Learn more about our Principal, AICP, APA, Mr. Jesus Permuy
For over 50 years, Jesús A. Permuy has earned an esteemed reputation for his tireless dedication to public service through architecture, urban planning, human rights activism, the arts, and education. His storied career has been a selfless campaign with the aim of strengthening communities and furthering democracy.
Architecture and Urban Planning
Jesús Permuy began his education in the School of Architecture and Planning in Cuba’s University of Havana. His studies were interrupted by the turmoil of the Cuban Revolution. After emigrating to the United States, he earned his Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP) from the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. He went on to quickly establish leading roles in municipal government early in his career, including serving as Chief Planner for Anne Arundel County’s Project Planning Section in Maryland and Planning Division Supervisor of HUD for Metro Dade County in South Florida. Permuy has also had an extensive career in the private sector. In the last 40 years, Permuy has led several firms and departments, including serving as Director of Planning and Development for TPAG Corp, Vice President of Housing and Development for International Investment Group, and President of the Cooperation for Development, Inc. He also founded and led Permuy and Associates Inc. for over 15 years, which saw him add consulting to his range of expertise.
In keeping with his passion for supporting the community, two of the projects Permuy is most proud to have had leading roles in are the establishment of the popular José Martí Park in Little Havana and being personally appointed by former President José Napoleón Duarte of El Salvador to the Earthquake Reconstruction Committee established after the devastating 1986 earthquake that ravaged the capital of San Salvador. Following the success of the committee, Permuy was then asked by President Duarte to stay for another year to train El Salvadorian officials in modern urban planning techniques, procedures, and concepts to best help position the nation to not only re-emerge from the crisis but thrive.
Permuy has also been extensively involved in a number of governmental and community boards, councils, and committees locally that have had a tremendous impact in South Florida, including: the Urban Development Review Board (UDRB) of Miami, the Latin Community Board and Recreation Task Force, Latin Quarter Advisory Committee, and the East Little Havana Task Force assembled by the City of Miami following the Mariel Boatlift Crisis of 1980.
Currently, he remains active in the Miami-Dade Social and Economic Development Council and is a Principal of Permuy Architecture, founded by his son and second-generation architect Ignacio Permuy.
To many in South Florida, Washington D.C., and internationally, Jesús Permuy is perhaps best known for his tireless human rights activism. His efforts, spanning over 40 years, have been a mainstay in the United Nations and Geneva and have been recognized as crucial to raising awareness of the abuses of the Castro regime and turning the tide of international sentiment and support against them.
These efforts began in Cuba with the events of the Cuban Revolution, during which Permuy served as Civic, then National Coordinator of the Movement to Recuperate the Revolution (MRR) against the Castro regime. After emigrating to the United States and continuing that decades-long struggle, Permuy has led multiple civic organizations in the international stage to champion the cause of human rights and democracy, including: Christian Democratic International, the Cuban Municipalities in Exile, Unidad Cubana, and others. He also founded the Center for Human Rights of Miami and led it for over 30 years, taking its message of freedom to the international stage as well. Permuy’s activism has involved strategic interaction (coordination of activities, documents, press, presentations, etc.) with regional political and institutional leaders, ambassadors, members of parliaments, and Non-Governmental Organizations in Europe, the Americas, and the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC).
Permuy’s human rights activities focused primarily on the plight of the Cuban people, though he also advocated for human rights issues relating to Haiti, Africa, the Philippines, and other areas. Permuy considers the most significant aspect of his human rights career to be his advocacy work for political prisoners, which increased international pressure on the Castro regime to successfully release countless prisoners who were subsequently reunited with their families.
Permuy began his involvement in the arts in Cuba, where he met and befriended many artists, including Amelia Peláez and José Mijares, as he worked on and eventually led a student design periodical, Espacio, while studying architecture in the University of Havana. Permuy also served as Cultural Secretary of the Federacion Estudiantil Universitaria (University Student Federation) and in 1959 spearheaded Operación Cultura, a major weeklong interdisciplinary art event in the University of Havana’s La Plaza Cadenas that spanned several adjacent buildings and drew an estimated 50,000 attendees. The event was significant as the University had been closed since 1957 and for being a pro-democracy statement that showed the University as a center of free thought against the backdrop of the Castro regime. Participants included multiple high-profile Cuban cultural figures including Jorge Mañach, Mijares, and members of the esteemed Cuban Vanguardia generation of painters.
Understanding the importance of the arts and its essential role in the identity and celebration of culture, Jesús Permuy remained active in the arts after arriving in the United States as a former gallery owner and lifelong art collector. Permuy was an active participant in the early Cuban art community in Miami. In the early 1970s, he co-founded Permuy Gallery in Coral Gables with his first wife, Marta. The gallery was historic as one of the first Cuban art galleries in the United States and was a key venue in the early Cuban exile art market. It featured artwork by several renown Cuban artists including: Víctor Manuel, Amelia Peláez, Wifredo Lam, Réne Portocarrero, Cundo Bermúdez, José Mijares, Rafael Soriano, Baruj Salinas, Enrique Riverón, Rafael Consuegra, Juan Gonzalez, Emilio Falero, Miguel Jorge, Dionisio Perkins, Lourdes Gómez Franca, and many others.
Permuy is discussed in the book Cuban-American Art in Miami: Exile, Identity and the Neo-Baroque by art historian Dr. Lynette Bosch, as well as the famous wine-and-cheese “Fridays” salon series hosted by the Permuys every week at Permuy Gallery and later in their Coral Gables home, the Permuy House. The Permuy’s “Fridays” were a cultural staple that brought together artists, collectors, dealers, writers, poets, and community leaders to network and discuss wide-ranging issues of the day in art, culture, and politics during the early days of the Miami Latin art scene.
Jesús Permuy has also been dedicated to the cause of education. He taught upper-level urban planning courses for two years at the Florida International University and later served as the Director of United Schools of America, Inc. He has also been an avid guest lecturer, sharing his insights and experiences for several esteemed institutions including John Hopkins University, Columbia University, the University of Miami, and Florida International University. Permuy also served as a Jury Member for the University of Miami Department of Architecture and Planning.
Press and Recognition
Permuy’s career has been covered by several media outlets including the Miami Herald, Diario Las Americas, and Miami’s Community Newspapers. He has also been honored by the United States House of Representatives, Miami-Dade County, and the City of Coral Gables.
The following is a selection of recent press and recognition received by Jesús Permuy, click on each item:
- Miami-Dade County Co-Designation of Jesús A. Permuy Street
- Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Statement of Congressional Record on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.
- El Nuevo Herald.
- Martí TV.
- Community Papers of Miami.
- Miami Empresarial Magazine.
- Miami Empresarial Magazine. – LinkedIn
J E S Ú S A. P E R M U Y
Coral Gables, FL
Architect ~ Urban Planner ~ Human Rights Activist
In a career spanning more than 50 years, Jesús Permuy has developed trusted international expertise in a wide variety of areas ranging from architecture, urban and regional planning, and human rights advocacy. Mr. Permuy has earned an esteemed reputation for consistently bringing to each project exceptional leadership, integrity, and thoughtful dedication to ensuring exemplary results. Having experience in over 30 countries, the uniquely far-reaching effects of his work have improved socio-economic conditions in cities across the globe. He places the importance of forging and strengthening connections within communities at the center of his sustainable growth-oriented approach to urban planning and design. This positive ripple effect extends over three continents and reveals a scale of impact few professionals can match. He remains active in the community via his many board memberships and as a principal of the Coral Gables-based Permuy Architecture firm.
In addition to his distinguished career as an international architect and urban planner, Mr. Permuy has dedicated himself to the tireless cause of human rights, working with the United Nations and other organizations locally and abroad to champion the cause of democracy. Specifically, his steadfast efforts with diplomats and heads of state on behalf of the plight of the Cuban people have been a mainstay in the Geneva Convention for decades. With humility and grace, his vast and respected career vividly illustrates that his work philosophy revolves around service to others. As such, Permuy believes that architecture, development, and planning should function in service of the person and community. This is best summarized by his personal maxim: “The most precious honor is to serve.”
- Permuy Architecture. Principal. 2012-present
- Terra Architecture, Planning and Interior Design. Associate. 2005-2012
- Permuy and Associates. Principal. 1994-2004
- Cooperation for Development, Inc. President. 1988-1993
- United Schools of America, Inc. Director. 1986-1988
- Permuy and Associates, Inc. President. 1980-1986
- Dade County. Office of Transportation Administration, Chief Development Planning Branch. 1978-1980
- TPAG Corp. Director of Planning and Development. 1974-1977
- International Investment Group. Housing and Development. Vice President. 1972-1974
- Dade County. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Planning Division Supervisor. 1969-1973
- Anne Arundel County, MD. Planning and Zoning. Chief Planner. Project Planning Section. 1966-1969
HUMAN RIGHTS ENDEAVORS
- United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC), Accredited Non-Governmental-Organizations with Consultative Status, 1978-present; Coordination of advocates, activities, and documents for presentation to the UNHRC, country delegations, humanitarian institutions, and the press
- Christian Democratic International, Human Rights Commission, Founder, Vice President, 1985-88
- Center for Human Rights, Miami, Florida, Founder, President, 1974-2004
- Human Rights Commission, Cuban Municipalities in Exile, Advisor 1995-present, President 1997-98
- Unidad Cubana, Executive Committee, Secretary for Human Rights and International Relations 1991 – 2002, past President
- Broad interaction with regional political, and institutional leaders, ambassadors, members of parliaments, and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations in Europe and the Americas
OTHER CIVIC ACTIVITIES
- Earthquake Reconstruction Committee, San Salvador, El Salvador, C.A., 1986-87
- Christian Democratic International, 1981-85
- Christian Democratic Organization of America; Vice President, Caribbean Region, 1981-85
- Christian Democratic Movement (Cuban), Secretary for International Relations 1989, President 1992, 1980-88, and 1973-79;
- Founder and President of the Washington Delegation 1967-69; various responsibilities within the Executive Committee; member 1964-present
- Movimiento de Recuperación Revolucionaria (MRR), National Civic Coordinator, 1960-61
- University Student Federation (FEU) of the University of Havana, Cultural Secretary, 1959
- Organized Operación Cultura, a major weeklong interdisciplinary cultural event in the University of Havana’s La Plaza Cadenas with an estimated 50,000 attendees. Participants included multiple high-profile Cuban cultural figures including writer Jorge Mañach, José Mijares, and members of the Cuban Vanguardia generation of painters.
- Board Member in several community development organizations in Miami, FL.
- Member of several civic, professional, and religious organizations
- Extensive national and international leadership on socioeconomic development and environmental organizations
- Adjunct Professor:
– Florida International University, School of Technology/Engineering, Miami, Florida 1980-82;
- Interdisciplinary Participation in the Urban Context, Seminars EVS 6939 Environmental Planning URP 5425, Urban Planning Concepts URP 3000.
- Guest Lecturer:
– The Johns Hopkins University, School for Advanced International Studies. Bologna Center, Bologna, Italy.
– Columbia University, New York. Architects and Engineers Seminar.
– University of Miami, Department of Architecture and Planning.
– Florida International University, LACC, Miami, Florida.
– Institute for Social Studies, Miami, Florida.
– Center for Human Rights, Miami, Florida.
– Agrupacion Catolica Universitaria, Miami, Florida.
- Past Jury Member:
– University of Miami, Department of Architecture and Planning.
– Latin Community Riverfront Park Selection Committee, City of Miami.
PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATIONS & MEMBERSHIPS
- American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP)
- American Planning Association (APA)
- Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP), Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, 1965-67
- School of Architecture and Planning University of Havana, Havana, Cuba, 1953-60
- Countries Visited for Meetings & Conferences:
- Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, England, France, Germany, Guatemala, Holland, Honduras, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
– Spanish (native), English (fluent), Italian (fair); French (working knowledge).
- Miami-Dade County Social and Economic Development Council.
- Municipalities of Cuba in Exile; Advisor, past President.
- Agrupacion Catolica Universitaria; Councilman.
- Latin Community Board and Recreation Task Force, past Chairman
- East Little Havana Task Force, past Co-Chairman
- Miami Urban Development Review Board
- Salvation Army, local Advisory Board
- Dade Employment and Economic Development Corporation
- Committee for Responsible Bonds for People and Parks
- Latin Quarter Advisory Committee
AWARDS & HONORS
- Dedication of “Jesús A. Permuy Street” – Co-designated by Miami-Dade County, 2020
- Key to the City of Coral Gables – presented by Mayor Raul Valdes-Fauli, 2018
- American flag flown over the United States Capitol building in dedication – by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, 2018
- Statement of Congressional Record – delivered by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, 2017
- Certificate of Appreciation for Service on Social and Economic Development Council – by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez and County Commission, 2010