Please join us at the Center for Architecture on November 5, 6:00-8:00pm in collectively remembering friend and colleague Stephen Kliment, FAIA, who passed away on September 10. In addition to a long career in architecture practice, criticism, teaching, and editing, he was the editorial director of Oculus and e-Oculus. In remembrance, e-Oculus will be publishing a tribute issue on November 5 featuring reminiscences by many of Kliment’s friends, colleagues, and students. A printout of the tribute will be available at the memorial, and a feature in the Winter issue of Oculus will highlight some of the many anecdotes and memories.

– Jessica Sheridan, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP

CLICK ON BLOG CENTRAL: AIANY BLOG: The AIANY Chapter has launched a new blog. Blog Central features opinion pieces on architectural issues relevant to NY-based designers, firms, and projects, along with spotlights on debates and discussions at the Center for Architecture and AIANY, and is an informal discussion board. Be sure to check it out regularly and contribute to the dialogue.

Some of the recent debates include:
· South Street Seaport Redevelopment. AIANY is supporting General Growth Properties with SHoP Architects to develop South Street Seaport. Click the link to read more about the testimony at the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

To become a regular contributor to Blog Central, please e-mail e-Oculus. Pen names are welcome.

New Practices Preview: Six New Firms in Five Slides

Event: New Practices New York 2008: Winners’ Symposium
Location: Center for Architecture, 10.15.08
Speakers: Representatives from winning firms: Baumann Architecture; Common Room; David Wallance Architect; Matter; Openshop | Studio; Urban A&O
Moderator: Olympia Kazi, Institute for Urban Design
Organizer: AIANY New Practices Committee
Sponsors: Underwriter: Häfele; Patron: ABC Imaging; Lead Sponsors: Ibex Construction; MG & Company; Poliform USA; Thornton Tomasetti; Supporters: Fountainhead Construction; FXFOWLE Architects; Media Sponsor: The Architect’s Newspaper

Courtesy AIANY

With this year’s New Practices New York jurors’ symposium, exhibition (See On View: At the Center for Architecture), and upcoming individual presentations at the Häfele showroom, undoubtedly, the exposure is invaluable for a new firm trying to gain traction in design-saturated NYC. At the recent winners’ symposium, the founders behind these new practices presented what motivates them: how they view themselves within the context of the city, the profession, and the struggle to succeed as a new firm.

Each firm was asked to prepare five slides and discuss their practice. Not surprisingly, the approaches were vastly different. Some firms carefully prepared slides as though they were interviewing with a potential client, showcasing professionally photographed built projects. Philippe Baumann of Baumann Architecture took this approach, explaining that his firm strives to create “straightforward work in a difficult environment,” exploring designs simultaneously through hand drawing and 3-D computer rendering. David Wallance, AIA, of David Wallance Architect, also discussed his practical approach to residential design cultivated by years of experience working on cultural and institutional projects in large firms.

Others took an indistinct approach, relying on heavily Photoshopped, candid pictures of firm members or random collages accompanied with catchy phrases. While such presentations give some insight into what it’s like working in these firms and what they stand for, they didn’t speak specifically to the practice of architecture. Common Room members, while obviously passionate about their work, spoke in such complex metaphors I was left wondering if they did, in fact, practice architecture. Adam Hayes and Mark Kroeckel of Openshop | Studio claimed to have no pictures of their work and only showed one slide — a black-and-white image of the firm’s two founders sitting nonchalantly on a couch. They chose, instead, to discuss how their firm got started and how they work together.

The jurors selected the firms based on their work, which they considered to be interesting and new. With the upcoming individual firm lectures throughout 2009 (for information go to the Häfele website), this symposium was a preview of what’s to come.

Schools Converge over Global Responsibility

Event: Convergence NYC 2008; Deans, Directors & Student Debates and ARCH SCHOOLS 2008 Exhibition Opening
Location: Center for Architecture, 10.18.08
Speakers: Dean George Ranalli, AIA, Jessica Lewis — The City College of NY (CCNY); Professor Reinhold Martin, Karen Kubey — Columbia University; Dean Anthony Vidler, Theodora Doulamis — The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art; Dean Kent Kleinman, AIA, Lisa Hollywood — Cornell University; Dean Urs Gauchat, Gene Dassing — NJ Institute of Technology (NJIT); Dean Judith DiMaio, AIA, Evan Lapore — NY Institute of Technology (NYIT); Director of Graduate Architecture David Leven, AIA, Solveg Tryggvadottir — Parsons The New School for Design; Dean Stan Allen, Wai Chu — Princeton University; Dean Mark Mistur, Ann Cosgrove — Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Undergraduate Program Chair Jonathan Massey, AIA, Vincent Appel — Syracuse University; Dean Brian Carter, Matthew Hume — SUNY Buffalo; Dean Robert A.M. Stern, FAIA, Assistant Dean Keith Krumwiede, Matt Roman — Yale University
Participating Schools: CCNY; Columbia University; The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art; Cornell University; NJIT; NYIT; Parsons The New School for Design; Pratt Institute; Princeton University; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Syracuse University; SUNY Buffalo; University of Pennsylvania; Yale University
Participating Firms: Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners; Dattner Architects; FXFOWLE Architects; HOK; KPF; Perkins + Will; SHoP Architects
Hosts: Convergence NYC; AIANY; Center for Architecture Foundation; American Institute of Architecture Students
Sponsors: Convergence: Cornell University and AIA NY State; ARCH SCHOOLS Exhibition: Bentley Systems; Carnegie Corporation of New York; RMJM Hillier; Kohn Pedersen Fox; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Beyer Blinder Belle: Architects and Planners; Davis Brody Bond Aedas; Tsao & McKown Architects; Butler Rogers Baskett; ABC Imaging

Courtesy AIANY

Both educators and students are acutely aware of their shifting position in the global marketplace. Convergence, a yearly student networking event, centered on the theme of global interconnection. The annual Deans, Directors, and Student Debates were sharpened this year by the addition of student voices. More than 140 students from universities in and around NYC took part in discussions as well as firm tours, presentations, and a mentoring program.

During the debates, American architects were characterized as exporting their services and “colonizing” the world with Western design, though panelists thought this relationship is shifting. Many deans and directors spoke of the important role of architects and educators in this new world order, but Yale University student Matt Roman refocused the discussion to the students. Before assuming global responsibility, “I need to be trained as an architect first,” Roman said.

Yale University Dean of Architecture Robert A.M. Stern, FAIA, admonished domestic architects practicing internationally — most of whom he said have no experience in foreign languages and “murder English” — for their lack of communication skills. Global practice dictates that a strong liberal arts education should act as a prerequisite for design training, a sentiment echoed by New York Institute of Technology Dean Judith DiMaio, AIA, who stated that as architects “we need to know how to communicate and do it well.”

Hong Kong’s Lessons from NYC in Vertical Delirium

Event: Hong Kong | New York: Vertical Density | Sustainable Solutions
Location: Chase Manhattan Plaza, 10.16.08; Tishman Auditorium, New School, 10.17-18.08
Speakers: Learning from Hong Kong, 10.16.08: Thomas Wright — Executive Director, Regional Planning Association; Thomas Ho — Property Director, MTR Corporation, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; Elliot Sander — Executive Director & CEO, MTA; Christopher O. Ward — Executive Director, Port Authority of NY & NJ; Paul Katz, FAIA — Partner & Principal, Kohn Pedersen Fox; David Scott — Principal, Arup & Chair, Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat; Julia Lau — Sun Hung Kai Properties; Vishaan Chakrabarti, AIA — Executive Vice President, The Related Companies; Debating Density, 10.17.2008: Nicholas Brooke — Chairman, Professional Property Services Group, Hong Kong; Mark Willis — Visiting Scholar, The Ford Foundation; Peter Cookson Smith — Founding Director, Urbis, Hong Kong; Christine Loh — President & CEO, Civic-Exchange; Margaret Brooke — Heritage Hong Kong; Robert Tierney — Chair, NYC Landmark Preservation Commission; Carrie Lam — Secretary for Development, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; Amanda Burden, Hon. AIANY — Chair, City Planning Commission & Director, Department of City Planning; Designing Density: Theory and Practice, 10.18.08: Brian McGrath — Associate Professor of Urban Design, Parsons School of Design; Paul Chu — Hong Kong Urban Design Alliance; Laurence Liauw — Architect & Associate Professor, Chinese University of Hong Kong; Ackbar Abbas — Professor of Comparative Literature, Hong Kong University & UC-Irvine; Alexandros E. Washburn, AIA — Chief Urban Designer, NYC Dept of City Planning; Eric Höweler, AIA — Principal, Höweler Yoon Architecture; Jim Robinson — Executive Director, Hong Kong Land
Moderator: Carol Willis — Director, The Skyscraper Museum;
Organizers: The Skyscraper Museum

NYC and Hong Kong share certain conditions, physical and cultural: excellent harbors, limited buildable land, a history as transit points for immigration and emigration, and a collective willingness to explore the “culture of congestion,” as coined in Rem Koolhaas’s Delirious New York. If NYC was the original test bed for the idea, Hong Kong has adapted it successfully and stretched its possibilities. Hong Kong now has the world’s highest concentration of skyscrapers. Its middle class and its developers have created a thick forest of high-rise housing to accommodate them. The buildable areas of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Peninsula are so Manhattanized that the common description as Asia’s Manhattan has almost run its course and inverted itself, so that Vishaan Chakrabarti, AIA, executive vice president of the Related Companies, could refer to “New York [as] actually America’s Hong Kong.”

Carol Willis, director of the Skyscraper Museum, drew distinctions between forms of density produced by wealth and by poverty: affluent cities, like NYC and Hong Kong plus London, tend to embrace vertical development, while poorer cities like Mumbai and Cairo, though technically denser on a raw statistical basis, are predominantly low-rise. (If only the buildable 25% is considered, Hong Kong, like Manhattan, has about 70,000 people per square mile.) The early 20th-century Futurist vision, a rationalized city of high-tech multimodal transportation, takes literal shape in the elevated pedestrian bridges, large-scale harbor reclamation projects, and single-seat rail-to-airport connections of today’s Hong Kong.

A key part of this realized future is the MTR train system, a profitable private company that pursues an integrated rail/property development model. By coordinating all aspects of construction and management of mixed-use properties atop or adjacent to railway stations, MTR finances high-volume rail operations (some 3.4 million personal trips a day) without any government support. MTR also supports ambitious designs, including the eco-community LOHAS Park (“Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability”) near Tseung Kwan O station, a 50-tower complex that will segregate cars completely from pedestrian space in the interests of air quality, recreation, and healthy living. Local panelists, including the MTA’s Elliot Sander and the Port Authority’s Christopher Ward, expressed admiration for what Ho called a “win-win-win-win” for Hong Kong society, developers, government, and MTR. They wondered whether sprawlbound American culture is ready for such a radical departure into a post-automotive future.

The “Debating Density” discussion produced rigorous self-critiques of development’s erasure of building styles and street life. The panel’s fundamental question — does density pay, or does it cost? — becomes more urgent, said Kohn Pedersen Fox’s Paul Katz, FAIA, in the context of current financial collapses triggered by housing loans; financial, housing, and environmental crises are all consequences of sprawl, Katz finds, and density is the solution. Yet planning for density, incentivizing dense community formation in and around urban areas, and ensuring affordability have also exacted costs: the city is losing a degree of its authenticity, and air pollution undermines postcard views. Panelists stressed that an engineering-based approach to planning can strip away the idiosyncrasies that are inseparable from high-quality urban life. NYC’s street-level diversity is a positive model for Hong Kong and other cities.

Panelists emphasized the importance of bottom-up planning, looking at the city as a multidimensional organism rather than the 2-D zoning maps, photos, and renderings. Hong Kong Urban Design Alliance’s Paul Chu has his students examine sections rather than plans to acquire a sense of self-organizing urban textures and understand how superblocks destroy complexity. Ackbar Abbas, a professor of comparative literature and native Hongkonger, recalled Koolhaas’s idea that congestion is not so much a problem as the “forever insoluble problem that allowed Manhattan to be built.” If a “Hong Kong-ism” is arising, the city’s history as a site of migration, dependence, and recurrent threats give it a unique dynamic balance, forever converting its own crises into vitality.

Museums Balance Unform, Form

Event: 2008 Arthur Rosenblatt Lecture: Todd Williams and Billie Tsien
Location: Center for Architecture, 10.22.08
Speakers: Tod Williams, FAIA; Billie Tsien, AIA — Partners, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects
Organizer: AIANY Cultural Facilities Committee
Sponsors: Koutsomitis Architects; SPRINGBOARD Architecture

For Tod Williams, FAIA, and Billie Tsien, AIA, projects exists between neutral and molded space, between the container and the contained. The installations and museums designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects represent this idea, what they call “unform” and “form.”

The alternative art space, “Art on the Beach” (1988), was designed in collaboration with artist Jackie Ferrara on a former industrial site in Hunters Point, Queens. Concrete blocks found in the vicinity were arranged into a series of roughly orthogonal demarcations, to be activated by various installations and performances taking place in and around them. The design is an example of “unform” — an architectural enclosure to be indefinitely expanded upon by the user. At Whitney Downtown, a spare refurbished basement originally designed by Philip Johnson, Tsien and Williams created a work called “Domestic Arrangements: A Lab Report” (1990). By building a pine-board table-bed in the center of the room with a theatrical balcony-and-stair entrance, the “unformed” space was activated by “form.”

For the American Folk Art Museum (2002) and Phoenix Art Museum (1997/2006) the team shaped architectural experience within neutral containers. In Phoenix, Tsien and Williams designed two contrasting additions, one spare and one more elaborate. The simple steel truss hangar is energized by an exposed staircase. Variegated surfaces impact the new section — unform confronts form. Stairs were used again at the Folk Art Museum. Simultaneous movement on different levels is expressed on the exterior, a rough-hewn bronze box with planar projections suggestive of a formed force pressing against the unformed envelope.

Amidst litigation surrounding the new Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, Williams and Tsien were tight-lipped. Despite some of the requirements being placed upon them — including the preservation of the original curatorial arrangement of pieces — the most they would say is that “the art will have to act as the formed element, and we’ll have to build an unformed structure around it.”

NYC Firms Design for Ordos with Global Concerns in Mind

Event: Ordos 13 — in conjunction with exhibition 13:100 | Thirteen New York Architects Design for Ordos
Location: The Urban Center, 10.17.08
Speakers: Gregory Wessner — Digital Programs & Exhibitions Director, The Architectural League of New York; Lyn Rice, AIA — Founder, Lyn Rice Architects; Pablo Castro — OBRA Architects; Daniel Holguin & Issei Suma — Multiplicities; Hayes Slade & James Slade, AIA — Principals & Founders, Slade Architecture; Alexandra Barker, AIA — Principal, Barker Freeman Design Office; Keller Easterling — Keller Easterling; Josh Uhl, AIA — Associate, Toshiko Mori Architect; Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss — Founder & Partner, Normal Architecture Office; Rodrigo Vidal — rsvp architects; Eric Bunge, AIA — Partner, nARCHITECTS; Jinhee Park, AIA, & John Hong, AIA — Principals, SINGLE speed DESIGN; Paul Lewis, AIA, Marc Tsurumaki, AIA, David Lewis — Partners, Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis; Dan Wood, AIA — Principal, WORKac
Organizers: The Architectural League of New York

13 NY-based firms’ designs for Ordos are on view at the Urban Center.

Courtesy The Architectural League of New York

The design phase has come to end in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, where 100 international firms are each designing 1,000-square-meter villas within 100 days without constraints of a client. In 13:100 | Thirteen New York Architects Design for Ordos, designed by Project_ at the Urban Center, the 13 NY-based architects participating in the project have been given 1/100 of the gallery to present their villas in images, texts, drawings, and a 1:100 scale model. Recently, they were given more restraints: each firm could present 15 slides shown for 15 seconds.

Every presentation was different, emblematic of the various styles of the firms (perhaps most unique was Slade Architecture, who planted staff in the audience to shout words timed with the slides), but what one could take away from the presentation was a sense that, regardless of the size of the homes, Ordos amplifies contemporary concerns about ecology, economy, inequity, celebrity, and cultural hegemony. For example, Eight Towers by SINGLE speed DESIGN features energy-efficient design. As the title implies, the villa consists of eight towers that connect at different points, each symbolizing a different use. The idea is that when one tower is occupied, the others do not need to be consuming energy.

Lyn Rice Architects is focusing on one of Ordo’s environmental issues — trying to control regional erosion. The design of Villa 007, on what used to be a meadow, consists of three landscaped courts that shape the glazed-concrete villa.

The Villa-Villa, or “a House in a House” as described by Eric Bunge, AIA, of nARCHITECTS, responds to Ordos’ extreme climate by expanding and contracting with the temperature. In inclement weather, the “Inner House” compactly holds the essentials of living while the “Outer House” provides an extra layer of shelter. In temperate weather, the residents can expand their dwelling to the “Outer House,” an outdoor-like environment.

NYC’s Answer to the Spanish Steps

The new TKTS Booth in Times Square.

Jessica Sheridan

Finally, after eight years since the Theatre Development Fund and Van Alen Institute’s international ideas competition launched, the TKTS Booth in Times Square is open. Designed by Perkins Eastman based on Choi Ropiha’s concept, the small pavilion echoes and blends with the surrounding environment and provides much needed gathering space in one of the most congested areas of the city.

The dominating side of the booth consists of red glass steps, mimicking the nearby lights and signage — from the Virgin Megastore to Bank of America and the blinking Coke sign above. The all-glass structure is transparent, yet as one moves around it, it reflects the cars, signs, and people crowded around the square. On a clear afternoon, the sun shines through the glass to cast red shadows on the street, expanding the booth’s boundaries. Although small in size, because of the reflections, the surrounding activity is amplified and activated making the structure seem bigger than it really is.

The booth’s underside, facing north, is where the ticket windows are located. There are two kiosks on the east and west sides that display available tickets. While having two kiosks instead of just posting the listings at the front of the line alleviates some of the crowds, they are sited at the sidewalk corners at busy intersections that block pedestrians trying to pass (especially when a group is huddled around the kiosks trying to decide what show to see). Also, the biggest urban planning challenge — alleviating the long lines — is not fully addressed by the new booth. Unattractive red retractable belts wind the lines along the sides of the pavilion, imposing on the sidewalk, again in the way of passing pedestrians. Although there is more plaza space on the south side of the booth, the north side remains congested.

Overall, I think the new TKTS Booth is a success, and I now plan on making an effort to take time to sit on the steps, people watch, and absorb the activity of Times Square.

In this issue:
· Living Classrooms Educate Future Scientists
· The Lights are Now Brighter on Broadway
· Blue Men Cultivate Young Kids
· Museum Connects Town to Ex-Architect-Turned-Painter
· Portugal Explores New Era of Science
· Korea Opens for Business with New Convention Center

Living Classrooms Educate Future Scientists

Lehman College.

Perkins + Will

Lehman College in the Bronx, part of the City University of New York (CUNY), recently broke ground on its new Science Building. The first of a three-phase project designed by Perkins + Will to create a science-oriented “campus within a campus,” the 69,000-square-foot building will feature state-of-the-art laboratories for research and learning along with a conference center and office space.

The building is intended to be used as a teaching tool. The central courtyard will enclose a wetland of native grasses hosting microbes capable of cleaning stormwater that can be recycled within. Faculty and students will be able to collect samples, understand how contaminants in the water impact the ecosystem, and study how natural processes can remove contaminants from the environment. In addition, displays will provide real-time information on building operations, such as the energy saved by solar hot water panels and the amount of water cleansed and re-circulated over the building’s lifespan. Additional sustainable features include preservation of the existing trees and reuse of the college’s 1950s rock garden; radiant floor heating; rooftop greenhouse; aggressive storm and greywater management systems; and provisions for future blackwater treatment. The project is CUNY’s first to go for LEED and is expected to receive LEED Gold.

The Lights are Now Brighter on Broadway

TKTS Booth.

Photo by Emile Wamsteker, courtesy Times Square Alliance

Theater goers are now saying, “Meet me under the red steps in Father Duffy Square.” The new TKTS Booth, the winner of a 2000 international ideas competition sponsored by the Theatre Development Fund and directed by the Van Alen Institute, was designed by Perkins Eastman based on Australia-based Choi Ropiha’s winning concept. The custom-fabricated fiberglass booth is enclosed in an amphitheatre-style red glass staircase, 27 steps high, boasting seating room for more than 500 people. The state-of-the-art slip-resistant glass steps are lit from below with LEDs and incorporate geothermal-based heating and cooling technology.

The new Duffy Square also doubles the amount of pedestrian space previously available and allows visitors to experience the Times Square “bowtie” on the staircase or sitting at street-level café tables. NY-based architecture and interior design firm Williams Fellows Architects, designed the plaza. This $19 million project was overseen by the Times Square Alliance, the Theatre Development Fund, and the Coalition for Father Duffy in a public-private partnership that included $11.5 million in city funding from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs.

Blue Men Cultivate Young Kids

Blue Man Group Creativity Center.

Pentastudio Architecture

Pentastudio Architecture has been commissioned by the Blue Man Group, known for its elaborate theatrical shows, to design its newest venture — the Blue Man Creativity Center, scheduled to open in fall 2009. The school’s founders believe that a child’s physical environment has a great impact on his or her creative development, and spaces are designed to awaken the senses and inspire imagination via diverse materials, luminescent colors, tactile elements, and resonant sounds. The center, geared for children aged two through six, is located in NoHo. The circa 1830s buildings, became a designated landmark in 1965, and the architects’ plans have been approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Renovations include a new wheelchair-accessible entry at sidewalk level. Future plans are for a detailed design of the school space itself, including specialized furniture, millwork, lighting, and media. The firm previously designed the group’s rehearsal, casting, and training studio.

Museum Connects Town to Ex-Architect-Turned-Painter

Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso.

Louise Braverman, Architect

Louise Braverman, FAIA, has designed the new Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso, slated to be built in 2010 with the goal of being a cultural and economic engine for Boticas, Portugal. The museum will exhibit approximately 80 artworks by Portuguese artist Nadir Afonso (born 1920), known for his abstract geometric paintings. The artist was formerly a practicing architect who worked for both Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer. The museum is divided into two distinct yet connected parts — a cultural structure and a below-grade exhibition space covered by a park. A double-height entry hall featuring a ceramic mural by the artist with a second story balcony provides entrance to an auditorium. A black-and-white floor pattern, typical of Portuguese design, runs throughout and merges the outdoor café with the indoor entry, café, multipurpose space, and gift shop. The below-grade exhibition space, carved out of a granite hillside and covered with a planted green roof park, connects to the pastoral section of town. The excavated granite also functions as a retaining wall for the galleries, and a glass roof will provide indirect light for the art displays.

Portugal Explores New Era of Science

Gouverneur Healthcare Services.

RMJM Hillier

A groundbreaking ceremony was recently held for Portugal’s first major medical research center for cancer and the neurosciences: the 300,000-square-foot Champalimaud Foundation Centre. The centre is the first building in a major redevelopment plan for Belem, along the Tagus River in Lisbon. Three buildings have been designed by a team that includes Bombay-based Charles Correa Associates as design architect, NY-based RMJM Hillier as laboratory and clinical design architect, and Consiste of Portugal as the architect-of-record. The main building houses the diagnostic, treatment and wellness centers, research labs, and administrative offices. One building hosts a rainforest garden that is accessible to patients and staff, an auditorium, restaurant, exhibition area, and conference center. The third building has an open-air amphitheater facing the river for public performances and community events. The three buildings are arranged to create a 125-meter-long pathway leading across the site toward open seas; the plaza is open to the public and suited for events. As a symbolic gesture in ushering in a new era of scientific exploration and discovery for Portugal, the Foundation arranged for a small robot to place the first stone in the building’s foundation, expected to be completed in October of 2010.

Korea Opens for Business with New Convention Center

ConvensiA Convention Center.

Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates

Songdo ConvensiA Convention Center was officially handed over to the city of Incheon, by NY-based developer Gale International. The $155 million convention center, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, is the first building completed in the Songdo International Business District, a 1,500-acre master planned financial district. The ConvensiA offers one of the world’s longest column-free spans for exhibition space (145 meters). A sculptured roof resembles overturned boat hulls, and the center contains two boat-shaped exhibition halls and two-and-a-half gabled entrance spaces. Eventually, the facility will more than triple in size to eight halls and 10 entrance spaces. The “expandable” building will grow to 1.3 million square feet when complete. Songdo IBD will officially open in August 2009, as the first new city in the world designed and planned as an international business district.

In this issue:
· AIA Invites Comments on Position Statements
· Hudson River Park Trust Wins AIANYS Award

AIA Invites Comments on Position Statements
The AIA Board of Directors is conducting a sunset review of many of the AIA’s position statements. As part of the review process, there is an open comment period where component leaders, committees, members, and other stakeholder groups can submit revision suggestions for review and possible adoption. The comment period is open until 11.14.08. The Board is scheduled to take final action on recommendations during its December 2008 meeting.

AIANYS represents nearly 10% of the AIA Membership, so comments carry great importance. AIA has also agreed to track how many AIANYS members respond during the comment period. Please click here to view the position statements and the feedback form.

Hudson River Park Trust Wins AIANYS Award
The Hudson River Park Trust is the recipient of the 2008 Honor Award in Community Development from the AIA NY State Chapter for its achievement in transforming acres of derelict land along the waterfront on Manhattan’s West Side into a waterfront park. Hudson River Park, stretching from 59th Street to Battery Park City, is the largest recreational amenity and open space project to be built in Manhattan since the opening of Central Park more than 150 years ago. With 10 piers and three miles of upland area already complete, the park offers a range of activities including boating, fishing, biking, jogging, and sunbathing. The Trust sponsors a series of free educational programs and outdoor entertainment such as concerts, movies, dancing, and amateur boxing. With some 17 million visits annually it is home to the nation’s busiest bikeway.

Gensler Surveys Successful Workplace Designs

According to a nationwide study of office workers released by Gensler, workplace design plays a pivotal role in overall business performance by supporting the new work modes of a knowledge economy. The Gensler 2008 U.S. Workplace Survey reveals that top-performing companies are embracing a fundamental restructuring of work through workplace design that places as much emphasis on collaboration, learning, and socialization as on individual “heads-down” work. Companies providing workplaces that are more effective for knowledge work are seeing higher levels of employee engagement, brand equity, and profit, with profit growth up to 14% greater than those with less effective work environments.

The Gensler survey makes evident that improving business performance via workplace improvements depends on the quality of space functionality and effectiveness, not quantity of space. Specifically, designing a workplace to support the right proportion of four knowledge work modes — focus, collaboration, learning, and socializing — is a key differentiator. Top-performing companies are those identified by survey respondents as the most profitable, admired, and leading in their industries. To read the full survey along with tips on workplace design, click the link.