I hope everyone has recovered from an architecture-intensive Architecture Week. In case you missed anything, this issue is dedicated to last week’s events.
– Jessica Sheridan, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP

Note: In the report, “Architects Return to School,” published 02.23.07, e-OCULUS omitted mentioning the AIANY Committee on Architecture for Education organized the symposium, A New Architecture for a New Education. We apologize for the oversight.

Mayor + Thousands Celebrate Architecture Week

Event: AIANY Chapter 150th Anniversary Commemoration
Location: 111 Broadway, 04.13.07
Speakers: Patricia Lancaster, FAIA — Commissioner, NYC Department of Buildings; R.K. Stewart, FAIA — President, AIA National; Joan Blumenfeld, FAIA, IIDA, LEED AP — President, AIANY Chapter; Christine McEntee — Executive Vice President/CEO, AIA National; George Miller, FAIA — Partner, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners Architects & Chair, AIA150 Committee; Richard Morris Hunt; Richard Upjohn
Organizers: AIANY

AIA commemorative plaque

(Left) A plaque now resides at 111 Broadway commemorating the founding of the AIA.
(Right) Officials commemorate the AIA’s founding (l-r): Patricia Lancaster, FAIA; R.K. Stewart, FAIA; Christine McEntee; George Miller, FAIA.

Jessica Sheridan, Jeremy Edmunds

In observation of the AIA’s founding 150 years ago, members of AIA National, AIANY, and the NYC Department of Buildings unveiled a plaque at the site of the original meeting of the 13 founding architects in 1857. At 111 Broadway, NYC Department of Buildings Commissioner, Patricia Lancaster, FAIA, read a proclamation by Mayor Bloomberg commemorating the event. The text follows:

The historian Jacques Barzun called New York City’s skyline the ‘most stupendous unbelievable manmade spectacle since the hanging gardens of Babylon.’ Indeed, no city’s architecture is as synonymous with its identity as New York’s. Our residents owe a tremendous debt to the architects who have designed and constructed everything from the magnificent Beaux-Arts façade of Grand Central Terminal to the charming brownstones of Brooklyn and Harlem — and this week, we join all those celebrating the 150th anniversary of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), a national organization of certified professionals whose New York Chapter contributes so much to the safety, aesthetics, and social purpose of our city’s architecture.

As I demonstrate each year when I bestow the Art Commission Awards for Excellence in Design, our administration is deeply committed to these very same values. All New Yorkers are grateful for the AIA’s important work with our city’s planning and design agencies and public works community to improve the quality-of-life throughout the five boroughs.

Every day, the AIA demonstrates an incredible commitment to its mission. Throughout the year, this valuable institution sponsors programs exploring the role of architects in everything from urban design to historic preservation, and, to foster the development of the next generation of great builders, the AIA provides scholarship and educational opportunities for students and the general public through its charitable affiliate, the Center for Architecture Foundation.

At its best, architecture is an inspiring testament to humanity’s limitless capacity to imagine, create and achieve. No city exemplifies this vital profession’s spirit as does New York City — and, since 1857, no organization has contributed more to its continued progress than the AIA. We take this opportunity to congratulate the AIA on 150 great years, and look forward to building an even better future together.

Now therefore, I, Michael R. Bloomberg. Mayor of the City of New York, in recognition of this important anniversary, do hereby proclaim April 9th to the 16th in the City of New York: ‘Architecture Week.’

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the City of New York to be affixed.

Michael R. Bloomberg

Low-Income Residents Contribute to NYC Greening

Event: Powerhouse: New Housing New York
Location: Center for Architecture, 04.09.07
Speakers: Winning Team Members: Richard Dattner, FAIA — Dattner Architects; Vincent Chang, AIA — Grimshaw; Honorable Mention Team Members: David Cook, RIBA — Behnisch Architekten; Markus Dochantschi — StudioMDA
Moderators: David Burney, AIA — Commissioner, NYC Department of Design & Construction (DDC); Commissioner Shaun Donovan — NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)
Organizers: AIA NY Chapter; New Housing New York Steering Committee; NYC Department of Housing preservation and Development; additional support by AIANY Housing Committee
Sponsors: National Endowment for the Arts; Enterprise Community Partners

NHNY Winning and Honorable Mention Entries

The New Housing New York winning and honorable mention entries: Phipps Rose Dattner Grimshaw (left), SEG + BEHNISCH + MDA (right).

Courtesy AIANY

Architecture should go beyond building and incorporate social theory. This is why architecture competitions must be based in reality, argues David Burney, AIA, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Design & Construction (DDC). The New Housing New York competition, NYC’s first juried design competition for affordable, sustainable housing in the Bronx, proves this theory. The winning entry, “Via Verde,” is a practical, economically viable yet innovative solution to the affordable housing issue. The honorable mention’s entry incorporates a new idea of standard living to social housing based on a common European model.

“You can’t sustain a city without affordable housing,” stated Vincent Chang, RIBA, AIA, principal of Grimshaw and member of the winning design team, Phipps Rose Dattner Grimshaw (Dattner Architects/Grimshaw). With Via Verde (or Green Way), his team is attempting to reconcile diversity and social equity by creating a connection to nature. With a central courtyard and a series of terraced green roofs, every resident will have access to green space, varying in program from a farmer’s market and playground at street level to a grassy area with benches for lounging above.

Via Verde is the first affordable housing project to combine building typologies. The green terraces are possible because the buildings graduate in scale from low- to mid- to high-rise units. With a narrow site, the thin floor plans allow for maximized cross-ventilation and daylight in every apartment. To ensure and encourage safety, there is one focal entrance intended to act as a social gathering place, and all of the grounds will be attended 24-hours-a-day. “It’s not architecture; it’s, in fact, a process,” said Richard Dattner, FAIA, of his team’s goal to freshen the affordable housing process at a governmental level. “Europe calls it social housing, not affordable housing.” NYC needs to change its perspective.

Environmental, social, and physical sustainability guided the honorable mention team’s entry. Because the proposal was the least dense of the entries, team SEG+BEHNISCH+MDA (Behnish Architekten/studioMDA) became the most fiercely debated entry among the jury, stated Shaun Donovan, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). The team ran a series tests to find a massing that would achieve the maximum amount of ventilation possibilities. With only five towers — the tallest is 13 stories — the project would not appear oppressive in the neighborhood, explained David Cook, RIBA, principal of Behnisch Architekten.

Simplicity was key to sustainability in the SEG+BEHNISCH+MDA design. By incorporating air-driven systems, taking advantage of thermal mass properties, and strategically locating porous elements in each elevation, the team limited the need for mechanical equipment. Giving tenants as much control over their apartments’ environments, and minimizing the number of apartments around each core, the team tried to create a sense of ownership.

NYC has a sense of urgency to produce sustainable and affordable housing, stated Chang, but how will the buildings perform once they are in use? Cook pointed out that architects enable an environment by building responsible structures, but it is up to the inhabitants to improve their own lives. If residents enjoy their living situation, countered Chang, they will take care of maintaining it. An audience-member reinforced this by describing a recycling program recently launched in her affordable housing complex. Taking part in a citywide scheme to improve the environment empowers residents. They want to give back to the city and feel that they are helping — not hindering — the city’s progress. Another similar competition scheduled for the end of this year promises progress.

Powerhouse: New Housing New York is on view at the Center for Architecture through 06.16.07. See On View: At the Center for Architecture for more information.

Timeline, Design Awards Celebrate 150 Years — Past, Present, and Future

Event: NY 150+: A Timeline – Ideas – Civic Institutions – Futures
Location: Center for Architecture, 04.12.07
Organizers: AIA New York Chapter; The Center for Architecture Foundation
Exhibition Underwriters:
IBEX logoIBEX Construction; Patrons: NRI; TRESPA
Supported in part by an Arnold W. Brunner grant
Additional Support: Peter Schubert, AIA; FXFOWLE ARCHITECTS
Beverages: SKYY90 & Barefoot Cellars

Event: 2007 AIA New York Chapter Design Awards
Location: Center for Architecture, 04.12.07
Organizers: AIA NY; AIA NY Design Awards Committee
Benefactor: DIRTT; Oldcastle Glass
Patron: HOK, F. J. Sciame Construction Co.; Laticrete International; Microsol Resources; TRESPA
Lead Sponsor: Arup; Columbia University; Cooper Robertson & Partners; KI; Langan Engineering and Environmental Services; Mancini Duffy; Richter + Ratner; Syska & Hennessy, Inc.; Turner Construction
Sponsors: Atkinson Koven Feinberg; Bauerschmidt & Sons, Inc.; Bentley Prince Street; Beyer Blinder Belle: Architects and Planners; Certified of New York, Inc.; Cosentini Associates; Costas Kondylis & Partners; Forest City Ratner Companies; FXFOWLE ARCHITECTS; Gensler; Gilsanz Murray Steficek; Haworth; Hopkins Foodservice Specialists, Inc.; The I. Grace Company, Inc.; Ingram, Yuzek, Gainen, Caroll & Bertolotti; Lutron; Mechoshade Systems; NYU SCPS: The Real Estate Institute; Perkins + Will; Peter Marino Architect; Severud Associates Consulting Engineers; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Steelcase, Inc.; Structure Tone, Inc.; Studio Daniel Libeskind; Swanke Hayden Connell Architects; Thornton-Tomasetti Group
Reception Underwriter:
IBEX logoIBEX Construction
Beverages by: SKYY90 & Barefoot Cellars

Design Awards & NY 150+

Courtesy AIANY

Two exhibitions that recognize how New York architects (and their projects) have influenced the profession opened with a joint celebration at the Center for Architecture. NY 150+: A Timeline – Ideas – Civic Institutions – Futures coincides with the sesquicentennial anniversary of the AIA, lending a historical birds-eye view to the evolution of the profession. Timeline curator Diane Lewis, AIA, FAAR, calls the exhibition, “a series of giant pages to a forthcoming book celebrating the founding of the New York AIA.” Instead of using a linear, chronological format, Lewis tracked the evolution of specific projects alongside larger social and cultural developments occurring in the city. Projects are represented from germ to synthesis into the city. “When one looks at the postcard of Mies van der Rohe’s 1921 glass skyscraper, it is apparent that New York is the lexicon by which concrete can become imaginary and the imaginary can become concrete,” said Lewis.

The lower level galleries display the winning projects from this year’s AIA New York Chapter Design Awards. In many ways these contemporary projects provide a perfect counterpoint for the historical examples in the timeline. “It is not a coincidence that we have both of these openings happening today,” said Illya Azaroff, Assoc. AIA, AIANY Vice President for Design Excellence at the opening. Azaroff pointed out that while the Timeline exhibition charts the highs of the past 150 years, it provides prologue for today’s architects. The award-winning projects (located internationally, not only in New York) work toward establishing a professional legacy. While each winning project is detailed on its own oversize display, adjacent binders lend a glimpse into the process behind each finished product.

NY 150+: A Timeline is on view through 06.23.07, and 2007 AIA New York Chapter Design Awards is on view through 07.07.07. See On View: At the Center for Architecture for more information.

Architects Encouraged to Aid Poor at Awards Lunch

Event: 2007 AIA New York Chapter Design Awards Luncheon
Location: Gotham Hall, 04.11.07
Organizers: AIANY

Design Awards Luncheon

(Left) (l-r): R.K. Stewart, FAIA, Ronnette Riley, FAIA, and Elisabeth Martin, AIA at the Design Awards Luncheon.
(Right) Ken Drucker, AIA, Design Awards Lunchen Chair with James McCullar, FAIA, AIANY First Vice President/President Elect.

Kristen Richards

As the 2007 AIANY Design Awards Luncheon Chair, Ken Drucker, AIA, welcomed more than 700 attendees to the second annual event held this year in the jewel-like setting of Gotham Hall. AIANY Chapter President Joan Blumenfeld, FAIA, IIDA, then introduced the celebrated graphic designer Milton Glaser, the keynote speaker who was both witty and profound.

Years ago, Glaser made a list of the hierarchy in the field of visual arts: “First painter, then architect, although I think this relationship may be reversed at this moment, with the architects at the very top.” Then, in descending order, city planner, industrial designer, graphic designer, book designer, editorial designer, art director, advertising designer, craftsman, and commercial artist. “It is unusual for you all to have invited me to speak at this occasion since; in general, speakers from the top of the list are conventionally selected to speak to those below.” The common thread he found is that “all of us engaged in the ‘applied arts’ play the game of reconciling utility and beauty.”

Glaser then explored, in words and with beautiful illustrations, how serious practitioners attempt to balance left brain/right brain, art/work, material/spiritual. “I’m often surprised how passively architects and designers react to the political situations that affect their lives,” he lamented. He speculated that it could be due in part to “a latent response to McCarthyism, a dark moment in our political history,” and that “our political timidity might be that our affluent clients are either uninterested or hostile to our social opinions.” He offered one small way to change the world that “is both transformative and risk-free”: Kiva, a microfinance organization that that matches micro-loans (as small as $25) with impoverished people working their way out of poverty.”We all can help create a benign revolution that will shape our collective future,” he concluded.

Meier’s Museums Bring Light to Communities

Event: Inaugural Arthur Rosenblatt Memorial Lecture for Excellence in Museum Design featuring Richard Meier, FAIA: On Museums
Location: National Academy Museum, 04.12.07
Speaker: Richard Meier, FAIA — Richard Meier & Partners, Architects
Additional Comments: Annette Blaugrund, Ph.D. — Director, National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts; ; Gerald Gurland, FAIA; Nicholas Koutsomitis, AIA — principal, Koutsomitis, Architects; Stan Ries — photographer
Organizer: AIANY Cultural Facilities Committee
Sponsors: Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates; National Academy Museum; The Cantera Stone Source; Fisher Dachs Associates and Fisher Marantz Stone; RKK&G; AltieriSeborWieber Consulting Engineers; Devrouax + Purnell; Koutsomitis, Architects; Springboard; Edison Price Lighting; Pilkington; Charles J. Rose; Thornton Tomasetti; Paul Rosenblatt, AIA; The Luis A. Ferre Foundation; Mr. and Mrs. Luis A. Ferre; The Slovin Foundation; Pentagram

J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles — Richard Meier’s masterpiece.

Andrew Yip

“Every museum is different, and the life of every museum is different,” said Richard Meier, FAIA, whose Pritzker Prize-winning career designing international iconic museums began, ironically, with a project he did not win. Meier presented the inaugural presentation in a new annual lecture series honoring the late Arthur Rosenblatt, FAIA, founding chair of the AIANY Cultural Facilities Committee and man who interviewed with Meier for the failed project. Rosenblatt served under Metropolitan Museum of Art director Thomas Hoving as vice president for facilities during the heyday of the Museum’s modern expansion era.

The museum is more than a repository of art; it is a social center that integrates indoor and outdoor space, according to Meier. The Applied Art Museum in Frankfurt, for example, has become a hub for expectant mothers (although they tend to ignore the artworks). For Barcelona’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Meier picked the “worst place in the city,” and transformed the space. Echoing Paris’s Centre Pompidou, the adjacent plaza is now used by the whole community — from skateboarders to the elderly who watch them.

Natural light has always been very important to Meier, but it is something that must be negotiated to preserve artwork. One way is by separating exhibition and circulation spaces. He created a sense of propulsion in Atlanta’s High Museum of Art with a circular ramp around the atrium influenced by the Guggenheim Museum. The naturally lit core is separated from the art by the circulation ramp. The Beverly Hills Gagosian Gallery features rotating exhibitions; natural light is incorporated throughout, as the art is not exposed to sunlight for extended time periods.

Perhaps the apex of Meier’s outlook on natural light, social space, and circulation is the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. The project had a controversial beginning because neighbors did not want to “see, smell, or hear it.” Meier’s solution was to build atop a hill, affording views of the ocean and the desert. With a “decompression zone” at the entrance, there is heavy emphasis on plaza space. Taking advantage of the California climate, the museum consists of clustered courtyards and buildings. The boundary between interior and exterior space blurs. The use of stone achieves a sense of permanence and solidity. Though initially dubious about travertine, Meier learned through trial and error how to achieve the desired texture. Of the Getty, Meier said, “There will never be another one like it.”

Museums have the potential to be both public and private spaces. Meier’s success lies in engaging the challenge to create both intimate viewing experiences and social spaces.

Portfolios Set Six Young Firms Apart

Event: New Practices New York: 06 Views/06 Positions
Location: Center for Architecture, 04.04.07
Speakers: Matthew Bremer, AIA — Architecture In Formation; Mark Foster Gage — Gage/Clemenceau Architects; Gordon Kipping, AIA — G Tects; Tobias Armborst — Interboro Partners; Amale Andraos — WORK AC; Marianne Hyde — Zakrzewski Hyde Architects
Moderator: William Menking — Founder & Editor, The Architect’s Newspaper & New Practices Showcase Jury Chair
Organizer: AIA NY New Practices Roundtable 2007; The Architect’s Newspaper
Sponsors: Häfele America; MG & Company; Fountainhead Construction; Microsol Resources

Courtesy Center for Architecture

Courtesy Center for Architecture

Much of winning the New Practices New York Showcase competition depended on how successful the submitted portfolio appeared to the judges. “It’s more important how it looks on the page,” explained jury chair William Menking, founder and editor of The Architect’s Newspaper. Some of the portfolios reviewed were “really bad.” So what do jurors look for in a good portfolio?

Firms could submit up to 10 projects, but most submitted fewer. Portfolios had to be in an 8 1/2″ x 11″ format, leaving limited space “to make someone fall in love with you,” said Mark Foster Gage of Gage/Clemenceau. Matthew Bremer, AIA, of Architecture In Formation approached the portfolio design process as a way to “say the most with the least.” Amale Andraos of Work AC looked for outside assistance — she and partner, Dan Wood, AIA, hired a graphic designer to “read” the firm and establish guidelines for their portfolio.

Emerging architects are often confronted with the issue of how to present their work, often choosing to collaborate with others or with a more established firm. Interboro Partners didn’t show any built work. They followed a strategy that “started out with a thesis and then tried to support it,” according to firm principal Tobias Armborst. Marianne Hyde of Zakrzewski Hyde Architects explained that she and her partner/husband, Stas Zwkrzewski, used a timeline at the beginning of their portfolio to clarify their professional careers.

The New Practices New York competition provides a forum and resource for recently established architecture firms. An exhibition was held at the Center for Architecture in March 2006, and each firm creates an installation at the Hafele Showroom. The next installation in May will be constructed by Work AC, and a discussion with the firm’s partners will occur at the Häfele Showroom May 10. Click the link for more information.

Calling All Designers: Get a Piece of Your PIE

The AIANY Chapter has finally taken the next step toward becoming a “Center for Architecture” with this week’s launch of the Public Information Exchange (PIE). Designed to create an archive of NYC projects, proposals, programs, and exhibitions, it aims to foster discussion among those in and outside of design professions. Many times I have longed for a resource that presents the latest building projects in the city, and PIE shows great potential — on the condition that architects, planners, and developers become actively involved in its maintenance, as described below.

PIE allows design professionals to post their projects. Each project page is interactive, complete with photographs, historic images, drawings, and plans. There are links to published articles, external resources, government documents, alternate submissions if the project was part of a competition, and sometimes fly-through animations. Google Maps show the location of each project, so anyone can compile a private walking tour of current projects throughout the city (something I can’t wait to do as the site grows). Most important is space for public comment. With an RSS feed, you can keep updated on the latest developments, responses, and upcoming events. This October, an information booth, designed by Grimshaw and housed at the Center for Architecture, will serve as a physical manifestation of PIE.

Dialogues will continue as the website expands and more information is added. Currently, the featured projects are Governors Island Redevelopment (Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation), the winning entry of New Housing New York competition (Phipps Rose Dattner Grimshaw), and the New York Times Building (Renzo Piano/FX FOWLE Architects). These major projects are important, but I hope projects that are lesser known will soon be added. The only way the website will succeed is if design professionals take ownership of the site and become proactive in updating the site with their latest projects.

As the website expands, I anticipate additional features. At the moment, the only public interaction is through the comments. I hope that the site will soon allow anyone to upload images (I have some nice photographs of the New York Times Building that I would like to post), or link to articles (I could post a link to this issue’s article on the New Housing New York discussion). As much as the site depends on public contributions, it also must evolve to spur the level of participation. PIE could become as useful for the design profession as Flickr is for photography or the Lonely Planet is for tourists.

AIANY and Local Projects (of StoryCorps fame) developed PIE, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Carnegie Corporation, Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, The City Council of New York, and the Center for Architecture Foundation.

In this issue:
·Historic Ellis Island Ferry Building Reopens
·Long Island: Tech Hub of the Future?
·From Horses to Humans: Historic Stables To Become Apartments
·Turn Courthouse Into Two Schools
·Casino Brings High Class Play to Atlantic City
·Stern About Town
·Sliver of Luxury on 48th and Eighth

Historic Ellis Island Ferry Building Reopens

The restored Ellis Island Ferry Building.

The restored Ellis Island Ferry Building.

Photo by NPS/Kevin Daley

After 50 years of deterioration, and a $6.4 million restoration, the Ellis Island Ferry Building greeted its first visitors during a celebration earlier this month. The Art Deco-style building served as the departure point for immigrants traveling to new homes in New Jersey and lower Manhattan. The 5,500-square-foot terminal was built in 1934 to replace an earlier dilapidated wood structure. The exterior work involved extensive masonry repairs, a new roof, and the restoration of the steel windows and ornate lead-coated copper cupola. Interior work included detailed restoration of historic finishes and fixtures, such as the decorative plaster cornice, terracotta wainscot, terrazzo flooring, and a large bronze chandelier. In addition, new electrical, HVAC, and fire protection systems were installed.

The restoration is a project of the Albany office of Einhorn Yaffee Prescott for Save Ellis Island, Inc. and the National Park Service, and was executed to meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Preservation.

Long Island: Tech Hub of the Future?


The Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology at Stony Brook University.

Mitchell/Giurgola Architects

Construction is underway on the Mitchell/Giurgola Architects-designed Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology (CEWIT) at Stony Brook University. The 100,000-square-foot facility will operate as a cutting-edge research center for both wireless and wired technology. Services will be available to companies seeking wireless or IT research and development, from industries such as healthcare, transportation and logistics, mobile commerce, financial services, and manufacturing. Construction of the CEWIT is part of a statewide economic strategy to make NY, and specifically the Long Island area, a global hub of the high-tech industry. CEWIT is intended to anchor a new research district where private/public partnerships can develop to aid the design and production of new concepts and products.

From Horses to Humans: Historic Stables To Become Apartments

The renovated American Express Stables

The renovated American Express Stables will incorporate a two-story addition with a 4,500-square-foot duplex penthouse.

Kevin Kennon Architect

Kevin Kennon Architect has received approval from the NYC Department of City Planning to renovate, enlarge, and convert the historic former American Express Stables built in 1866 into a luxury residential building. The existing three-story building will be transformed into a five-story, 75,000-square-foot, multi-family complex. As part of the renovation process, wooden joists dating back to 1898 will be restored and recycled into the flooring of new lofts, and found objects such as historic signs, stonework, and piping will be incorporated into the building’s design and artwork. Located in the North Tribeca Historic District, the project received approval from the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 2005.

Turn Courthouse Into Two Schools

283 Adams Street

283 Adams Street in downtown Brooklyn will be converted into two schools.

Gran Kriegel Associates

Construction is under way to convert a 1951 former courthouse in downtown Brooklyn into two new 550-seat high schools, designed by Gran Kriegel Associates on behalf of the NYC Department of Education School Construction Authority. The specialized schools, one for law and justice (complete with wood-paneled courtroom), the other for math and science for young women, are for The Urban Assembly, a non-profit that creates small, public, college-prep high schools. The interior of the 140,000-square-foot building will be completely reconfigured. The deteriorating limestone exterior will be over-clad with a thin-stone façade system. A steel-framed, long-span joist rooftop addition, separated from the existing roof allowing for M/E/P distribution and noise isolation, will provide a multi-purpose room for sports and assembly. Construction on the $56 million project will be completed by the 2008-09 school year.

Casino Brings High Class Play to Atlantic City

Atlantic City’s latest casino design.

Atlantic City’s latest casino design.


An entire block of the Atlantic City Boardwalk has been given to the New York office of Stantec (formerly Vollmer Associates) to design a casino contracted by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA). The design is intended to create a balance between fun and playfulness, elegance and sophistication, and takes cues from Eastern Seaboard pier architecture, Art Moderne, and the Mediterranean.

Stern About Town

The Brompton

The Brompton on the Upper East Side.

Courtesy Related Companies

On the heels of 15 Central Park West for Zeckendorf Development, Robert A.M. Stern Architects is designing the 22-story Brompton for Related Companies on the Upper East Side. Noted for its gothic-inspired red brick and limestone façade and dramatic arched entranceway with cherry wood paneling and marble floors that traverse two landscaped courtyards, the residences will range from studios to five bedrooms. Occupancy is to begin in fall of 2008.

Sliver of Luxury on 48th and Eighth

785 Eighth Avenue

785 Eighth Avenue.

Ismael Leyva Architects

An angular 43-story residential building, designed by Ismael Leyva Architects for 785 Partners with Esplanade Capital, will be rising on a thin slice of real estate on Eighth Avenue and 48th Street. The building will contain 122 condominium units, some with terraces, others with balconies. Outdoor rooftop terraces with hot tubs will adjoin the 43rd floor penthouse and 42nd floor apartments.

In this issue:
· New Mexico Ends Censorship of Interior Designers
· NYC Building Code Changes
· NCARB Surveys Architects for IDP and ARE
· Calling Associates! Post Picture, Win iPod Shuffle
· Students’ Structural Reality — in Marshmallow

New Mexico Ends Censorship of Interior Designers

New Mexico eliminated an unconstitutional restriction on the free speech of interior designers by amending legislation that prohibited designers from truthfully advertising their services. Senate Bill 535, signed by Governor Richardson on April 3, responded to a federal lawsuit brought on by the Institute for Justice in September 2006. Two NM-based interior designers were forbidden from accurately advertising their services because they did not hold a “free speech license” from the NM Interior Design Board.

The challenged law allowed anyone to work as an interior designer, but made it a crime for people not licensed by the board to use the terms “interior design,” and “interior designer.” The new legislation permits anyone who practices interior design to use the terms, and creates a new category called “licensed interior designer” for those who meet the credentials.

According to the Institute for Justice:

‘Title’ laws like New Mexico’s, which prevent people who lawfully perform interior design work from using that term to describe what they do, are the result of relentless lobbying campaigns by a small faction within the interior design community, as the Institute for Justice demonstrated in its study prepared by Director of Strategic Research Dick Carpenter, ‘Designing Cartels: How Industry Insiders Cut Out Competition.’ This small faction of industry insiders, unwilling to compete on a level playing field in a free market, pursues government overregulation in a naked attempt to demote their competitors to mere ‘decorators’ or ‘consultants’ by preventing them from using the term ‘interior designer’ without a license.

NYC Building Code Changes

The NYC Model Code Program is an effort undertaken by the NYC Department of Buildings to streamline and modernize the city’s building and electrical codes. Under the program, national model codes promulgated by leading technical organizations are reviewed. Working with local industry, labor, and real estate representatives, the model codes most appropriate for NYC are amended for use in the city and adopted as Local Law by the city council. After adoption, the Model Code Program and its Technical Committees review the codes every three years to ensure they remain up-to-date. The new code, drafted with the help of more than 400 industry figures — including architects, real estate developers, engineers, government officials, and union representatives — will be presented to the City Council later this month.

A recent article in the NY Sun (“Building Code Changes Could Increase Costs,” by Grace Rauh, 04.04.07) claims that these changes could end up increasing NYC’s already soaring construction costs.

NCARB Surveys Architects for IDP and ARE

Beginning April 9, National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) certificate holders and American Institute of Architects (AIA) members may receive an e-mail invitation to participate in the 2007 Practice Analysis Survey. NCARB plans to collect data describing knowledge and skills necessary to practice architecture independently while safeguarding public health, safety, and welfare. The last study published in 2001 spurred the ongoing evolution of the Architect Registration Examination (ARE). Participation in this year’s survey will provide information for reviewing and updating the Intern Development Program (IDP) as well as the ARE.

Prometric, NCARB’s test development and psychometric consultant, will administer the survey. The results are anticipated to be distributed in early 2008. Those who do not receive the survey but would like to participate should contact Malia Stroble. Only registered architects may complete the survey and will need to provide proof of valid licensure in order to participate. The survey takes about 40 minutes to complete, according to one Chapter member who has done it.

Calling Associates! Post Picture, Win iPod Shuffle

New Associate members of the AIA out-number new AIA members five to one. To celebrate the future of the profession, the National Associates Committee (NAC) will display images of Associate members for the exhibition, AIA175, at the 2007 AIA National Convention in San Antonio.

Associates should post their images on the Flickr site and answer the following question: Who/What/Where will you be in 25 years when the AIA celebrates 175 years? The NAC will give away an iPod Shuffle to a randomly selected member on April 23. To post a picture, create a Flickr account and join the group, AIA175. Upload a 300-dpi image, enter name with all appropriate titles, and include a response to the question.

Students’ Structural Reality — in Marshmallow

Gravity-defying structures

Results from the skyscraper design challenge.

Maggie Jacobstein

Students from the United Nations International School (UNIS) visited the Center for Architecture on April 5 to learn about skyscrapers and try their hand at building their own gravity-defying structures. The six-to-eight-year-old students have firsthand experience with skyscrapers — they live in them, visit their folks who work in them, and trek to observation decks. Visiting and appreciating tall buildings is one thing, but trying to build a structure that withstands the forces exerted by Center for Architecture Foundation’s Director Erin McCluskey is a tall order. McCluskey ran a strength test on a few of the models to see how well they stood up.

The skyscraper design challenge asked students to imagine a structure and bring their ideas into a 3-dimensional reality. Using straws, toothpicks, dowels, glue, tape, and even marshmallows as connectors, students experimented with a variety of shapes. Stacked frames tended to fall over until the students discovered the idea of cross bracing. Triangulated structural systems emerged to become tall buildings, castles, and other structures. Although McCluskey was careful not to push the designs to failure, the real test was whether the projects would sustain the bus ride back to school in one piece.