In this issue:

· African Burial Ground Interpretive Center Opens
· Historic Theater Goes From Ruins to Royalty
· LEED Platinum for Syracuse University’s Center of Excellence
· Holl Returns to Iowa
· Tower Will Rise Out of the BLU
· Blue Is the Word at Marc by Marc Jacobs in Milan

African Burial Ground Interpretive Center Opens


Visitor’s Interpretive Center for New York’s African Burial Ground.

Photograph by Lourdes Pena/John Samuels

The Visitor’s Interpretive Center for New York’s African Burial Ground, designed by Roberta Washington Architects, with exhibitions designed by Boston-based Amaze, opens this week in Lower Manhattan. Located on the ground floor of the Ted Weiss Federal Building, adjacent to African Burial Ground memorial designed by ARRIS Architects, the center is designed to give visitors a deeper understanding of the historical, archeological, and cultural background of the site, its history, and the science related to the re-internment of the remains of those buried there. The spaces feature rough, textured granite floors with muted “black liberation” colors. The curved entrance to the theater is decorated with African symbols. The ranger’s station evokes drums that were used to disseminate information during the Colonial era. The African Burial Ground National Monument is a multi-agency effort, combining the General Services Administration and the National Park Service. In 1993, the site was designated as a National Historic Landmark.

Historic Theater Goes From Ruins to Royalty


Loew’s Kings Theatre.

Jim Henderson

The 3,000-seat Loew’s Kings Theatre in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, which has been vacant since 1978, will be rehabilitated, restored, and reopened as a premier performing arts venue by Houston-based ACE Theatrical Group. Designed by Rapp & Rapp in 1929, its architecture was influenced by the Palace of Versailles and the Paris Opera House, featuring high curved ceilings, ornate plaster walls, wood paneling, pink marble, and a glazed terra-cotta ornamental façade. The theater also features a stage that is approximately 70 feet wide by 30 feet deep, a fly gallery about 90 feet high, and a proscenium opening 60 feet wide by 50 feet high. Construction is expected to begin in two to three years and take approximately two years to complete.

LEED Platinum for Syracuse University’s Center of Excellence


Syracuse Center of Excellence.

Courtesy of Toshiko Mori Architect

The Syracuse Center of Excellence recently moved into its new headquarters, a five-story, metal-and-glass-clad building designed by Toshiko Mori Architect. The center is a joint effort by local colleges, businesses, and economic agencies led by Syracuse University with a mission to support research, development, and job creation in the fields of indoor environmental quality, renewable energy, and water resource management. The 60,000-square-foot, LEED Platinum building was designed as a green urban intervention anchoring the connective corridor between downtown Syracuse and the university. The project features a vegetative roof among other green features, including a geothermal heating and cooling system and a rainwater collection system. In addition, the Total Indoor Environmental Quality (TIEQ) lab factors, such as temperature, humidity, and air quality, can be manipulated in each workstation to increase productivity. The design team includes Ashley McGraw Architects, Arup for MEP and structural engineering, and landscape architects Hargreaves Associates. A dedication ceremony will take place on 03.05.10.

Holl Returns to Iowa


University of Iowa (UI) Arts campus.

Steven Holl Architects

Steven Holl Architects (SHA), in collaboration with Midwest-based BNIM Architects, has won the commission for a new art studio facility for the University of Iowa (UI) Arts campus, to be located near the SHA-designed Art Building West (completed in 2006). The new building is to replace an original 1936 arts building heavily damaged during flooding of the Iowa River in June 2008. The flood left more than 20 buildings damaged, including the Art Building West. The selection process, which was to find an architect-led team and not to select a specific design, was organized by UI. The SHA/BNIM team was selected for its unique connection to the site, its sensitivity to an adjacent residential neighborhood, and an understanding of challenges related to FEMA-supported projects, among other reasons.

Tower Will Rise Out of the BLU



Photo by Bruce Damonte

Handel Architects has completed a 205,000-square-foot residential tower situated at the gateway of the planned Folsom Street Corridor in San Francisco. Officially known as 631 Folsom Street, but dubbed BLU, the 21-story tower rises over a single-story podium with retail and a residential lobby along Folsom Street that is setback to align with the existing street wall. The tall, slender building was designed to maintain view corridors and provide sunlight and air for residents as well as pedestrians. The light-bluish colored glass and metal curtain wall is intended to create transparency. The tower contains six residences per floor, each with open spaces and floor-to-ceiling windows. Sky BLU, as the penthouses are called, feature three floors of living space plus a solarium and roof deck.

Blue Is the Word at Marc by Marc Jacobs in Milan


Marc by Marc Jacobs in Milan.

Stephan Jaklitsch Architects

A new Marc by Marc Jacobs store with an accompanying café and bar, designed by Stephan Jaklitsch Architects (SJA), will open in early April in Milan’s historic Brera district. The 290-square-meter boutique was inserted into the ground floor of a 16th-century residential building. SJA’s design highlights the 12 arched bays. New frameless windows were inserted into each bay drawing attention to the existing architecture and allowing clear views into the store. From the interior, the arches create a deep cavity between the sales floor and façade, visually dissolving the interior and exterior. The store uses the brand’s signature “Marc” blue steel shelving; clear, blue, and mirrored glass; navy blue concrete floors; neon signage; and custom hanging and display fixtures. The café will connect to the store through a sliding blue glass door, and the aesthetics will be consistent with the Marc by Marc Jacobs brand using the same palate of colors and materials as the store.

In this issue:
· Roundup: Grassroots Legislative and Leadership Conference
· ContextContrast Exhibition, Programming Travel to DC
· AIANY Welcomes New Policy Director

Roundup: Grassroots Legislative and Leadership Conference

AIA New York Chapter leadership joined peers from around the country for the 2010 Grassroots Legislative and Leadership Conference, 02.03-05.10 in Washington, DC. Along with workshops, keynote addresses, and inspiring political speeches from ArchiPAC leaders and government officials (see Rhetorically Speaking), AIANY made its way to Capitol Hill for the AIA’s annual Lobby Day.

The agenda for Lobby Day was presented as a literal blueprinted poster, the Blueprint for Economic Recovery. The document, crafted by AIA National, outlined five major agenda items with tangible action items: helping struggling communities rebuild by supporting community development block grants; making credit more accessible for construction projects to initiate more architecture commissions; encouraging green building by increasing the Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction from the current $1.80 per-square-foot to $3 per-foot; providing economic relief to small employers by reducing COBRA requirements; and encouraging the modernization and renovation of America’s schools for the 21st century. Leaders from the AIANY Chapter joined their colleagues to visit Senators and Congressional representatives from their states and districts. The New Yorkers paid visits to the offices of Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney and Nydia Velazquez, Congressmen Charles Rangel and Jerrold Nadler, and Senators Charles E. Schumer and Hillary Clinton.

ContextContrast Exhibition, Programming Travel to DC
The exhibition “ContextContrast: New Architecture in Historic Districts, 1967-2009” traveled to Washington, DC, and was installed at the AIA National Headquarters. The exhibition opening, on02.04.10, coincided with the AIA Open House, during the Grassroots Conference. Next Wednesday, 03.03.10, AIANY, with AIA|DC, and AIA National, will host a program entitled “Panel Discussion on New Architecture in Historic Neighborhoods,” with leading preservationists, government officials, and architects from both Washington, DC, and New York. AIA President George Miller, FAIA, stated: “I am excited for our nation’s architectural and political leaders to see how New York has successfully addressed this ever-present issue. We can all learn from ‘ContextContrast’s’ examples.” AIANY and the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission, which supported the installation in Washington, are planning to travel the exhibition to other venues.

AIANY Welcomes New Policy Director
This week Jay Bond joined AIANY as the Chapter’s new policy director. Bond, who previously served as the Senior Policy Advisor for the NYC Council’s Land Use Committee Chair, and has experience working with the Queens Borough President and the New York State Assembly, will be spearheading the Chapter’s advocacy efforts, local legislative agenda, and relations with city government. Bond is reachable at and 212-358-6116.

Brunner Grant Pushes Project to Next Level


Arnold & Sheila Aronson Gallery.


Glenda Reed, Operations Manager at the Center for Architecture Foundation (CFAF), spoke with Alice Min Soo Chun, 2008 Brunner Grant Recipient, about the high-tech architectural fabric she is developing with her partner, Laura Briggs:

Glenda Reed: Briefly describe your 2008 Brunner Grant project.
Alice Min Soo Chun: The “3rd Skin” is an adaptable building system that both saves and generates energy. Each “3rd Skin” structure functions as an accessory to existing buildings. The profile and form is calibrated to optimally shade the building and reduce energy load during “over-heating” periods while maintaining view-shed access. The skin is also shaped to simultaneously harvest solar energy to provide electricity to the urban streetscape. The project taps into the emerging flux of clean-technology and interactive sensory experience by engaging the burgeoning field of technical textiles and thin film photovoltaics. We are using high-strength fabric as sub-straight, and fashioning methods to create this lightweight structure that will be easily manufactured. The system could play an important role in building retrofits.

GR: What has receiving the Brunner Grant meant to you personally and professionally?
Laura Briggs and I were honored and excited to receive the Brunner Grant. We have been extremely motivated by our project. It has enabled us to further our ongoing academic research into ecologically sound building practices and new forms of renewable energy. Through the grant we have been able to engage many talented members of the professional design and manufacturing communities. We have used the funding towards the development of an operable prototype that was exhibited in January at the Aronson Gallery at Parsons The New School for Design. The acknowledgment from the Center for Architecture has provided a critical stepping-stone for our creative development and our ability to pursue more significant support for the project’s next phase of development.

The 2010 deadline for the Arnold W Brunner Grant has passed. There is still time, however, to apply for Center for Architecture student scholarships. The Eleanor Allwork Scholarship, the Center for Architecture Design Scholarship, and the Fontainebleau Prize are due Monday, 03.15.10. Visit for more information about the Center’s scholarships and grants program.

Two New Shades of Green

Almost two years ago, Mayor Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn asked the Urban Green Council to create a task force to investigate bringing NYC codes to a higher and greener level. Comprised of more than 200 members including government officials, industry advisors, and sustainability experts, the Green Codes Task Force recently unveiled 111 proposals, many of them low-cost, including new rules for the insulation of all-glass high rises and storefront lighting regulations. To download the proposal in its entirety, click here.

Another new entity that seeks to shape NYC sustainability policies is Green Light New York. This non-profit is dedicated to providing the city’s design, construction, and real estate communities with training and resources on energy efficient lighting technologies. They are seeking input from those willing to take a 12-question survey.

Newly appointed AIA Fellows from New York include Christine J. Bodouva, FAIA, LEED AP; Michael F. Doyle, FAIA; Donald Fram, FAIA; Lia Gartner, FAIA, LEED AP; Stephanie Gelb, FAIA; Samuel Alexander Klatskin, FAIA; Joan Krevlin, FAIA, LEED AP; Sandro Marpillero, FAIA; Bernard A. Marson, FAIA; Bogdan Z. Pestka, FAIA; James S. Russell, FAIA; Walter Sedovic, FAIA, LEED AP; Anthony P. Schirripa, FAIA, IIDA and Yvonne Szeto, FAIA. Celebrate them at the AIANY 2010 New Fellows Reception, 03.04.10 at the Center for Architecture…

2010 RIBA International Fellowships were awarded to Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio, AIA; the Royal Gold Medal was awarded to I.M. Pei, FAIA, RIBA

Darris W. James, Assoc. AIA, won the 2010 AIA Associate Award…

Nine teams reached the second round of the Gateway Arch Design Competition including those led by Steven Holl Architects, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Rogers Marvel Architects, SOM, and Weiss/Manfredi; for a complete list and other team members, click here.’s Save A Sample! design recycling drive is going national and will be accepting materials from Chicago, Philadelphia, Rochester, and Washington D.C. in addition to New York, from 04.20.10 through 04.22.10…

Parsons The New School for Design announced a new Master of Fine Arts in Transdisciplinary Design, which will launch in Fall 2010…

Eleven studios have joined, a website that offers modern house plans, including LTL Architects and nARCHITECTS

Cannon Design announced that David Wilkinson, MAIBC, AAA, MRAIC, has been appointed associate principal… IA Interior Architects (IA) announced that LoriAnn Maas, IIDA, CID, LEED AP, has joined the NY office as a project director…

02.11.10: I.M. Pei, FAIA, RIBA, received the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Royal Gold Medal in a ceremony in London.


I.M. Pei, FAIA, RIBA, (left) with AIA President George Miller, FAIA at the ceremony.

Rick Bell

02.03-05.10: The 2010 Grassroots Legislative and Leadership Conference took place in Washington, D.C.


(L-R): Representative Nydia Velazquez, NY’s 12th District; Mary A. Burke, AIA, IIDA, AIANY Vice President for Design Excellence; Rick Bell, FAIA, AIANY Executive Director; and Margaret Castillo, AIA, LEED AP, 2010 AIANY Vice President.

Emily Nemens

contextcontrast opening

Opening night of the “ContextContrast” exhibition. Rick Bell, FAIA, AIANY Executive Director (left) with John A. Padilla, AIA (AIA Santa Fe), a candidate for 2011-13 Vice President.

Emily Nemens

02.04.10: The First Annual Oculus Lecture on Design — Moshe Safdie: Megascale, Order an Complexity took place at the Center for Architecture.


(L-R): Kristen Richards, Editor-in-Chief of OCULUS; Moshe Safdie, FAIA; Abby Suckle, FAIA, LEED AP, AIANY Vice President for Public Outreach; and Kirsten Sibilia, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, AIANY Director for Publications.

Courtesy AIANY

02.17.10: Over 500 guests visited the Center for Architecture for the openings of “Modernism at Risk” and “Back on the Map.”


Tony Schirripa, FAIA, IIDA, 2010 President of AIANY, with Bonnie Burnham, President of the World Monuments Fund.

Kristen Richards

02.14.10: “Ice Heart,” designed by Moorhead & Moorhead, was erected on Duffy Square for Valentine’s Day. The sculpture was the result of the second annual invited competition hosted by the Times Square Alliance. Okamoto Studio constructed the sculpture; Robert Silman Associates was the structural engineer; and Tillet Lighting Design illuminated the space.


“Ice Heart,” by Moorhead & Moorhead.

Jessica Sheridan

Read about Grassroots in AIArchitect. Click the following links:

Grassroots 2010 AIA Leadership and Legislative Conference: Component Leaders Take AIA’s ‘Blueprint for Economic Recovery’ to Capitol Hill,” by David W. Robb.

Grassroots 2010 Keynote: Richard Farson Measures the Power of Design to Remake the World,” by Zach Mortice.

Design as inspiration, engagement, and collaboration: Live Web Presentations from AIA Grassroots 2010.

2010 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, OCULUS editors want to hear from you! Projects/topics may be anywhere, but architects must be New York-based. Please submit story ideas by the deadlines indicated below to Kristen Richards:

Spring: Architect as Leader: (CLOSED).

Summer: AIANY Design Awards 2010: (CLOSED).

Fall: Thinking Back / Thinking Forward and Understanding the Shift: The recession has given us the opportunity to reflect on the last decades of design and building — and what might be ahead. We will investigate trends in design, building, and marketing that are coming into play. What are the next steps in social media, BIM, sustainability, technology, competitions, stalled projects, adaptive re-use, design for flexibility, mergers and firm acquisitions?
Submit story ideas by 05.21.09

Winter: Practice without Borders: The world is growing smaller. New York is an international city, and it is easier than ever for overseas firms to work here and for New York City firms to work abroad. We will look into reciprocity, licensure, removal of boundaries to practice, and international competitions as ways to build renown.
Submit story ideas by 08.13.09

02.28.10 Call for Entries: 2010 MASterworks Awards

03.01.10 Call for Nominations: 2010 Jane Jacobs Medal

03.05.10 Request for Qualifications: Schematic Design, Plans and Specifications for a New High School in Guilford

03.09.10 Call for Entries: Design 21: Culture Counts

04.02.10 Call for Entries: SARA NY 2010 Design Awards

04.16.10 Call for Entries: Suburbia Transformed: One Garden at a Time

04.23.10 Call for Entries: 2010 Best Firms to Work For

05.03.10 Call for Entries: Lisbon Architecture Triennale — A House in Luada: Patio and Pavilion

05.25.10 Call for Entries: The Living Climate Change Video Challenge

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


Finnish Films on Architecture: Three Houses


On view January 30 — February 27, 2010.

Through 03.13.10
The Great White Whale is Black


Study for a Cable City, Ink on Rice Paper, 2009.

Tony Candido

Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture Professor and painter/architect Tony Candido presents his visionary idea of the interplay between humanity and the contemporary environment and what the future of architecture could be. The exhibition focuses on Candido’s calligraphic brush and ink paintings and drawings, which have been an important part of his output since 1967.

The Arthur A. Houghton Jr. Gallery, The Cooper Union
7 East 7th Street, 2nd floor, NYC

Through 03.21.10
Legacy: The Preservation of Wilderness in New York City Parks


Bronx River, New York Botanical Garden, autumn.

Copyright Joel Meyerowitz, Courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery, NY

Joel Meyerowitz’s expansive study of NYC’s parks, throughout all five boroughs, comprises an installation that includes large photographic prints, some as large as the gallery walls themselves. The images document the untamed and wild nature of the city’s open spaces, as well as bucolic and pastoral landscapes.

Museum of the City of New York
1220 Fifth Avenue, NYC

Through 04.03.10
SNØHETTA: architecture — landscape — interior


The Norwegian National Opera and Ballet.

Jens Passoth

The work of Snøhetta is featured offering insight into the design and construction of the firm’s most important works. Included are: Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria, Egypt; the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet in Oslo, Norway; and the planned National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion in NYC. On view are films, photographs, drawings, models, and interactive learning devices.

Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America
58 Park Avenue, NYC

Through 04.28.10
Contemplating the Void: Interventions in the Guggenheim Museum


Julien De Smedt Architects (JDS), Brussels, Experiencing the Void, 2009.

Artwork © Julien De Smedt Architects (JDS)

The central void of the Guggenheim’s rotunda has elicited many unique responses over the years, which have been manifested in both site-specific solo shows and exhibition designs. For the building’s 50th anniversary, the museum invited more than 200 artists, architects, and designers to imagine their dream interventions in the space.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
1071 Fifth Avenue, NYC