and Humility

We couple strong design expertise with engaging teams that know how to listen. We hold a cultural belief that good ideas can and do come from anywhere. We look to our team, our expert consultants, clients and user groups as rich sources of inspiration. We strive to avoid pre-conceptions, and rather test new ideas through this holistic perspective to help our clients arrive at inspiring results that are a unique expression of their mission, values and vision for the future.

Research and Development

We are fueled by a sense of discovery and a vision for the future. Through our projects, we seek to answer questions that can maximize project potential while helping advance the profession. Our research and development efforts are performed by interdisciplinary design teams who often engage external experts from the design community, medical experts and universities. Whether doing research on innovative approaches to building codes, energy performance, health or high-performing workplaces, we always consider issues at a wide range of scales from the region to the neighborhood, campus, individual building and occupant.

Forging Relationships

More than 80% of our work is with repeat clients, and we view each new project as the beginning of a long term relationship. We highly value and respect all of our project partners, including clients, contractors, engineers, collaborating designers and community members. These relationships not only produce better results, they make our work more rewarding and meaningful.

At NJRA Architects, we believe that the Earth is a valuable resource and as such we have a commitment to our clients, the environment, and ourselves to properly take care of it. By designing buildings that minimize damage to the environment, we give back to our community, our clients, and our future.

Sustainable buildings provide many economical and ecological benefits. We understand that every project has the opportunity to incorporate some level of sustainability and that it is our responsibility to design accordingly. The following are some of the benefits we can help obtain through sustainable design.

• Improve Overall Health of building users
• Reduce Heating and Cooling Costs
• Reduce Energy Costs
• Reduce Water Usage
• Increase Market Demand & Building Value
• Reduce Environmental Impact
• Increase Occupant Satisfaction
• Enhance Community Perception
• Reduce Waste
• Increase Employee Productivity

We work intensely to incorporate sustainable solutions into each project we design that respects the budget, environment, our client, and the future.

Regardless of whether a project is seeking LEED certification, sustainability is fully integrated into the design of all our projects. We are committed to sustainability leadership in our operations and project work. In our markets, for our clients, and throughout NJRA, we advance initiatives that support a more sustainable world.