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SWBR Announces Two New Principals

February 22, 2022

SWBR is pleased to announce that Leticia Blaya Fornataro, AIA and Robert Fornataro, AIA have been promoted to Principals of the firm. At SWBR, Principals serve as the firm’s key leadership, responsible for client relationships, business objectives, strategic vision, and overall growth for the firm.

“With the continued success and growth of our Housing studio comes the need for more Principal level leadership,” said Principal Joe Gibbons, AIA. “We are confident that Leticia and Rob’s talents will help keep SWBR at the forefront of the affordable, mixed-use, market rate, and senior housing markets.”

Leticia Blaya Fornataro, AIA is a specialist in design for senior living communities, specifically skilled nursing, independent, assisted living, and memory care. She partners with key clients to reposition traditional skilled nursing communities from institutional models to small house models that promote the health, wellness, and independence of residents. She is passionate about creating senior living environments that residents enjoy; a home where they can thrive and continue to promote their safety, dignity, and independence. Her clients include St. John’s Home, St. Ann’s Community, The Highlands of Pittsford, and Cloverwood Senior Living.

In addition to her design work, Blaya Fornataro volunteers with several organizations. She is a Program Mentor for both Women in Architecture and Rochester Institute of Technology. She is the Board Chair at Kirkhaven Senior Community and serves on the Board of Directors for YWCA Rochester. She was elected to SWBR’s Board of Directors in 2021. She also led the development of the firm’s WForum with the goal of encouraging women into leadership roles within the firm.

“Not only has Leticia established herself as a leader in senior living design, but she is a trusted collaborator and mentor, said SWBR President, Tom Gears. “She constantly seeks opportunities to give back to the firm and the community whether it’s through creating new homes for seniors, guiding future leaders, empowering women design professionals, or helping to positively impact the community.”

Brazilian-born Blaya Fornataro holds a Bachelor and Master’s degree in architecture from the University of Utah and lives in Pittsford.

Rob Fornataro, AIA has been with the firm since 2008 and in the industry for 20 years. Appointed Design Director in 2020, he is involved in design and construction of buildings that respect the environment and stand the test of time. He is passionate about urban design and revitalization, mixed-use projects, and sustainability. Fornataro has served in leadership roles for several notable projects, including The Lake House on Canandaigua and the new three-phase Charlotte Square mixed-use development located in the East End of downtown Rochester.  He was the design lead for the Carriage Factory Apartments and is currently the design lead for the Hickey Freeman Apartments, both in Rochester. Fornataro previously served as a board member of the Community Design Center and regularly attends colleges to be a guest critic for their design studios.

“Rob is leading our growth in the market rate and mixed-use housing markets. He has also led some of our most successful affordable housing projects,” said Joe Gibbons, AIA. “He is a skilled designer and project manager, a trusted partner to his clients, and a mentor to others in his studio. Rob is an ambassador for design excellence at SWBR.”

He earned a Bachelor and Master’s degree in architecture from the University of Utah and lives in Pittsford.


About SWBR:

SWBR is a multidisciplinary, award-winning design firm headquartered in Rochester, New York.  As a highly respected national firm providing leadership, expertise, innovation and entrepreneurial thinking, the firm specializes in sustainability, education, housing, and workplace design. With offices in Rochester, Syracuse and Troy, NY SWBR aims to positively impact lives through meaningful design. To learn more visit or SWBR’s social media sites on Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.


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