In this issue:
· A Community of Hands to Help: Max is Gone
· AIANY Chapter Launches A.R.E. Boot Camp
· AIA Responds to Cutting of School Construction Funding
· AIA Publishes Pro Bono Guide
· Box-a-Thon Returns to NYC

A Community of Hands to Help: Max is Gone

I was going to write, about the death of J. Max Bond, Jr., FAIA; that Max was my mentor, as he was for so many others — that he was an inspiration and a role model for thousands of architects and architecture students. Roberta Washington, FAIA, said it better and first in one of many, many e-mails that brought people together in their shock and their grief. She sent the following short message: “Max was my mentor (he was for many) and an inspiration in so many respects. He was a role model extraordinaire. He was supportive when he needed to be and blunt and truthful when he had to be. There will be a big hole in the architecture fabric of New York with his passing.”

The extraordinary facts of his life have been related in the obituaries linked to this space-limited tribute. Academic achievements, breakthrough patterns of work from the Architects Renewal Committee in Harlem (ARCH) to Davis Brody Bond Aedas, not to forget Bond Ryder James Architects. The projects we all know, large and small, near and far. And those of us who loved his forceful persistence for an engaged, politically-aware design excellence find no one else to fill his shoes. Whether over an architectural school drawing board (second year housing studio in my case), a tricky land use issue at the City Planning Commission, or over the design and symbolism of major public project (one of my favorites is the Langston Hughes Library & Community Center that Max did under the auspices of DDC on Northern Boulevard in Queens). Over the front door of that project, a bronze-colored façade frames some of the famous words of Freedom’s Plow. The poem begins: “When a man starts to build the world / He starts first with himself / And the faith that is in his heart / The strength there / The will to build.” Max had the will to build, and he built well.

Other memorials in the news:
“J. Max Bond Jr., Architect, Dies at 73,” by David W. Dunlop, The New York Times, 02.19.09.

“Max Bond, 1935-2009: Revered Davis Brody Bond Aedas partner was pathbreaking African-American architect,” by Julie Iovine, The Architect’s Newspaper, 02.18.09. The Architect’s Newspaper is also soliciting tributes: Remembering Max Bond.

“J. Max Bond, 1935-2009,” by Clay Risen, The New Republic, 02.19.09.

AIANY Chapter Launches A.R.E. Boot Camp

A.R.E. Bootcamp.

Carolyn Sponza

The AIANY Chapter and the Emerging NY Architects Committee (ENYA) has launched an Architects Registration Examination (A.R.E.) Boot Camp program for intern architects. The first three sessions, which covered the Structural Systems, Site Planning, and Building Systems divisions of the examination, were filled to capacity. The remaining four Saturday sessions will focus on Construction Documents and Services, Building Design and Construction Systems, Programming Planning and Practice, and Schematic Design. Format of the program is structured on ARE 4.0.

95% of respondents polled at the first session said that this was the first review class they had taken. Led by a combination of recently licensed architects and seasoned professionals, each class begins with an overview of study and test-taking strategies and techniques critical to exam success. This program is offered at $10 for Associate AIA members ($75 for non-members), and is part of AIANY Chapter’s efforts to support intern architects on the road to licensure.

More information about the remaining sessions in this series is available on the program website at: The series is also planned to run again in the fall.

AIA Responds to Cutting of School Construction Funding
In response to the Senate’s elimination of stimulus funding for the modernization of schools, the AIA is sending a letter to Congressional leaders to argue against this, citing 67 organizations (including Sierra Club, U.S. Conference of Mayors, National Education Association) who support the AIA’s concerns.

AIA Vice President, Government & Community Relations, Paul Mendelsohn said, “Not only are America’s schools in desperate need of repairs, but the money allocated in the House version of the bill would result in the creation of 400,000 jobs nationwide. Schools are the only building type where, through green design, you can reduce energy consumption, improve the environment, and create a learning environment where students will be better prepared to compete in a global workplace.”

AIA Publishes Pro Bono Guide
Through pro bono efforts, architects and allied design professionals bring a unique combination of knowledge and design skills to bear on a wide range of issues facing our communities.

To translate good intentions into effective action, the AIA has released the Institute Guidelines to Assist AIA Members, Firms and Components in Undertaking Pro Bono Service Activities. The Guidelines include how to select pro bono clients, define the scope of services, avoid legal liabilities and other pitfalls, and develop contracts or agreements for pro bono services.

Box-a-Thon Returns to NYC’s Save A Sample! invites design firms to donate boxes of materials including fabrics, brochures, and finish cards, which will be given to local design schools. In addition, Save A Sample! raises money from manufacturer sponsors for resource library scholarships for each of the participating schools. Supported by AIA, ASID, IIDA, SMPS, and USGBC, last year’s Save A Sample! raised over $14,000 in scholarships, which were distributed to the Art Institute, FIT, Kean University, NYIT, NYSID, Parsons The New School, and Pratt Institute. This year’s event runs 04.07-09.09. For additional information about Save A Sample!, please visit

Governors Island May Not Open This Year

With no operating money for the island in Governor Paterson’s proposed budget and no new capital money in sight, the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation (GIPEC) is preparing to shut down the island, unless the state legislature can push through funding, which the city will match. Governors Island Alliance (GIA) members are meeting with legislative leaders on February 27, launching a postcard drive to the Governor, Mayor, and legislators, planning a press conference, and testifying at hearings. “Being the eternal optimist, I am hopeful that we will indeed have a summer season on the Island and the historic district will be protected,” says GIA executive director Rob Pirani. “But it’s going to take all of us to see this happen.” Click here to send a “Keep the Island Afloat” postcard to the Governor.

Nine firms were selected out of 40 to be a part of the 2009 Center for Architecture Exhibition Design Shortlist — Open Call: Architecture in Formation, Evidence Design, G TECTS, Incorporated Architecture + Design, Leven Betts, Lyn Rice Architects, MATTER, Moorhead & Moorhead, and nARCHITECTS

The Interior Design Department at FIT announced that Gaetano Pesce is the 2009 Lawrence Israel Prize honoree…

NY-based winners of the 2008 International Design Awards competition Professional First Place Awards include, in the following categories: Landscape, WXY Architecture + Urban Design for The Battery Bosque & Carousel; Urban Design, Rogers Marvel Architects for Battery Park City Streetscapes; Renovation, Jonathan Kirschenfeld Associates for Floating Pool; Renovation, Taryn Christoff, Martin Finio, AIA, Jeff Hong, Chris Mechaley, Mac Patoulas, John Szot, and Vicky Yuan for The Heckscher Foundation… Mancini Duffy also won an award in the Annual Reports category for “Mancini Duffy’s Year in Review”…

The Alliance for Downtown New York has selected Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners and FXFOWLE Architects to study street-level conditions, and implement a planning and design study of Water Street… The Illuminating Engineering Society of NYC will announce the results of their Ninth Annual NYC Student Lighting Competition and mark the opening of the Audible Light Exhibition on 03.04.09 with a keynote address by Linnaea Tillett, PhD

George Melas, AIA, LEED AP, has been named a Senior Vice President at Syska Hennessy Group, Inc… Gerner Kronick + Valcarcel Architects (GKV) appointed Benita Welch, AIA, and Joseph Barbagallo, AIA, as Principals… Poulin + Morris has named Brian Brindisi a Principal of the firm… BBG-BBGM named Roderick A. Petschauer and Ronda McCrea Principals.

01.28.09: PKSB Architects feted Principal Sherida Paulsen, FAIA, on her assuming the mantle of 2009 AIANY President.

AIANY President Sherida Paulsen, FAIA, with David Burney, FAIA, Commissioner, NYC Dept. of Design + Construction, and AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA.

Kristen Richards

(L-R): Mark Ginsberg, FAIA, Past AIANY President; Frank Sciame, Hon. AIANY; David Burney, FAIA.

Kristen Richards

Marcy Stanley, Hon. AIA, Weidlinger Associates; Sophie Deprez, AIANY/Center for Architecture Development Coordinator; Sara Romanoski, AIANY/Center for Architecture Programs Coordinator.

Kristen Richards

02.11.09: A 10-foot-tall heart sculpture by Gage/Clemenceau made from stainless steel, LED lights, and robot-carved Corian shelves was erected in Times Square for Valentine’s Day.

Lovers embrace under the lights.

Murrye Bernard

The sculpture up close.

Murrye Bernard

2009 Oculus Editorial Calendar
If you are an architect by training or see yourself as an astute observer of New York’s architectural and planning scene, note that OCULUS editors want to hear from you! Projects/topics may be anywhere, but architects must be New York-based. The themes:

Spring Issue: Elevating Architecture / Design Literacy for All. Closed.

Summer Issue: AIANY 2009 Design Awards and AIANY/BSA Biennial Design Type Awards. Closed.

Fall Issue: Carbon Neutral Now. The new green frontier, carbon neutrality, researched, explored, planned, and designed at all scales by New York architects.
06.01.09: Suggestion Deadline

Winter Issue: Health & Architecture. Architecture designed to promote fitness, health, and wellness will be profiled. Projects selected from within this growing field will demonstrate sensitivity to generational and demographic issues, sustainability, and technology.
08.01.09: Suggestion Deadline

If you have suggestions, please contact OCULUS editor-in-chief Kristen Richards.

03.31.09 Call for Nominations: CTBUH Chair Search
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) seeks a new chair to oversee its strategic steering and direction in conjunction with the CTBUH Board of Trustees. The position is a two-year tenure, ideally preceded by a one-year position as Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect. There is no fixed profile, but prior involvement in the conception, design, construction, and/or operation of tall buildings is a pre-requisite.

05.15.09 Call for Entries: Maxmix Cities: Celebration of Cities 3
This ideas consultation is open to architects and architecture students internationally. It is a response to the multiple contradictions of contemporary cities: high density and anonymity; man’s distance from nature and his desire to retrieve it; opposition between the urban world and the rural world, between the past and the present. A grand prize of 5,000 Euros will be awarded in each category (students and professionals).

09.04.09 Call for Nominations: MAPA Design 09
The Mid-Atlantic Precast Association (MAPA) announces a new awards competition with two categories to honor architect and student designs that incorporate precast concrete in the mid-Atlantic region. Winners will receive a custom plaque and recognition in a variety of MAPA communications.

Center for Architecture Gallery Hours
Monday-Friday: 9:00am-8:00pm, Saturday: 11:00am-5:00pm, Sunday: CLOSED

Join an Architalker for a Hosted Tour of Center for Architecture

Join us for free Architalker-hosted tours of the Center for Architecture exhibitions Fridays at 4:00pm. To join one of these tours, meet in the Public Resource Area on the ground floor of the Center for Architecture.


January 22 — April 25, 2009

MAKE IT WORK. Engineering Possibilities

Today’s engineers are working across disciplines and driving innovation. MAKE IT WORK. Engineering Possibilities looks at how engineers are envisioning and realizing the future of our built environment by transforming structures, improving environments, enhancing materials, re-inventing building technologies, and advancing forms. This exhibition highlights how inventive strategies for building are born from multidisciplinary research and integrated practice. Small engineering firms, large engineering firms, engineering schools, university labs, materials labs, artists, inventors, and architects are all part of the exchange of ideas — plotting trajectories of innovation.

Building on observations, analysis, and mathematical principles, engineers have developed the profession from empirical analysis into a field of expertise based on predictability and synthesis. With digital simulation and processing capabilities, engineers are utilizing comprehensive models to explore different options for optimizing structures and systems.

Twenty-first century engineers are tackling some of the most challenging concerns of our day. Exceeding LEED standards for sustainable building, engineers are conceiving of new ways for buildings to harvest and manage energy — floors that create electricity and facade systems that respond to the sun. Anticipating dwindling global resources, engineers are designing structures to new standards of efficiency and economy — stadiums that use 50% less steel and towers formed for optimal wind-loading.

These solutions are the product of creative and collaborative pursuit. This exhibition highlights how inventive strategies for building are born from multidisciplinary research and integrated practice. Small engineering firms, large engineering firms, engineering schools, university labs, materials labs, artists, inventors, and architects are all part of the exchange of ideas — plotting trajectories of innovation.

Exhibition Curatorial Team:
Rosamond Fletcher
Eli Gottlieb
Zak Kostura
Erik Madsen
Jonah Stern
Beth Stryker

Exhibition Designer:
Pure + Applied

Framing Space Installation by:

Phillip Anzalone and Stephanie Bayard, aa64

The Trusset Structural System, invented by Phillip Anzalone and Cory Clarke, is a project of the Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) at Columbia University in collaboration with the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Research Assistant:
Ginger Nolan, Columba GSAPP Ph.D Candidate

Research Intern:
Alicia Arroyo

Special Thanks to our Advisory Committee:
Julie Applebaum, Center for Architecture Foundation Board

Phil Bernstein, Autodesk
Vincent Chang, Grimshaw
John Hennessy, ACEC President
Marvin Mass, Cosentini
Dan Nall, Flack + Kurtz
Craig Schwitter, Buro Happold
David Scott, Arup
Susan Szenasy, Metropolis
Richard Tomasetti, Thornton Tomasetti.



Lead Sponsors:

Supporters: American Council of Engineering Companies of New York, Josef Gartner USA, and Weidlinger Associates

Friend: Grimshaw Architects

Supporter: American Council of Engineering Companies of New York

The Framing Space Installation is generously provided by aa64 with additional support from:

Alusion, a product of Cymat Technologies Ltd.

Contrarian Metal Resources

General Plastics Manufacturing

Indalex Aluminum Solutions Group

Maloya Laser, Inc.


Related Events

Wednesday, February 4, 2009, 6:00 — 8:00pm

Multi-disciplinary Innovation

Saturday, February 21, 2009, 11:00am — 5:00pm

Symposium: Energy Engineering

Thursday, February 26, 2009, 6:00 — 8:00pm

100% BIM

Thursday, March 19, 2009, 6:00 — 8:00pm

Tapered, Tilted, Twisted Towers: a lecture by David Scott, Arup

Friday, March 27, 2009, 6:00 — 8:00pm

Screening of Bird’s Nest, a film by Christoph Schaub & Michael Schindhelm

Through 03.29.09
Urban China: Informal Cities

Urban China: Informal Cities.

The New Museum

The first U.S. exhibition of Urban China magazine, the only magazine devoted to issues of urbanism published in China, includes a built environment of reclaimed construction materials; a massive wall graphic combining photographs, found images, numerical data, and maps; a Flash-based, user-navigable database of photographs; and a selected collection of past issues of Urban China magazine. Together, these elements fill the lobby gallery, exploding the magazine’s radical worldview off its pages and into the physical space of the museum. The wall graphic and related objects examine how informal systems — spatial, economic, and utilitarian — act to subvert the controlled nature of urban spaces in China.

The New Museum
235 Bowery

Through 03.31.09
Exyzt — Situation Room

Storefront for Art and Architecture

Working on experimental projects, Exyzt invites architecture, video, graphic-design, botany and any other concept to become devices of expression and creation. Situation Room is a playground for [re] creation, collective action, active occupation, open demonstration, and social games. It is meant to be a space for intuitive, interactive, and collective performance. Members of Exyzt will inhabit the gallery space, making use of the furnishings as though it were a domestic space and inviting the audience to reconsider occupied areas in a well-defined timeframe.

Storefront for Art and Architecture
97 Kenmare Street

Through 04.04.09
Building Code

Building Code.

Jen Berkman Gallery

This is an exhibition of eight paintings in oil and acrylic by Sarah McKenzie, who paints buildings in various states of construction, referencing geometric abstraction and 20th-century Modernism. She applies paint to the canvas in ways that often break the unity of the image. Her process parallels construction and her surfaces encourage the viewer to compare the structure of the paintings with the frames of the buildings she is painting.

Jen Berkman Gallery
6 Spring Street

Through 05.31.09
What is Sculpture? Akari from the 1986 Venice Biennale

Installation at the 1986 Venice Biennale with Akari VB6 at right.

Photo by Shigeo Anzai, courtesy The Noguchi Museum

The Noguchi Museum presents Isamu Noguchi’s Akari Light Sculptures, focusing on the examples featured in the American Pavilion at the 1986 Venice Biennale. This display comprises eight Akari from that exhibition, along with some 20 additional designs not shown in Venice. A highlight of the exhibition is a group of unique and rarely seen Akari Light Sculptures that Noguchi created especially for the Biennale — the last the artist would make. These include the VB4 model, which is a large, “floating” pyramidal paper shade that is suspended from a cord and has been tethered to the ground by stones covered in handmade paper.

The Noguchi Museum
9-01 33rd Road (at Vernon Boulevard), Long Island City



Now that the four Sustainable Design hours for AIA continuing education are official, the AIANY calendar is indicating programs that fulfill the requirement. When you are perusing the many upcoming events at the Center for Architecture, be sure to keep an eye out for the “SD” notation.

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


(L-R): Laura Manville; Rick Bell, FAIA; Tony Schirripa, AIA, IIDA; Sherida Paulsen, FAIA; Michael Cosentino, AIA (President-elect, AIA Queens); Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney; Mary Burke, AIA; Margery Perlmutter, AIA; Margaret Castillo, AIA, LEED AP; Venesa Alicea, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP: Terrence O’Neal, AIA; Burt Roslyn, AIA.

Orly Isaacson

The Grassroots Leadership and Legislative Conference of the American Institute of Architects brought more than 800 architects to Capitol Hill last week. Our Rebuild & Renew message called on Congress to prioritize economic recovery funding for projects that will stimulate the design and construction industries, creating jobs and assuring design quality. The AIA’s plan will enable architects and builders to create safe and modern infrastructure, energy efficient buildings, and sustainable communities.

The AIA New York delegation was led by Chapter President Sherida Paulsen, FAIA, and included President-elect Tony Schirripa, AIA, IIDA, Vice President for Public Outreach Margaret Castillo, AIA, LEED AP, Public Director Margery Perlmutter, AIA, Associate Director Venesa Alicea, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, along with Policy Coordinator Laura Manville.

AIA National issued briefs that we discussed with NYC legislators calling for the promotion of healthy and safe communities through transportation funding, the elimination of federal fee retainage rules, and health care reform.

We also had conversations on the Hill about the impact of the economic crisis on the architecture and design community in New York, and how project funding and credit is needed to keep offices going. The Chapter’s Not Business as Usual advocacy efforts resonated with members of Congress and others present. Of particular interest to many was the idea of energy surveys of public buildings as a generator of work, and the expansion of AmeriCorps to include a DesignCorps component.

The VIA AIA theme of vision/influence/action was organized and led by AIA National President-elect George Miller, FAIA, a past-president of AIA New York.

A highlight was the Best Practice session spotlighting the AIA New York Chapter’s New Housing New York Legacy Project. Many affordable housing enthusiasts and housing specialists came to hear the presentation by Holly Leicht, Deputy Commissioner for Development of the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development, and Mark Ginsberg, FAIA, LEED AP, the Chapter’s AIA150 Champion.

With a spirit of change in DC, and a sense of urgency imparted by global economic conditions, this Grassroots conference was considered by those attending as the most important lobbying effort by the AIA in history.

How and Why to Get Involved with Your Community Board

Event: Info Session: How to Join a Community Board
Location: Helpern Architects, 01.23.09
Speakers: Shaan Khan — Director of Community Affairs and Constituent Services, Manhattan Borough President’s Office; Margery Perlmutter, AIA — AIANY Public Director & Former Community Board 8 Member; David Helpern, FAIA — Principal, Helpern Architects & Community Board 8 Member
Organizer: David Helpern, FAIA

Governmental reform in NYC’s community boards is needed. There are a high number of vacancies, unbalanced representation, a highly politicized appointment process, unreported conflicts of interest, and many are unaware that community boards exist. The urgency is apparent, as this comes from Shaan Khan, the director of community affairs and constituent services at the Manhattan Borough President’s Office. “Participation is the first step to reform,” Khan stated at a recent discussion encouraging design professionals to join community boards.

There are 600 members in Manhattan’s 12 community boards. With staggered two-year terms, members are residents, work in the area, or otherwise have a significant interest in the neighborhood. Full boards meet once a month, and sub-committees meet more regularly. The boards’ roles range from reviewing land-use proposals, monitoring city services, influencing policy issues, and controlling some of the NYC capital and expense budget. Community boards are the first step in the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) process as well as budgeting in the city. They have major say in what buildings get built and what changes are made to zoning regulations.

Margery Perlmutter, AIA, was a member of Community Board 8 for six years. She joined after witnessing board members “abusing” architects who were presenting their projects. “Most members have no idea about zoning, buildings, or planning. They make big decisions for people who don’t have a background.” Perlmutter used the Atlantic Yards debacle as an example of the naiveté of board members. This is why it is important for those who have experience and expertise — architects, engineers, and design professionals — to get involved with their neighborhoods, she said.

While the government may be working on de-politicizing the application process, Perlmutter had some words of wisdom for those considering applying. “Filling out the application is just the beginning. You have to jockey for position among the many cliques.” She recommends making appointments with council members, becoming a non-voting public member of sub-committees, making acquaintances with members, and using all of your personal connections to vie for a position.

David Helpern, FAIA, a member of Community Board 8 who cites Perlmutter as integral to his appointment on the board, spent time marketing himself to his board. He kept after council members to meet with him. He made sure the Borough President knew him, asked that committee heads consider him, went to as many community board meetings as possible, and made friends with as many members as possible. When his application came through, the board was already familiar with his qualifications and him, personally.

While the process to get on a community board may be intensive, there are many benefits to sitting on one. They can be used to leverage a future in politics. As the chair of CB 8’s landmarks committee, Perlmutter used her position to vie for and become the commissioner of the Landmarks Commission. Ultimately, the more informed and knowledgeable people in board positions are, the better it is for communities, she stated. Even if the deadline for this year has passed, now is the time to start getting involved to make a significant difference.