I would like to say that it has been a true honor to serve as President of AIANY, here in this city of great architecture and great architects. We have a dynamic Chapter, aiming always to make our profession more visible, more relevant, and more aligned with the needs and concerns of our membership. When I took the helm as President in January, I found a well-run entity in strong financial shape, a growing membership base thanks to previous presidents and to excellent management by AIANY staff, and a growing and impressive home base at the Center for Architecture, widely acknowledged as presenting a positive face for our profession, broadening our impact and influence.
It was often the location of important announcements by Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Amanda Burden, Hon. AIA New York Chapter, FAICP, the location of well-done and well-attended lectures and symposia highlighting critical issues regarding the built environment. It is the setting for Oculus Book Talks that broaden our engagement with the larger design community: Marvin Mass’s book on engineering some of the most famous buildings in the city; Richard Poulin on graphic design, and creative “Cocktails & Conversations” on Friday nights. The Center remains New York’s primary hub for presentations of local, national, and international architectural work of consequence, and has grown to provide an impressive expansion of children’s programs under the able and committed leadership of the Center for Architecture Foundation.
Previous presidents have all used their year to focus the Chapter on a particular theme relevant to the city and the profession, and drawing on their personal realm of experience and expertise. These included: Design for Living; Design Literacy for All; Architect as Leader; Design for a Change; and Future Now.
I chose my theme to be Global City / Global Practice. Through this lens, we can aim to make our city more competitive globally, not resting on the laurels of previous inventive architects, planners, and policy makers, but insisting that the current and future generation of urban leadership will continue to search for the best solutions to urban problems, improving the built environment for the everyday citizen, as well as for visitors from abroad.
My year thus far has been focused on five major activities:
The Post-Sandy Initiative, including our own task force ably led by board member Illya Azaroff, AIA, and President-Elect Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, as well as AIANY representation on other city efforts. It included lobbying for passage of meaningful Good Samaritan legislation, and leadership in a regional multi-state effort yet to come this summer.
A Platform for the Future of the City
Civic leadership and political advocacy focusing on our policy platform defined by 30 specific recommendations for the next mayor of NYC, recently well publicized in the media and summarized in our “Future of the City” exhibition.
Center for Architecture and 532 LaGuardia Place
A focus on improving the governance structure of the Chapter, and Foundation, and the Center for Architecture to allow all entities housed at 536 and 532 LaGuardia Place to thrive and expand over the next 10 years.
Center for Architecture Advisory Council
As the Center moves toward being a full-fledged cultural center in NYC, the creation of a new advisory council for the Center is being formed as of this month, and will begin to focus on a strategy for the next 10 years.
Maintenance of a strong financial position, including improved use and benefit from the Breakthrough space that was added last year, and creation of a membership task force to develop a strategic plan to increase membership above 5,000.
“Practical Utopias” Exhibition
I have focused my energies on the many initiatives relating to my global theme, which has been enthusiastically embraced by many committees in their own programming such as a brilliantly vibrant Global Dialogues committee, by hosting numerous foreign delegations at the Center, and our upcoming exhibition “Practical Utopias” focusing on five East Asian cities, opening 10.01.13 and curated by Syracuse University’s Associate Dean and noted author Jonathan Solomon, formerly of the University of Hong Kong.
Finally, we are busy planning the annual Heritage Ball, which will be held at Chelsea Piers on 10.24.13. Please join us to celebrate our 2013 honorees:
Tod Williams, FAIA, and Billie Tsien, AIA
Co-founders, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects
Stephen M. Ross
Founder and Chairman, Related Companies
Founder and CEO, The Urban Assembly
The 2013 Heritage Ball and Party@theCenter afterwards will be a wonderful evening. Reserve your places early!
Event: AIA New York Chapter 146th Annual Meeting
Location: Center for Architecture, 06.04.13