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About Close Reads Consultancy

Close Reads Consultancy is the newly created consulting firm of Judith ‘Judy’ DiMaio, Architect FAIA RIBA. It represents the culmination of her long and interwoven, multiple careers: as a talented architectural practitioner; as a respected and influential academician; as a world traveler seeking out the architecture of diverse cultures and from ancient to modern eras; and, as a result of those encounters, she delights in being a mesmerizing storyteller that can provide laughter and profound insights.

The term Close Reads derives from Judy’s ability to see beyond the surface, beyond the obvious, in understanding not only existing architecture, but in suggesting how new architectural design would benefit from layers of interpretation. The term is akin to Le Corbusier’s 1923 essay: Eyes That Do Not See.

Judy’s emphasis is on associative thinking; thinking about architecture as an art form, intertwined with all the arts, a synthetic operation rather than as something chronologically frozen in time, but imagining the historical circumstances and personalities that created and informed architecture by way of the other arts and, of course, from the precedent of architecture itself. She sees buildings not for their period in history; instead, she jumps freely between historical periods and the styles of other cultures—she coined the term ‘trans-historical.’

In recognition, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) acknowledged that, ‘her expertise and methodology have resulted in the expansion of the architectural lexicon and the repositioning of history as an active and speculative component in the design process for students and professionals alike.’

Various other factors combined to develop in Judy a ‘broad world view’—a curiosity and compulsive need to understand various cultures and their artistic creations. She has visited well over 40 countries on all six inhabited continents. From seeking out the history of architecture from Roman times to the iconic architecture of the 20th century—Alvar Aalto in Scandinavia; Le Corbusier in India and France; Louis Kahn in India and Bangladesh—to exploring Roman ruins in Jordan and Israel, and throughout all of North Africa, including Libya and Algeria.

Judy’s vast knowledge about architecture of all periods and their associated historical anecdotes make Judy a great storyteller. Whether conducting architectural walking tours of ancient Rome, or Renaissance and Baroque Rome, or modern Rome, or giving lectures she has been able to breathe life into topics that all-too-often are seen as too dry or erudite. In many of her travels, local people of all cultures, and especially children, have been fascinated by her descriptions even to the point of overcoming language barriers. ‘To look closely’ and to see what others cannot, is not language bound. The ‘eye’ is universal.

Judy’s vast knowledge about architecture of all periods and personal knowledge of many 20th century architects has made her a sought-after specialist and expert eye for unique restoration projects of modern architecture.

It is Judy’s intention through Close Reads Consultancy, to draw upon and bring her expertise and breadth of knowledge to a select clientele. Her emphasis will be placed on design and strategy, master classes and storytelling par excellence through engagement.

Therefore, she would be the ideal consultant for a large variety of situations, private and public sector:

• Collaborating with architectural design firms and practitioners to enhance their projects to be more innovative—such as, with exterior wall and facade design

• Design and master planning for a university campus or for developing nations

• Advising for exhibitions on noteworthy 20th century architects or a historic period of architecture for educational institutions or private collections

• Master classes on Renaissance architecture and Modern architecture

• Assisting in the architect selection process for a public agency or an internationally sponsored competition

• Providing travel advice to visit significant architecture, such as a walking tour of ancient Rome, or Roman influences in North Africa

• Essayist and storyteller