Getting to know Justin Shea

January 18, 2023

With more than 14 years of experience, Justin Shea serves as Associate Director at HLZAE. He manages a team of six architects, 60+ projects, and is a member of the firm’s Fenestration Team, and Industrial Rope Access team. With a wide range of responsibilities, it’s never a dull moment for Justin. Some days you can find him on site overseeing projects, which includes progress, issues, and meeting with contractors. There are other days where Justin oversees project deliverables, such as drawings and technical specifications, reports, Alteration Reviews, and “behind the scenes” items. Justin also participates in monthly Board meetings with many clients, and when he isn’t doing the above, you can catch him on ropes a few times per month, primarily for façade inspections.

“In managing my team, I also take part in the difficulties of running large restoration projects in this complex market. Between DOB, LPC, and other municipal agencies, there is a lot to know, and the laws are always changing, so you must stay informed!”

Justin’s passion for architecture stems from a young age. When he was a child, he would constantly touch operating windows and light switches, which wasn’t necessarily encouraged, but his parents, especially his mother, wanted to find a way to pique his curious mind. She would place architecture books and drawing supplies in front of him and started teaching Justin architectural terms. When most six-year-olds were learning how to spell their names, Justin was learning the names of the Classical Orders. You could say it was destiny or you could just say Justin knew exactly what he wanted, which was to be an architect.

Fast forward to college graduation at SUNY Alfred, where Justin earned a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Technology.  After his first few jobs in the architecture world, he eventually went on to apply to the first firm where he would work in historic preservation and restoration, and that’s when something clicked. He had always loved historic preservation, so when he experienced the merging of technical knowledge and artistry, it was as if the stars aligned.

It was only a matter of time before Justin brought his historic preservation experience to HLZAE. The firm takes a forensic approach to find out how and why buildings deteriorate, which is what makes his role so unique. Justin loves getting up, close, and personal with historic materials and researching historic buildings and architects. He believes that no matter how long you’ve been in the industry, there’s always something new to learn. Justin also enjoys working with clients, especially dealing with the cross-section of New Yorkers he encounters, from Boards to contractors. Managing a dedicated, caring team of architects is what keeps him coming back to work every day. As a native New Yorker, Justin also finds it fascinating that he works on restoring the same buildings he remembers looking at as a child.

When it comes to favorite projects, Justin boasts over 640 West End Avenue, a beautiful 1912 apartment house. Being up-close with their copper cornice and balustrades was a special experience. He also recently enjoyed performing rope access inspections at 75 Rockefeller Plaza and calls it “one of the limestone giants in that complex.” A project Justin always saves for last is 111 West 57th Street… “Of course, I can’t forget to mention 111 West 57th Street and the rope access inspections we did there at heights of up to 1,300 feet!”

When Justin isn’t on the job, you’ll most likely find him traveling or running. He’s visited 46 countries/41 US states and has run eight marathons to date! He’ll also visit any museum within reach, which is one of his favorite ways to spend time when he travels. Justin also loves cooking, hosting friends and family for dinners, and spending time outdoors.

At HLZAE, we integrate our inspection, design, and construction services to prolong the lifespan of the buildings. HLZAE has extensive experience in the investigation and renovation of building envelopes and structural systems dating from the 1800’s to the present. These building assemblies, which consist of numerous integrated components, vary greatly in terms of materials and degree of technical complexity. With the help of Justin Shea and our knowledgeable and professional staff, we can manage the comprehensive requirements necessary to restore the function and performance of the building envelope.

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