Jay Fourniea: Delivering Long-term Value through Exceptional Architectural Design


​“Architecture is the art of discovering what is possible in the built environment," said Jay Fourniea. “It is a continual pursuit that drives us to create aesthetically pleasing buildings that complement their surroundings while providing the best use of land and long-term value for our clients."   

As Senior Manager of Design Architecture, Jay knows a thing or two about managing and delivering great design. His fingerprints are on nearly every one of our projects completed in Minnesota, Iowa, and Colorado since 2012, when he joined Opus. 

After exceling as a Design Architect and Manager of Architecture, he was promoted to his current role in 2019. Previously he was at Tryba Architects in Denver for six years, starting as a designer and working his way up to a design architect position. 

Commercial Real Estate Design with Passion & Purpose

Jay is passionate about great design – a passion that came naturally. 

“As a kid, I loved art classes and creating things," said Jay. “In middle school, I took some technical drafting classes and started using my hands to build and put things together, and then take them apart – it was like pseudo engineering. I was curious about how things work and why they work, and I enjoyed problem-solving."   

Career interest assessments, part of Jay's high school curriculum, revealed a career in architecture rated near the top of the list for Jay.  

He received a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Colorado, where he graduated valedictorian and received the American Institute of Architects Henry Adams Medal.

“Fast forward a few years, and I fell in love with the profession and the work," he said. “We approach each project like we are designing it for ourselves – creating the best possible building we can within the client's budget. That challenge of creativity with fiscal responsibility to create value is really rewarding."   

Addressing Challenges with Design Solutions

Jay is responsible for all design workflow, management of resources, and proposal efforts for many projects within many of the Opus regions. He is highly skilled at resolving site and design challenges and has guided many projects through complex zoning, entitlement, and city planning reviews. Having designed several award-winning multifamily and student living buildings, Jay continues to lead design across all Opus product types. 

“What I really love about this work is the final result," Jay said. “Walking for the first time into a building we designed, knowing how the concept went from an idea on a blank sheet of paper or a piece of land to become a completed vision. It's gratifying to create buildings that will stand the test of time for decades to come and impact many lives, especially when you can look back at the challenges we overcame to deliver the project on time and on budget." 

1919 Mile High Circle in Denver is one such complex project. Compounding the challenge of being long and narrow, the site's topography involves a three-story fall, so the building design needed to accommodate a hill within an urban setting. In addition to the sloping site, the street frontage where you would expect to find building entries  was not the best location for the main entry as it fronted a highway and minimally traversed frontage road.  

With these challenges, Jay got creative. 

“We placed the main entry on the back of the building, alongside a regional trail that connects to Jefferson Park," he said. “Doing so tied the building to the neighborhood and created an expanded amenity for the residents and community at large. This design also met the city's requirement for active use on the street front by providing resident amenities to energize the less traveled roadway frontage. These solutions ultimately assured our development and capital partners that the project would succeed despite the challenging site conditions" 

Win-win problem-solving solutions like this drive Jay's desire to improve the built environment.

Growing & Giving Back

“It has been fun and rewarding to watch Jay grow into his role managing the design team," said Dean Newins, Senior Vice President. “He is passionate about mentoring and inspiring our group of designers and this extends to how he interacts with our clients and project stakeholders, always in a cheerful and positive way."

In addition to his design management work at Opus, Jay is an active member of the American Institute of Architects and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, where he helps aspiring architects navigate jurisdictional licensure and testing processes. Jay also serves on the Fundraising Committee for Urban Boatbuilders, supporting their mission of introducing youth to woodworking and the outdoors. 


Our associates are talented, dedicated and knowledgeable. They streamline complex projects and always deliver value to clients. Read more profiles of our team.