In this issue:
· AIA Proposes Big Changes for Commercial Buildings in IECC
· How Green Is It? The Industry Offers Tools to Tell
· Export Alliance Construction Provides Opportunities North of the Border
· Call for designers/exhibition designers

AIA Proposes Big Changes for Commercial Buildings in IECC
With the 2010 International Energy Conservation Code’s public comment session open, environmental advocates, including the AIA’s sustainability team, have been working hard to have their voices heard in defense of greener, more energy efficient buildings. In early 2010 the International Code Council will finalize the code. Changes include a major revision of the code’s chapter on commercial buildings, requiring them to be more energy efficient. The proposed revision also includes changes to the code’s mechanical system requirements, and improvements to fenestration and opaque walls. The IECC committee narrowly approved these changes, and AIA is readying itself for the final action hearings. The deadline for public comments is February 2010, and the first action hearings will be next May, in Dallas. Visit the ICC’s website for more details.

How Green Is It? The Industry Offers Tools to Tell

A recent AIArchitect article offered a rundown of the different means of evaluating green building products. Because it is hard to tell how well a product actually performs from manufacturer’s label alone (many of those manufacture-determined ratings can be found at ecoScorecard), Building Green, an industry leader in the effort to sift through products has developed a subscription service, the GreenSpec directory. Building Green is far from the only resource in the pack. Check out The Construction Specifications Institute’s GreenFormat product rating tool, the ICC’s Sustainable Attributes Evaluation and Verification (SAVE) program, the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program, and two resources from the Underwriters Laboratories (UL): the Environmental Claims Validation program and the Database of Validated and Certified Products.

Export Alliance Construction Provides Opportunities North of the Border
American architects and general contractors are invited to participate in the “Export Alliance Construction” annual trade event for Canadian product and manufacturing companies. Next year’s conference will meet in Montreal, Canada, 01.31-02.01.10. Export Alliance Construction, which is organized by a number of Canadian partners including the Ministry for Economic Development, the World Trade Centre of Montreal, and Foreign Affairs and International Trade Commission of Canada, gives Americans the opportunity to meet with Canadian manufacturers (see a list of manufacturers here). Through the Ministry of Economic Development, a number of U.S. participants will be able to attend the conference, expenses paid. To apply for this opportunity, contact Laurent Waessa at the Quebec Government Office in New York, at 212-843-0973 or The registration deadline to be considered for funding is 12.11.09.

Call for Graphic & Exhibition Designers
The Center for Architecture is excited to be creating two new “shortlists” for designers. The call for exhibition designers is in its second iteration, after a successful 2009 Not Business as Usual Exhibition Designer Shortlist, which generated three of this year’s exhibition designs: A Space Within: The National September 11th Memorial and Museum (Incorporated Architecture & Design); New Practices San Francisco (Matter Practice); and ContextContrast: New Architecture in Historic Districts, 1967-2009 (Moorhead & Moorhead). This year, the Center for Architecture is also launching a graphic designer shortlist, for individuals who will work with the Center staff to generate print and electronic materials. In both cases it’s a priority for the Center to highlight the work of AIANY Chapter members. Current members are invited to apply, and AIANY encourages non-members to submit and join. New members will receive member benefits for 2009 and all of 2010.

To have your work considered, submit an expression of interest, qualifications, and a PDF portfolio (max 10 pages) to Jonah Stern, Exhibitions Coordinator ( by Monday, 12.21.09. Late submissions will not be accepted. The 2010 Shortlist will be announced in January, and selected firms will be included in a library exhibition in February 2010.

Children Attach Magnets to SoHo Cast Iron Façades


Participants explore cast iron architecture around town and at the Center.

Inge Hoonte, Patrick Candalla

On 11.14.09 a group of 72 children and adults transformed the streets of SoHo into an architectural playground. Participants of the Center for Architecture Foundation’s Family Day, “Cast Iron Architecture in SoHo,” followed Design Educator Catherine Teegarden from LaGuardia Place to Houston St., Greene St., Prince St., and West Broadway. Along the way, children tried to stick magnets to façades to identify prefabricated cast iron plates.

Attendees learned about the general history and usage of iron in the local architectural landscape of the late 1900s. Teegarden pointed out that glass embedded in iron grates in the sidewalk allow light into basements that historically would otherwise have been dark. Children practiced reading a building by looking at the common rhythm of repeating columns and beams as well as decorative details, which the kids compared to sprinkles on a cupcake.

Upon returning to the Center participants used their newfound knowledge from the street to construct paper façades. They started with a base of horizontal and vertical strips of colored paper echoing the columns and beams that had just observed, then used beads, wooden dots, and fabric rosettes for ornament. One participant drew furniture behind a pop-up screen. Another added narrow strips of bright paper onto a darker shade to replicate a column’s shadow.

The Center for Architecture Foundation presents Family Day programs on the second Saturday of each month. These workshops are designed for children ages five to 13 and their adult companions to work together on a hands-on activity. The next Family Day will explore the role of light in architecture and design. Participants will investigate the traditions of cultures from around the world that celebrate light as well as innovative lighting design strategies. Families will then create their own light fixture to take home. This annual event is sponsored by the Illuminating Engineering Society of NY (IESNY).

What Might Have Been


Courtesy Museum of the Phantom City

Every architect has at least one project that never came to be. Instead, it is memorialized forever on the drawing boards. But wait — now there’s an app for you. In honor of NYC projects that were never built, the Museum of the Phantom City is hosting a public art project in the form of an iPhone application by Cheng+Snyder. Once downloaded to your phone, it allows you to walk the city and see images of projects imagined but never realized along with notes on what the designers intended. Download it for free.

The Sam Fox School announced the winners of the 2009 Skandalaris Awards:
Rick Lowe, the founder of Project Row Houses won the Award for Excellence in Art + Architecture; Anna Rubbo, founder of Global Studio, and John Bielenberg, founder of Project M won Awards for Entrepreneurship in Design & Visual Arts…

The Shanghai World Financial Center, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, garnered three MIPIM Asia 2009 awards, including Best Chinese Project and Best Mixed-Use Building, while also earning the “Participants’ Choice” award…

The award winners of CANstruction NY 2009 include Feed the Bank (Piggy Bank) by Arianna Braun Architects, Juror’s Favorite; A Fungus to Feed Us by Platt Byard Dovell White Architects, Best Structural Ingenuity; Basic Goodness by HLW International LLP/Turner Construction, Best Meal; We Get By With A Little Help From Our Friends by Ted Moudis Associates, Best Use of Labels; and Honorable Mentions The (Not So) Very Hungry Caterpillar by Polshek Partnership Architects, and Lend a Helping CAN by Dattner Architects

McGraw-Hill Construction announced that Norbert Young, FAIA, who served as president, has left the company… Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. discontinued the publication of Metropolitan Home magazine, ending with the December issue…

Artist Jeanne-Claude, who worked alongside and under the name of her husband, Christo, has died at the age of 74…

Spector Group announced the opening of its first office in Abu Dhabi, and has also established its presence in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in collaboration with a small consortium of international professional engineers…

HDR CUH2A announced that Randle Pollock has joined the firm as Central Regional Business Development Director..

11.17.09: The architects and engineers who competed in CANstruction NY 2009 used 100,693 food products (mostly canned goods) to build 30 diverse and whimsical canstructures. The event was sponsored by the Society For Design Administration (SDA), AIANY, and arts>World Financial Center.


Juror’s Favorite: Feed the Bank (Piggy Bank) by Arianna Braun Architects, PLLC.

Jessica Sheridan


Best Structural Ingenuity: A Fungus to Feed Us by Platt Byard Dovell White Architects.

Jessica Sheridan

Canstruction 044

Canstruction Jurors (L-R): E Bruce Barrett; Burt Roslyn; Charles Baskett, AIA; Sherida Paulsen, FAIA; Louis Dubin; Mark Goetz; John Gidding; and Adriana Trigiani.

Rick Bell

2010 Oculus Editorial Calendar
Coming soon!

11.30.09 Call for Submissions/Proposals: desigNYC: NYC Non-Profits Needing Pro-Bono Design Services

12.04.09 Call for entries/Request for Qualifications (RFQ): Conceptual plan for the enhancement of Lower Kinnear Park, Seattle

12.15.09 Late Registration Deadline: HB:BX Building Cultural Infrastructure International Ideas Competition

12.18.09 Request for Proposals: Barangaroo Headland Park and Public Domain, Australia

12.21.09 Call for Exhibition Designers: Center for Architecture 2010 Exhibition Designer Shortlist

12.21.09 Call for Graphic Designers: Center for Architecture 2010 Graphic Designer Shortlist

12.31.09 Call for Entries: Who’s Next?

12.31.09 Call for Proposals: Michael Kalil Endowment for Smart Design

02.12.10 Call for Entries: 2010 ASLA Awards

01.08.10 Call for Expression of Interest/EOI: St. Lawrence Market North Building Design Competition

01.29.09 Call for Projects: public space european prize 2010

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, 212-683-0023


ContextContrast: New Architecture in Historic Districts, 1967-2009


On view October 6, 2009 — January 23, 2010.

Building Connections 2009


On view September 17, 2009 — January 9, 2010.

Arch Schools: Visions of the Future


On view September 17 — December 12, 2009.

Through 12.04.09
Re-Imagining Cities: Urban Design After the Age of Oil


This floating Ecopolis has a double objective: to extend the sustainable territory of the most developed countries, and to house the climatic refugees of less-developed, at-risk marine territories (such as the Polynesian atolls).

Vincent Callebaut

Innovative ideas, projects, initiatives, and policies from around the globe that can help us re-think how we inhabit urban areas are on view. From car sharing to citywide environmental initiatives to futuristic floating cities, the projects displayed show a spectrum of possibilities.

Municipal Art Society
457 Madison Avenue, NYC

Through 12.04.09
Bits ‘n Pieces



This interactive traveling exhibition features work by an international group of designers, architects, computer scientists, and material and technology researchers that anticipates the next phase of materiality in the digital revolution.

Material ConneXion
60 Madison Avenue, 2nd Floor, NYC

Through 12.11.09
Flatiron High and Low


Flatiron (originally Fuller) Building by D.H. Burnham & Co., constructed 1901-1903.

Photo by Charles L. Ritzman / Library of Congress

An exhibition of photographs, architects’ renderings, vintage views, and film footage spotlights two centuries of building culture in the Flatiron district.

Van Alen Institute
30 West 22nd Street, NYC

Transatlantic Views of the Durable City (continued)

Paris, David Mangin noted, is the natural home of “make no little plans.” The 10-architect Grand Paris endeavor is the latest in a long series of sweeping civic renovations, some implemented (Baron Haussmann’s), some partially built (Henri Prost’s 1930s scheme for radioconcentric highways), and some remaining unrealized (Corbusier’s Plan Voisin and Ville Radieuse). Since New York has a roughly similar area and density, as Catherine Barbé illustrated, and is also organized around a center built in pre-automotive times, the question logically arises why our region has been relatively short on comprehensive public visions. Even influential ones like the Regional Plan Association’s original 1929 plan, executive director Thomas Wright allowed, haven’t overcome the American “history of ceding planning to the private sector” (including the private RPA). Today’s challenges of sprawl, mobility, and environmental repair, Wright and others argued, make this tradition obsolete. Badly needed public works like the Second Avenue subway, the Access to the Region’s Core transit tunnel, the East Side Access project, and particularly Moynihan Station remain vulnerable to a political culture that Wright called “checks and balances on steroids.”

Alexander Garvin’s summation illuminated aspects of the respective influences of Haussmann and Robert Moses that require nuanced appreciation. Received wisdom associates Haussmann’s boulevards primarily with geometric rationalism, military strategy, and social control, forgetting not only the grim conditions (hygienic and epidemiologic) that made them necessary, but the fact that during Paris’s bouts of social upheaval, “you can shoot in both directions” through a long straight space. “It’s impossible to think of Paris without cafés,” Garvin added, “and those cafés would be impossible without Haussmann.” Likewise, outrage at Moses’s motoristic assaults on urban neighborhoods rings hollow outside the context of his remarkable record of projects, including dozens substantially benefiting the underprivileged. While paying respect to these achievements, Garvin cautioned that grand projets, linear cities, and regional subcenters, ideas recurrent in both Parisian and New York history, have less effect on daily life than the kind of local incremental measures we are already seeing. “Both Paris and New York are in the change business, all the time,” Garvin concluded, “but it’s not initiated by architects. Those changes are initiated by people working hard on improving the public realm, the streets, and parks. That’s where change occurs, not by rethinking the city.”


11.10.09 Editor’s Note: According to the last e-Oculus poll, 53% of readers did not know we do podcasts. Click here to check them out.

As we are just launching podcasts, we want your feedback. Please e-mail me with comments, criticisms, and suggestions at

– Jessica Sheridan, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP

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