The AIA New York Chapter, under the leadership of 2014 President Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, had a tremendously successful year. Brown’s presidential theme, “Civic Spirit: Civic Vision,” emphasized the critical role played by public space in ensuring civic engagement. As New York City enters a new era with new mayoral leadership, an expanding population, and increasing threats from climate change, our design professions face consequential civic opportunities, challenges, and responsibilities. Throughout the year, programs examined these issues and more, culminating in the Center for Architecture’s summer exhibition, “Open to the Public: Civic Space Now.”
On 12.09.14, AIANY will celebrate the achievements of 2014, and present a preview of what’s to come during the 2015 AIA New York Board Inaugural. Brown will pass the gavel to 2015 President Tomas Rossant, AIA, founding partner and design principal at Ennead Architects. Please join us as we welcome incoming board members and thank exiting members for their outstanding leadership contributions to the Chapter. A celebratory reception sponsored by IBEX Construction will follow.
With great sadness, we share the news of the loss of our friend and colleague, Paul Katz, FAIA, HKIA, who passed away suddenly on 11.20.14. Paul was a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and a stalwart participant in the global dialogues on design and urbanism at the Center for Architecture.
His projects are located all over the world, transforming skylines and streetscapes. Some were featured last year at the Center in the “Practical Utopias” exhibition, now on view in Seoul.
At Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, Paul had a major role in growing a practice that now numbers nearly 700 people in six offices around the world. As design thinker, mentor, and president of the firm, Paul was always there for all who needed advice, support, or a good word about work in progress. His design work transformed cities; his wit, good nature, and keen intellect changed all who were fortunate enough to be in his circle.
In lieu of flowers, Paul’s family has asked for donations to the KPF Foundation, which will be applied to a Scholarship or Fellowship promoting study in the fields of architecture and urbanism. Checks may be sent to: KPF Foundation, 11 West 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036.
On behalf of the Board and staff of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter, we express our deepest sympathies to Paul’s family, friends, and colleagues.
Lance Jay Brown, FAIA
Rick Bell, FAIA
Mayor Bill de Blasio has pledged to make New York a more equitable city through a series of significant socially-minded programs for NYC’s residents and industries, including universal pre-K expansion, carbon emission reduction, affordable housing development, and transportation upgrades. AIANY supports these efforts, and knows that in every aspect of the public realm, equity cannot be accomplished without design in mind.
On 12.01.14, AIANY President Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, AIANY President-elect Tomas Rossant, AIA, and AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA, met with Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen. In addition to discussing the mayor’s primary initiatives and how AIANY can help complete them, Glen had questions for the AIANY community that directly relate to the work she is doing with the mayor and city agency heads. She is laser focused on finding ways for NYC to build and live more efficiently. Read More
e-Oculus is pleased to share the recent presentation made by Alan Mallach on the occasion of the Samuel Ratensky Memorial Lecture. The annual Ratensky Lecture, organized by the AIANY Housing Committee, honors Samuel Ratensky (1910-1972), an architect and housing official who was responsible for major New York City housing initiatives. The lecture series recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the advancement of housing and community design. A city planner, advocate, and writer, Mallach is nationally known for his work on housing, economic development, and urban revitalization. His presentation offers a well-informed view of current issues facing our cities. As Mallach notes, “A city cannot be a successful city without a strong economy, without strong neighborhoods, and without a diverse, productive population with opportunities to improve their lives. The last, after all, was – and should still be – the traditional promise of the city.”
- Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, 2014 AIANY President
In 1971, I had a visit from a young legal services lawyer named Peter O’Connor who was preparing a suit against a town in South Jersey. The town was named Mt. Laurel, and it was being sued on behalf of the town’s long-established but poor African-American community, which had been repeatedly frustrated in their efforts to build decent affordable housing for their members by Mt. Laurel’s zoning code.
That case led to the two NJ Supreme Court decisions, in 1975 and in 1983, that put the brakes on the use of zoning as a tool to exclude, although only up to a point, and established that every municipality had a legal obligation to provide its “fair share” – a loaded term, as it turned out – of the region’s need for affordable housing. That, in turn, prompted the NJ legislature to enact the NJ Fair Housing Act in 1985, which led to some 30,000 units of affordable housing in NJ suburbs over the next 15 years. Read More
Leadership was the theme of the night, as 13 deans from architecture schools around the New York area gathered for the 10th annual Deans’ Roundtable. Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, introduced the panel. Invoking his 2014 presidential theme of “Civic spirit: Civic Vision” as a guidepost for thinking about leadership within architectural education, Brown urged the panelists to think about the role that their institutions play in fostering communities and cities, both locally and internationally. He set the stage for a conversation amongst the deans in which ideas about pedagogy, professionalism, institutional structures, and the role of architectural practice within society unfolded.
Moderator Frances Bronet, senior vice president and provost of the University of Oregon and former dean of the School of Architecture, opened the panel by taking an informal poll of the audience, asking students, educators, and practicing architects to identify themselves by a show of hands. Bronet then acknowledged a particular subset of the audience – future architecture students – setting the stage for a recurring emphasis on the future of architectural education. Read More
As AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA, cited in his introduction during the 11.10.14 Oculus Book Talk at the Center for Architecture, for the casual reader there are many surprises to be found in the text Paradise Planned: The Garden Suburb and the Modern City, by Robert A.M. Stern, David Fishman, and Jacob Tilove. The premise of the book is to redefine the “Modern City” in light of the evolution of suburbs, and to make suburbs not such a “bad” word. Co-author David Fishman spoke about this epic project. Fishman’s talk was decidedly populist, and ardently comprehensive. He was able to engage the audience in the greatest hits of the book, show the evolution of the Garden Suburb ideal, and adeptly entertain with his rapid-fire delivery. Read More
Characterized by various viewpoints, approaches, and processes, Kaleidoscope, an all-female Norwegian-Finnish architecture collective, synthesizes architecture and art through inter- and cross-disciplinary practices. Kati Laakso, cultural attaché at Consulate General of Finland in New York, introduced the group as one that deftly approaches the debate of architecture, urbanism, and city planning, a debate she finds particularly acute in Finland, as recently highlighted by the Guggenheim Helsinki competition.
The group introduced its approach to the standing-room-only audience with its winning entry for Europan 12. The master plan provides a framework for a national heritage site in Asker, Norway, containing an abandoned psychiatric hospital. The collaborative devised seven strategies and programs that would create a framework to revitalize the area. From landscaping and open spaces to a university outpost, permanent dwellings, and tourist lodging, the variety of uses and populations would support a self-sustaining town reminiscent of mixed-use cultural districts. Read More
Airports built during the rise of commercial flying reflect the vast frontier the new technology created. Neo-futuristic designs, such as JFK International’s Eero Saarinen-designed TWA Terminal, focused on the glamour of flight, with grand, open spaces and large windows in the terminals. The result: the majority of airports built in the 1950s and ’60s refer more to the global and glamorous act of flying than they do to the city in which they are located. Following the deregulation of the airline industry, the efficiency-driven, hub-and-spoke airports of the 1970s and ’80s were built with undistinguished corporate design. Upon arrival, you could be anywhere; signs provide orientation. With as many as 50,000 employees working within one airport – as well as surrounding hotels, businesses, public transportation, malls, and even parks – architects are beginning to recognize airports as communities and small cities in themselves, vital limbs of their larger cities. Stanis Smith, executive vice president for Buildings at the mega-firm Stantec, came to the Center for Architecture on 11.14. 14 to discuss how Stantec is designing streamlined, place-oriented airports that make passengers as comfortable, happy, and stimulated as possible, an aim that coincides with that of maximizing the buying behavior of passengers waiting for their flights. Read More
From redefining and defending borders to establishing a national image and politics, the former countries of the USSR are negotiating their independence as nations in the global capitalist economy. On 11.06.14, “New Kids on the Bloc: American Architects Working in Post-Soviet Culture Sectors” shed light on the current relationship between architecture and national culture, economy, and social climate in three heterogeneous countries: Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, and Poland. Empires have come and gone, leaving their traces in architecture. After stating independence, how does a postcolonial country establish a national architecture? What is an American architect’s place in a postcolonial and post-socialist country? Three American architects addressed these questions as they presented recent designs. Read More
Searching for what defines “milieu” and “identity,” the program “Fondue Pot Stickers: Divergent Voices” tackled a number of academic and philosophical issues in architectural processes and works. Hashim Sarkis, the evening’s moderator, inquired into whether geographic, institutional, or professional environments and situations define one’s practice. The introduction set the tone that resonated between proclamation and inquiry, an ambiguity that pervaded the evening. Read More