Design Leadership


James L. Palmer, principal

Jim is a native of Alexandria, Virginia and an architect with over thirty years of experience in large-scale corporate, institutional and academic buildings and single family residential homes. Jim earned a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Painting and Printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University prior to attending the School of Architecture at the University of New Mexico where he graduated with a Masters of Architecture in 1983.  In New Mexico Jim augmented his academic studies by teaching the Introduction to Design Studio for the School of Architecture, interning in the studio of solar energy pioneer Edward Mazria, and designing and/or assisting in the construction of several passive solar residential projects before returning to Virginia.

His professional experience includes over 14 years in the offices of Keyes Condon Florance Architects in Washington, DC and Ayers Saint Gross Architects in Baltimore and Washington, DC before becoming a founding partner of Sanchez Palmer Architects in 2003.

Jim has a particular expertise in master planning and site design and in the planning and design of theaters, schools and athletic facilities. Jim’s background in the Fine Arts and “hands-on” experience gives him a keen understanding of the practical realities of the creative process, but it is his special concern for the unique character of each site and belief that pragmatic environmental consciousness coupled with empathetic architectural design can improve the quality of life for all that inspires him the most.


Joseph B. McCoy, senior associate

Joe is originally from North Carolina and graduated from the College of Design at North Carolina State University in 1996. He began his career in Berlin, Germany with projects for adaptive re-use, historic building modernization and mixed-use infill. After moving to Alexandria he joined local firm Geier Brown Renfrow Architects where he served for 16 years as project architect and project manager. Notable projects during that time include the renovation of the German Embassy in Washington, DC, new Student Commons and Historic Theater renovation at Gonzaga College High School, Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia and the LEED Gold certified Science Building at the German School in Potomac, Maryland.

From his experience with historically significant projects he brings an appreciation of existing buildings and their value as enduring elements of our built environment. As a LEED accredited professional he also actively seeks to incorporate sustainable design and building practices into each project while creating healthy and enriching spaces for the people who will occupy them.