11.05.08 Special Issue: Remembering Stephen Kliment, FAIA

Stephen A. Kliment, FAIA.

Kristen Richards

Introduction
By Rick Bell, FAIA, AIANY Executive Director

I was privileged to work with Steve Kliment in the crafting of a publications program for the revitalized New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Steve knew about writing, and he knew about people. His memory and his generosity of spirit will live on at the AIA, not just because of the work he did on OCULUS and e-Oculus, but because of the impact that he had on our lives, as editor, as educator, as mentor, and as friend. At the beginning of Why Writing Matters, Steve quotes from Ephesians: “Let no corrupt communications proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” His grace, his wit, and his wisdom are remembered through his words, but also through the anecdotes, the stories, and the memories that we share. Writing this now, it saddens me beyond description to think that he will no longer be there — even by e-mail — to praise the bon mot or redress hyperbole. He edited us all, and his memory continues to redact how we conduct our lives, how our values inform what we write, and what we strive to say.


Contributors:
Illya Azaroff, AIA
John Belle, FAIA, RIBAQ
Joan Blumenfeld, FAIA, LEED AP
Joe Bremner
J.C. Calderón, AIA
Center for Architecture Foundation
Randy Cochran
John E. Czarnecki, Assoc. AIA
Susan E. Davis
John Morris Dixon, FAIA
Joseph H. Donovan, AIA, LEED AP
Frank Gonzalez
Richard Gonzalez, RA, LEED AP
Ernie Hutton, FAICP, Assoc. AIA
Annie Kurtin
Charles Linn, FAIA
Joanne Linowes
Bradford Perkins, FAIA, MRAIC, AICP
George Ranalli, AIA
Kristen Richards
Leslie Earl Robertson
Jessica Sheridan, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP
Kirsten A. Sibilia, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP
Marcy Stanley
Stanley Stark, FAIA
Catherine Teegarden
Andrew Thompson, AIA, NOMA
Norman Weinstein
Ronald D. Worth, CAE, FSMPS, CPSM

Also included:
Other Publications Pay Tribute
e-Oculus articles by Stephen Kliment
Stephen Kliment’s Diversity Column in AIArchitect


Illya Azaroff, AIA
Director of Design, the design collective studio + LAB for experimentation
Vice President, Design Excellence, AIA NY Chapter

To Steve, my dear friend…

I had the distinct pleasure of knowing and working with Stephen on Oculus magazine. Steve became a good friend over the years and made a meaningful impact on those around him, including me. I was always impressed with his ability to listen to multiple diverging views, bordering on noise more often than not, and consistently bring clarity and focus to any topic. He made everyone feel as though they were valuable and respected in a professional process.

On a personal note, from time to time he and I made it a point to meet before meetings to catch up with one another. He had a great sense of humor, infused with an almost boyish fascination and hunger for discovery that kept him, in my mind, young and vibrant. I was shocked at his passing, and even more so when learning of his age. He will be sorely missed by me and all who knew him. To say that he was one of the good ones is a gross understatement.


John Belle, FAIA, RIBAQ
Principal, Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners

Steve was a quiet but dedicated voice in an arena that too often is dominated by those who say little or nothing of substance and do so in cliché-riddled language. For example, I never heard him use such phrases as “a hierarchy of spaces.” The pain would have been visible on his noble profile.

As both an architect and as a writer he understood that there is a great distance between a sketch and a built building, or between a first draft and a finished manuscript. And that a large part of the ultimate success lies in the consistency of editing that the original idea receives.

That was something I learned working with him in the early ’90s as we edited the 1932-51 editions of Ramsey & Sleeper’s Traditional Details. A bitterly cold winter of Sunday mornings was spent rising from my cozy bed to prepare material for the unwavering Monday morning editor’s conference with Steve. Calm thought, consistent effort, and a fresh viewpoint were more likely to come in such an approach than a last minute effort that architects legitimize by calling it a “charrette.” Given the number of deadlines that he must have faced I was always impressed with the calm orderliness that he exuded.

Not to be overlooked is his major contribution to the re-birth of OCULUS, every architect’s favorite periodical. Well laid out, breezy in tone, substantive and current, a good read for all.

I will miss bumping into him at one event or other. I think we all will miss him.


Joan Blumenfeld, FAIA, LEED AP
Principal, Perkins + Will
2007 AIA NY Chapter President

He was always a gentleman and always surprising. I kept running into him in disparate places (Harlem, Salt Lake City) and he always had something amusing, edifying to say. He had a high bar for us and for himself, and he was selfless and generous with his time without preconditions.


Joe Bremner
President, Institute of Management & Administration, Inc. (IOMA)

I had the pleasure of working with Stephen Kliment, the editor of our Principal’s Report, which he wrote and edited with enthusiasm and grace for the last eight years. Running into Steve in the office was always an occasion for a completely unexpected and absorbing conversation, whether it was about hiking in New Hampshire (where I live), or the joys of working at a round table. One would walk away from a conversation with Steve with a delightful feeling of having been genuinely and completely transported away, for a while, from whatever list of issues was waiting back in the rest of life. He was such a pleasure to know, and he will be sorely missed by everyone who had the opportunity to work with him here.


J.C. Calderón, AIA
J.C. CALDERON ARCHITECT

Stephen A. Kliment, FAIA, was a gentleman every time I had the pleasure to speak with him, and he will be missed. I am particularly grateful that, under his leadership, Architectural Record covered the November 1991 symposium, “People of Color in Architecture,” at the Yale School of Architecture that I organized. He was deeply committed to providing more opportunities for all persons to participate in the wonderful world of architecture.


Board of Trustees
Center for Architecture Foundation

A remembrance of Stephen Kliment
Stephen Kliment was a strong supporter of “Learning By Design” (LBD) in its formative years and up to the present. When he was editor of Architectural Record in the 1990s, he published several articles expounding upon the value and quality of its programs. He attended the opening receptions of every one of LBD’s annual exhibitions of student work, taking detailed notes and photographs. We shall miss his always-encouraging words.


06:03:08: At the OCULUS Fifth Anniversary Party at the Center for Architecture. (l-r): Jessica Sheridan, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, editor-in-chief, e-OCULUS; Kristen Richards, editor of OCULUS; Stephen A. Kliment, FAIA, OCULUS Editorial Director; Kirsten Sibilia, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, Chair, OCULUS Committee.

Sam Lahoz


Randy Cochran
VP, Publisher, IOMA Inc.

I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you of the very special moments I shared with Steve, especially when we were at 3 Park Ave.

Steve would often be in his office late, as would I. Sunsets, especially winter sunsets, when viewed from the 30th floor over the Hudson River can be arresting, overwhelming really. Steve would walk down to my office and we would gaze together at nature’s offering. It happened countless times. It was as if we, alone, were witnessing a divine gift, a gift so special its like would never be seen again. Each of us felt that.

Those snapshots in time, and there were many, make up a truly wonderful collage of memories. I liked him, enjoyed our times together, and I will miss him. My deepest sympathies go out to his wife and family in this difficult time.


John E. Czarnecki, Assoc. AIA
Senior Editor, John Wiley & Sons

As the acquisitions editor of professional architecture books, including the Building Type Basics series, at John Wiley & Sons, I had the privilege to work with Steve in the last five years. And as a writer and former editor at Architectural Record, I have had an interest in architectural publishing — for periodicals and books — similar to Steve, who was also an acquisitions editor at Wiley prior to becoming Architectural Record editor-in-chief. One word that comes to mind in remembering Steve is respect. He had respect for the authors we worked with, and for young staff and editors too, and, in turn, he had their full respect. He is among the editors that I have learned from, both in terms of working with architects as authors and especially the ability to convey complex information in a clear, understandable language to practitioners, ardently avoiding “archispeak.” He had a keen eye to hone in on what architects need to know, which allowed the publications he was associated with to stand out in the clutter. His legacy and the respect for him live on in those publications.


Susan E. Davis
Editor, Design Firm Management & Administration Report

I’ve known Steve since the mid-1970s. We met when I edited his first book published by the Whitney Library of Design, and later during the early 1980s we worked closely together when he was senior editor there. In 2004, when Steve wanted time for other projects, we shared an office after he turned over the IOMA monthly newsletter, Design Firm Management & Administration Report, to me. Steve should be remembered for the high standards, both aesthetic and professional, that he set for the discipline he loved and promoted through his life-long dedication to good writing. Steve worked tirelessly, through the many books he wrote and edited and the magazines and newsletters that he edited, to make the public understand the multifaceted role architecture plays in our lives, and to help the profession serve the public in ways both practical and aesthetic. No matter which hat he wore — author, editor, teacher — Steve brought his scholarship, expertise, ideals, and quest for excellence to the task at hand. I will miss his dry wit and silly humor, his love of French cuisine and sense of adventure, his generosity and friendship, and his totally unflashy manner but deeply passionate intellectual life. Steve was one of a kind. I’m so grateful he was part of my life.


John Morris Dixon, FAIA

I’ve probably known Steve longer than anyone in the AIA NY Chapter except his brother Bob.

Starting in 1950, Steve and I could both be found laboring far into the night in the basement offices of the MIT student newspaper, which came out a demanding twice weekly.

He was two years ahead of me in the undergraduate BArch program, and working on the paper exposed us both to the campus world beyond the rather sequestered — often rather self-absorbed — architecture department.

If I have my chronology correct, Steve was the chief editor of the paper in the 1952-53 academic year. He then asked me if I’d be willing to take on that responsibility the following year. But I decided — seeing the pressures he was under — that I couldn’t handle that along with my course load.

That decision was ironic, considering that, like Steve, I’ve spent most of my working life as an editor.

During my years on the Progressive Architecture staff in the early 1960s I knew Steve as editor of the scrappy and innovative Architecture and Engineering News. Later, for several years in the 1990s, he and I were chief editors of two of the three reigning U.S. architecture magazines — Steve at Architectural Record while I was at P/A. How unlikely to have so much of the profession’s written record directed by two MIT alumni. Although a great institution in many respects, MIT was never noted for the writing skills of its graduates.

Of course, Steve did have those graduate years in the more literate environment of Princeton. But I suspect that the experience of turning out those newspapers at MIT, on punishing deadlines and with minimal resources, was the most valuable preparation for his unique publishing contributions to our profession.


Joseph H. Donovan, AIA, LEED AP
Senior Principal, Stantec, & Past Treasurer, Center for Architecture Foundation

Stephen was a truly talented and honorable man. It was a pleasure to work with Stephen as he helped guide the Chapter and the Foundation. He was insightful and collaborative in developing ideas, then honest, direct, and effective in seeing them implemented, managing to be both forceful and graceful as an advocate.


Frank Gonzalez
Mailroom/Facility, Institute of Management and Administration, Inc.

Hi, my name is Frank. I was kind of sad when I heard that Stephen had passed away. I’ve known him for about 10 years here at IOMA. All I can tell you is that I take Stephen as a good friend of mine. He always gave me great advice. I always talked to him in Latino and he would laugh every time. When I had a small problem he always led me on the right track and, for some reason, it always worked. He loved helping people, so now he is with the biggest man in the world, which is god. I will miss him a lot. GOD BLESS HIM.


Richard Gonzalez, RA, LEED AP
Project Manager, Urban Design Lab at the Earth Institute at Columbia University

Stephen Kliment was my professor at the City College of New York where I took his architectural writing course. One statement he has implanted in my head was:

“If you are not designing a building, you are writing about your previous work.”

Prof. Kliment was right, and writing is essential in the architectural profession. My condolences go out to the Kliment family.


Kristen Richards

Kliment with Anthony Vidler, Dean & professor, Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art School of Architecture.


Ernie Hutton, FAICP, Assoc. AIA
President, Hutton Associates, Inc.
Alternate Director, Public Outreach, AIA NY Chapter

As a fellow member of the Oculus Committee for the last five years, I held Stephen Kliment in the highest regard — his fierce insistence on the most rigorous standards of quality, balanced by his always-gentlemanly demeanor — an architect’s journalist and a journalist’s architect.

My favorite memory of Stephen, however, is his continuing ability, meeting after meeting and usually in mid-sentence of a profound creative insight, to spill a full container of nuts, raisins, or M&Ms over the entire board room table — and somewhat abashed to continue his train of thought as the rest of us fondly swept up the debris.


Annie Kurtin
Columbia University GSAPP
Former AIANY Communications Coordinator

I had the great pleasure of working with Stephen on the publication following the “Learning from Lower Manhattan” conference in 2004. I had recently joined the staff the AIA New York Chapter as Programs Coordinator for New York New Visions, and was extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to develop the report with Stephen and Lance Jay Brown, FAIA. Steve was an extremely thorough and thoughtful editor, and throughout this experience taught me first-hand how to craft a compelling and insightful report.

Whenever Stephen was at the Center, either for meetings or events, he would often come by my desk for a chat. Whether it was about hiking in the Appalachians or visiting the Salk Institute, I always enjoyed our conversations.

When I was preparing to go to architecture school, Stephen was extremely supportive of my decision and quickly jotted down a comprehensive summer reading list, which helped me tremendously in Kenneth Frampton’s architectural history class.

Throughout my time at the Chapter, I had the great fortune of meeting some amazing people — Stephen was one of them. I’ll never forget the lessons he taught me.


Charles Linn, FAIA
Deputy Editor, Architectural Record

Remembering Steve

Last night I spoke at a meeting held at the Center for Architecture to celebrate the life of our former editor-in-chief, the late Stephen Kliment, who died in September at the age of 78. Before a crowd of 100, a dozen friends and relatives recounted their favorite moments with him, and all spoke beautifully about the rich contribution he made to their lives and careers. For me, one of the highlights was the recounting of the words he said to his brother, Robert Kliment, when he called to congratulate Steve for being named editor-in-chief.

“I suppose he had waited years to say this to me,” Robert recounted. “And he said, ‘To quote Benjamin Disraeli, I have climbed to the top of the greasy pole.'”

Steve Kliment came to Architectural Record in the spring of 1990. To place this event in its historical context (which he surely would have appreciated), the U.S. was in the midst of what was then it worst recession since the Great Depression. I certainly had forgotten just how bleak things were until I looked at the issue that came out in April of that year. In that Record, George Christie, who was F.W. Dodge’s chief economist, summarized his annual Outlook Report for the remainder of 1990. He predicted that nationally, office building construction would be down by 16%, stores and commercial buildings would be down by 15%, and that the institutional market would be down by 3%. These numbers are so bad that McGraw-Hill Construction’s current Outlook Report predicts that 2009 will only be worse by a point or two.

The economy took a terrible toll on Record, and rumor was that we were losing unspeakable amounts of money. It was assumed that we were for sale or at worst might be shut down. Even the sort of buildings that we found to publish were extremely modest compared to those we put into print today. Does anyone remember the Maine Maritime Museum, the Volusia County Administration Building in Florida, or Henning Larsen’s Royal Danish Embassy in Riyahd, Saudi Arabia? Those are some of the buildings we published in Steve’s first issue. Steve’s mission, and the key to our survival, was to make the magazine relevant and practical, but to restore its ability to surprise and inspire. The vision, energy, and enthusiasm he brought us came at a crucial time.

To try and recapture what he brought to the magazine, here are parts of the first editorial he wrote for Record in June of 1990, a two-page spread which he titled, “It’s Time.” Some of his comments were quite visionary; others say much about our world as it was back then.

“It’s time:

“To take a new look at the star system of architectural credits and honor the teams that make building projects possible.

“To recognize that the 1990s will see a leaner firm that depends heavily on CADD and on ‘outsourced’ expertise for drafting, project management, and design.

“To face the fact that the medium sized-firm will become increasingly unstable due to the economics of practice, with the future belonging to large firms and to small specialized ’boutique’ firms.

“To come out against the rage of treating architecture as fashion, with a new ‘ism’ invented every Monday morning, and to begin to question celebrating those arbitrary, self-indulgent designs that break every rule of scale, proportion, structural integrity, and human comfort handed down to us in three millennia of architect designed building. Face it: some of our emperors are simply naked.

“To question the pseudoprofundity of so much writing about architecture, that merely serves to conceal an absence of thought via circumlocutory cycles of verbal sonorosity.

“To guard against efforts by government to make up for profligate spending through an ever-expanding tax base, which is now beginning to knock at the gates of designers and other professions providing essential services to the public.

“To execute, rather than pay lip service to, increased quality assurance and quality control as standard operating procedures in all firms small or large. It’s the best way to cut the mountainous errors-and-omissions premiums draining the profits of design firms.

“It’s time to cease backing out of responsibility for construction-contract administration and, by training and selecting skilled site people, to build back the reputation of the architect as key player on the building team.

“To recognize that the U.S. and global housing problem is one of the three great survival issues in the world today–the others being hunger and the environment–and to cut back on megaconferences of housing experts eating pheasant in aspic at glamorous watering holes, and to realize instead that the solutions lie in finances, infrastructure, and administration, as much as in design and construction. We need less talk and more action.

“To take a hard new look at our schools of architecture. Recognize that it is their job to turn out people for careers rather than men and women who will merely hit the ground running their first day on the job, but note that much of the recondite philosophy dished out by resident gurus does the students a disservice, and that greater attention to the basics of design, technology and practice, and the ability to write a simple declarative sentence, come first.

“To come to terms with the fact that the value of CADD as a marketing tool will fade away as every firm gets to have it.

“To rebuild the architect’s sense of worth, to take a tougher stand in fee negotiations, to realize that profit is not a dirty word, and to point the client to the risks incurred in eroding the architect’s authority.”

“It is not too late”, Steve wrote, “but it is time. Stay tuned to a new RECORD.”

One of the reasons that Architectural Record survived those very difficult years was that he published excellent buildings, as well as the work of a new generation of architects who were previously unknown. And, he recognized that architecture is a business and that its practitioners were people who appreciated and embraced technology. He knew where to direct the energies of a very small staff, whose resources were greatly constrained.

One of the things you quickly begin to appreciate when you become a staff editor for a magazine is that you touch not only the lives of those who are immediately around you, but the decisions you make have a tremendous influence on what tens of thousands of your readers think of the world’s architecture, and the people who created it. That is true, also, of the social agenda that you take on. And, without the leadership of great editors, many causes that are deserving of the attention of the profession and public will simply never be given a voice. Steve made many good decisions about which issues were worthy of discussion, and held up our right and our duty to bring them to light.

There is, in my opinion, a great difference between being a trade magazine and being a professional journal. Trade magazines navel-gaze, confining themselves to the special interests of workers who labor at similar tasks. A professional journal aspires to go beyond those confines to serve the interests of the public as well as a profession. Steve was a great guardian of that trust, and many of the ideals and traditions that he established during the years he was our editor have become ingrained in our culture.

And, by that we know that his influence will continue to be felt here at RECORD many years from now.


Joanne Linowes
Presentation Coach, Communications Advisor
Principal, Linowes Executive Development International, Boston

A man of elegance and highest professional standards, Stephen Kliment touched the lives of hundreds of design professionals, in person, in deeds, and through his publications. He gave me the opportunity to share my expertise with his colleagues — for this I will be grateful. For his standard of excellence and generosity he will be remembered.


Bradford Perkins, FAIA, MRAIC, AICP
Co-founder and Chairman, Perkins Eastman
Author of Building Type Basics for Elementary and Secondary Schools and Building Type Basics for Senior Living (Wiley & Sons)

I met Stephen over 30 years ago and have written for him on and off ever since. Over the last three decades our mutual interest in writing about architecture evolved into a strong friendship.

Our last collaboration began in the late 1990s over one of our regular lunches following his time at Architectural Record. As we often did, we talked about potential writing projects. One of the topics that day was the need for textbooks that could introduce both design professionals and their clients to the basic issues involved in the planning, programming, design, and construction of the more common building types. By the end of lunch we had convinced each other that this could be a good book series. As always, he brought creativity and hard work to this idea and created the Building Type Basics series. Because of his wide network of friendships and professional relationships, he was able to recruit and guide a distinguished group of expert authors for the series. I believe his efforts have resulted in an invaluable resource for the profession.

He was a friend, mentor, and collaborator. I am one of the many who will miss him very much.


George Ranalli, AIA
Dean, School of Architecture, Urban Design & Landscape Architecture
City College, City University of New York

We are all shocked and saddened to lose Stephen Kliment. He was not only a very smart, accomplished author and teacher, but he was also a remarkable person.

Stephen was an extremely valuable member of the faculty of the School of Architecture, Urban Design & Landscape Architecture. He spent tireless hours working with our students, sharing his expertise as a writer, thinker, and architect. Stephen’s presence in the school was constant and consistent. Even though he was a member of the adjunct faculty, he came to faculty meetings, events, and was a part of the community of the school.

I spent many afternoons chatting with him over the last 10 years at City College. On a personal note, he was generous, supportive, and a pleasure to be with on any given day. I found him to be a valuable colleague and greatly good-natured person to everyone. He will be missed greatly. I will miss him very much.


06:23:08: Stephen A. Kliment, FAIA, inside the “Fly’s Eye Dome,” designed by Buckminster Fuller at Laguardia Park.

Kristen Richards


Kristen Richards
Editor-in-Chief, OCULUS and ArchNewsNow.com

Steve was a joy to work with — his support and encouragement were boundless. Almost daily, he would send me a note with amusing commentary about an article or three that he’d read in ArchNewsNow that morning. They always brightened my day. Our conversations, e-mail “discussions,” and his astute red pencil have made me a better thinker, writer, and editor. I hope his spirit will have a continuing hand in shaping OCULUS and e-Oculus. I miss him terribly.


Leslie Earl Robertson
Principal, Leslie E. Robertson Associates / LERA

Through his writings and from our memories, Stephen Kliment would continue to communicate to inquisitive persons from both inside and outside of the construction industry. It was Architectural Record that first brought us together. Subsequently, we met only rarely, perhaps most commonly in the Century Club, where his vitality and the depth of his knowledge continued to flow forth to those of us who are perhaps less erudite. While it is inevitable that we must pass from this planet, we somehow wish that Stephen Kliment could have stayed longer with us… to answer our queries, to remind us of our responsibilities, and to provide us with tools needed for our professional and our personal endeavors.


Jessica Sheridan, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP
Editor-in-Chief, e-Oculus

Steve had the ability to see undiscovered potential in people. He was a mentor to me and I strived to live up to his expectations. Having someone like him believe in me as an emerging architect, writer, and editor was very special. I know I’m not alone among those he inspired, and I will miss his intelligence, humor, and critical eye tremendously.


Kirsten A. Sibilia, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP
Director of Publications, AIA NY Chapter
Chief Marketing Officer, JCJ Architecture

Working with Stephen on OCULUS this past year was an incredible honor for me. I first knew him through his book, Writing for Design Professionals, which I had the good fortune of discovering when I began marketing architectural services. His book became my guide to the particular and sometimes peculiar world of architectural communication. Years later, across the Oculus Committee table, Steve’s sensibility was a vital force. He was consistently impatient with nonsense and energized by new ideas. With his characteristic charm, he pushed, prodded, and pulled us each to be more thoughtful, articulate, and engaging. Thanks, Steve.


Kirsten A. Sibilia, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP
Director of Publications, AIA NY Chapter
Chief Marketing Officer, JCJ Architectur

Words from the Stephen Kliment Remembrance at the Center for Architecture, 11.05.08:

As the Director of Publications for the AIA NY Chapter Board, I had the honor of working with Stephen on OCULUS and e-Oculus. On behalf of all the committee members, our editors Kristen Richards and Jessica Sheridan, and former committee chair Stanley Stark, I want to express our gratitude to Stephen.

In 2002, growing out of the need we all felt after 9/11 to communicate more quickly and to a broader group within the design community, Stephen worked with Executive Director Rick Bell to create e-Oculus, the Chapter’s first electronic newsletter. E-O now has over 10,000 subscribers.

The following year, Steve helped re-launch OCULUS, the Chapter’s print magazine — again adding value to the design dialogue. With each, Steve urged us all to reach higher, in our work and with our words.

In recognition of this, I am pleased to announce that the Oculus Award will be renamed the Stephen A. Kliment Oculus Award. This award is given by the AIA NY Chapter annually to honor an architectural journalist for his/her influence on the practice of architecture, and for helping those in the profession by promoting the value of the built environment.

It was such an honor for me to work alongside Steve on OCULUS. Although I met him only a few years ago, Steve was an important part of my professional life since I read Writing for Design Professionals, which was first published when I began marketing architectural services. His book became my guide to the particular, and sometimes peculiar, world of architectural communication.

Over the years I continue to refer to the book, and phrases from it such as: “beware of the albatross carried by anyone who is ready to write but is not clear of the message,” have helped me to focus my writing, have urged me to not succumb to hollow phrases, and to keep the architecture as the priority.

Years later, across the Oculus Committee table, Steve’s values had not wavered. He was a vital force in all our discussions. With his characteristic charm, he pushed, prodded, and pulled us each to be more thoughtful, articulate, and engaging. He was consistently impatient with nonsense and energized by new ideas.

Thank you for sharing so much of your time and yourself with us, Steve.


Marcy Stanley
AIANY Director of Development Affairs
Director of Business Development, Weidlinger Associates, Inc.

I met Steve Kliment when I was between jobs and temping at Architectural Record. It was a couple weeks before Christmas, and he told me to go down to the AIA and interview for the Executive Secretary position. I did this and got the job. He remained a friend and we would catch up at the AIA and related functions. Years later, I told Steve that he changed the course of my life by guiding me in this direction.


Stanley Stark, FAIA
VP, National Director of Life Sciences, HDR
2006-07 Chair, Oculus Committee

He mumbled but spoke with a brisk, clipped cadence. His tie was generally askew. His hair had the tousled, scattered look of someone who had just been awoken from a deep sleep. But Stephen was the most incisive observer of architectural practice and the content and business of architectural journalism I have ever known.

Our relationship began in the suspect — interrogator mode. As a member of the Chapter’s Nominating Committee, he vetted me for membership on the Oculus Committee. But over time Stephen grew from colleague to mentor to friend. I miss him, but I am enormously thankful that I had the opportunity to know him.


Catherine Teegarden
Member, Learning By Design

I was very sorry to learn of the recent passing of Stephen Kliment. I have known him for many years through my work with the “Learning By Design” (LBD) architecture education program of the Center for Architecture Foundation. In addition to the many other areas of the profession that he championed, Stephen was also passionate about this program for Kindergarten-12th-grade students. His enthusiasm for the work of these young people was inspiring, for he seemed to value their contributions to the profession as much as any others’, even using some written pieces by third graders in his book, Writing for Design Professionals. He will certainly be missed at the annual LBD exhibition, which he always attended, but his support for the program will live on with those of us who were lucky enough to experience it.


Andew Thompson, AIA, NOMA
President, NYCOBA-NOMA 2008

I met Stephen Kliment eight years ago when he was beginning documentation on African-American architects. I remember during the interview how patient he was in hearing my story and asking such thoughtful questions on milestones and obstacles I endured in becoming an architect. He interviewed me recently for the AIA Online Diversity series, which, to me, was a milestone in documenting the lives of African-American architects.

The New York Coalition of Black Architects (New York chapter of National Organization of Minority Architects) will truly miss a dear friend and a man who helped to show the diversity of architects in this country.


Norman Weinstein
Author, “Words That Build” series for ArchNewsNow

I never knew Stephen Kliment directly. He was kind to encourage me in my writing through an e-mail when my column started. And I love his book. So wrote this elegy that might mean something to you who did know him.

Elegy for Stephen A. Kliment

whoever talks head theory
then builds blind to dwellers
of their structures —

they won’t miss this clear
one, who built humanely
with words –

but those of us finding
clarity precious
water droplets for a

parched city palate
remember
this man’s clear

directions: to
build with words:
balance, open

senses, & as a
structure weathers,
enter its inner

beams, hidden
rhythm-core
where design breathes . . .

inhale, then find
balance between
comma, & next

ground floor
full
stop.


Ronald D. Worth, CAE, FSMPS, CPSM
Chief Executive Officer, Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) National

A friend to our industry has left us. I had the pleasure of knowing Stephen for the last three decades of his illustrious 78 years. As Architectural Record Editor-in-Chief Robert Ivy, FAIA, said, “[Stephen] had an understanding of architecture as a multi-faceted profession engaged with real people, calling for business acumen, technical savvy, as well as aesthetic sensibility” — sounds the description of a true marketer.

SMPS was very fortunate to have been a beneficiary of this present-day Renaissance Man. Stephen enthusiastically presented at and participated in SMPS National Conferences, offered thoughtful observations as a juror in the SMPS National Marketing Communications Awards, reported on the successes of members and their firms, and offered wise advice to SMPS leaders and staff.
Stephen knew everyone who was anyone in design and building after years of experience and study in the industry. However, he was a humble, caring professional with a delightful sense of humor and an infectious intellectual curiosity about the world. He was never too busy to take a call, meet a colleague, or mentor those who approached him. The SMPS community will miss Stephen Kliment.


Kliment with Santiago Calatrava, FAIA, and his wife Robertina, and Guy Geier, FAIA, IIDA, LEED AP, Managing Partner, FXFOWLE Architects.

Kristen Richards


Other Publications Pay Tribute:

The Architect’s Newspaper:
Stephen A. Kliment, 1930-2008, by Lance Jay Brown, FAIA.

Architectural Record: Stephen A. Kliment, Former RECORD Editor in Chief, Dies at 78, by the Record Staff.

The New York Times: S. A. Kliment, 78, Architect and Editor, Is Dead, by David Dunlop.

AIArchitect: Tribute: Stephen Kliment Dies at 78, by Douglas E. Gordon, Hon. AIA.

ARCHITECT Magazine: Stephen Kliment, Architect and Journalist Dies at 78, by Edward Keegan.


e-Oculus articles by Stephen Kliment:

The Future of Professional Practice: DC Smorgasbord had Something for Everyone, 08.08.08.

To Serve God or Mammon? The Architect’s Dilemma, 07.07.08.

AIANY Members Teach at Harvard GSD’s Executive Education Program, 06.27.07.

Raising Moses, by Stephen A. Kliment, FAIA, and Jessica Sheridan, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, 02.06.07.

LA Convention: Discovery, Dancing, Expeditions, but no Sheep, 06.27.06.

Next Generation’s Architects Strut Their Stuff, 06.27.06.

Eisenman Blasts Iconicity, 03.07.06.

The New Model Firm, 01.23.06.

Getting to Great: A New Look at Tools and Tactics, by Michele Renda, Assoc. AIA, Kristen Richards, and Stephen A. Kliment, FAIA, 11.14.05.

Hombroich: Utopia on an ex-NATO Site, 10.17.05.

New Housing in Harlem: Not All’s Wine and Roses, 06.27.05.

Topsy Turvy in Vegas, 05.27.05.

e-Oculus Special Issue Remembering Philip Johnson, 04.26.05.

NOMA Attendees Proclaim — Others Deny — Impact of African Identity, 11.12.04.

Tidings from the Windy City: The AIA Convention of 2004, 06.21.04.

Future clients explore their neighborhood, 06.07.04.

Foundation for Architecture Learning by Design:NY — 6th Graders Design Barrier Free Entrance for Second Avenue Subway, 11.17.03.

Seen Through a Child’s Eye: Future Designers Test Their Mettle, 06.03.03.

Around the Center: Press of Events 2, 06.17.02.

Around the World: AIA Convention 2002, 05.17.02.


Stephen Kliment’s Diversity Column in AIArchitect:

25 Steps to Diversity, 12.07.07.

Jack Travis, FAIA, on Black Identity, 11.02.07.

Discovering African Identity in African-American Architecture: Part II, 09.07.07.

Discovering African Identity in African-American Architecture: Part I, 08.03.07.

Corporate and Public Architects: Seeing from the Client’s Side, 06.29.07.

Architects Engaged with Civic Leadership, 06.01.07.

Three Views on the Prospects of Increasing Diversity in the Profession, 05.04.07.

The Educators, 03.30.07.

Young African American Women Architects Sharpen Ties to Their Communities, 02.23.07.

Making Partner in the Majority-Owned Practice, 01.26.07.

Three Contemporary Star Architects, 12.22.06.

The Trailblazers, 11.10.06.

Diversity: What the Numbers Tell Us, 10.13.06.