The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) announced the regional winners of its annual “Best Tall Building” awards for 2009 including Linked Hybrid by Steven Holl Architects and The Broadgate Tower by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Commendable Achievement award winners of the Sixth Annual A|L Light & Architecture Design Awards include Newtown Wastewater Treatment Plant by Polshek Partnership Architects with lighting designer L’Observatoire International; and Terminus 100 and Duke Integrative Medicine by Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design… The 2009 Connecticut Green Building Council Award winners include the Darien Library by NY-based Peter Gisolfi Associates

Winners of the 2009 IIDA NY Lester Dundes Interior Design Competition include, in the following categories: Commercial Over 50,000 SF, Law Firm by HLW International; Residential, The Chelsea Stratus by BBG/BBGM; and Sustainable Design, National Audubon Society by FXFOWLE Architects

The 2009 DesignIntelligence Sustainable Design Survey cited the top five firms as role models of green and sustainable design including HOK (1), Perkins + Will (2), and Arup (5)… WALLPAPER magazine has named SPG Architects one of the 30 top emerging architecture firms in the world.

Reynold Levy, president of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, has been selected the winner of the 2009 Design Patron Award… Arbuckle Industries won the contest for the AIANY Heritage Ball Video Project… Daniel J. Park, a senior BFA student at the New York School of Interior Design (NYSID), has been awarded $30,000 for winning the 2009 Angelo Donghia Foundation Senior Scholarship Award… NY House candidates Charles Rangel and Nydia Velazquez made contributions this year to ArchiPAC…

Andrew W. Prescott, AIA, was installed as president of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB)… Granary Associates has promoted Tasso Karras to associate principal, leader of the design center of excellence… Perkins Eastman has promoted Christine Albright and Christine Schlendorf to associate principals…

06.10.09: The AIANY Emerging NY Architects Committee (ENYA) and the Governors Island Alliance kicked off the Governors Island Water Taxi Beach season with a happy hour for emerging professionals on June 10. More than 250 guests attended and $10,000 was raised to support free public programming and public advocacy on Governors Island.


Jeff Ferzoco


(l-r): Venesa Alicea, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, AIANY associate director, with ENYA co-chairs Megan Chusid, Assoc. AIA, and Jessica Sheridan, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP.

Mauricio Alexander


ENYA members Carolyn Sponza, AIA, LEED AP (left), and Serena Chen, AIA.

Megan Chusid

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:

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.

08.14.09 Call for Ideas: New Urbanism: Rx for Healthy Places

09.03.09 Call for Submissions: Show How You Regreen: Green Housing Awards Program

10.05.09 Call for Entries: Mockett Annual Furniture Design Competition

Center for Architecture Gallery Hours and Location
Monday-Friday: 9:00am-8:00pm, Saturday: 11:00am-5:00pm, Sunday: CLOSED
536 LaGuardia Place, Between Bleecker and West 3rd Streets in Greenwich Village, NYC


A Space Within: The National September 11 Memorial & Museum

June 25 – September 14, 2009

On September 11th, 2001, what had been one of the world’s most densely developed business districts became, for many, hallowed ground. Soon after, questions emerged. What comes next? How could one site serve the needs of victims’ families, survivors of the attacks, members of the surrounding communities, business interests, and visitors?

The answer required a clear separation of the sacred and the secular; a defined, eight-acre space, serving as a tribute, would be created within the larger development. A Space Within is a public showcase of the memorial and museum that are now taking shape at the heart of the World Trade Center site.

Memorial design by Michael Arad and Peter Walker
Museum design by Davis Brody Bond Aedas
Museum pavilion design by Snøhetta

Exhibition curator:
Thomas Mellins
Exhibition design: Incorporated Architecture & Design

Exhibition and related programs are organized by the AIA New York Chapter in partnership with the Center for Architecture Foundation and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.
This exhibition is made possible through the generous support of the following sponsors:

National September 11 Memorial & Museum
Leading Sponsor: Digital Plus
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Associated Fabrication
Supporter: Adamson Associates
Fisher Marantz Stone
Guy Nordenson and Associates Structural Engineers
Horizon Engineering Associates
Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers
Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates
WSP Cantor Seinuk

New Practices San Francisco

June 04 – September 19, 2009

New Practices San Francisco is the 2009, West Coast premiere of AIA New York’s annual portfolio competition and exhibition. New Practices San Francisco is a platform for recognizing and promoting new and emerging architecture firms within San Francisco that have undertaken innovative strategies — both in projects and practice. The New Practices program was launched in 2005 by AIA New York to showcase promising new architectural firms.

New Practices San Francisco will be on view at the Center for Architecture from June 4, 2009 through September 19, 2009. It will then be on view at the Center for Architecture & Design, San Francisco, from November 12, 2009 through January 29, 2010. The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of programs organized by the AIA New York Chapter in collaboration with the New Practices Committee and AIA San Francisco.

Congratulations to our 2009 New Practices San Francisco Winners:

* CMG Landscape Architecture
* Edmonds + Lee Architects
* Faulders Studio
* Kennerly Architecture & Planning
* Min|Day
* Public Architecture

Exhibition Design:

Matter Practice, 2008 New Practices New York winning firm.

Graphic Design:
Anyspace Studio

Organized By:
AIA New York/ Center for Architecture, AIA San Francisco/ Center for Architecture + Design, and the New Practices Committee

This exhibition is made possible through the generous support of the following sponsors:

Lead Sponsor:

Presenting Sponsor: Hafele
Sponsor: MG & Company
Supporter: Hawa
Friends: diamondLife, Specialty Finishes, Trespa and Yarde Metals – Hauppauge, NY, and Hotel Carlton San Francisco
Media Partner: The Architect’s Newspaper

The Global Polis: Interactive Infrastructures

May 15 – August 29, 2009

What is infrastructure? For much of the twentieth century, the answer to this question was guided by the ideology of functionalist urbanism, a school of thought that said that all healthy cities served four major needs – work, housing, recreation, and transportation. Today, we no longer take this view for granted, for it is a perspective that makes no provisions for community, identity, or history. At the same time, we still lack an alternative model for visualizing the city that can deal adequately with the public health and quality-of-life issues that the early functionalists sought to address. Our capacity to balance urban development with the demands of ecological imperatives and social needs has only worsened in recent decades, and this exhibition asks whether the trend can be reversed.

Global Polis: Interactive Infrastructures documents a series of contemporary experiments in planning, architecture, and design that treat cities and their environments in holistic terms, as a complex social, political, and ecological matrix – not just as an assembly of buildings, roadways, bridges, pipes, and tunnels (although each of these is important). Infrastructure cannot be divorced from the structure of democracy, from the environment at large, and the contributions to this exhibition highlight the important role that community, communication, participation, and the sharing of knowledge can play in informing understanding of the urban fabric.

This spring and summer, a series of workshops and public programs will be held to generate discussion and debate about civic participation, urbanism, and design. Drawings and diagrams produced in the workshops will be incorporated into the exhibition as an evolving presentation of ideas.

Exhibition and related programs organized by AIA New York in partnership with Architecture for Humanity New York (AFHny) , The Austrian Cultural Forum, and the American Institute for Graphic Arts New York (AIGA NY).

Curator: Nader Vossoughian
Exhibition Design: Project Projects


Lead Sponsor:

Consulate General of The Netherlands

Times Square Alliance

Through 07.30.09
Deadpan by Steve McQueen


Steve McQueen, Deadpan, 1997.

Courtesy Creative Time and Marian Goodman Gallery

At 44 1/2, Creative Time’s presentation of video art on MTV’s screen in Times Square, the classic video work Deadpan (1997) by Turner Prize-winning artist Steve McQueen is being screened. This slapstick convention, repeated, investigates cinematic conventions and aims to be salient in its media-saturated environment.

Times Square
42nd Street, NYC

Through 08.01.09


A view of the installation at the opening reception.

Storefront for Art and Architecture

This installation creates an interior condition that reacts according to an exterior streetscape, and reasserts an active role in shaping that public space. Shape Memory Alloys (SMAs), a category of metals that change shape according to temperature, offer the possibility of efficient, fluid movement without the mechanized motion of earlier technologies.

Storefront for Art and Architecture
97 Kenmare Street, NYC

Through 07.31.09
Jiri Makovec: Tales from the Island


1 Madison Park” is taken from the penthouse under construction.

Jiri Makovec, courtesy Fragmental Museum

In Jiri Makovec’s fifth exhibition at the Chelsea market, he continues his personal exploration of the urban experience of New York..

Chelsea Market c/o Fragmental Museum
75 9th Avenue, NYC

Through 08.05.09
Design S: Swedish Design Award


Unik Standard 18-drawer cupboard, made from three different grades of Masonite.

Emma Nilsson

The work of recipients of Sweden’s biggest design award is on view focusing on design for sustainable development and addressing issues such as the climate, the environment, the welfare of society, and the long-term quality of life.

Pratt Manhattan Gallery
144 West 14th Street, NYC

Progress is Made at Ground Zero

Event: A Space Within: The National September 11 Memorial & Museum Panel Discussion
Location: Center for Architecture, 07.01.09
Speakers: Michael Arad, AIA — Partner, Handel Architects; Craig Dykers, AIA — Project Director, Snøhetta; Steven Davis, FAIA — Partner, Davis Brody Bond Aedas; Matthew Donham — Partner, Peter Walker Partners Landscape Architecture
Moderator: Thomas Mellins — Exhibition Curator, A Space Within: The National September 11 Memorial & Museum
Introduction: Joseph C. Daniels — President & CEO, National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center Foundation


A rendering of the 9/11 Memorial waterfalls.

Courtesy AIANY

“Nearly eight years have passed since 9/11, and the public wants to know what is going on,” stated Thomas Mellins, curator of A Space Within: The National September 11 Memorial & Museum, now on view at the Center for Architecture. Moderating a panel of designers working at Ground Zero, Mellins raised questions about the timing of design and construction, and factors leading to design decisions. With literally hundreds of designers and engineers working at the site, collaboration has been trying at times, to say the least. But despite the strong-willed individuals running design teams, at the end of the day, decisions are being made, steel is being topped out, and nothing is being left on the table, said Steven Davis, FAIA, partner at Davis Brody Bond Aedas, the firm designing the 9/11 Memorial Museum. “It’s finally physical and we’re all excited,” remarked Matthew Donham, partner at Peter Walker Partners Landscape Architecture.

A voice of optimism, Davis discussed how rewarding it is to see progress made daily. “Forms are emerging, buildings are being topped out; it’s all going all right,” he said. Michael Arad, AIA, partner at Handel Architects and designer of the National 9/11 Memorial, admitted that, although the first year seemed very slow, recently time has moved faster. Given the opportunity, though, he would not opt for more time to develop the memorial. Those involved needed to be pushed to make decisions and to come to a consensus, he claimed. Craig Dykers, AIA, project director at Snøhetta and architect of the 9/11 Memorial Museum Pavilion, agreed with Arad, but felt that perhaps more time was needed before the design process began. Although this is not possible in a city like NYC (“things aren’t always done logically,” he said), Dykers believes that the disjuncture between the political process and necessary healing time will yield interesting results.

Despite the pressured schedule, there were many other factors that influenced the design and addressed the challenge of how to create a space apart from, yet a part of, the city. When considering the plaza, Arad realized he had to facilitate among different types of visitors — those who will come once in a lifetime, every day, and anywhere in between. He wanted to construct a place accessible from all sides of the site. The planting strategy of the grove of trees responds to the perimeter conditions while providing a quiet, cool refuge from the city, explained Donham. The trees align in rows to direct visitors through an east/west axis, but the grid shifts for those entering from the north or south, allowing visitors to meander through at a slower pace, Davis elaborated.

For Arad, the political decision to require 10 million square feet of office space dramatically influenced the site’s overall development. Although Fulton and Greenwich Streets are being restored to the site, Fulton Street has shifted from its historic location to allow more space for One World Trade Center (formerly called Freedom Tower). The site, therefore, is divided into four unequal quadrants. In addition, for Donham, negotiating the complex infrastructure on the site was one of the biggest challenges. Each vent and pipe was placed to prevent problems in construction.

Below grade, Davis discussed his “inverted” design process. The museum’s form is defined by the memorial pools above; the slurry wall, PATH station, chiller plant, and 1WTC along the sides; and bedrock below. “Small buildings are a luxury in New York,” Dykers stated when describing the pavilion as a small, intimate space that contrasts the ever-growing city. While the program has been redefined several times, his goal has always been to provide an oasis in the city, a space where people can go to calm down. Part of the genius of the original Studio Daniel Libeskind-designed master plan, according to Dykers, was the provision for a cultural institution on site. Instead of segregating programs, autonomy was encouraged, which reflects the overlapping layers and complexity of the community.

Emotions about the design of the site still run high, as was revealed during the Q&A. Criticism ranged from siting the museum under ground to there not being enough information about the stories of the individuals who perished. Although the museum is planning a number of interactive displays, podcasts, and videos, some family members questioned how accessible the stories will be to “average” people who are not as “tech-savvy and intellectual” as the designers. Perhaps Arad addressed the questions most succinctly when asked to define sacred space. He used Jerusalem’s Western Wall as an example of a place that is unquantifyingly spiritual: “A place such as that is not something you can promise to deliver, but it is what we hope to create.”

New Accessibility Requirements Launch with New Code

Event: New Accessibility Requirements in the 2008 NYC Building Code
Location: Center for Architecture, 06.25.09
Speaker: Keith Wen, RA — Acting Director of Code Development and Interpretation, NYC Department of Buildings
Organizers: NYC Department of Buildings; AIANY


Courtesy AIANY

Now that it is July 2009, the NYC 2008 Construction Codes have gone into effect along with new accessibility requirements. Keith Wen, RA, acting director of code development and interpretation at the NYC Department of Buildings, recently discussed the first significant overhaul of the regulations since Local Law 58/87 launched in 1987. Here are some key highlights:

· Entrances (BC 1105). All public entrances, including restricted entrances, must be 100% accessible.
· Platform Lifts (BC 1109.7). Both vertical and inclined platform lifts are not permitted in New Construction, except in performance areas in Group A; wheelchair spaces in assembly areas; private spaces with less than five occupants; within dwelling units; and in interior courtrooms.
· Elevators (BC 3002.4). Buildings with five stories or more in height must accommodate ambulance stretchers.
· Limited Use/Limited Application (LULA) Elevators (BC 1109.6). In New Construction, LULA can only be used in buildings of less than 10,000 square feet that serve fewer than three contiguous floors; where a wheelchair lift or a private residence elevator is permitted; or in houses of worship. The maximum rise of LULA elevators is limited to 25 feet.
· Toilet Rooms (BC 1109.2). Unisex toilet rooms are required in Assembly and Mercantile occupancies where the number of water closets is six or more, male and female combined.
· Unisex/Single User Toilet rooms (A117.1, Section 604). Lavatories cannot overlap clear floor space.
· Accessible Means of Egress (Section 1007). At least one Accessible Means of Egress is required in accessible spaces. At least two Accessible Means of Egress are required where there are two or more means of egress.

To learn more about Wen’s presentation, click the links to download: Accessibility-AIA-06-09-Printout-SM.pdf and Applicability of 08 Code-Printout.pdf

Bioclimatic is the New Green

Event: Basic Bioclimatic Design: High Performance, Simplified
Location: Center for Architecture, 06.22.09
Speakers: Hillary Brown, FAIA, LEED AP — Principal, New Civic Works; Glenn Garrison, AIA — Principal, Glenn Garrison Incorporated
Organizer: AIANY Committee on the Environment


Queens Botanical Garden designed by BKSK Architects.

©Jeff Goldberg/Esto

Although sustainable design has made progress in recent years, the sheer scale of the A/E/C industry’s environmental impact proves that there is still a great deal of work to be done. According to Hillary Brown, FAIA, LEED AP, principal of New Civic Works, and Glenn Garrison, AIA, of Glenn Garrison Incorporated, bioclimatic design is the logical next step.

In bioclimatic design, architects develop an understanding of their site’s relationship to its natural and manmade context, then use this information as the starting point for the building’s design, Brown explained. For example, by examining exactly how the sun strikes a site throughout the day and during different seasons, designers can manipulate elements such as building shape and window placement to maximize daylight penetration and minimize the need for artificial heating and cooling.

One successful project, according to Brown, is BKSK Architects’ design for the Queens Botanical Garden, which employed bioclimatic design strategies. The LEED-Platinum building was designed to be flooded with natural light; water management techniques, such as gray water and storm water re-use, unify the building with the landscape; and energy consumption is reduced by using solar panels and a geothermal system.

However, despite the advantages of this holistic, context-based approach, Brown argued that basic bioclimatic principles are too often neglected in current architectural practices. “I’ve been struck in consultations with design teams how many buildings are improperly oriented, or are massed or fenestrated without recognition of different concerns of each of the façades. We really have to reacquaint ourselves with some basic operating principles.”

Security Talk at One Police Plaza

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly formally presented the NYPD’s cogent book of design guidelines, Engineering Security: Protective Design for High Risk Buildings, at a well-attended conference at One Police Plaza on July 1. Calling the document “a major step forward to prevent an attack or mitigate the impact of an attack,” he delineated the principles of protective design and the specific recommendations necessary for “New York City’s high density environment.” The result of a process of intensive consultations and peer review, Commissioner Kelly said the final document was both informative and practical.

The details of the book’s organization and contents were outlined by Dr. Richard A. Falkenrath, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Counterterrorism. Falkenrath described the sessions that led to the development of tools to calculate risk, with particular attention to risk mitigation and avoidance through site layout, building orientation, façade design, window placement, material selection, interior partition composition, and the prevention of progressive collapse.

Several members of the AIA New York Chapter Board, including 2009 Chapter President Sherida Paulsen, FAIA, President-elect Tony Schirripa, AIA, IIDA, and Director of Industry Affairs Carl Galioto, FAIA, reviewed advance copies of the preliminary document. The Chapter’s remarks, sent to Falkenrath on June 12, stated that the book puts forth a rational and reasonable approach to understanding the particular challenges of building high-risk buildings and offers potential solutions to address specific conditions. We agreed with the fundamental premise of the book that only a small number of high-risk buildings merit significant security design attention, but that many buildings could benefit from its suggestions. That the document requires little or no expense for low-risk buildings is noteworthy given the current economic downturn and financial crunch.

The strategies presented for medium- and high-risk buildings are consistent with recommendations made on a project-by-project basis by security consultants including Robert Ducibella (Ducibella Venter & Santore), one of the peer review technical experts whose comments educated the development of the book. The accessibility of the document, available online, makes this strategic approach available to many more architects, engineers, builders, and building owners.

The only other post-9/11 publication available that addresses how building security analysis can determine the most appropriate methods of protecting people, buildings, assets, and ongoing operations, is the tome called Building Security: Handbook for Architectural Planning & Design (2004, McGraw-Hill Professional), by Barbara Nadel, FAIA, a collection of 31 essays by architects and engineers, including Galioto. Nadel acknowledges Commissioner Kelly and many others at the NYPD in her introduction.

But the books are very different. Reading the NYPD’s Engineering Security: Protective Design for High Risk Buildings is comparable to entering into a conversation with the counter-terrorism experts at the NYPD, learning what has worked and not worked, hearing what is logical and what is not logical, determining clear and concrete steps for design and construction of buildings made iconic by location, use, and prominence.

The publication announcement at NYPD Headquarters, a 1973 structure designed by Kelly & Gruzen (now Gruzen Samton Architects, Planners & Interior Designers), included a panel discussion by NYC Department of Buildings Commissioner Robert Limandri, Ducibella, Marolyn Davenport of the Real Estate Board of New York, and yours truly representing AIANY. Other speakers included Rep. Peter King and Rep. Yvette Clarke, both members of Congress who serve on the Homeland Security Committee.

AIANY looks forward to assisting the NYPD in making the book’s contents and recommendations available to its members and to others in the design and construction communities.