This is the last issue of 2008. Thank you to everyone who answered the survey on how to improve e-Oculus. Stay tuned in the new year as we will be incorporating many of the great suggestions offered. For those of you who have yet to take the seven-question survey, click here.

Happy Holidays and wishing you well for the New Year!

– Jessica Sheridan, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP

CLICK ON BLOG CENTRAL: AIANY BLOG: The AIANY Chapter’s 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. It is an informal discussion board. Be sure to check it out regularly and contribute to the dialogue.

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

The Value of Thinking Institutionally

Event: Architecture and Institutions
Location: Center for Architecture, 12.12.08
Speakers: Damon Rich — Founder & Chair, Center for Urban Pedagogy; Beth Stryker — Director of Programs, Center for Architecture; Gwendolyn Wright — Professor of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University
Moderator: Olympia Kazi — Director, Institute for Urban Design
Organizer: common room

The Center for Architecture brought together a cross-disciplinary audience with Buckminster Fuller’s “Fly’s Eye Dome” installed at LaGuardia Park.

Jessica Sheridan

Big or little, independent or entrenched, New York’s radically different architectural institutions share some common traits. They initiate and propagate both abstract and creative research; leverage other arts as material for inspiration; and help bring discordant voices together in design. The educational collaborative Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) is one example of how design groups mediate among city dwellers, architects, and politicians. Like many fledgling architectural groups, CUP’s founder Damon Rich said that he wondered for a number of years how his group’s efforts could be made sustainable. “How can non-profits be more than beautiful bursts of energy?”

One key to the longevity of architectural institutions is the type and quality of the research they undertake. Moderator Olympia Kazi, of the Institute for Urban Design, questioned if the “hundreds” of design research labs practicing today actually generate valuable information, to which Professor Gwendolyn Wright responded that all research is valuable. Applied research, which reveals something new about a problem, is potentially more potent than solely intellectual, meta-scape research, however. Architects often use ex post facto research to “buttress” their designs, said Wright, but even these investigations are important if they reveal a new way of looking at things.

Beth Stryker, Director of Programs at the Center for Architecture, said that the beauty of larger architectural institutions, like the Center, is that they can bring together a range of cross-disciplinary perspectives. She cited Buckminster Fuller as one example of a designer who actively sought outside influences. This past summer, the Center put together a Fuller Study Center, which highlighted some of the many outside-design influences that the designer relied upon.

Though the panel praised institutions’ ability to spark creative thought and collaboration, the definition of what compromises an architectural institution was left fuzzy. How does an informal one- or two-person collaborative without physical space rank against groups with an established public presence, like the Center? Kazi posited a wide definition, saying, “Architectural institutions are places where compromises occur.”

Guggenheim Receives Face Lift… From the Inside

Event: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum: Structural Evaluation and Repairs
Location: The Center for Architecture, NYC; 12.16.08
Speakers: Nancy Hudson — Robert Silman Associates
Organizers: Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY)

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum during renovation. With the paint removed, the cracks in the concrete are visible.

Jessica Sheridan

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum by Frank Lloyd Wright recently completed an extensive, three-year renovation. Conducted by Robert Silman Associates Structural Engineers (RSA), the comprehensive structural assessment focused on the cantilevered ramps supported by radial walls that define the museum’s Main Rotunda. As an expression of reinforced concrete structural elements, restoring the cast-in-place concrete and sprayed gunite was no small feat — especially when attempting to stay true to Wright’s vision.

RSA’s analysis included $20 million-worth of structural analysis, repair, reconfigured mechanical work, and restored glazing and skylights. To preserve the building, the investigation involved laser scanning, non-destructive evaluation, probes, material testing by ICR (a coating evaluation program) and structural monitoring. A “Shell Model System” was constructed from laser scan data to investigate the museum’s as-built conditions. This finite elemental model mathematically examined existing geometry and material properties to analyze the structure under dead and live loads, as well as wind and temperature loads.

Results from the testing revealed deficiencies created by the original construction, such as voids in web walls and cracking. Because it was required that the museum stay open during the entire renovation process, and to stay as true as possible to Wright’s design intention, exterior repairs were limited. Carbon fiber reinforcing, steel brackets, and dampers were installed in the interior walls to allow the building to move more freely while maintaining the exterior’s smooth finish.

OOZing Humans, Non-Humans Away From Zoos

Event: OOZing Public Workshop, a project by Natalie Jeremijenko
Location: Van Alen Institute, 12.04.08
Speakers: Natalie Jeremijenko — Van Alen Institute New York Prize Fellow 2008-2009
Organizer: Van Alen Institute, in partnership with the Social Science Research Council

Rhinoceros Beetle Wrestling Device, by Natalie Jeremijenko.

Photograph by Chris Woebken. Photograph provided courtesy of Van Alen Institute, ©2008

OOZing, by Van Alen Institute New York Prize Fellow Natalie Jeremijenko, seeks to identify productive cohabitation between animals and humans in the city. “Zoo” spelled backwards (and “without cages,” as the artist and engineer stated), OOZ is a project that she hopes will challenge society and policy makers to redefine the role of non-humans in the urban landscape.

Jeremijenko dismisses the notion that nature is “out there somewhere” else; instead, humans are part of a natural system and must acknowledge socio-ecological relationships to improve urban conditions. Recent sightings of coyote in Central Park and wild turkey on Staten Island are intrinsically natural, she stated. Jeremijenko believes that the zoological model of collecting species in categorical boxes opposes the natural state of biodiversity and creates a separation between humans and animals.

“We screwed up,” she said, referring to current climate and food crises. Her work seeks to amend that error by using technology to investigate social change. With a touch of humor, Jeremijenko’s experiments include a bat detector, a rhinoceros beetle wrestling device, and toilet facilities for pigeons. Those who interact with her work build new relationships with the animals, thus leading to a different understanding of the creatures. This is necessary to move forward and improve the environment, she believes. Rather than observing animals through a simulated ecosystem in a zoo or whispering around them in a park, Jeremijenko boldly asserts: “Perhaps we can do something, and perhaps it could be good.”

Intermodal Transportation Links to Future

Event: Design for Living: Intermodal Transportation Facilities
Location: Center for Architecture, 12.08.08
Speakers: Peter David Cavaluzzi, FAIA — Principal, Ehrenkrantz Ekstut & Kuhn Architects; Jeff Dugan, AIA — Principal, Dattner Architects; Peter Scaglione, AIA, AICP — Associate Partner, Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners
Moderator: Robert Davidson, FAIA — Senior Vice President, STV Incorporated
Organizers: AIANY Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; New York New Visions
Sponsors: Champion: Studio Daniel Libeskind; Supporters: Gensler; Humanscale; James McCullar & Associates; Friends: Costas Kondylis & Partners; Forest City Ratner Companies; Frank Williams & Associates; Hugo S. Subotovsky A.I.A. Architects; Mancini Duffy; Magnusson Architecture and Planning; Rawlings Architects; RicciGreene Associates; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Syska Hennessy Group; Trespa North America; Universal Contracting Group

The Myrtle-Wyckoff Station by Dattner Architects with Domenech Hicks & Krockmalnic.

Dattner Architects

The way architects design intermodal transit facilities is changing rapidly. The fundamentals of new urban structures and planning are being studied and applied throughout the U.S. — and locally, as NYC prepares for new urban growth. Three projects of different scales were recently presented in a panel.

The Gateway Center in Los Angeles, designed by Ehrenkrantz Ekstut & Kuhn Architects, will link subway, rail, and bus transit in a rapidly expanding downtown location near Union Station. The new transit hub was influenced by analysis of circulation patterns and is designed to remain at the center of the urban core as the city grows, according to firm Principal Peter David Cavaluzzi, FAIA. It will offer plazas, city sightlines, and circulation paths to help anchor developing neighborhoods.

At the other end of the size spectrum, the Myrtle-Wyckoff Station, designed by Dattner Architects with Domenech Hicks & Krockmalnic, is sited at the heavily urbanized border between Queens and Brooklyn. The station has a central rotunda with a channel-glass cylinder rising above the public entrance and crisscrossing elevated catwalks and stairways. Public art spans the round ceiling. Even though it is not truly an intermodal facility, the station is close to the future site of a bus terminus being planned around the corner. It is not clear, however, whether there is an intention to link the two into a single facility.

The Hoboken Terminal project is a large-scale renovation of an existing intermodal facility. On the National Register of Historic Places, the complex accommodates rail and waterborne transit. Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners used the building’s history to influence the rebuilding of the main terminal hall. Using original plans and modernizing the lighting scheme, stained glass and copper complement the Victorian-styled structure. The original clock tower was replaced with prefabricated sections that were stacked on-site. The pride shown in the exacting restoration of the public spaces will encourage greater use of the facility, stated Associate Partner Peter Scaglione, AIA, AICP.

Procrastinators Leave Center Wanting More

Event: Procrastinators’ Days
Location: Center for Architecture, 12.04-06.08
Organizer: AIANY

In an end-of-the-year effort to fulfill their credit requirements, 246 architects broke from their typical workdays to become students again. Trumping that of 2007, this year’s turn-out for the annual Procrastinators’ Days indicated that the economic downturn is not deterring architects from fulfilling their Continuing Education Unit requirements in a range of construction and design related issues, such as lighting technologies, and the use of wood, steel, and masonry. Some of the most popular sessions included Arup’s presentation on the changing city building codes.

Kicking off Saturday’s program, 2009 AIANY President Sherida Paulsen, FAIA, presented recent renovation work of the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission. Other Chapter members offering presentations included: New Practices Committee co-chair Marc Clemenceau Bailly, AIA, presented 3-D fabrication tools and techniques; AIANY Secretary Abby Suckle, FAIA, LEED AP, and Mary Burke, AIA, IIDA, spoke on specifying furniture; Hector Guillen, AIA, David Peterman, PE, and Robert Paquette, ASI, showcased trading room design trends; Pat Sapinsley, AIA, presented green products; and Margery Perlmutter, AIA, explained new zoning regulations.

The average procrastinator attended a total of seven lectures over the course of three days. Considering the program’s success, some attendees requested additional mid-year Procrastinators’ Days, something the Chapter is considering as it begins to plan for increased day-time programming next year.

AIANY Reaches Out to Troubled Firms, Designers

As 2008 comes to a close, there’s no question that the economy is the top concern for architects. With countless layoffs at firms, few new projects being announced, and Federal funding for current projects waning, the full impact of the economic downturn and how the profession will be affected has yet to be seen. The only ways to sustain until better times, in my opinion, is for design professionals to band together and provide as much support for each other as possible. After attending the “Not Business as Usual” discussion at the Center for Architecture, I know I am not alone.

Spearheaded by AIANY Secretary Abby Suckle, FAIA, LEED AP, the premise of the session was to brainstorm ideas about how individuals and firms can stay afloat. Some in attendance represented media outlets that are willing to offer free classifieds to those looking for part-time employees, to rent out empty desks, or to post resumes. Others offered their time for portfolio and resume reviews, or to meet with firms and help coach on maintaining clients. Participants encouraged unemployed designers with more free time to get involved with politics or volunteer for organizations like Architecture for Humanity.

One thing is clear: the AIANY Chapter and Center for Architecture Foundation are committed in the coming months to transform the Center for Architecture into a nucleus for information, accommodating the changing needs of design professionals. The Center itself may become a resource for job listings and space-sharing postings (designers looking for work can already upload their resumes online). It may host training sessions, from test preparation, to software training, to how-to discussions on topics such as working with public agencies and putting together successful presentations. Starting in February, the Chapter is launching an ARE Boot Camp for those studying for ARE exams, with significant discounts for AIA members (for more information, e-mail Suzanne Mecs). The discussion focused on how the Center can grow by offering more day-time events and, in essence, becoming a “Starbucks for architects,” a place for people looking for work to connect with people looking for employees.

While more brainstorming discussions are planned, follow-through is essential. Anyone with ideas or suggestions can contact Suzanne Mecs. It was encouraging that many great ideas were brought to the table, and it seemed as if many were willing to donate their time to the effort. Hopefully, the Center for Architecture will become a hotbed for the profession in new ways to carry us all through these tough times.

In this issue:
· Space Used as Teaching Tool in New School
· Village Gate Opens Doors Again as Le Poisson Rouge
· W Creates Wow Factor
· Hotel Uses Small Site to Let In Light
· Stony Brook Wirelessly Paves Way for High-Tech Research
· New Smells Emanate from NJ
· Events Set Sail in Atlantic City

Space Used as Teaching Tool in New School

Green Beginnings Academy & Arts Center.

Karl Fisher Architect

Karl Fischer Architect, with interior designers and project coordinators DIA/WRKS and Wonder Works Construction and Development, have begun work on the Green Beginnings Academy & Arts Center, a pre-school located at the luxury multi-family development, Clinton Greens on West 51st Street. The school will use 8,000 square feet of space on the ground level and second floor to accommodate up to 100 students from six months to five years of age. Upon completion, the school will be one of a handful of pre-schools in the U.S. that subscribe to the Italian Reggio Emilia philosophy of teaching. Working with this educational approach, physical space is a primary element, and art is an integral part of the curriculum — many Reggio Emilia schools have dedicated art rooms staffed by full-time art teachers. The school is expected to be open for the Spring 2009 semester.

Village Gate Opens Doors Again as Le Poisson Rouge

Le Poisson Rouge.

Robert Wolsh

Architectural design and acoustic consulting firm Walters-Storyk Design Group has completed a redesign the former Village Gate, transforming it into a new club, Le Poisson Rouge. The club functions in three distinct configurations: fixed stage with table seating for 250 patrons of jazz, rock, and big band ensembles; an open dance space for 550 on a 23-foot-diameter hardwood sprung floor; and a performance-in-the-round setting, with a movable center stage, for acoustic, blues, or classical music. The club has two elevated VIP opera boxes and two private entrances as well. In addition to the flexible performance space, the club has two cinema-sized screens with surround sound. A fully soundproofed lounge adjacent to the performance space can hold approximately 130 guests.

W Creates Wow Factor

W New York.


BBG-BBGM has completed the renovation of the W New York at 541 Lexington Avenue, the hotel’s the first renovation since it opened 10 years ago. According to the architects, guest rooms and specialty suites have been infused with what they’ve coined wow. Each room was designed as a modernized interpretation of nature using scale, transparency, and graphics. Beds wrapped in zebrawood, are the focal point of the rooms, and wow design elements include custom-designed headboards with backlit, sensual photos in silhouette. Duplex suites have a double-height ceiling, a second-story loft bedroom, dark hardwood floors, and custom-designed, backlit acrylic panels featuring abstract tree forms. The extreme suites include wraparound outdoor terraces, teak flooring, oversized daybeds, and solid raw cedar cocoon chairs.

Hotel Uses Small Site to Let In Light

Linden Hotel.

Lang Architecture

Construction recently began on the Linden Hotel, a 16,000-square-foot, 38-room hotel in East New York, Brooklyn, designed by Lang Architecture. To maximize the small site, an atrium opens the building to light and views. Stairs and bridges span the atrium, providing access to guest rooms and a breakfast area on the lower level. The building is constructed from an interlocking polycarbonate system combined with expanded metal mesh to form an intermittently transparent, translucent, and opaque curtain wall that will change character throughout the day.

Stony Brook Wirelessly Paves Way for High-Tech Research


Jeff Goldberg/Esto, courtesy Mitchell/Giurgula Architects

Construction has been completed on the Mitchell/Giurgola Architects-designed Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology (CEWIT) at Stony Brook University on Long Island. CEWIT is a $250 million government/industry/academic partnership leading the next wave of the wireless and info-tech industries. The 100,000-square-foot facility will operate as a research center focusing on wireless networking and traffic management, effective bandwidth utilization, pervasive and high-speed computing, radio and digital communication, 3-D visualization, ad-hoc networks, digital signal processing, cyber security, wireless reality, computer vision, networks, virtual reality, bioinformatics, expressive networks, data mining, and computational neuroscience.

The structure is a mix of flexible, open lab space and supporting offices. Incubator space for private industry initiatives has also been incorporated, in addition to a clean room, an anechoic chamber, and a large multi-purpose space. The new center is part of a statewide economic strategy to make NY — and specifically Long Island — an innovative, global hub for the high-tech industry. The center is intended to anchor the new campus and district, where private/public partnerships can aid the design and production of new industry-leading products and concepts.

New Smells Emanate from NJ


Montroy Andersen DeMarco

Montroy Andersen DeMarco completed the 150,000-square-foot East Hanover, NJ, corporate campus for Givaudan, a Swiss-based flavor and fragrance company. Five years in the planning, the $28 million renovation features the company’s two-building concept — one for commercial and corporate offices and the other for fragrance development. Instead of building a new facility (the initial plan), Givaudan relocated in an office building that had been constructed with a “split plan,” which solved many of the design challenges. The two- and three-story buildings, for offices and development respectively, are connected with a centrally located lobby atrium. “Odor booths” — areas completely impermeable to external odors — were constructed of a specially designed metal-and-glass partition system. Green elements include open plans, natural lighting, energy-efficient Low-e glass and fiber-optic lighting, sustainable bamboo flooring, and an automated climate monitoring and control system.

Events Set Sail in Atlantic City

Event space in One Atlantic.

mUSE Architects

Designed by mUSE Architects, One Atlantic is an independent event venue in Atlantic City that stretches 300 feet over the Atlantic Ocean. Floor-to-ceiling windows maximize ocean views from every room. The project includes 10,000 square feet of interior event space and a 2,500-square-foot terrace. The main space offers views of the ocean and Atlantic City skyline. Reflective sail-like coffered ceilings, natural cork flooring, limed oak wood, and sheer gold drapes are intended to create a maritime feel. The venue is expected to open its doors in summer 2009.

In this issue:
· AIA Awards Top Honors
· Malecha Sworn in as 85th AIA President
· AIA Launches Rebuild & Renew
· NCARB to Launch Electronic Reporting, Supervisor Guidelines

AIA Awards Top Honors
The AIA Board of Directors voted to give the 2009 AIA Gold Medal to Australian architect Glenn Marcus Murcutt, Hon. FAIA. Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects was selected to receive the 2009 AIA Firm Award — the highest honor bestowed on an architecture firm. For outstanding work in the field of architecture education, the AIA named Adèle Santos, FAIA, to receive the 2009 Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education Award. Barbara Nadel, FAIA, was honored with the Edward C. Kemper Award for her significant contributions to the profession of architecture through service to the Institute. Clyde Porter, FAIA, was awarded the 2009 Whitney M. Young Jr. Award.

Malecha Sworn in as 85th AIA President
Marvin J. Malecha, FAIA, dean of the College of Design at North Carolina State University, was sworn in as the 85th AIA president on 12.05.08 at the new Foster + Partners-designed courtyard of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

AIA Launches Rebuild & Renew
As the new administration plans an economic recovery package that focuses heavily on infrastructure building, architects can have a critical role in ensuring that President-elect Obama’s proposals have wider impact and long-term benefits for the nation. To that end, the AIA has launched Rebuild & Renew to offer the skills and experiences of American architects to the next administration. It provides perspective on several points, including ways to fund the modernization and rehabilitation of the nation’s schools; increasing incentives for green commercial, residential, and government building construction; providing funding transit and mixed-use development; and preserving historic buildings.

To spread the message and put this agenda before Congress and the new President, the AIA is asking its members to take these four steps:

· Learn more about the Rebuild & Renew agenda.
· Contact members of Congress to urge them to support the plan.
· Send information about projects that are being held up by the economic crunch to the AIA. The Institute can let Congress and the new administration know what can be done to help.
· Record a video message for President-elect Obama inviting him to harness the knowledge of architects to green communities and the economy.

NCARB to Launch Electronic Reporting, Supervisor Guidelines
The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) will officially launch the electronic Experience Verification Reporting system (e-EVR) on 12.31.08. Electronic submissions will replace paper submissions as the standard way interns submit experience reports to complete the Intern Development Program (IDP). The e-EVR is intended to make it easier for interns to submit experience reports and track their progress, and for supervisors to review and approve them.

NCARB has also developed the IDP Supervisor Guidelines to assist supervisors in the crucial role they play in the careers of interns. The guidelines are available to download on NCARB’s website. NCARB’s Supervision Task Force and the Committee on the IDP developed the Supervisor Guidelines and received input from the American Institute of Architects (AIA); American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS); Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA); Society of Design Professionals (SDA); AIA’s National Associates Committee (NAC); and Council of Architectural Component Executives (CACE).

GSD Polls State of Sustainability in U.S.

In an effort to understand the state of sustainability in the U.S. design and construction industries today, students at the Harvard Graduate School of Design have posted an online survey, “Sustainability in Design Practice.” Survey respondents will have access to the results after January 12, 2009. The students hosting the survey are Elizabeth Christoforetti, Justin Lavallee, Katie Powell, Christopher Sherwin, Holly Wasilowski, and Megan Wright.