Constructing New Work Roles for High-tech Times

Event: Building in the Future: Recasting Labor in Architecture
Location: Center for Architecture, 02.24.10
Speakers: Peggy Deamer — Principal, Deamer Studio & Professor, Yale School of Architecture; Phillip G. Bernstein, FAIA — Vice President, Autodesk & Lecturer in Professional Practice, Yale School of Architecture; Scott Marble, AIA — Founding Partner, Marble Fairbanks Architects & Faculty, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation; Chris Noble — Partner, Noble and Wickersham
Organizers: Yale School of Architecture


Toni Stabile Student Center, designed by Marble Fairbanks Architects.

Jongseo Kim

There are books aplenty about how digital design is spurring formal innovations in architecture, but one new book, Building (in) the Future: Recasting Labor in Architecture (Princeton Architectural Press, 2010), focuses on a different, equally important topic: the seismic shifts in labor roles that have accompanied technological advances. At a recent book launch event, some of the book’s editors and authors discussed the ways in which the work — and the self-image — of architects is transforming.

The book grew out of interviews and conversations at a Yale symposium in 2006, and the essential issues remain the same today, said Peggy Deamer, who co-edited the book with Phil Bernstein, FAIA. Advances in technology are accompanying a shift away from the ideal of the architect as a highly individualistic “Howard Roarkian figure.” Instead of striving to be a “master architect,” architects now gravitate more toward the role of “master builder:” someone who organizes and depends on the expertise of contractors, fabricators, etc., to create a project in tight collaboration. “The fabricator or sub, who used to be an anonymous character at the end of the food chain, offers essential input into the possible parameters of the design solution, thereby claiming authorship rights,” she said.

This shift in the division of labor is ill understood, and for the architect, it is rife with issues of risk vs. control. “The authors want to have us make sure that risk — as the essential ingredient to innovation — still has a place,” Deamer remarked.

For tech-savvy firm Marble Fairbanks, embracing risk is essential to what they do. The firm’s forte is “pushing these technologies and these new working protocols in the interest of design and innovation,” Scott Marble, AIA, said. For the Toni Stabile Student Center for Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, the firm experimented with breaking down the usual hierarchy between architects and consultants. Marble Fairbanks collaborated with a range of other design and technology entities, which they treated as equals in the design process. The unconventional approach allowed the small firm to greatly expand its capabilities.

To design a cloudlike pattern of perforations in steel ceiling panels in a social hub, Marble Fairbanks enlisted the help of design firm Proxy, which provided a script to create a pattern that would meet the necessary acoustic requirements. Stevens Institute of Technology’s Product-Architecture Lab was recruited to help develop a sunshade system for a glass-enclosed café. The collaborators used a series of computer scripts to develop the design of steel panels whose patterns of perforations and corrugations reduced the heat gain by 80%.

The project highlights the importance of “designing design,” as Marble called it. With these new technologies, “design processes themselves need to be foregrounded as an issue to take on,” he said. “Same with fabrication. With direct file fabrication technologies, the potentials of material — the potentials of craft, even — begin to be reformulated.”

Bernstein remarked that in three-and-a-half years “there has been a tremendous acceleration in the kinds of technologies that are available to the building industry.” The adoption of building information modeling (BIM) has increased dramatically, and other technologies may herald new shifts in the work of architects, in which the design process and field implementation become linked even tighter. With the book, he hopes “to create a theoretical frame in which we can begin to explore these options, because the technology is moving even much, much more quickly than we could possibly have known,” he said.

NYS’s Strict Corporate Entity Rules May Loosen

Event: Permissible Corporate Entities & Practice Guidelines for Architects & Landscape Architects
Location: Center for Architecture, 02.23.10
Speaker: Robert Lopez, RA — Executive Secretary, New York State Boards for Architecture and Landscape Architecture; Douglas Lentivech, Esq. — Assistant Counsel, Office of the Professions, NYS Education Department
Organizers: AIANY Professional Practice Committee; AIANY Emerging New York Architects Committee; NY Chapter of the ASLA

The regulations for establishing corporate entities in New York State are the strictest in the U.S., stated Robert Lopez, RA, executive secretary of the NYS Boards for Architecture and Landscape Architecture. According to Article 147 for architecture and Article 148 for landscape architecture, the only individuals who can own professional design services firms are those licensed in the state as architects or landscape architects.

Part of the reason that the regulations are so strict in New York is because the written rules are very general. “The Articles are more like a constitution, rather than a statute,” said Douglas Lentivech, Esq., assistant counsel to the Office of the Professions, NYS Education Department. At the core, the most important principle is that “professional services” must run directly from a professional to a client without interference from a third party. This ensures that a licensed individual is delivering the business qualified by his or her title (i.e., R.A. or R.L.A.), and also indicated in the firm name (i.e., Architecture or Landscape Architecture). In other words, if an individual is a registered architect, he or she may establish a business that provides architectural services and he or she may call the firm an architecture firm. On the other hand, if an individual is not licensed, he or she cannot provide architectural services, nor can he or she own an architecture firm.

One of the pitfalls of the regulations is that all of the shareholders of a firm must be licensed. Employees in charge of business development or marketing, for example, cannot own any part of architecture or landscape architecture firms in New York. This may change in the near future, however. While firms currently fall under categories ranging from sole proprietorships, to professional service corporations (PCs), to limited liability partnerships (LLPs) — all of which require licensed shareholders — there is a bill under review to create a “design professional service corporation (DPC).” This category would require that the president or CEO of a firm be a licensed professional and the single largest shareholder, but up to 25% of the shareholders may be non-licensed. The bill would also allow employee stock ownership plans, currently not permitted.

To learn more about practice and corporate entity regulations, visit the New York State Office of the Professions. There you will find the NYS Education Law; commissioner’s regulations; regent rules; and practice guidelines.

What Is a Business Plan and Why do We Need One?

Event: NBAU: Not Business Planning As Usual
Location: Center for Architecture, 02.24.10
Speakers: Magnus Magnusson, AIA — Principal, Magnusson Architecture and Planning; Stephen Yablon, AIA — Principal, Stephen Yablon Architect; Richard McElhiney, AIA — Principal, Richard McElhiney Architect
Moderator: Ralph Steinglass, FAIA — Principal Consultant, Teambuilders, Inc.
Organizer: Center for Architecture
Sponsors: AMX; Chief Manufacturing; Lutron Electronics; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Sixty architects, many of whom are either practicing independently in their own small firms, or are hoping to do so soon, met to learn the basics of business planning. After an introductory panel discussion, attendees participated in breakout groups and presented preliminary business plans for three start-ups and one small firm.

For the panel, Magnus Magnusson, AIA, Stephen Yablon, AIA, and Richard McElhiney, AIA, each a founding principal of his own firm, were joined by Ralph Steinglass, FAIA, of Teambuilders, Inc., a management consultant for architects, to provide personal insights into how their firms got started, what they had to do to become viable and grow, and what strategies they developed to survive recessions.

Key questions and answers that were posed by attendees included:

· How do you finance a “start-up” without projects in hand? You must be prepared to survive for at least six months without generating much or any income, relying on personal savings and/or loans.

· How much time should I be spending on marketing versus working on projects? After you’ve gotten your first major job, you must continue to spend at least 50% of your time marketing, or you may not have any work when the job is completed.

· How can I break into new markets, and how important is market research? Form relationships or strategic alliances with firms that have developed specialized expertise in the new building type or with a firm that has a local presence in a new geographic region. But before deciding on pursuing a new market, do the research. Is there enough projected work in this market; what is the competition; and will the work be profitable?

During the breakout session, attendees were given six questions to answer when developing their respective business plans: What business are we in? What new markets will need to be developed? Where will that work come from? What will the cost of doing business be? How much revenue is needed? What’s your action plan? With the panelists acting as moderators, at the end of the day, the groups agreed that by working together they had learned about the process that has proven daunting for many firms — but is vital for survival.

Lessons Learned from the NYC Street Design Manual

Event: Conversations on the NYC Street Design Manual
Location: Center for Architecture, 02.22.10
Speakers: Wendy Feuer — Assistant Commissioner for Urban Design & Art, NYC Department of Transportation (DOT); Edward Janoff — Senior Project Manager for Streetscapes and Public Spaces, NYC DOT
Organizer: AIANY Public Architecture Committee


Courtesy NYC DOT

Published in May 2009, the NYC Street Design Manual outlines what NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan calls “world class streets.” Co-authors Wendy Feuer, assistant commissioner for urban design and art at DOT, and Edward Janoff, DOT senior project manager for streetscapes and public spaces, assessed the guide’s initial impact on shaping our streets, lessons learned, and future updates.

Some of the successes attributed to the guidelines can be seen in several of Sadik-Khan’s pilot programs, which she established because she didn’t want to wait five to seven years (the typical amount of time required to implement capital projects) to see her visions come to fruition. Green Light for Midtown, which established pedestrian streets at Times and Herald Squares, recently became permanent due to its success in reducing traffic and accidents in the areas. The Ninth Avenue bike lane has also reduced accidents by 50% for pedestrians, bikers, and motorists alike, according to DOT studies.

Other pilot projects have disappointed, but have provided learning experiences for the DOT. For example, the public plaza at Gansevoort Street and Ninth Avenue is being redesigned with a new and more permanent design that follows the Street Design Manual’s recommendations. “As streets are transformed, you’re transforming the form of a city,” Feuer stated.

Periodic updates to the manual, such as the recent recommendation that sidewalks are poured with 3% tinted concrete for consistency, are posted on the website or are available through e-mail subscriptions. The next version of the manual will include a more thorough explanation of the DOT review process, hyperlinks to specifications in the .pdf version, expanded furniture and lighting chapters, and new chapters on wayfinding and signage.

Films Tell Tales of Mallrats and a Modernist

Event: Art on Screen: Selections from Montreal International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA)
Location: Center for Architecture, 02.27.10
Speakers: Helene Klodawsky — Filmmaker; Murray Grigor — Filmmaker
Organizers: MUSE Film and Television; Center for Architecture


West Edmonton Mall, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (left); Mamba Parks, Osaka, Japan (Jerde Partnership).

Courtesy Instinct Films

Two documentaries shown back-to-back one afternoon at the Center, Infinite Space: The Architecture of John Lautner and Malls R Us, complemented each other, exploring the power of architecture to shape people’s lives and their relationship to the environment, for good or ill. The event was part of the annual NYC film festival Art on Screen, which presents a selection of films from the Montreal International Festival of Films on Art each February.

Featuring footage of major malls around the world, Malls R Us makes the point that malls these days are replacing town centers and places of worship. As theologian and social critic Jon Pahl explains, mall design emulates that of churches, with soaring ceilings, skylights yielding intense light, and water features that symbolize purity and life. With many malls offering attractions beyond pure retail (the 119-acre West Edmonton Mall in Canada features a roller coaster, sea lion show, and swimming pool), shopping malls, for better or for worse, are replacing downtown streets as places people go to find a sense of community.

In one interview, prominent mall architect Jon Jerde, FAIA, confesses that he was drawn to designing malls because, after growing up as a lonely child, he wanted to create social spaces. “America, strangely, is a very lonely place,” he explains in the film. Football and shopping malls seemed like the main expressions of togetherness.

Malls may be a communal environment, but they only provide the illusion of being public spaces. Footage of security staff in Paris’s Forum des Halles drives home the point that while malls might seem welcoming, in fact, they are tightly controlled, and anyone whose goal isn’t to spend money runs the risk of being tossed out. Malls R Us also highlights the inherent problems of overzealous, ill-thought-out mall development, such an environmentally insensitive construction and disruption to older traditions and economies, as in India, where malls are driving out local shopkeepers in markets.


Puerto Rican Architects Spice Up NYC

Event: The Making of Modern New York: Puerto Rican Architects and Their Contributions to New York
Location: Hunter College, 02.25.10
Speakers: Ruperto Arvelo, AIA — Owner, ARVELO Architecture + Design; Frank X. Moya, LEED AP — Principal, Matthews Moya Architects; Agustin Ayuso, LEED AP — Founder, Ayuso Architecture
Moderator: Warren James — Principal, Warren A. James Architects + Planners
Organizers: Center for Puerto Rican Studies/Hunter

PR-38 Wilson Avenue Brooklyn NY Photo Scott Larsen

38 Wilson Avenue Condominium, Brooklyn, NY.

Scott Larsen, courtesy Ayuso Architecture

New York City is home to the largest Puerto Rican population outside of Puerto Rico itself. Currently, there are more than 15 Puerto Rican-led firms based in NYC. For the fourth in a series of presentations by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, three Puerto Rican architects discussed their practices and projects, and what defines Puerto Rican architectural style.

Born in NJ, Ruperto Arvelo, AIA, principal of Arvelo Architecture + Design, moved with his parents to their native Puerto Rico at the age of 10. He returned to the U.S. to pursue his MArch from Syracuse University and later moved to NYC to work for a variety of firms before starting his own practice. Arvelo’s design aesthetic reflects both cultures, combining colors and textures from P.R. with his U.S.-learned work process. Completed projects include Morgan Stanley offices in NJ, Deutsche Bank Max Blue lobbies in both NYC and São Paulo, Brazil, and an apartment complex in Puerto Rico.

Like Arvelo, Agustin Ayuso, LEED AP, was born in the U.S. but raised in P.R. He chose to practice in the U.S. in part because he was frustrated with the limited material palette on the island. His firm has completed a variety of residential designs in NYC, from affordable housing to high-end residential projects. Condos at 38 Wilson in Bushwick, Brooklyn, feature an exterior clad in context-inspired corrugated aluminum. 44 Berry Street in Wiliamsburg involves the conversion of a historic seltzer factory to modern apartments.

Frank Moya, LEED AP, a painter, designer, and urban planner from San Juan, started his own practice in Trenton after attending Princeton University. The local Puerto Rican community was extremely supportive of his practice. Now in NYC, Matthews Moya Architects specializes in designs for the arts and education, and has completed a master plan for the Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart in NJ. Moya discussed his firm’s renovations for the Dalton School, a tight, urban building in Manhattan, including a common space with a freeform, wavy ceiling and a performing arts area located in the basement. A design for the Affirmation Arts foundations explores the contradiction between nature and technology: English ivy grows over a gridded structure reminiscent of the street grid.

While the speakers’ practices are thriving, moderator Warren James, founder of Warren A. James Architects + Planners, noted that P.R. architects typically work in the private sector but attain less public work. In fact, no Puerto Rican architects were among the finalists chosen for the design of a new FBI building in San Juan. However, James believes that young Puerto Rican firms can shape NYC by retrofitting existing buildings before graduating to new building designs and urban planning projects.

Lofty Designs for Strange Weather

Event: State of Global Architecture
Location: Relative Space Concept Showroom, 02.19.10
Speakers: Jürgen Mayer H. — Principal, J. Mayer H. Architects (Berlin); Andres Lepik — Curator of Contemporary Architecture, Museum of Modern Art; Matthias Hollwich & Marc Kushner, AIA — Principals, HWKN, & Co-founders, Architizer
Organizers: Architizer; The Society; Azure magazine, Toronto


Jürgen Mayer H. and Neeraj Bhatia

Though the official title suggested a discussion of unrealistic breadth and forbidding gravity, this event in the “Azure Talks” series combined a preview of a forthcoming book, several of Jürgen Mayer’s recent projects, and an announcement of a competition winner by the latest social media website, Architizer. The talents behind this gathering imbued its diverse purposes with energy.

In the U.S., Mayer’s academic presence is larger than his built body of work, but this may change before long. His biomorphic-modernist designs have brought success early in his career; his buildings now appear throughout Europe, serving a wide range of programs and extending digitally generated geometries “beyond the blob,” in his description, into a kind of structurally plausible surrealism. The Metropol Parasol in Seville, Spain, built of Kerto laminated veneer lumber and resembling a half-dozen conjoined mushrooms sheltering a public plaza, market, and archaeological museum above recently discovered Roman ruins, is scheduled to open by the end of this year. Mayer expressed delight at its realization in Seville’s medieval town center, observing that “we have to celebrate Spanish culture to be brave enough to do something like this… I don’t think it would be possible to do something like this in Germany.” However, he also noted that a simpatico client would be more important than any particular project typology. Perhaps a local developer will be up to the challenge in the U.S.

Mayer also previewed and autographed his new book -arium (Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2010; co-edited with University of Toronto urban design professor Neeraj Bhatia), recently published in Germany and scheduled to appear here later this spring. The book uses weather, the fundamental antagonist of any form of shelter, as the central organizing principle for its theoretical and practical investigations (“weather and media,” “weather and war,” “weather and infrastructure,” etc.). In an era when architecture, economics, and culture are all searching for ways to adapt to climate change, Mayer’s fascination with the relations of order and disorder in both natural and built spaces promises a fresh set of provocations.

Launched last fall, Architizer occupies a digital niche complementary to established portals, databases, and resources and various publication sites for architects and designers.

The Architizer team of Matthias Hollwich and Marc Kushner, AIA, also announced the winner of their “Competition Competition 2010,” which invited entrants to submit unrewarded entries from any 2009 competition — a common-sensical way to recycle some of the ideas that architects prolifically generate, often with only the slimmest hope for recognition. A jury headed by Mayer and including MoMA’s Andres Lepik, Ada Tolla of LOT-EK, and Jared Della Valle, AIA, of Della Valle Bernheimer “judged [the 643 entries] on general architectural merit, not on the criteria of the original competition,” and selected “Dubaiing” by the Parisian team of Mickael Papin, David Neil, Pierre Silande, Nicolas Lombardi, and Magali Lamoureux, a zeppelin-like structure drifting freely above its host city, held aloft by helium and ballasted by a set of inverted building volumes. With Dubai itself behaving like a bit of a bubble, comparisons to the Floating Island of Laputa in Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels may be inevitable, but in such a recession-dulled climate, flights of imagination this free have grown rare; considering Architizer’s efforts to encourage them, it would seem churlish for questions of practicality to shoot them down.

Dining in the Dark Heightens Spatial Awareness

I recently participated in what is called “Dark Dining,” an art performance/dining experience where individuals are blindfolded while served a four-course meal. Billed as “participatory art events revolving around sensory awareness, fine food, and eating,” the experience was fascinating because it not only heightened my senses when it came to food — it also elevated my awareness of space.

*Spoiler Alert* The event began when my friend (and fellow designer) and I arrived at the restaurant. We were given blindfolds outside and were led into the space clutching the shoulders of an escort. When we sat down, we could feel the size of the table and hear and feel how close we were to each other, but it wasn’t until all of the diners were instructed to bite into a crunchy crostini at once that we understood the scale of the room, the height of the ceiling, and the number of people in the restaurant. Throughout the meal, besides getting used to eating with my fingers without knowing what I was grabbing and trying to hold a conversation without tuning into others’, periodically musicians performed, and dancers moved around the diners. Each portion of the event provided a new and different understanding of the room.

Before I experienced the meal, I expected that the event would heighten my sense of taste more than anything. I anticipated spilling food (which, remarkably, was not an issue); I thought I would be a bit frightened without my sight; but overall, I did not think the experience would be much more than a fun evening. In actuality, however, it changed my understanding of sound, my awareness of proximity, and my overall sense of space.

In this issue:

· Pritzker Prize-Winning Team Debuts at the Met
· ESB to Become an Icon in Sustainability
· Long Island Homes Go Prefab
· New Quad Enhances Student Life
· Gagosian Takes to the Hills
· Taiwan Plans a Palace for Pop

Pritzker Prize-Winning Team Debuts at the Met


The set of Atilla.

Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

Herzog & de Meuron have designed the sets for the current production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Attila at the Metropolitan Opera House. Verdi’s ninth opera takes place in the mid-fifth century as the remnants of the Western Roman Empire crumble before the barbarian invasions and the attempts to spare Italy from Attila the Hun’s hordes. Herzog & de Meuron share production credits with designer Miuccia Prada, who previously collaborated to create the Prada Aoyama Epicenter in Tokyo. The architectural team made its theatrical design debut with a production of Tristan und Isolde for the Berlin State Opera in 2006. Performances of Attila run through March 27.

ESB to Become an Icon in Sustainability


Empire State Building.

Michael Slonecker

The Empire State Building (ESB) is set to become energy efficient. Johnson Controls, a provider of energy efficient and sustainable products and services has selected Sunnyvale, California-based Serious Materials to super-insulate more than 6,500 windows for the ESB’s retrofit project, which could reduce energy costs by more than $400,000 per year. In a first-of-its-kind process, Serious Materials will re-use all existing glass to create super-insulating glass units (IGUs). The thermal performance of the windows is expected to be up to four times as efficient and solar heat gain will be reduced by more than 50%. Johnson Controls is overseeing the full Empire State Building retrofit project, with a team including the Clinton Climate Initiative, Jones Lang LaSalle, and Rocky Mountain Institute. The window upgrades is one of eight measures expected to reduce energy use by 38%, save $4.4 million per year in energy costs, and save 105,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide over the next 15 years. The more than $550 million rebuilding program will make the skyscraper eligible for a LEED Gold certification.

Long Island Homes Go Prefab


Lido Beach (left); Long Beach.

Resolution: 4 Architecture

Resolution: 4 Architecture is busy on the South Shore of Long Island with one prefab house completed in Lido Beach, and a second in pre-construction in Long Beach. The 2,735-square-foot, three-bedroom house in Lido is sited on the edge of the sand dunes and is composed of five modules. It features an upside-down spatial organization, which allows the main living space to be located on the second floor, affording views of the ocean. This floor contains a guest bedroom, bath, and playroom opposite from the open living, dining, and kitchen areas, while the downstairs contains the private spaces. Two cuts in the in the second floor mass open to private decks while inversely, a solid bulkhead element allows for roof access. Contained within the bulkhead is an office opening to a roof deck on both sides. The 1,700-square-foot, two-bedroom, oceanfront prefab in Long Beach is located on a compact site with little space between neighbors. Composed of three modules, the two-story house features a roof bulkhead that provides storage and access to the roof deck; a photovoltaic solar canopy stretches across half of the roof deck and doubles as a covered exterior space to escape the sun.

New Quad Enhances Student Life


Delaware State University Student Life Quad.

Photo by Christopher Lovi

The new 156,000-square-foot Delaware State University Student Life Quad in Dover, designed by Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture (HMBA), was recently dedicated. Composed of three separate buildings — a student center, an athletic strength and conditioning center, and a wellness center — that are tied together by an exterior intramural courtyard, the complex was designed to help the school shed its image as a commuter school. Each building incorporates locally manufactured brick featured throughout the campus, while a collective identity is established by the use of stone, blue horizontal metal siding, large entry canopies, and oversized columns. The $45.4 million project includes a waste management program for demolition of the original student center, use of regional and natural materials, a natural ventilation system for lounge and dining areas, large overhangs at the south and west sides to reduce heat gain, efficient circulation, and light-colored roofs to reduce solar gain.

Gagosian Takes to the Hills


Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills.

Photo by Joshua White

The expansion of the Beverly Hills branch of Gagosian Gallery recently celebrated its official opening. The expansion, designed by Richard Meier & Partners, which also designed the original gallery space in 1995, nearly doubles its size by adding 5,000 square feet to the existing building. The addition is anchored by a new 3,000-square-foot, street-level exhibition space. This adaptive reuse of adjoining retail space with its existing wood barrel vault ceiling, trusses, and steel beam, offer a distinctive counterpoint to the airfoil wing that scoops daylight into the existing gallery. Skylights balance daylight from the north and south sky to support a diversity of installations. A single, 225-square-foot glass-and-aluminum sliding door at the street allows oversized artwork to be unloaded directly into the gallery. New second level offices and a private skylit viewing gallery address the growing gallery’s administrative and exhibition needs. A sculpture terrace on the roof offers views of the city and the surrounding Hollywood Hills.

Taiwan Plans a Palace for Pop


Taipei Pop Music Center.

Reiser + Umemoto RUR Architecture

Reiser + Umemoto RUR Architecture has won a competition sponsored by the Department of Cultural Affairs, Taipei City Government, to design the Taipei Pop Music Center (TPMC) in Taiwan. The TPMC will be a cultural hub dedicated to the production and performance of Taiwanese pop music, and will include shops, markets, cafés, and restaurants. An elevated pedestrian zone will bridge the complex’s two buildings containing three major zones. The indoor 3,000-seat Main Concert Hall features an approximately 20-story tower for support spaces, an audio/video recording studio, and offices. The Outdoor Amphitheater features a mobile stage that has four docking positions for events for audiences of up to 16,000 people. The Hall of Fame contains the main exhibition space, a digital media center, two lecture halls, and a Sky View Lounge. The New York office of ARUP is responsible for structural engineering, MEP, sustainability, theater acoustics, lighting, and façade. The complex is expected to be completed in 2014.

In this issue:
· Historic Districts of Columbia, Meet the Old Neighborhoods of New York
· Get Ready for 2010 AIA Convention
· Membership Reminder
· AIA Adds New Resources
· Go Green Expo Returns to NYC

Historic Districts of Columbia, Meet the Old Neighborhoods of New York

Event: ContextContrast — Panel Discussion on New Architecture in Historic Neighborhoods
Location: AIA National Headquarters, 03.03.10
Speakers: Tersh Boasberg — Chair, Historic Preservation Review Board, Washington, DC; Anne McCutcheon Lewis, FAIA — Architect, Washington, DC; Sherida E. Paulsen, FAIA — Principal, PKSB architects, NYC; Robert Tierney — Chair, NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission; Introduction by Anthony Schirripa, FAIA, IIDA — 2010 AIANY President
Moderator: Rick Bell, FAIA — Executive Director, AIANY
Organizers: AIANY; AIA National; AIA DC

To celebrate the opening of “ContextContrast: New Architecture in Historic Districts, 1967-2009” in the new gallery at the AIA National Headquarters building, heads of New York’s and DC’s historic district commissions spoke about their cities’ regulatory processes in a program organized by AIANY, with the support of AIA National and AIA DC. Paired with two practitioners from New York and DC, the conversation illuminated the similarities and differences of fitting new architecture into historic neighborhoods in these two cities.

Robert Tierney, who has chaired the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission since 2003, spoke of the Greenwich Village Historic District, Hugh Hardy’s, FAIA, answer for the hole on 11th Street (a townhouse was destroyed in the March 1970 Weathermen explosion). The proposed infill, with its pivoted two-story element, sparked eight months of debate, but was ultimately approved. Sherida Paulsen, FAIA, a former LPC Chair and commissioner, added the perspective of someone attempting to get plans approved by the commission — a process that often takes months, if not years.

From Washington, Tersh Boasberg, the chair of the Historic Preservation Review Board, contributed his city’s perspective. There are a few clear differences between NYC and DC. In DC, they preserve façades and have a semi-formulaic strategy for heights, setbacks, and cornice lines on many of L’Enfant’s historic streets. The District’s height requirements — more contingent on street width than on the commonly held belief that nothing can top the height of the Capitol Dome — have built a largely horizontal city, with new architecture often vying to push the skyline up, even if just a few stories. The approval process — called “compatibility” in DC, as opposed to New York’s “appropriateness” — is one of trial and error. He spoke of a modern home in Cleveland Park that came to the board three times. The third time, Boasberg recalled, they decided, “if we were serious about Modern architecture, we better approve it.” Before long, it was picked up by HPRB detractors as an example of how historic district designation was “no protection for your properties.” He shrugged at the loss and smiled to the audience, as if to say, “You win some, you lose some.” But with thousands of historic buildings in both cities, finding the proper balance between new and old is a fight worth fighting.

“ContextContrast” is on view at AIA National Headquarters, 1735 New York Avenue, through 04.28.10. The exhibition, which originated at New York’s Center for Architecture last fall (developed jointly by AIANY and the Landmarks Preservation Commission, with the support of the New York Landmark Preservation Foundation), looks at “appropriateness” in historic districts, and how new architecture can insert itself into historically hallowed ground.

Get Ready for 2010 AIA Convention
Registration for the 2010 AIA National Convention, “Design for a New Decade,” 06.10-12.10 in Miami, FL, is now open! Register by 03.29.10 to get the early bird pricing. First-time members who joined AIA between 05.03.09 and 06.12.10 are eligible for a complimentary convention registration. AIA is also accepting applications to volunteer as a door and session monitors in return for complimentary registration. Click here download the application

The deadline to submit a resolution for consideration at the convention is this Friday, 03.12.10 at 5:00pm. Read the submission package here, and contact Pam Day, Hon. AIA, at or 202.626.7305 with any questions. For more 2010 Convention details, visit the convention website.

Membership Reminder
Haven’t had time to renew for 2010? You have until 03.31.10 to renew your AIA membership without penalty. Visit to start the process today, and come to programs at the Center for Architecture to make the most of your membership. Members receive free or discounted admission to AIANY/Center for Architecture programming — much of which offers AIA Continuing Education Credits — and access to partnership programs with other New York cultural institutions. AIA also gives members access to resources that can help you compete in today’s market and that will keep you informed of critical professional issues in the field.

AIA Adds New Resources
Last week, AIA announced that it will hire two new resource architects who will focus on accessing sustainability resources and assisting young architects. William Worthen, AIA, will serve as Director, Resource Architect, for Sustainability. Worthen, a vice president of Simon & Associates, Inc., Green Building Consultants, San Francisco, sits on the USGBC’s Implementation Advisory Committee (National LEED Advisory Board) and the Mayor’s Green Building Task Force in San Francisco. He will help members gain access to information on sustainable design and construction, and will help AIA reach its long-term goals of carbon neutrality by 2030.

Kevin Fitzgerald, AIA, PMP, a former associate at Robert A.M. Stern Architects in New York, will work with AIA’s resources for young architects and architecture students: the Young Architects Forum, the National Associates Committee, American Institute of Architects Students, and work on growing a new national resource, the AIA Center for Emerging Professionals.

Go Green Expo Returns to NYC
AIANY is a sponsor of New York’s eco-friendly event, Go Green Expo, coming to Pier 92, 03.19-21.10. Eco-friendly companies, services, and products will be on display with more than 200 exhibits. Speaker session topics range from greening your business, eco-entrepreneurs, and living eco-logically, to discussions on the state of our environment, green jobs, eco-fashion, and living a healthy, natural lifestyle. Sponsored by CBS Television, The Home Depot, and co-located with the Architectural Digest Home Design Show, you can purchase tickets in advance at and pay $10 for the entire weekend (normally $25) with promo code AIANYC. This also gets you complimentary access to the Architectural Digest Home Design Show located next door.