TABLE OF CONTENTS
IN THE NEWS
AROUND THE AIA + THE CENTER
At the Center for Architecture
Job Opportunity: AIANY Development Associate for Corporate Relations
Editor's Note: As we await the Port Authority's counterproposal at Ground Zero, I wonder if any decision will be made by April Fool's Day? What do you think? E-mail email@example.com.
The AIA New York Chapter seeks a Development Associate for Corporate Relations
REPORTS FROM THE FIELD
Alsop's Recipe: Drink, Draw, Dream
Barnsley - "a Tuscan Hill town" near Manchester
Courtesy of Alsop Architects
Event: "An Evening with Will Alsop: Old Town—Strategies for Urban Regeneration"
Located near Manchester and Leeds, Barnsley became a market town in 1249. Since the mines closed, the town has fallen into a state of economic and spiritual depression. By filming a series of visioning workshops, Will Alsop discovered that civic leaders are interested in revitalization and that residents want to return to a sense of community, have free parking, a wall, a canal, and even a theater in which Kenneth Branagh would be happy to perform. Alsop's advice to urban planners for successful rethinking is: "Get them drunk. Get them to draw and dream. The ideas come from the process."
Alsop, one of the most debated architects and urban thinkers today, enjoys speaking to his peers about his visions for an urban generation as much as he likes listening to local townspeople talk about how they want to see their towns and cities regenerated. Barnsley, which Alsop re-branded "a Tuscan Hill town," is in desperate need of regeneration.
In his introduction, Jim McCullar, FAIA, co-chair of the AIA NY Housing Committee, praised Alsop's "avant-garde and strikingly different buildings that often don't look like buildings as most are a riot of color, suspended pods, spindly supports, non-contextual to the extreme, and they break all the rules as they revitalize urban environments." Alsop guides his practice under the principle that "architecture is both vehicle and symbol of social change and renewal." So to those of you who might be pondering this year's Chapter theme, "Architecture as Public Policy," may we suggest a holiday in Barnsley, a Tuscan Hill town.
Biophilia Claims Bryant Park
Event: "The Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park"
View of the Bank of America Tower from Bryant Park
dbox for Cook + Fox Architects
From microbiologist René Dubos to biomimicry theorist Janine Benyus, Richard Cook, AIA, derives inspiration from many sources, but it wasn't until he visited Cambodia and experienced the contrast between the beauties and the challenges of developing nations that he realized the urgency of counteracting global climate change. Presenting detailed correlations among dramatic rises in CO2 levels, global temperatures, natural disasters, and flooding patterns as reflective ice caps melt into heat-retaining water, Cook searches for that moment when architecture will reduce buildings' energy and resource footprint. The question is no longer whether to make this change, but how.
One strategy pursued by Cook and Robert Fox, AIA, for the Bank of America Tower is to use freely available resources such as sunlight, wind, gravity, and rain. Multiple water conservation methods are feasible, including rainwater collection, reuse of treated graywater and condensates, and waterless urinals using a low-specific-gravity trapping liquid. Along with collecting drainage water for heating and cooling, the 80-foot-deep cellar helps solve drainage problems in neighboring buildings as well. The tower has its own power cogeneration plant, cutting mid-day use of Con Ed's least efficient peak plants. Floor-to-ceiling low-emission fritted glass and transparent partitions bring daylight—and productivity gains—to every worker in the building.
The tower is expected to receive a platinum LEED rating, with additional guidance for tenants to attain LEED-rated status on their own. Since primary tenant Bank of America's annual labor investments far outweigh its energy costs, designing with human biophilia in mind creates corporate incentives by making workers healthier and more productive. The real challenge, Fox and Cook acknowledge, is motivating developers, whose initial green investments bring energy-cost savings to tenants, not themselves.
Bill Millard is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in Oculus, Icon, Content, and other publications.
Intense Voices Emerge
Designed for the U.S. Pavilion at the 2004 Venice Biennale, the stadium design explores the potential of an urban stadium to accommodate throngs of people and disappear when not in use. The structure employs a kinetic seating bowl, lifted 30 floors above street level, comprised of a series of transforming seating and support elements, many constructed to fold into the adjacent high-rise buildings in a dense urban center.
Courtesy of Studio Gang Architects
"Minus Space." Site specific installation at the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle. Materials: Jute geotextile fabric, wire, Plexiglas, and 1 mil plastic sheeting. August 2005.
Courtesy of Lead Pencil Studio
Event: Emerging Voices 2006
The work of Studio Gang and Lead Pencil Studio differs drastically in tone and mission sharing in "an impressive level of intensity and obsessiveness," as described by introducer and jury member Adam Yarinsky, AIA, of Architecture Research Office.
Chicago-based Jeanne Gang's self-referred "compressed scale" projects—her 2003 stone tile installation at the National Building Museum and proposals for various small-scale public projects—reveal her ability to push materials in use, structure, and form. Her "provocative scale" projects, including a study of integrating athletic stadiums into the city community theater built in 2004, an environmental center, and a residential highrise currently in planning, indicate her probing concepts and meticulous research at every level of design.
Lead Pencil Studio tells a story of a much different practice: the firm has only two practitioners (compared to Gang's 18), and their work consistently straddles the boundary between art and architecture. Installations such as Stairway (2003) and Minus Space (2005) show an obsession with site, space, and material. Their architecture, which includes commercial studio interiors and a ground-up house, is straightforward and simple but a clear extension of their experimental installations.
Jaffer Kolb is a freelance writer and an assistant editor at The Architect's Newspaper.
Eminent Domain Ruling Harms Private and Public Property
Event: Kelo and its Consequences
Kelo vs. City of New London is a Supreme Court case in which the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the city in awarding the private property of homeowners to developers for the purpose of creating beachfront hotels. This ruling has expanded the use of Eminent Domain (ED) in two profound ways. First, ED is expanded such that "public use" is defined as that which spurs economic development and generates more taxes and jobs. Second, the right of ED, a right granted to government (elected) officials in the 5th Amendment, is expanded such that it can be facilitated by private agencies.
These two expansions of the 5th Amendment ensures that the future of public space is guaranteed only where there is a market interest and that, where such space exists, it is developed and allocated by private agencies. That private property is in jeopardy if it is deemed underdeveloped is alarming. That public space is determined by commercial purposes threatens the nature of public space for the purpose of civic assembly and democratic voice.
Aileen Iverson, RA, is an architect practicing in New York.
The Experience is Key to Theater Design
Two River Theater in Red Bank, NJ designed by H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture is a gathering place for collective experience.
© Peter Mauss/Esto
Event: The Secrets of Theater Design: Building Type Basics for Performing Arts Facilities
Instead of simply parading an objective catalogue of projects, Hugh Hardy, FAIA, offers a perspective on performing arts facilities design in his Building Type Basics for Performing Arts Facilities, the latest in the Building Type Basics series published by Wiley Publishing. While presenting an overview of the history of theater design, Hardy argued that successful theater design centers on the idea of a collective experience. Whether a theater is a large commercial venue, civic auditorium, small-scale flexible space for teaching, or non-profit space, a theater must increase audience anticipation and present the performer as larger-than-life. Simultaneously, the performer needs to be able to connect with the audience as a group that is experiencing a production together.
When performing arts companies move into new spaces, it is telling that performers are excited to inhabit old theater buildings and upset when assigned to contemporary buildings, according to Richard Pilbrow. Appropriating an analogy from dancer Elizabeth Streb, Joshua Dachs stated, "Contemporary architecture is the enemy of theater." There is no formula to meet all forms of performance, yet current trends in theater design incorporate flexibility to accommodate many types of entertainment (Radio City Music Hall now has boxing matches, for example).
By critically analyzing current unsuccessful theaters, minor adjustments can be made to improve and reinvent the experience of attending a performance. A prime example, according to Dachs, is a recent "Mostly Mozart" festival at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center. With 42 rows in the orchestra, the audience usually has a difficult time connecting with performers. In this instance, the musicians were placed in the middle of the audience while some of the attendees were placed on stage. Audience members could read music over the musicians' shoulders, and during breaks musicians were able to chat with the audience. Through innovative thinking, a new, successful experience was achieved in a typically ineffective theater.
What Lies Beneath Manhattan
Courtesy of the Alliance for Downtown New York
Event: "Is It Trash or Is It Treasure? An Urban Archaeologist Reflects on Historical Debris;" Downtown Third Thursdays
A self-proclaimed "garbage-ologist," Geismar explained that an archaeological site at 175 Water Street—which yielded over 310,000 tabulated artifacts—was fertile ground for exploration since it had been "reclaimed" from the East River with garbage landfill in the early 18th century. The original owners were "water lot grantees," meaning they were responsible for creating landmass, streets, and other infrastructure themselves. Many of the objects she uncovered in the landfill evidenced the diversity of New York City's population at that time.
In a lecture that revealed the relationship among archaeology, planning, and construction in New York City, Geismar used the 1981 excavation of a downtown Manhattan block as a case study in the realities of urban historical exploration. She explained the details surrounding her discovery of a 92-foot ship beneath the Water Street site—one that now supports a 32-story building. The site was the fourth major dig that resulted from issuance of the City Environmental Quality Review act, which required all building construction needing a variance to undergo a review, including archaeological assessment.
Geismar issued a cautionary tale, referencing her historical study against our culture's treatment of trash, saying that current segregation of garbage and recycling would skew future generations' views of today's New Yorkers. Closing with a photo of the Fresh Kills Landfill—the depository for a portion of the boat found on the site, as well as destroyed emergency vehicles from 9/11—Geismar noted "the record goes on."
Students Transform Light
"Convergenze parallele" is an audiovisual installation. Airborne dust particles, created by natural air movements and viewer interaction, pass through a beam of light and are tracked, visualized, and sonified in real-time by a custom software system.
Ernesto Klar, MFA candidate in Design and Technology at Parsons the New School for Design (Instructor: Christopher Kirwan)
Event: 2006 IESNY Student Design Competition Exhibition and Keynote Lecture: "Illusions by Light."
For the sixth year, the Illuminating Engineering Society New York Section (IESNY) invited design students to participate in a citywide lighting competition. Students were asked to construct a three-dimensional study on how light can reveal, create, or transform the unseen—a topic explored in the keynote address given by Prof. Dr. Ing Heinrich Kramer, Germany-based lighting designer and professor. The competition allowed students to explore light as an art form, demonstrate light as a stimulus, and prove light is a valuable medium.
A record breaking 90 design students representing Barnard College, The Cooper Union, New York School of Interior Design, Fashion Institute of Technology, New York University, Parsons the New School for Design, and Pratt Institute migrated to the Center for Architecture to set-up and display their illuminated objects. For one night the Center was transformed—glowing with bounced, reflected, and captured light.
The first place winner Ernesto Klar, a sculpture major from Parsons, received $3,000 plus a trip to attend the Fall 2006 European Lighting Designers' Association (ELDA+) workshop. To view all winning submissions visit IESNY.
Randy Sabedra is President of the Illuminating Engineering Society of the New York Section (IESNY).
Designers Help Homeless
Courtesy of The Partnership for the Homeless
Event: Benefit and Silent Auction for The Partnership for the Homeless Furnish a Future program
Serving approximately 2,000 families each year, Furnish a Future is New York City's only furniture bank for homeless individuals and families who are leaving shelters and moving into permanent housing. Located in Brooklyn, Furnish a Future is currently re-organizing its warehouse, and an IIDA committee is assisting The Partnership for the Homeless and Chris Madden with this endeavor. Basic supplies such as paint, tools, and fabrics are needed to renovate the warehouse to make clients feel welcome and significant when selecting furniture for their new homes.
Furnish a Future is always in need of furniture, and designers should donate (and encourage clients to donate) old furniture to help build a better future. More information is available online.
Anne Lefferson is an interior designer at Blair Design Associates and member of the IIDA committee currently assisting Furnish a Future with their warehouse in Brooklyn.
Pop Culture Infiltrates Medical Equipment
Graves speaks with Goldberger about creating awareness of common difficulties for people with disabilities.
Event: At the Parsons Table: Michael Graves in Conversation with Deal Paul Goldberger
From the iconic teakettle to the ever-expanding line of Target products, from the Portland Building to the Nashville Federal Courthouse currently under construction, Michael Graves's simple and whimsical designs continue to infiltrate pop culture. With an interest in the threshold between high art and the mass market, recently Graves is venturing into the realm of medical equipment.
Bound to a wheelchair, Graves plans on using himself as a guinea pig for his new universal designs. Critical of the inconveniences created by poor design, he is searching for simple and affordable solutions to ease mobility for those who are differently-abled. Instead of having to strap ones legs into a properly aligned position, for example, a small curve in the seat at thigh level would keep them in place without extra effort. Uncomplicated adjustments like this can be made to wheelchairs and many other medical devices that will improve their quality dramatically.
There have been many movements in architectural history that have demonstrated the effects of large, inhuman buildings on society. None of them have been positive. I think it is time to return to what really matters: people who inhabit dense microcosmic communities.
Perhaps this is because architectural projects are becoming so grandiose they are overpowering communities. Some New York City examples include: the latest RFP for Governor's Island calling for "visionary" submissions; Ground Zero where the number of starchitects involved seems endless; the Hudson Yards development including the Javits Center's double expansion. Buildings are expanding and overshadowing people. The conversation between architecture and society is stymied.
Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to respond.
IN THE NEWS
City Planning Releases New Zoning Handbook
P.S. 1's Got the BEATFUSE!
Construction Begins on Avalon Riverview North in Queens West
Historic Queens Celebrates New Cemetery Center
NASCAR Races to Charlotte
Eco-Friendliness Comes to Williamsburg
Japanese Danish Bakeries Come to U.S.
AROUND THE AIA + THE CENTER FOR ARCHITECTURE
Firms Box for Design Students
Manufacturers, reps, and others are invited to sponsor each packed box starting at $25 a box. All money raised goes to scholarships for design students to help maintain their schools' libraries. Firms who collect the most money from their "Box-a-Thon" sponsors are eligible to win prizes.
To participate in this year's Box-a-thon, to be held 04.11-13.06, click here.
An Ear for Practice
Event: Architects-in-Training Course, "Starting a Design Firm"
A well-seasoned professional, educator, and keen observer of architectural practice, Peter Piven, FAIA, organized his presentation into lists of 10, as if he were a sage David Letterman of professional practice—complete with humorous anecdotes. "10 reasons why to start one's own firm" extended from design control to the satisfaction of building a business; "10 steps toward starting a firm" included defining one's abilities to securing capital; "10 models for starting a firm" spanned the ever-popular "house for mom" to the spin-off firm. Other lists pertained to getting and keeping work, organizing a firm, and financially supporting it.
Ultimately, dialogue is the touchstone of successful practice. Piven placed particular emphasis on what he referred to as "active listening," advising his audience to remember, "A satisfied client is the best marketing," and "Be good to your people, they are your most important asset." When questioned about means of getting and maintaining work, Piven replied, "Strong relations trump everything."
For more information on the Architects-In-Training Courses, click here.
Gregory Haley, AIA, AICP is an architect at Grimshaw Architects PC, New York and has taught architectural design studios at NYIT School of Architecture.
Design Challenge Takes to the River
The Center for Architecture Foundation, through its partnership with the Urban Assembly School of Design and Construction (UASDC), has kicked off its one-month after school Studio@The Center program. Ninth graders from UASDC are designing a new East River waterfront and market building. Expanding on the skills they learned in their Learning By Design:NY residency, students analyzed the site, produced sketches and renderings of their ideas, and are now constructing models. With support from both the Department of City Planning and a group of five dedicated architectural and planning advisors, students develop their visual literacy, teamwork, and presentation skills. Using the Foundation's workshop as an open studio, students explore current trends in waterfront development and attempt to solve a real-life design challenge. The program will culminate in a formal critique at the Center on March 30.
This program is funded by UASDC, Center for Architecture Foundation, and a grant from the American Architectural Foundation.
Students Eye the Center: Esto and the New Eyes on the City Workshop
Children compile collages during FamilyDay@theCenter.
Brian Kaplan, AIA
Event: FamilyDay@theCenter: New Eyes on the City
The Center for Architecture Foundation's stable of digital cameras provided new perspectives in the small hands of its visitors. Guided by Erica Stoller, Esto director, and David Sundberg and Albert Vecerka, two of the photographers exhibited in the ESTO NOW: Photographers Eye New York exhibition at the Center, the workshop began with an overview of the context and vision behind the images of the projects selected for the show.
With their minds suitably expanded to view their surroundings in new ways, the children, digital cameras in hand, photographed the Center's engaging spaces. With instruction and encouragement from the Esto team, the children sought out interesting compositions and details. Several hundred prints resulted from the exercise that were then used to reinterpret the images in collages and three-dimensional works.
Brian Kaplan, AIA, LEED AP, is an associate at Mancini-Duffy who occasionally participates in the Foundation's programs.
OK, so despite previous problems with the last survey, here is a second attempt. Since this is still a testing period, please take the time to submit your response one more time (Flash required). The results will be tallied in the next issue of e-Oculus. Thank you!
A new ingredient marks this year's Emerging Voices Lecture Series, hosted by the Architectural League of New York. After each lecture, a podcast is posted online featuring a ±10 minute interview with the speakers by architectural journalist Andrew Blum. Whether or not you made it to the lecture, these interviews compliment the series and are accessible any time.
NAMES IN THE NEWS
Two New York firms have received 2006 AIA Housing Awards: noroof architects for their Slot House project in Brooklyn, and Resolution: 4 Architecture for The Modern Modular, a prefabricated home concept. Mark Ginsberg, FAIA, was a juror…Llonch + Vidalle Architecture and TEN Arquitectos are two finalists named in the West End Pedestrian Bridge competition in Pittsburgh…New Jersey Institute of Technology President Robert A. Altenkirch has received The Donald T. Dust Recognition Award from the Newark Preservation and Landmarks Committee for the school's restoration of a Victorian castle on its grounds…
Stuart Glass has been appointed Director of Sales and Business Development at Material ConneXion…Nicole Migeon has been named principal at Robert D. Henry Architects…
The New York Times is repositioning staff in their Dining, House & Home, and Real Estate Sections, among others. Trish Hall will oversee these sections; Barbara Graustark will move on to a new, as-yet-undefined position. Trip Gabriel will oversee the Sunday and Thursday style sections in a single department. Michael Cannell is leaving the paper to take a position at Real Simple magazine…
Six finalists have been short listed for their design excellence, philosophy, and related experience for the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (MOCA) expansion. Finalists include three New York-based firms: Reiser + Umemoto Rur Architecture, SHoP Architects, and Studio MDA…
Call for Papers: International Conference City and Ports
The International Association Cities and Ports has issued a call for papers in six different categories for its 2006 convention: "Urban territories, Port territories, what future in common?" planned for November in Sydney, Australia.
Proposal: Riea Book Competition
Riea.ch is selecting authors for both the Riea Book Series and the Riea Concept Series. Book proposals should emphasize new research in the field of architecture.
Declaration of Intent: SARANY Design Awards
The Society of Registered American Architects/ New York Council is now accepting submissions in 15 categories for their annual design awards. For more information, email: email@example.com
Submission: Emerging Green Builders Design Competition
The United States Green Building Council Northern California Chapter and the City of San Francisco's Communities of Opportunity Initiative announce the 2006 Emerging Green Builders Design Competition for the Eugene Coleman Cultural Center + Community Plaza, in Bayview Hunters Point, San Francisco. Participants will compete to be one of five local finalists; the top winner will move on to compete for a national award.
Submission: Imagining Penn Center
The Ed Bacon Foundation has announced "IMAGINING PENN CENTER: A National Student Design Competition to Plan New Life for Philadelphia's Central Civic Space." This ideas competition for one of Philadelphia's primary Centre City civic spaces is open to United States planning and design students.
Oculus 2006 Editorial Calendar
The 2006 AIA New York Chapter Design Awards have a revised schedule:
At the Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place:
About Town: Exhibit Announcements
About Town: Ongoing and Upcoming
Through May 2006
Through November 2006
Would you like to get your message featured in eOCULUS? Spotlight your firm, product, or event as a marquee sponsor of eOCULUS, the electronic newsletter of the AIA New York Chapter. Sponsors receive a banner ad prominently placed above the table of contents. Your message will reach over 5,000 architects and decision-makers in the building industry via e-mail every two weeks (and countless others who access the newsletter directly from the AIA New York web site). For more information about sponsorship, contact Dan Hillman: firstname.lastname@example.org or 212.358.6114.
The AIA New York Chapter seeks a Development Associate for Corporate Relations
NBBJ designs and develops projects in various market sectors such as healthcare and Commercial with offices all over the world. As we expand, we pursue the most talented staff to gain and maintain recognition for outstanding design quality.
Current New York opportunities:
Request for Proposals On-Call Urban Design and Planning Services
New York City Economic Development Corporation ("NYCEDC") is seeking proposals for the provision of full-service urban design and planning services for various projects upon assignment. Services to be provided include urban design, site planning, graphics and renderings, existing conditions analysis, infrastructure analysis, market analysis and public outreach.
Detailed submission guidelines and requirements are outlined in the RFP, available as of Monday, March 6, 2006. RFP is available for in-person pick-up between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, from NYCEDC, 110 William Street, 6th floor, New York, NY (between Fulton & John streets). For more information, and to request or download a copy of the RFP, call (212) 312-3969 or visit www.nycedc.com/RFP. RESPONSES ARE DUE NO LATER THAN 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 30, 2006. Please submit five sets of your proposal to: NYCEDC, 110 William Street, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10038, Attention: Dominic Domingo, Agency Chief Contracting Officer.
Small NYC architecture firm with 14 employees seeking to fill two positions with talented, motivated individuals with architecture degree; minimum 1 year experience for team member; minimum 5 years experience for Project Architect/Manager for commercial, institutional and residential projects. Contact Mark at email@example.com.
Perkins Eastman seeks experienced Proposal Coordinator with 5-7 years experience in A/E industry for proposal development, coordinating specific market sector initiatives, information management for large, internationally recognized design firm. Qualifications: excellence in writing/editing, organization, communications, and some graphics. Required: Quark Xpress, Photoshop, InDesign, Microsoft Office suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint). Competitive salary, 401(k), EOE, benefits package. Fax resume/cover letter/salary requirements to 212-353-7676 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Only resumes w/ salary requirements considered. No phone calls or agencies, please. www.perkinseastman.com
The AIA Contract Documents program
If you already have the software, Version 2.0.5: Software Update is now available.
New York Chapter's HOME page