Reform Architecture is a Bronx-based full-service architecture practice founded by Karim Ahmed and Dionisio Cortes Ortega in 2017. Reform architecture is a young yet experienced Bronx based design studio committed to conscientious design. We believe spaces and building need to be designed in a thoughtful, respectful, and environmentally friendly manner without compromising beauty nor the clients interest, requirements, and most importantly budget.
In addition, our firm is committed to the study of the built environment with a critical and analytical eye to produce respectful, sustainable, and socially beneficial architecture. We value simple and minimal design, not only as an aesthetic, but also because of the lower costs, and the smaller footprint it has on our environment.
The team of professionals and creatives have extensive experience in the field of multistory residential buildings, high-end residential homes, art exhibition spaces, historic restoration, restaurant design, and local law.
Reform Architecture is a NYC Certified MBE business.
Karim Ahmed, RA, AIA
Karim graduated from The Cooper Union with a Bachelor of Architecture in 2013. He is a registered architect in the State of New York and a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Bronx Chapter.
His experience prior to founding Reform Architecture worked as a contract draftsman for a variety of firms (Propylaea, AGA Architects, JFA Associates) primarily on official filing sets, construction documents and construction administration, mostly in luxury residential renovations and ground-up multi-family residential buildings. Additionally, Karim worked as a shop draftsman for subcontractors on projects ranging from exotic hardwood carpentry to structural steel assembly construction.
He is a part-time faculty member at Parsons School of Design at the New School where he was a 2020 faculty fellow at the Urban Systems Lab. Karim co-founded and sits on the board of Pillars of Peace, an organization dedicated to ending cycles of domestic violence.
Dionisio Cortes Ortega, RA, AIA
Dionisio Cortes Ortega graduated from the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at The Cooper Union in 2009. He is a registered architect in the State of New York and a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Bronx Chapter.
Before co-founding Reform Architecture and while at Selldorf Architects Mr. Cortes Ortega worked on the expansion to Christie's Auction House exhibition space in the Rockefeller Center, the schematic phase for the expansion of the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, the design development for a twenty one story apartment building at 110 University place, and a 10,000 square foot residence located upstate New York. During his time at HapstakDemetriou+, Mr. Cortes Ortega worked on more than a dozen restaurants projects including Roses Luxury, an eclectic American restaurant named the new best restaurant in 2014, by Bon Appetit.
Apart from his architectural practice, Dionisio is an adjunct faculty member at The Cooper Union teaching Freehand and Advanced Drawing, designs outdoor sculptures, and is a part time photographer. His two latest installation are:
Sitting Together, built by Reform Architecture, was on view at the Joyce Kilmer Park in The Bronx in 2019.
Croton Arch of Triumph, a sculpture/monument that is was on view from August 2020 to May 2021 at the Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens.
Brandy Vazquez graduated from the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at the Cooper Union in 2021. She is a first-generation New Yorker of Mexican descent who currently resides in Queens.
Brandy has previously worked at Interboro Partners as an intern designer focused on designing public installations and reports like the NYC Comprehensive Waterfront Plan.
Her personal work and interests includes large charcoal still life drawings, ink-wash paintings, digital collages, and graphic design.
Dionisio Cortes Sr.
Dionisio Cortes received his Bachelor of Architecture from the Coahuila State University and holds a Master's of Fine Arts from Hunter College. He has completed courses in Construction Administration, and Building Restoration Technology. He is licensed to practice architecture in Mexico.
Dionisio Cortes, carries forward thirty-six years of professional experience including project planning, design, and construction for a wide range of private and public buildings. Since graduating in 1982, he founded several design firms in northern Mexico, including: Chroma, Diseña, and Artectura. All of them earning special reputation in design and construction. Mr. Cortes’ firm Artectura designed, managed and built a series of successfully executed Cultural Centers for a Teachers Union. After relocating to New York City, he joined the firm of Ivan Brice Architecture from 1999 to 2010. Prior to joining Reform Architecture, Mr. Cortes worked as an independent architectural consultant in NYC metropolitan area, specializing in the development of technical specifications and construction detailing.
Mr. Cortes has ample experience working with city agencies such as NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) and School Construction Authority (SCA). He has filed and managed numerous historic exterior restoration projects with NYC Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC). In addition, Mr. Cortes also holds over 30 years of experience as an architectural illustrator. His vibrant but accurate drawing technique brings to each illustration a fresh, yet elegant style.
Raye Levine Spielberg
Raye Levine Spielberg graduated from the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at The Cooper Union in 2009, and was the Graduation Award Recipient of the Allen N. Goldfischer Memorial Award, honoring distinguished humanitarian efforts in architectural study & practice. In the spring of 2010, Raye was featured as one of John Gidding’s Top Young Designers in Loftlife Magazine.
Raye worked as a designer, model maker and draftsperson for Bone Levine Architects for over three years, where she helped design the new Film Anthology Archives addition, among many other projects ranging from rooftop gardens to FISP inspection reports. Raye has also worked with David Ling Architects and attended architecture graduate school critiques at Pratt.
With a love of theatre, Raye made a transition into set design, and has designed and built many theatre sets in New York, including Nylon Fusion’s Ray Gun Say0nara by Steven Tenney and The Listening Room by Michaela Jeffery at the New Ohio Theatre, Extinction by Gabe McKinley at Guild Hall in East Hampton, Romeo & Juliet at Guild Hall (dir. Josh Gladstone), Anne Frank in the Gaza Strip by Monica Bauer at The Clemente Center, Chasing the River at The Chain Theatre, Leviticus by Mandi Riggi at 59 East 59th street Theatre, and Resistance by Regina Taylor, Mean Girls by Lyle Kessler and The Fall of a Sparrow by José Rivera at Alvin Ailey. Raye also designed a large scale installation for an expansive outdoor theatre set in Montauk, NY.