Through 06.26.10
Wendell Castle: Rockin’

GhostRider

Wendell Castle, Ghost Rider, 2010 (Bubinga wood)

Courtesy Barry Friedman Ltd.

This solo exhibition of work by the American designer will feature a group of 12 unique, stack-laminated wood chairs as well as Castle’s first series in polished concrete.

Barry Friedman Ltd.
515 West 26th Street, NYC


Through 06.26.10
Refuge, Five Cities

princen

Courtesy Storefront for Art and Architecture

Bas Princen, a Dutch artist, photographer, and architect by training, documented his travels in five cities of the Middle East and Turkey — Istanbul, Beirut, Amman, Cairo, and Dubai. The exhibition is a documentation of the spatial products of refuge, ranging from migrant worker camps to gated satellite cities in the desert, or the frequent proximity between abject poverty and extreme wealth.

Storefront for Art & Architecture
97 Kenmare Street, NYC

Celebrating the First Annual Via Verde Day

Event: Via Verde Groundbreaking
Location: 700 Brook Avenue, Bronx, 05.03.10
Speakers: Robert C. Lieber — Deputy Mayor for Economic Development; Shaun Donovan, Hon. AIA — Housing and Urban Development Secretary; Congressman José Serrano; City Council Speaker Christine Quinn; State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr.; Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.; Rafael Cestero — Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner; Jonathan F. P. Rose — President, Jonathan Rose Companies; Adam Weinstein — President and CEO, Phipps Houses; NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Organizers: NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development

via_verde_bloomberg

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Borough President Rubin Diaz, Jr., Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, and Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert C. Lieber at the Via Verde Groundbreaking.

via_verde_shovels

Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert C. Lieber, Borough President Rubin Diaz, Jr., Congressman Jose Serrano, Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Rafael Cestero, John B. Rhea, Chairman of the New York City Housing Authority, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, City Planning Chair Amanda Burden, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr.

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Rick Bell, FAIA, Executive Director, AIANY, Shaun Donovan, HUD Secretary, Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, New Housing New York competition advisor and AIANY Board member, and Anthony Schirripa, FAIA, IIDA, AIANY President.

VV_leicht

Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, New Housing New York competition advisor and AIANY Board Member, George Miller, FAIA, AIA President, Holly Leicht, Deputy Commissioner for Development, HPD, Rick Bell, FAIA, Executive Director, AIANY, and Anthony Schirripa, FAIA, IIDA, AIANY President. Brown holds postcard announcing the book The Legacy Project: New Housing New York by authors Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, Mark Ginsberg, FAIA, LEED AP, and Tara Siegel, Assoc. AIA, to be published in August.

viaverde_burden

Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, New Housing New York competition advisor, Rick Bell, FAIA, Executive Director, AIANY, City Planning Chair Amanda Burden, FAICP, Hon. AIA, George Miller, FAIA, AIA President, and Anthony Schirripa, FAIA, IIDA, AIANY President.

Photos by Emily Nemens.

Yesterday morning, at an intersection in the South Bronx, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., declared May 3 Via Verde Day. As he shook the hands of affordable housing developers Jonathan Rose and Adam Weinstein, he also handed them a tremendous responsibility. It was not lost on the developers or project architects in the audience — a collaboration between Dattner Architects and Grimshaw Architects — that the city was also passing the team a huge responsibility: the affordable, sustainable future of a neighborhood.

The seed of Via Verde Day was planted six years ago. In 2004, AIANY sponsored a competition called “New Housing New York.” With City Council, City University of New York, the NYC Departments of Housing Preservation and Development, City Planning, and Buildings, it solicited proposals for affordable, sustainable housing in three New York neighborhoods. The ideas competition was so successful that two years later, the Legacy Project followed. Another competition, the New Housing New York Legacy Project, challenged teams to design mixed-income, mixed-use affordable, sustainable developments. This time, the competition asked for more than ideas: there was a site, (a brownfield in the South Bronx), and there was a commitment by city agencies to make it happen (not only did the site have to be cleaned up, with its out-of-commission rail-line, it required rezoning). A sesquicentennial exhibition at the Center for Architecture in 2007 showed a number of honorable entries, highlighting the Phipps Rose Dattner Grimshaw team that won for their green-roofed “dialogue between city and garden,” which spread across a plan that mixed towers, townhouses, courtyards, and terraces.

It’s been another four years, but on Monday — Via Verde Day — the ceremonial shovels broke ground at the corner of 156th Street and Brook Avenue, setting Via Verde’s construction on its way. The groundbreaking marked another occasion: the city passed a milestone of 100,000 affordable units developed or preserved under the Bloomberg Administration’s New Housing Marketplace Plan. The 10-year plan to reach 165,000 units feels closer than ever — so close that Speaker Christine Quinn challenged HPD to reach the milestone quickly, so it could set a higher goal of 200,000 or a quarter-million units. The importance of the city reaching this milestone with Via Verde’s groundbreaking was not lost on her. “This is a precedent-setting project for how green housing can be, how affordable housing can be… we’re talking about creating affordable housing that is beautiful and cutting-edge, leading technologically, and that is a very important message for our city to send.”

Via Verde also sent a message to the Bronx, and the locals who will call the new development home. “It is so nice to be back home,” HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, Hon. AIANY, confessed, as he stepped up to the lectern. He’d spent a lot of time developing housing in the Bronx, when he served as the head of HPD. (He held that post before joining the Obama Administration, and was responsible for creating the New Housing Marketplace Plan in 2006.) Of the Bronx, he said, “This place has been the symbol of the death of American cities and the symbol of the rebirth of American cities.”

Longtime Bronx Congressman José Serrano, took pride in the borough’s transformation. “Years ago, when we spoke about the environment in the South Bronx, people laughed at us. Now, we’ve become the leaders.”

The mayor took the stage last, thanking all the speakers before him. “You think that after all these speeches everything that could possibility be said has been said, but it has not been said by everyone.” He took the opportunity to thank all the city agencies that made 100,000 affordable units happen. “Creating or preserving affordable housing is a challenge even in the best of times, and we all know that this is not the best of times.”

While the focus of the day turned to the 100,000 milestone — the HPD planned a five-borough tour of the city’s affordable housing — the importance of Via Verde Day was celebrated by the architects in the audience. “AIANY is proud to have helped initiate this important project through the New Housing New York competition,” said AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA, who attended the groundbreaking with AIANY President Tony Schirripa, FAIA, IIDA; AIA President George Miller, FAIA; and AIANY Board Member and New Housing New York competition advisor Lance Jay Brown, FAIA. Representing Dattner Architects, Richard Dattner, FAIA; William Stein, FAIA; Adam Watson, AIA; Steve Frankel, AIA; Eugene Kwak; Venesa Alicea, Assoc. AIA; and Kirsten Sibilia, Assoc. AIA were in attendance. And on behalf of Grimshaw Architects, Vincent Chang, AIA; Nikolas Dando-Haenisch, AIA; Juan Porral; Robert Garneau, AIA; and Virginia Little joined the festivities. Bell continued, “Our central idea, then and now, is that affordable housing must be green and be built to the highest standards of design quality. With the start of construction, this replicable model demonstrates emphatically that design matters.”

Note: Read the mayor’s press release here.

A New Domino Effect in Williamsburg

Event: The New Domino
Location: Center for Architecture, 04.22.10
Speaker: Rafael Viñoly, FAIA — Rafael Viñoly Architects
Organizer: Center for Architecture; with Rafael Viñoly Architects; Community Preservation Corporation

Vinoly

The New Domino.

Courtesy of Rafael Viñoly Architects PC

With public interest and opinion on the rise about his proposed master plan for the historic Domino Sugar refinery in Williamsburg, Rafael Viñoly, FAIA, continues to take strides towards reinventing this 11.2-acre waterfront parcel into a mixed-income residential community. Spanning five city blocks north of the Williamsburg Bridge, the site is currently undergoing a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) to change the existing manufacturing zoning to allow for residential, commercial, and community facility use.

Working with Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners (preservation architect) and Quennell Rothschild & Partners (landscape architect), Rafael Viñoly Architects has envisioned a plan for the 125-year-old complex that introduces 2,200 housing units, 30% of which are affordable; 274,000 square feet of retail and community space; 99,000 square feet of commercial office space; and four acres of public parks with a waterfront esplanade. Intended to represent an “aspiration for a new caliber of building typologies in Manhattan,” according to Viñoly, the proposed buildings flanking the existing refinery seek to match the scale of Williamsburg while building up in height as they approach the waterfront. Masonry and transparent glass comprise the material palette chosen to both honor the industrial context and introduce a beacon-like presence on the water’s edge. Through both adaptive reuse and new construction, the site will be a unified “neighborhood” with a plethora of amenities, Viñoly stated.

Deemed a landmark in 2007, the former factory’s three central refinery buildings are iconic to the local community and to NYC — a condition that Viñoly has sought to both revere and highlight. The signage that has graced the refinery’s façade for decades is perhaps the most identifiable aspect; Viñoly’s proposal relocates the 40-foot sign on top of the structure to a position of greater prominence.

Perhaps most impressive about the plan is the connection to the waterfront. Four new public streets have been designated to encourage physical and visual access to the river. A sloping central lawn facing the waterfront is accompanied by more protected play areas for children, a variety of plantings that reflect local ecology, and connections to Grand Ferry Park, located north of the site.

The Domino Sugar refinery site — a reminder of NYC’s industrial heritage — under Viñoly’s drafting pen and the city’s auspices, has the potential of becoming a vibrant waterfront destination for all New Yorkers and a paradigm of historic preservation coupled with socially relevant design.

Note: Jacqueline Pezzillo, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, sat down with Viñoly to discuss his ideas further. To listen to the Podcast, click here.

Square Deal: Bob Gatje at the Center

Event: Stories About Squares: An Illustrated Talk by Robert F. Gatje, FAIA
Location: Center for Architecture, 04.28.10
Speaker: Robert F. Gatje, FAIA — Author, Great Public Squares, An Architect’s Selection (W.W. Norton, 2010)
Organizers: Center for Architecture; W.W. Norton; Architectural League of New York

Gatje

Robert Gatje, FAIA, tells stories about squares at the Center for Architecture.

AIA New York

To author and architect Robert F. Gatje, FAIA, some of the most special urban places in the world can be ascribed to the attributes, geometries, and special qualities of city-defining squares and plazas. In his new book, Great Public Squares: An Architect’s Selection, (W.W. Norton, 2010), these places range from the Piazza Navona in Rome, the Piazza delle Erbe in Verona, the Plaza Mayor in Salamanca, and the Place des Vosges in Paris, to New York’s Rockefeller Plaza. In his recent talk at the Center for Architecture, each of these extraordinary places came alive with images of the squares in use, accompanied by plans and elevations that together spoke to the importance of perception and proportion. Gatje brought the audience into these squares by speaking, as well, of the history and mutability of significant public space.

Many learned, for example, that the curved edges of the Piazza Navona were a direct result of the circus, or arena, built by the Roman Emperor Domitian in the first century, echoed by the Baroque forms from the 1600s of Borromini’s Church of Sant’Agnese and Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers, recently made famous to the general public by Tom Hank’s cinematic dip in Angels and Demons. And who knew that the mature plantings in the Place des Vosges had previously existed in six different configurations, with the most recent version not even consistent with the official plan filed at l’Hôtel de Ville in Paris?

The edges of many of these spaces are of a fairly consistent height, partly a result of pre-elevator walk-up residential limits. Building heights of 65 feet or so mean that the street wall is much more than a ballpark fence. And, of vital importance, was the fact that the space contained within the squares “did not leak out” in the corners, according to Gatje. He is, of course, the architect of many world famous structures, done by his own firm, or designed previously when he was a partner in the offices of both Marcel Breuer and of Richard Meier, FAIA, FRIBA. He is also a past president of AIANY and has been active, over many years, with the Design Committee and Contracts Committee of AIA National.

The audience included many architects and urban designers visiting from afar, some of whom spoke with the author about repeating the talk in their own cities. Spanish architect Natalia Soubrier, one of many who talked with the author during a pre-lecture book signing, was overheard telling another visitor from Spain that the book, and talk, was “inspiring because of the street-level perception of what worked universally” in more than 25 cities around the world.

RPA Looks at Crises That Shouldn’t Go to Waste

Event: Innovation and the American Metropolis: Regional Plan Association (RPA) 20th Annual Regional Assembly
Location: Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, 04.16.10
Speakers: For a full list of speakers and events, click here.
Organizers: Regional Plan Association

The Regional Plan Association (RPA), as Executive Director Thomas Wright’s opening overview indicated, has a history of prescience in predicting and advocating changes in the local built environment: a tunnel from downtown to Brooklyn instead of Robert Moses’s disruptive bridge, a polycentric view of regional development, a pedestrian plaza for Times Square, a national high-speed rail plan. The 2008 congestion-pricing conflict, as several speakers noted, is a reminder that urban planning is always a win-a-few-lose-a-few activity, but that was just a single defeat; the long-range view is what this organization is all about. Over eight decades and three metropolitan plans (1929, 1968, and 1996, with a fourth coming into view), the RPA has earned the authority to organize its Assembly around the theme of innovation, even at a moment some associate more with humility and retrenchment.

Now, amid clusters of short-term uncertainty on several fronts — has the recession truly bottomed out? Can public investments and restructurings weather the assaults from assorted teabaggers and pursestring-tighteners? Can Jay Walder (or anyone) turn NYC’s transit system around, financially and operationally? — the RPA offers, among other things, ways to bring discipline and structure to visionary optimism. Collectively determined, in Rahm Emanuel’s much-repeated phrase, not to “let a crisis go to waste,” the 2010 Regional Assembly focused intellectual firepower on the possibilities of an urban world permeated and connected by information.

Plenary speaker William McDonough, FAIA, set a tone blending vision and alarm. He aimed at reframing environmental discourse from “doing less bad” to actively doing good: not just putting less carbon in the wrong places, but engineering sustainable closed-loop systems, applying cradle-to-cradle design principles on scales from molecules to cities so as to harmonize ecology, economics, and equity. Living in a house designed by Jefferson while teaching at the University of Virginia alerted McDonough to the green implications of Jefferson’s belief, as expressed in a letter to Madison, that “the earth belongs to the living,” who deserve freedom from the effects of shortsighted decisions made by those now dead. The key question for many listeners, after McDonough’s multidisciplinary synthesis of ideas, was what policy instruments could put such ideals into practice. Humanity’s design skills pale in comparison to nature’s (“it took us 5,000 years,” McDonough notes, “to put wheels on our luggage”); are we really capable of reshaping our processes as fast as we need to?

Keynoter Adolfo Carrión, the first (and former, as of 05.04.10) White House Director of Urban Affairs, took up the challenge recently laid down by one unnamed commentator (presumably Witold Rybczynski, Hon. FAIA, in Slate ) for his office to avoid the top-down centralized planning associated with 1960s urban renewal. That’s exactly what he plans to do. “The American city is the nexus of necessity and innovation,” he said, “the engines of our economy… the places where democracy can best express itself.” The need to accommodate a projected 120 million new Americans over the next 40 years, Carrión observed, not only calls for a reversal of policies that have long subsidized disjointed, unsustainable systems in transportation, finance, health care, education, housing, and other sectors; it requires open conversations (as the Office of Urban Affairs has begun to hold nationwide), drawing on forms and sources of talent that governments routinely overlook but cities have always assembled. What neither public officials nor private profit-seekers can accomplish alone, the concentrated intelligence of a city does naturally. The Obama Administration’s strategy of reinvestment and coordination, Carrión emphasized, expresses a faith in cities as solutions, not problems.

Continues…

Pressing Questions: What’s Next for Design Media

Event: The Changing State of the Design Press: Now What?
Location: Center for Architecture, 04.26.10
Panelists: Julie V. Iovine — Executive Editor, The Architect’s Newspaper; Michael Sorkin — Principal, Michael Sorkin Studio; John Hill — Founder, A Daily Dose of Architecture; Robert Ivy, FAIA — Editor-in-Chief, Architectural Record
Moderator: Kristen Richards, Hon. ASLA — Editor-in-Chief, OCULUS & ArchNewsNow.com
Organizers: AIANY Marketing & PR Committee; Oculus Committee
Sponsors: Hausman LLC; Trespa

First Metropolitan Home, followed by I.D., and most recently BD+C — a string of design publications have folded. It’s no secret that we’re buying fewer print publications and more often turning to the web for our design news and inspiration. The design press is in flux. Panelists from several major architectural publications gathered to ponder the question, “now what?”

The state of the design press is not just a concern for publications’ staff and writers, but relevant for architects and firms as well. These publications provide exposure for their work, not only to each other, but to the general public and potential clients. Is the economy solely to blame? Or is it also technology? More and more architects are turning to social media to promote themselves and to network. According to a recent survey by Function, an Atlanta-based AEC branding firm, 10% of architects are active on Facebook; 5% use Twitter; 28% use Amazon’s social features; while 35% of those surveyed are on LinkedIn.

Since technology has democratized the field, moderator Kristen Richards, Hon. ASLA, editor of both OCULUS and ArchNewsNow.com, questioned whether architecture critics could be “an endangered species.” Design blogs have proliferated, offering up information in bite-sized chunks. Now everyone can be a critic. However, it’s not all original; John Hill, founder of the blog A Daily Dose of Architecture, thinks that much of the content is dictated by design firms and their PR teams who send out press packets. For Michael Sorkin, all of these online outlets are “waging a war on our attention spans.” Sorkin, who lost his cell phone nine months ago and hasn’t bothered to replace it, marveled at the fact that he recently had to delete 18,000 sent messages from his computer to free up space. “That’s three Anna Karenina’s worth!”

One of the biggest challenges publications face now is keeping information flowing on all fronts, said Julie Iovine, executive editor of The Architect’s Newspaper. While print is the most carefully edited, standards must be maintained on the web, too. “I don’t think we’re married to paper, but we are married to visual display,” said Robert Ivy, FAIA, editor-in-chief of Architectural Record. To keep up with demand, Record incorporates video, live events, and Continuing Education opportunities. “We [design publications] are asked to do a lot.”

So, what next? Ivy believes the design press will remain essential in their role as “curators of content,” sifting through vast quantities of information to present the best to readers. Ultimately, the panel didn’t have specific answers as far as what medium that content will take, or who will be calling the shots. Iovine takes comfort in the fact that no one really knows, so “we’re all in the same boat.”

Rio Lunges Forward to 2016

Event: Rio +2016: Architecture and Planning of the Olympics
Location: Center for Architecture, 04.23.10
Speakers: Bruno Campos — Principal, BCMF Arquitetos; Washington Fajardo — Sub-Secretary for Cultural Patrimony, Urban Planning, Architecture and Design, City of Rio de Janeiro; Celio Diniz — Principal, DDG Arquitetos;
Moderator: Warren Antonio James — Principal, Warren A. James Architects + Planners
Organizers: AIANY Global Dialogues Committee (Warren Antonio James, Warren A. James Architects + Planners); Waterfront Committee APA New York Metro Chapter (Bonnie Harken, AIA/APA, Nautilus International Development Consulting, Inc.)
Sponsors: Consulate General of Brazil, New York; TURNER International LLC; AECOM; Nautilus International Development Consulting, Inc.; Vita Coco

Aquatics-Center

Olympic Aquatics Center.

RIO 2016/BCMF Arquitetos

The London 2012 Olympics might be on the minds of most today, but Rio 2016 is right around the corner. Though the debut of Rio de Janeiro as South America’s first Olympic host city may seem effortless, the city strategically positioned itself as a sports powerhouse after three previous failed bids. With the city hosting the 2007 Pan American Games and 2014 World Cup, approximately 50% of the venues to be used for the 2016 games will already exist.

For the 2007 PanAm games, new buildings were constructed as isolated elements in a landscape, without any real urban connection, panelists said. As a result, bid architect BCMF Arquitetos has proposed a massive two-tier plaza, which will act as a “suspended landscape” knitting together many of the new buildings in the 1-million-square-meter Olympic park area. The upper level will allow spectators to flow unimpeded across different grains of landscape, ranging from large to intimate; the lower level will allow the back of house functions to occur unseen.

While closely linked to the mechanics of the 40 different sports, each with its own programmatic requirements, one can’t help but wonder if this solution is brilliant, but somewhat generic. Rio’s contrasting topography — its sinuous shorelines and dramatic peaks — seem somewhat absent from these initial planning concepts. Architect Bruno Campos said that the “Olympic bid is not an architectural competition,” but rather an exercise driven by functional requirements, and promises architectural “sparks” as the planning progresses past schematic design in the next few years.

Initial architectural concepts include an aquatic center with a façade constructed from a constantly running stream of water, and a media center with as much outside green roof as indoor reporting space. Perhaps most revealing is that many of the structures are temporary and will be demounted after the short duration of the games. For instance, the Olympic Training Center will consist of four flexible halls covered by a ubiquitous open frame. Many of the structures will be constructed as “huge empty voids that can be (re-) appropriated in many ways,” Campos said.

Although the focus of the discussion was on the current state of architecture in Rio, rather than politics, the Sub-Secretary for Cultural Patrimony, Urban Planning, Architecture, and Design for the City of Rio de Janeiro Washington Fajardo noted that the city will actively refine the schematic plans to ensure that new housing, venues, and infrastructure will be located where they are most needed. Leveraging the large influx of capital often associated with the games, Fajardo said that Rio’s real Olympic legacy will be to “create a city with more justice, not just more transportation.”

Learning From the Profession, Not Professors

Event: 2010 ConvergenceNYC — Panel Discussion
Location: Center for Architecture, 04.17.10
Speakers: Bradley Samuels — Partner, Situ Studios; Thomas Knittel, AIA, LEED AP — Principal, Senior Project Designer, and Sustainable Design Leader, HOK; Michael Westlake — Associate Designer, Populous; Debra Pothier — Senior Education Marketing Manager, Autodesk;
Moderator: Martin C. Pedersen — Executive Editor, Metropolis
Organizers: Convergence Group; AIAS; AIANY Emerging New York Architects Committee; AIANY Professional Practice Committee
Sponsors: AIA New York State; AIA New York Chapter; Cornell University; HOK; KPF; Armstrong; The Mohawk Group

ConvergenceNYC

For this year’s ConvergenceNYC, students attended a two-day long conference, complete with panel discussions, firm tours, and mentoring sessions. Marc Clemenceau Bailly, AIA (left, in the gray sweater) gave a firm tour of Gage Clemenceau; Mark Behm, Assoc. AIA (right, in the plaid shirt) presented the work of Mancini Duffy at the office.

Edith Altamiranda

It’s a common complaint that academia doesn’t fully prepare students for the real world of architecture practice. In a lively and thought-provoking panel discussion, a group of practicing professionals recently shared their thoughts, experience, and advice with architecture students during a time of economic uncertainty and some profound paradigm shifts. The panel was presented as part of 2010 ConvergenceNYC, an annual networking event that also includes firm visits and mentoring sessions to help students learn more about what awaits them outside the ivory tower.

Many panelists remarked on how the young students’ technology skills will be much in demand — a notion sure to give hope to those nervous at the prospect of an imminent job search. At HOK, the design process is “pretty much 3-D all the time,” said Thomas Knittel, AIA, LEED AP, a principal at the firm. “You’re well positioned to be a new generation that’s going to be able to lead those efforts.” When he looks at job candidates, a good command of parametric modeling programs is a big plus, he added. Autodesk’s online student community offers free software and tutorials to help students boost their tech skills, noted Debra Pothier, senior education marketing manager at the technology company.

Bradley Samuels’ story might inspire some students to sidestep a job search by starting their own firm. Shortly after graduating from Cooper Union in 2005, he and four other former students banded together to form Situ Studio. The first couple of years were lean times, he recalled, but their talents in digital design and fabrication have recently led to projects such as “Solar Pavilions” (temporary structures created using a kit of parts that can produce many forms), and a commission as fabrication consultants for the curvaceous bamboo plywood walls of a lobby at One Jackson Square, a West Village condo designed by KPF.

For them, forming their own firm was “a natural progression” from their student work, Samuels recalled. “We didn’t have any investors or a business plan. That was all done after the fact,” he said. “I think we were just at the right moment emerging with an interest in the right sorts of technologies.”

Beyond brushing up on their tech skills, students would also be well advised to immerse themselves in sustainable design. “Sustainability is finally coming into its own,” Knittel said, though it is “still very much an emerging field.” At HOK, biomimicry has proven a fruitful source of inspiration for green architecture, he said, citing AskNature.org as a helpful resource.

These days, “Rather than form follows function, form follows performance,” he observed. “And I think that we’re finding — and we really want to try to pursue — the idea that there is a real beauty to performance.”

100 Wright Women

Event: Screening of documentary, “A Girl Is A Fellow Here: 100 Women Architects In The Studio of Frank Lloyd Wright”
Location: Citicorp Building, 04.14.10
Speakers: Beverly Willis, FAIA — Founder, Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation; Wanda Bubriski — Executive Director, Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation; Nancy Goshow, AIA — Principal, Goshow Architects; Diane Tien, AIA — Associate, Perkins+Will
Organizer: AIANY Women in Architecture Committee
Sponsor: Citibank
On 04.14, the AIANY Women in Architecture Committee (WIA) organized a fundraiser screening of the film, “A Girl is a Fellow Here: 100 Women in the Studio of Frank Lloyd Wright,” a 20-minute documentary written and directed by Beverly Willis, FAIA, and produced by the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (BWAF). Through this informative documentary, which is available for purchase on Amazon, viewers learned that Frank Lloyd Wright was not only a visionary and icon, but he also provided unique opportunities for women to learn the craft of architecture at Taliesin.

Focusing on the early years in the studio, the film showcased the range of activities offered to women during their apprenticeship, from drafting, pouring concrete on site, pitching hay on the farm, working in the carpentry shop, to performing menial kitchen tasks. At the workshop, men and women were treated equally — the men participated in cooking and cleaning as well as manual labor, too. In fact, 25% of the apprentices were women, approximately 100 in all throughout the existence of the program. Many of the women featured and interviewed in the film went on to become notable architects, including Cornelia Brierly (who also published a memoir about her years at Taliesin), Marion Mahony (who designed the capital city of Canberra, Australia, with husband Walter Burley Griffin), and Lois Davidson Gotlieb.

After the screening, Willis, who founded BWAF, and Wanda Bubriski, the executive director, spoke about the role the foundation plays in gaining recognition for women architects. They hope the film will encourage the investigation of the achievements of women architects throughout the 20th century.

The event was organized as a fundraiser to send members of WIA to host a Speed Mentoring Program at the National AIA Convention in June in Miami.

(To read more about the film, read “Wright-ing a New History for Women in Architecture,” by Jacqueline Pezzillo, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, in e-Oculus, 06.23.90)