Catarina Ferreira, AIA, NCARB


Architextual is led by Principal Catarina Ferreira, AIA, NCARB. Catarina was born and raised in Portugal (more specifically the unique Azores islands). She moved to DC in 2005 after living and working in New York for almost 10 years and obtaining a degree in architecture from the prestigious Syracuse University School of Architecture in 1998. Her unique background started with a childhood in remote islands where nature and elemental architecture are dramatically juxtaposed at every corner. This dialogue, and Catarina's early interest in it, set the stage for her future career. Her professional growth has also been strongly influenced by European aesthetic sensibilities, extensive travel and a global mindset, and was cemented by a rigorous architectural education and several years practicing in New York and Washington. This unique background translates itself into a fresh yet elegant approach to architecture.

Throughout her 20 year plus career, Catarina has successfully executed dozens of projects of various types and scales and is a licensed architect in NY, MD, VA and DC, and NCARB accredited. Her work includes NY penthouses, restaurants, office interiors, hotels, single family, multi-family, adaptive re-use, fitness centers, art galleries, retail, higher education, athletic facilities, bio-tech laboratories, institutional and government projects, etc. This variety of project types and scales is a reflection of her belief that architects are generalist, and that variety is a crucial tool for keeping architectural design skills sharp and effective.

Prior to moving to Washington, Catarina spent many years in NYC working for firms such as Resolution:4 Architecture and Asfour Guzy, experiences that exposed her to a wide array of residential project types,  scales, and budgets, from pre-war apartment renovations to full-building conversions to luxury single-family homes and multi-unit complexes, even pre-fabricated homes. The NYC projects were particularly valuable as formative experiences, as they often involved complex renovation challenges, spatial and financial limitations. As a result, Catarina learned to carve every inch and manipulate every condition, leading to a high level of inventiveness and a strengthening of her problem solving skills. The end result is a series of cost-effective projects with a clean design aesthetic and evident efficiency, in which the client’s investment was maximized, often resulting in much higher property resale values.

Catarina was also the Project Architect on various single-family homes (ground-up and renovations) in the NY metropolitan area and beyond, gaining significant experience in dealing with more traditional zoning and planning issues and residential construction methods. Her prior experience in NYC renovations allowed to maximize the potential of these single-family residences through inventiveness in the manipulation of site conditions and programmatic relationships, resulting in homes that go well beyond traditional expectations.

While at Resolution:4 Architecture, she was a key member of team that developed the Modern Modular series of custom pre-fabricated homes, an award winning modular system of standards for residential construction that can be adapted to various site conditions, house sizes, and budgets. This invaluable experience in systematic multi-unit design makes Catarina particularly well qualified for designing multi-residence development projects were consistency is desired, while offering opportunities for customization when desired.

The vast array of project types that Catarina was involved in earlier in her career ultimately led her to a multi-year leadership role on one of the largest ARRA funded federal projects in Washington DC: the Major Renovation of the Herbert C. Hoover Department of Commerce Building. Catarina provided architectural services on the project from early 2007 to late 2012, initially while Assoc. Principal at GGA and eventually as Principal of archi-TEXTUAL, PLLC.

While at GGA, Catarina led a large team of architects, engineers, and consultants, through the design and documentation phases of this complex renovation project, which includes the complete replacement of all building systems and site utilities, exterior repairs and upgrades, various historic preservation efforts, renovation of office space, along with exterior upgrades including the addition of physical security, ADA accessibility and the relocation of the National Aquarium Entrance. The project includes various High Performance Green Building Measures and will receive LEED Gold certification upon completion in 2021.

As Principal Architect at Architextual since early 2010, Catarina is the Lead Designer and Project Manager on all of the firms projects.