Architect, art historian covers all the bases

Making model homes for one's tiny toy animals isn't a typical afternoon activity for a kid. Unless that kid is Jennifer Weiss - who went on to study art history and architecture at Columbia University, and then earned a master's degree in architecture from Harvard University.

After working for notable firms such as KMD Architects and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Weiss joined a construction company "to learn how buildings are actually built, and how much they cost, so I could be a better informed architect," she explained.

In 2005, she established her own practice, J. Weiss Design ( www.jweissdesign.com). "We combine rigorous architectural design with the realities of construction - schedule, budget, engineering," she said. "We focus on finding creative ways to make buildings that are efficient, spacious, light-filled and inviting, with solutions that are client and site specific."

Her projects, which may also involve interior design, have included residences, educational facilities, an art gallery and a commercial space. Weiss offers fine art consulting as well. "At the end of the project, I know my clients so well that it is often a natural next step," she said. "And it puts my art background to work!"