Please join us Thursday, 07.16.14, for the opening of “QueensWay Connection: Elevating the Public Realm,” an exhibition featuring the winners of the AIANY Emerging New York Architects Committee’s 6th biennial ideas competition. ENYA challenged entrants to design a vertical gateway for the elevated viaduct portion of a 3.5-mile stretch of abandoned railway. The reception is kindly sponsored by Brooklyn Brewery and Rita’s Water Ice.
EB White, who was born on the 07.11.1899, said: “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” On o7.11.14, the Regional Recovery Working Group Workshop gathered at the Florham campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University to discuss the related trans-sectorial issues of infrastructure, transportation, and critical facilities. The enjoyment of this very special place made it even more interesting to hear speakers who, individually and collaboratively, are doing much to deal with the changes to the built environment necessitated by climate change and sea level rise. The workshop was put together by an engaged organizing committee led by Justin Mihalik, AIA, past president of AIA Newark & Suburban and principal of his own firm in Essex Falls, NJ, and Illya Azaroff, AIA, AIANY Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee co-chair and founder of +LAB architects in Brooklyn.
The venue for the conference was the bucolic 178-acre campus, the remnant of an 800-acre New Jersey estate dating back to the marriage in 1877 of Florence Adele Vanderbilt and Hamilton McKown Twombly. The name of their country place, Florham, was formed from the first letters of their names. Its landscape architecture was by Frederick Law Olmsted; the buildings were by McKim Mead & White.
But the conference was not about the history or context of the place, but designed to cut new ground in our understanding of the regional implications of infrastructure preparedness. As 2014 AIA New York Chapter President Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, said in opening the conference, issues of sea level change and storm surge are not limited to one municipality or one state – they are regional in nature and must be addressed and confronted together: “nature does not respect political boundaries.”
The conference welcome also included the two AIA State component leaders, Kurt Kalafsky, AIA, President, AIA New Jersey, and Ray Beeler, AIA, President, AIA New York State. Kalafsky noted that “sustainability has been the mainstay of our practices, and I equate resiliency to that effort.” Beeler said that “coastal communities are on the front lines, but inland areas are just as susceptible to damage.” He added: “Working together as a region we can be more effective than any of us can be individually.”
The conference overview was given by Azaroff, who noted that the purpose of the convocation which drew approximately 120 people, was “to galvanize architects and design professionals across the region to discuss the rules and circumstances that will define our future.” To set the framework he pointed out that “over 2.5 million people have lost their lives and some $4 trillion dollars of property has been lost in the last 30 years to natural disasters.” He thanked BASF for hosting the conference.
The conference conclusion ended with a quote from sportswriter Roger Angell, the stepson of Elwyn Brooks “Andy” White, who said at the funeral of the famously shy essayist: “If EB White could be here today, he wouldn’t be here.” Those who were not at the Regional Recovery Working Group Workshop missed something useful and important.
What follows below are abbreviated remarks of the conference speakers. Read More
On 07.02.14 a small group of architects, landscape architects, and engineers met with NYC Department of Design + Construction (DDC) Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora at the DDC offices in Long Island City. It was the second such roundtable discussion organized by AIANY, and part of the new commissioner’s “listening tour.” Also present were additional upper-level DDC staff members who have previously worked with many of the design professionals in attendance.
Commissioner Peña-Mora assured the group that Mayor de Blasio wants to make sure that DDC continues its Design and Construction Excellence program. The Design Excellence program has been around for 10 years, and there is a substantial body of work as a result. The commissioner, however, would like to improve upon it in a number of ways, and is enthusiastic about hearing from participants and prospective participants on how it can continue to grow. Read More
In an ever-evolving landscape of global design competitions, how does one begin to separate oneself from the pack? When organizations come together, such as the participatory arts organization FIGMENT, the Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA) of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY), and the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY) for the City of Dreams Pavilion design competition, we found that collaboration set the tone from the start. As a result, the winning entry by NYC-based CDR Studio Architects, “The Governor’s Cup,” brought together a robust design team, a troop of 100+ volunteers, and numerous other supporters to make the vision a reality. Ultimately, the one-year process, from submission to realization, allowed an established firm to gain entry into the world of emerging professionals. Now the pavilion is open to the public on the southwest corner of the Parade Grounds on Governors Island throughout the summer. Read More
Inspired by the “FitNation” exhibition in the U.S., New London Architecture (NLA), London’s Centre for the Built Environment, worked to bring it to London in June 2014 as part of London Festival of Architecture 2014, and introduced London examples that demonstrate how we are actively encouraging health and wellbeing in the city. “FitLondon” is currently on view outdoors in the cobbled crescent just outside of The Building Centre in central London (NLA and The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, London), and will be on view until Friday, 07.25.14. We have activated the crescent with installations, working with the local community and professional networks to create an engaging environment, one which invites people to use the space in a variety of ways – illustrating the crescent’s potential as a new public realm in Fitzrovia. Read More
Even though Fred Schwartz, FAIA, passed away on 04.28.14, the loss was still fresh to many, speakers and audience alike, at the Center for Architecture on 06.30.14, when family, friends, colleagues, and collaborators gathered to share memories and anecdotes. AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA, introduced the evening program with an invocation from New York poet Delmore Schwartz. Quoting from “At this Moment in Time,” Bell said: “Disturb me, compel me…You are exact. You tug my sleeve/Before I speak, with a shadow’s friendship, / And I remember that we who move/ Are moved by clouds that darken midnight.” Read More
Social media is the root of much conversation, worry, speculation, and excitement across many fields and seems to pervade our everyday lives – so how is it affecting architecture, planning, and design? On 06.19.14, “Postcard Identities | Esoteric Landmarks” gathered speakers to discuss how these evolving technologies and methods of connecting people to one another – and to spaces – are changing how projects are conceived, and how people create and interact with iconic images and landmarks. If the proliferation of instantly shareable moments, photographs, and feedback is fundamentally changing how we, as users and creators, relate to space, what does this mean for the future of the profession? Read More
Death and taxes, as the old saying goes, are the only sure things in life. Hopefully the former comes after a long and rewarding life. But are we prepared for old age? We pad ourselves with a 401k, investments, paying off the mortgage – provided we’re not still living with roommates into our 50s, though we may be again by our 70s. The panel for “Designing for a Lifetime” considered the predicament of aging and housing at fundamental levels: community and dignity. Read More
The Center for Architecture hosted an event that tackled an un-sexy but pressing issue in NYC: garbage. As the host Antonio Reynoso, a NYC council member, said, dealing with garbage is “not too glamorous and you’re not going to cut the ribbon.” The councilman made light of an issue that’s often forced into the dark, joking with the audience that he was “gonna talk trash with you – because that’s what we do in Brooklyn.” Over-concentration of garbage and a high rate of asthma and traffic in his district spurred him to take the position of chair of the NYC Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management. “Sanitation,” he said, “is our first line of defense in making sure our environment is more sustainable.” Read More
On 06.24.14, Beatrice Galilee, the newly-appointed associate curator of architecture and design in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, moderated a discussion about the relationship between the production of architecture and art. The three invited speakers included two architects and one graphic designer; these three are also two painters and one sculptor. Read More