KBJ Architects

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KBJ Architects, Inc.
FoundedJacksonville, Florida, United States (1946 (1946))
FounderWilliam D. Kemp
Franklin S. Bunch
William K. Jackson
HeadquartersThomas V. Porter House
510 Julia Street
Jacksonville, Florida, USA
Key people
William T. Morris, principal
Tom Rensing, principal
Craig Kirkwood, principal
ServicesArchitecture, Interior Design,
Revenue$157.9 million (2005)
Number of employees
50 (2005)

KBJ Architects, Inc. (KBJ) is an American architectural firm based in Jacksonville, Florida. The firm designed 17 of the city's 30 tallest buildings and "created Jacksonville's modern skyline", according to The Florida Times-Union newspaper.[1] The firm designed the first high-rise in downtown Jacksonville, the 22-story Aetna Building, which opened in 1955.[2] It took pride in "having the second-largest number of architects of any Florida firm", according to a 1997 article in The Florida Times-Union.[3]

In addition to works in Jacksonville, KBJ has worked extensively throughout north and central Florida, and to a lesser degree throughout the southeast United States. Clients include international and private corporations, developers, institutions, public authorities, as well as federal, state, and local governments. The firm also developed the design standards for residential developments at the Deerwood Country Club and at Amelia Island Plantation north of Jacksonville. In Orlando, KBJ designed the First National Bank and Hartford Insurance buildings and three of the four airsides at Orlando International Airport; in Gainesville, the Delta Tau Delta fraternity house and Tigert Hall, the University of Florida Administration building; the Quarterdeck Club in Miami and the Occidental Life building in Raleigh.[4]


Roy A. Benjamin (1888-1963) moved from Ocala to Jacksonville soon after the Great Fire of 1901 and designed many notable buildings in Jacksonville and surrounding areas. His most famous structures were theaters, although most of them have since been demolished. He was one of Jacksonville's most talented and prolific architects.[5]

Three University of Florida alumni—William D. Kemp, Franklin S. Bunch and William K. Jackson—purchased Benjamin's architectural firm when he retired after World War II and renamed it Kemp, Bunch and Jackson in 1946. KBJ Architects has been in practice for more than 6 decades and is the oldest architectural firm in Florida. The company also maintains a branch office in downtown Orlando, Florida.

In June 2002, KBJ Architects, Rink Reynolds, Cannon Design and Spillis Candela were the final four candidates under consideration for designing the planned Duval County Courthouse Complex.[6] When Cannon Design was chosen, KBJ appealed the award, claiming that Cannon's design was inconsistent with the specifications for size and budget set by the city, but the administration of Mayor John Delaney saw no grounds for the award to be rescinded. The project continued under Cannon into the term of Mayor John Peyton, but costs and the size of the project fluctuated and ultimately peaked at a $224 million construction cost, $23 million over the $201 million Mendoza Line for construction costs drawn by the Mayor. As a result, Peyton stopped all work on the project and terminated all consultants contracts for convenience, including Jacobs Facilities (Program Manager), Cannon (Architect) and construction managers Skanska Dynamic Partners.[6]

The project was re-bid in 2006, and the City received two offers for a Design-Build solution and delivery of the project. The team of Perry-McCall Construction -The Auchter Company coupled with Architects Rink Design and DLR were initially awarded the contract.[7] When it was discovered that the Auchter Company had financial troubles, the contract was terminated for convenience. Second place bidder, Turner Construction Company, which is partnered with Technical Construction Services Group and KBJ Architects, was given an opportunity to negotiate a contract with the city in July 2007, by approval of the Competitive Sealed Proposal Evaluation Committee. A contract was signed with a budget of $350 million. Work was completed and the courthouse opened on June 18, 2012.[8]


Each of the founders focused on one aspect of the firm, which worked out superbly. Kemp specialized in the business side of projects. Bunch was known for being the expert in the construction and technical aspects of architecture, and Jackson was the lead designer.

  • Franklin S. Bunch (1913-2008) served as president on a number of Florida boards and foundations, including the Florida State Board of Architecture, the Florida Association of Architects, and the Jacksonville Building Code Advisory Committee. He was also chairman of the Zoning and Building Codes Adjustment Board.[1] and named an AIA Fellow in 1961.http://www.dcp.ufl.edu/files/004b4536-1461-4a09-9.pdf
  • William K. Jackson (1914-2003) was a strong believer in long-range urban planning and was a key supporter of 1962 legislation that created the Jacksonville-Duval Area Planning Board. He was chairman of the board that created Jacksonville's first downtown development plan.[4]
  • William D. Kemp (1912-1982) was less outgoing that his other partners. According to his son, Kemp believed that architecture should remain pure, and not be directly involved with other construction industry activities. As such, he limited his outside activities to his church, where he was very active, serving as a Senior Warden and Vestryman.[9]

Notable projects[edit]

Project Location Completed Image Notes
Aetna Building Southbank,
1955 OnePrudentialPlazaJacksonville-2010-07a.JPG Formerly Prudential Insurance Building [10]
233 West Duval Street Northbank,
1955 Indlifejax.jpg Formerly Independent Life Building [11]
CSX Transportation Building Northbank,
1960 CSXHQ.JPG Formerly Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Building [12]
Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts Northbank,
1962 CSX and Time-Union Center.JPG Formerly Jacksonville Civic Auditorium [13]
Riverplace Tower Southbank,
1967 Riverplace Tower in Jacksonville.jpg Formerly Gulf Life Tower [14]
Times-Union Building Northbank,
1967 Ftuhq.jpeg
Cathedral Towers Northbank,
1968 CathedralTowersJacksonville.JPG [15]
Cathedral Townhouse Northbank,
1970 CathedralTownhouseJacksonville.JPG [16]
Cathedral Terrace Northbank,
1974 CathedralTerraceJacksonville.JPG [17]
BB&T Bank Building Northbank,
1974 BB&TBankBldg-2010-07-c.JPG Formerly First Union National Bank Building [13]
Wells Fargo Center Northbank,
1974 WellsFargoJaxFL.JPG Formerly Independent Square [13]
550 Water Street Northbank,
1982 550WaterStreet-2010-08-a.JPG [13]
EverBank Center Northbank,
1983 EverBank Center 2.JPG Formerly Southern Bell Tower [18]
Two Prudential Plaza Southbank,
1985 TwoPrudentialPlazaJacksonville-Jul2009.JPG [19]
SunTrust Tower Northbank,
1989 Suntrusttower.JPG Formerly American Heritage Life Building [13]
Bryan Simpson United States Courthouse Northbank,
2002 JaxFederalCourthouse.jpg in association with HLM Design [13]
Duval County Courthouse Northbank,
2012 DuvalCountyCourthouse.JPG [20]

Other significant buildings[edit]

KBJ designed buildings include:[21]


  • Over the years, KBJ's projects have received scores of awards for excellence in Architecture, Design, Engineering and Renovations.
  • Franklin Bunch was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1961.
  • William K. Jackson was awarded the 1972 Architect Community Service Award by the Florida Association of the American Institute of Architects.
  • The company received a special award in 1992 from the Florida Association of the American Institute of Architects when KBJ Architects was named, Firm of the Year.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kerr, Jessie-Lynne: "Architect transformed city waterfront" Florida Times-Union, January 24, 2008
  2. ^ Florida Times-Union: March 30, 2005-Essay contest celebrates high rise's 50th birthday
  3. ^ Floridas Times-Union: October 31, 1997-Diamond leaves KBJ Architects by Simon Barker-Benfield
  4. ^ a b Kerr, Jessie-Lynne: "Longtime Jacksonville architect dies" Florida Times-Union, April 19, 2003
  5. ^ "Jacksonville Architecture". Archived from the original on 2013-10-28. Retrieved 2013-05-10. Jacksonville Historical Society: Architects-Roy A. Benjamin
  6. ^ a b Luce, Ann (November 12, 2004). Architects seeks to clear the air about courthouse project". Jacksonville Business Journal. Retrieved July 13, 2011.
  7. ^ Florida Times-Union: July 20, 2007-Design firm gets new shot at courthouse
  8. ^ "Duval County Courthouse". December 3, 2012. City of Jacksonville. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
  9. ^ Caldwell, Joe: "William D. Kemp, architect, 70, dies" Florida Times-Union, October 10, 1982
  10. ^ "841 PRUDENTIAL INSURANCE CO". KBJ.com. Archived from the original on 2012-03-16. Retrieved 2015-04-12.
  11. ^ "Independent Life Building". Emporis.com. Archived from the original on April 12, 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-11.
  12. ^ "CSX Transportation Building". Emporis.com. Archived from the original on April 12, 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-12.
  13. ^ a b c d e f "Award". KBJ.com. Archived from the original on 2015-02-13. Retrieved 2015-04-12.
  14. ^ "Riverplace Tower". Emporis.com. Archived from the original on May 14, 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-12.
  15. ^ "Cathedral Towers". Emporis.com. Archived from the original on April 12, 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-12.
  16. ^ "Cathedral Townhouse". Emporis.com. Archived from the original on April 12, 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-12.
  17. ^ "Cathedral Terrace". Emporis.com. Archived from the original on April 12, 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-12.
  18. ^ "Modis Building". KBJ.com. Archived from the original on 2006-03-24. Retrieved 2015-04-12.
  19. ^ "TWO PRUDENTIAL PLAZA FOR THE PRUDENTIAL INSURANCE CO". KBJ.com. Archived from the original on 2012-03-16. Retrieved 2015-04-12.
  20. ^ "Duval County Courthouse". Emporis.com. Archived from the original on April 12, 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-12.
  21. ^ "Jacksonville Building informnation" Emporis website

External links[edit]