PreviousNext

Featured Member: Leonard Kady, AIA

Featured Member by • 07/06

Leonard Kady, AIA, is a leader in the world of small firms. The principal of Leonard Kady Architecture + Design in New York, his practice bridges the disciplines of architecture and historic preservation in an international range of residential, commercial, and retail projects. Before establishing his own firm, Kady worked on larger projects at KPF and Beyer Blinder Belle in New York. Kady says that his practice, which is “marked by a modern sensibility and exacting craftsmanship,” is “grounded in classical principles.” The size of his firm allows Kady to personally oversee all phases of design and execution. He shares the lessons learned in small firm practice with others by past and present service on national AIA committees including the Small Project Practitioners, the Small Firm Roundtable, and the jury of the Small Projects Awards. Here, he tells us why craft is central to his approach and how the AIA supports small firms.

Q: Who or what first inspired you to become an architect?

A: At a very young age I visited Expo 67 in Montreal. That experience made a profound impression on me. I remember arriving to the Expo island site by elevated rail and feeling the excitement of first viewing this mini futuristic city composed of structures like Habitat by Moshe Safdie and the American Pavilion, a Buckminster Fuller geodesic dome. The pavilions expressed the best of each exhibiting country’s cultural and architectural aspirations. After that experience, travel and the discovery of modern technology drew me closer to architecture and design. Whisper-quiet subways on rubber wheels, a fascination with the NASA space program, abstract art displayed in wonderful museums, and art and sculpture in our home instilled in me a love of the art of architecture.

Q: Your practice combines new construction with historic preservation and restoration. Can you talk about what influence these two disciplines have on each other in your work?

A: Working in Europe on historically important buildings and with old-world craftsmen has had a tremendous impact on my appreciation for materials and their fabrication. I am drawn to natural materials that can age with grace, like stone, wood and metal, which develop warm patinas over time. Nature’s weathering effects on architecture of historical significance is a wonderful, positive expression of time. I love the work of master, modern architects who have been able to balance compositions of inert materials with beautifully decaying materials. Mies van de Rohe and Carlo Scarpa, among them, both embraced the heritage and ethos of history as it relates to materials; they prized patina and age. Craftsmanship in historical preservation and restoration is the other aspect that has influenced me. A number of experiences with craftsmen and artists impacted my approach to design and construction. One example is an artist who submitted samples of art work to demonstrate how he proposed to repair badly damaged frescos in a 14th century building I was restoring. The brush work on the sample was painterly, and had a loose, fast quality that I had not imagined would work. However, when we held it up to the original mural, it was a perfect match. On the same project, carpenters delivered unfinished wood panels and doors that had defects like none I had ever seen before on new construction. I hesitated, and then realized that, like the painterly art of the fresco, these imperfections were what made the restoration work appealing and authentic in appearance.

Q: You have worked extensively internationally.  What are some differences between working in the U.S. and abroad?

A: From my experience, working in the U.S. tends to require more exacting documentation standards and requires more communication as to ways to achieve certain craftsmanship qualities. Abroad, particularly in Europe, there is a very strong culture that can cross over between art and craft. Craftsmen are well trained. A carpenter often has the skill to draw by free-hand elaborate woodwork patterns, and demonstrate a flair for proportions with great finesse. Each country’s local laws and precedents can shape the length and detail of contracts. Contracts tend to be much more detailed in the U.S. I did, however, encounter stringent local requirements for historical work in England.

Q: You have served on myriad AIA Committees, as well as speaking and organizing sessions at multiple AIA National Conventions. Why is working with the AIA important to you?

A: Working with the AIA is very important for all architects, allied professionals, and the public. The organization of the AIA is served by hundreds of volunteer members who lend their experience and insight into helping the profession. I became familiar with the AIA through my use of AIA contract documents in practice. I then found the Architect’s Handbooks of Practice to be valuable assets, and following that experienced the quality of continuing education at AIA Conferences. These resources and many more are assembled, developed, and produced by the volunteer work of AIA members. I am an enthusiastic contributor to the knowledge community, and feel strongly about supporting small firm architects and small project architects as they navigate the complexities of the profession. Large firms often have a vast knowledge repository.  Today, AIA can offer smaller firms access to knowledge and experience which in the past was limited. New digital efficiency of information delivery, and AIA’s social networking potential, is a boon to AIA members. Any AIA member can get as involved as they wish, from simply replying to a discussion on one of the many AIA Q&A forums to serving on committees. The digital age has enhanced the AIA’s impact on its members and outreach to the public, and elevated the quality of the work we produce. I think it is essential that members consider getting involved to serve others and to expand their own professional impact on society.

 Q: How do you envision your practice developing over the next decade?

A: I picture technological improvements enhancing architectural practice and adding value in professional service to clients, for my practice and for others. These include such advancements as computer visualization tools, scanning aids, rapid prototype models, aerial 3D surveys, and collaborative web environments. I picture working remotely with architect teams, clients, and stakeholders across town or across the country in more efficient ways than we have known in the past.  I see great interest at the AIA National Conventions in sessions regarding emerging technology applications and the development of new tools that are transforming practice through enhanced efficiency, productivity and connectivity.

Comments are closed.

56 Leonard Street by Herzog & de Meuron, one of Archtober 2017's Buildings of the Day. Credit: Iwan Baan.
Are You Ready for Archtober? At the Center for Architecture
Center for Architecture staff rolled up their sleeves to help Win students design and build their own tree house models. Pictured: AIANY/CFA Executive Director Benjamin Prosky, Assoc. AIA; Morgan Watson; and Camila Schaulsohn. Image courtesy of Win.
Engaging the Community through Design Learning Learning by Design
Credit: Center for Architecture
CLP Development Session III: Community Transformations through the Lens of Resiliency Chapter News
Hunter's Point Campus, Queens, NY. Rolland's role: Project Director. Image: David Sundberg/Esto.
Featured Member: Ann Rolland, FAIA, LEED AP Featured Member
Cocktails and Conversation: Peter Gluck and Inga Saffron, 09.08.17. Photo: Daniel Cole.
Peter Gluck and Inga Saffron Appraise the State of Architecture for Cocktails and Conversation Chapter News
Anthology Film Archives expansion by Bone/Levine Architects.
In the News In The News
Head_Image
Archtober is Coming! At the Center for Architecture
Credit: Center for Architecture
AIANY Members: Engage and Recommend Leaders Chapter News
Percy Griffin, AIA, interviewed at the Center for Architecture by Jack Travis at "Legends: 3 Harlem Architects, 4 Decades" in 2016. Credit: Center for Architecture
In Memoriam: Percy Griffin, AIA In Memoriam
Courtesy of AIA Houston.
Help the Architecture Center Houston AIA - Message From the Executive Director
Image courtesy the NYC Department of Buildings
DOB Proposes Rule for Additional Fees Policy and Advocacy
New Visions for Public Schools by Gruzen Samton LLP. Burke's role: Director of Interiors/Design Director. Photo: Mark Ross.
Featured Member: Mary Burke, FAIA Featured Member
Working together on the grouping exercise. Credit: Center for Architecture
CLP Development Session II: Facilitating Inclusive and Productive Engagement—Strategies and Struggles Chapter News
Woman´s March on NYC, 2017. Credit: Michael Kowalczyk ©/ Flickr.
Public Spaces, Social Movements: How Planning and Design Can Shape Public Discourse Policy and Advocacy
Names in the News In The News
“Kaneji Domoto at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonia,” closing 08.26.17. Credit: Erik Bardin.
On View Exhibitions
Moynihan Train Hall by SOM.  Credit: SOM, image via New York State Governor's Office.
In the News In The News
Sonali from our elementary school Fairytale Architecture program shows off her castle design. Credit: Center for Architecture.
Summer@theCenter Wraps Up Learning by Design
Yale University Sterling Divinity Quadrangle, New Haven, CT. Nieminen's role: Partner in Charge. Image: Cervin Robinson.
Featured Member: Michael Nieminen, FAIA Featured Member
Classifieds Classifieds
2100 Troll is Antarctica’s first megacity, its ringed megastructures each organized around a central green space. 2100: A Dystopian Utopia—The City After Climate Change, by Vanessa Keith/StudioTEKA (New York: Urban Research, 2017). Image: courtesy of Terreform.
Featured Member: Vanessa Keith, AIA Featured Member
Grand Central Terminal in Midtown East. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.
Policy Pulse: City Approves Midtown East Rezoning Policy and Advocacy
Myrtle-Wickoff Station Complex. Dugan's role: Principal in Charge. Image: Vanni Archives.
Featured Member: Jeffrey Dugan, AIA Featured Member
Bronx River House by Kiss + Cathcart Architects.
In the News In The News
Names in the News In The News
2017 AIANY COTE Awards. Deadline: 09.17.17
New Deadlines In The News
"This Future Has a Past," on view through 09.12.17. Credit: Center for Architecture.
On View Exhibitions
Office loft / Maker space Hudson Yards Penn Station
Classifieds Classifieds
OBL/QUE, A Journal on Critical Conversation published by Harvard GSD, is the winner of the  2017 Douglas Haskell Award for Student Journals.
Announcing the 2017 Douglas Haskell Award for Student Journals Recipient At the Center for Architecture
At SpeakUp 2017 in Denver, Colorado.
Policy Pulse: AIA Hosts Annual SpeakUp Event Policy and Advocacy
Community Mural, 116th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue. Photo: Shilpa Patel.
Challenges of Engaging Locally: Civic Leadership Program Opens Discussion Chapter News
Member Survey: How Are Firms Helping Members Grow Professionally? Chapter News
Design educator Hadley Beacham performs a structural test for a triangulated model. Credit: Center for Architecture
Youth Explore Architecture at K-12 Summer Design Programs Learning by Design
New York Public Library 53rd Street Branch by TEN Arquitectos. Steele's role: Principal in Charge/Project Architect. Photo: Michael Moran.
Featured Member: Andrea Steele, AIA Featured Member
LOT-EK's Hi-LIGHTS has won the international competition for the Gateways Public Art Commission in Gold Coast, Australia. Image: LOT-EK.
In the News In The News
Names in the News In The News
Submit your sustainable projects to the 2017 AIANY COTE Awards!
New Deadlines In The News
"This Future Has a Past," on view through 09.12.17. Credit: Center for Architecture
On View Exhibitions
111 West 57th Street, New York, NY, by SHoP Architects. Brainard's role: Enclosure Lead. Image: Hayes Davidson.
Featured Member: Gabrielle Brainard, AIA Featured Member
Congratulations to @babkwth for winning our first-ever #ArchtoberSelects Instagram Challenge.
Field Condition Names Winners in Debut #ArchtoberSelects Instagram Challenge At the Center for Architecture
CLP 2017 Inaugural class: (l-r) Ayodele Yusuf, Jenna Leigh Wandishin, Daniel Horn (back row), Michael Caton, Michaela Metcalfe, Christina Hernandez, A.L. Hu, Shilpa Patel, Jack Dinning, Jessica Morris. Credit: Center for Architecture
Policy Pulse: Announcing 2017 Civic Leadership Program Class Policy and Advocacy
AIANY Emerging New York Architects Committee Civic Leadership Program (CLP) kick off at the Center for Architecture. Credit: Center for Architecture.
Civic Leadership Program Kicks Off Chapter News
Nike New York Headquarters by Studios Architecture and Workplace Design + Connectivity. Photos courtesy of Nike.
In the News In The News
Names in the News In The News
Submit your work to the 2017 AIANY COTE Awards!
New Deadlines In The News
The Bier House by Kaneji Domoto, featured in "Kaneji Domoto at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonia,” on view through 08.26.17. Credit: Thad Russell
On View Exhibitions
Public Square by FXFOWLE. Image: FXFOWLE/Driverless Future Challenge.
Driverless Future Challenge Names Winner Chapter News
Apartment, New York. Photo: Michael Moran.
Featured Member: Leonard Kady, AIA Featured Member
A temporal collage of the historic site by Seher Erdogan Ford.
Announcing the Recipients of the 2017 Arnold W. Brunner Grant for Architectural Research Chapter News
Hyper-Efficient Building Workshop on 06.14.17 and 06.15.17. Credit: Center for Architecture
Policy Pulse: New Hyper-Efficient Building Training Launches Policy and Advocacy