08.31.10: Now that Labor Day is fast approaching, be sure to check out the AIANY Calendar. The Center for Architecture is hosting really exciting programs in the near future, from the New Practices New York series to Checkerboard Conversations and short film screenings.

– Jessica Sheridan, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP

Note: Be sure to follow Tweets from e-Oculus and the Center for Architecture.

And check out the latest Podcasts produced by AIANY.

The Case for More Architects on Community Boards

Event: Not Business as Usual: Community Board Round-Up
Location: Center for Architecture, 08.18.10
Speakers: Shaan Khan — Director of Community Affairs and Constituent Services, Office of the Manhattan Borough President; David Paul Helpern, FAIA, LEED AP — Founding Principal, Helpern Architects, & Member, Community Board 8, Manhattan
Moderator: Margery H. Perlmutter, Esq., AIA — Partner, Bryan Cave, & Director for Legislative Affairs, AIANY Board of Directors
Organizers: AIANY “Not Business as Usual” initiative
Sponsors: Chief Manufacturing; Lutron Electronics; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Architects bring a highly appropriate skill set to the public sector, said land-use attorney and AIANY Director for Legislative Affairs Margery Perlmutter, Esq., AIA, and her fellow panelists: not only technical expertise but a capacity for negotiation and problem-solving when the problems are complex and the affected parties diverse. New York’s community boards, populated by dedicated appointees and charged with influential (though not decisive) advisory roles in land-use decisions, are an ideal instrument for applying those skills, and AIANY is actively encouraging the city’s architects not only to work with the boards but to serve on them. The latest panel in the “Not Business as Usual” (NBAU) series offered a practical primer on the history, structure, and function of this segment of city government.

Shaan Khan, director of community affairs and constituent services at Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s office, presented a rundown of how community boards have evolved since their origin in 1951 as advisory groups, and on how they operate today as sovereign agencies under the 1975 City Charter. Each of the city’s 59 boards (12 in Manhattan) includes 50 volunteer members, half appointed by the borough presidents (BP) outright and half after City Council nominations; the members represent important demographic constituencies and good-government groups and serve staggered two-year terms.

Members are required to attend monthly meetings observing parliamentary Robert’s Rules of Order, plus meetings of committees on major areas such as land use, transit, zoning, and education and topical subcommittees (a few boards have “green” subcommittees; the Upper East Side’s Board 8 has one on the Second Avenue subway). With 300 vacancies opening up each year in Manhattan alone, BPs are constantly looking for citizens with detailed local knowledge and community commitment. “Public membership,” with topical input but no full-board voting role, is another way to contribute.

After 45 years in the neighborhood and 40 years making professional presentations to boards, David Helpern, FAIA, was appointed to the Upper East Side’s Board 8 in 2007; he has participated in deliberations over everything from awnings and sidewalk cafés to institutional expansions and the controversial Foster + Partners tower above the Parke-Bernet Galleries. “Amazingly,” he notes, “there are people who do not realize how accessible the community boards are.” He advises architects presenting to a board always to make their case on the merits and never to laud their own expertise over the views of laypeople. Debates can be passionate, particularly in ULURP, but he has found his colleagues impressively knowledgeable and civil: “We do not always agree, but we always part friends.” (See Helpern’s article “The Hottest Seat in Town” in OCULUS, Spring 2010, pp. 30-31)

Urging architects to scrutinize the quality of their argumentation, graphics, and technology, Perlmutter recommends making community board presentations an opportunity to influence debate, not a mundane chore. She observed that professionals who understand cities on a physical level can offer an informed voice that officials hear all too rarely. “Architects are not involved in politics enough… 100% of what goes on in [city] politics has to do with architecture ultimately, or urbanism.” AIANY’s contact person for architects interested in seeking board positions is Policy Director Jay Bond.

Healthcare Facilities Plan for Latest Technology

Event: Acoustical Design & Audiovisual Planning for Healthcare Facilities
Location: Hafele Showroom, 08.18.10
Speakers: James Perry — Principal, Director Healthcare Services, Cerami & Associates; Alan Bjornsen — Principal, Group Director, Audiovisual Technologies, Cerami & Associates; Allan Katz — President, VTS Medical Systems
Organizer: AIANY Health Facilities Committee


Laparoscopic and Orthopedic Integrated OR.

VTS Medical Systems

A good patient experience is the over-arching goal of hospital administrators. But in addition to finding ways to improve patient satisfaction while keeping costs down, architects and engineers working in the health facility sector are also faced with the challenge of planning for new technologies.

The demand for Hybrid Operating Rooms is increasing, for example. A Hybrid OR contains both surgical and imaging equipment. They fulfill two requisites: a higher level of patient care and cost efficiency. They also allow cardiovascular surgeons and cardiologists to work side-by-side on the same patient.

Hybrid ORs require collaborative space planning by medical personnel and designers. Workflow becomes a major issue due to the interdisciplinary usage of these rooms, given that ways to accommodate people and equipment are unique to each discipline. With the technology that is available today, ORs are now used for documenting procedures, real-time conferencing for teaching purposes, and telemedicine — which brings consulting specialists into the OR from other locations.

Other advancements come in the form of noise control. “Acoustics is a big part of patient happiness,” stated James Perry, director of healthcare services at Cerami & Associates. All too often patients complain that noise has disrupted sleep and relaxation. New strategies to mitigate noise pollution include better-insulated walls and underlayments; sound-absorptive design materials and finishes, and noise diminishing ceiling treatments.

“Acoustics and audiovisual technology in healthcare facilities have undergone tremendous growth in recent years,” exclaimed Perry. “It’s exciting to see how our work helps medical facilities and medical professionals better perform. It helps create a more effective healing environment for patients.” Planning for the future depends on laying the proper groundwork, installing appropriate future-ready infrastructure, and learning from the past.

A Lunch to Save Energy


AIANY 2010 President Tony Schirripa, FAIA, IIDA (left), with Rep. Steve Israel of the 2nd Congressional District.

Rick Bell

The Alliance to Save Energy and ASE President Kateri Callahan hosted a lunch with Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY 2nd Congressional District) and Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY 21st Congressional District) at which the lawmakers offered policy perspectives on comprehensive energy legislation. Introductory remarks by Francis J. Murray, Jr., President and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), lauded the two Congressmen for “seeing beyond their own districts” to formulate a national approach that would augment “the many wonderful things we are trying to do in New York in regards to energy policy.” Those at the AIA New York table knew, for example, that NYSERDA provided significant funding for our Center for Architecture geothermal system and has selected AIANY and Urban Green to conduct energy code training statewide.

Rep. Israel noted that he didn’t need his allotted eight minutes to describe the failures of the last 30 years of national energy policy: “missteps, back-steps, and half-steps.” He criticized the doubling of Persian Gulf oil imports over that time period and the slashing of research on energy conservation by 87%. He described three ways to change our goals. First is top-down investment, such as the $16 billion stimulus funding for energy in the American Reinvestment & Recovery Act. Second is a bottom-up return on investments, including energy bonds for energy retrofits of existing buildings. Third is the initiative to use new technology to find clean energy in trash recycling. He called this a “Sputnik moment” when Americans should “not take no for an answer.”

On the same theme, Rep. Tonko spoke of the need for investment in what he called STEM, or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics to “embrace the American intellect.” He suggested that we encourage the “garage mentality” through support of a Sustainable Business Innovative Research Program (SBIRP) to more aggressively make “whiz kid ideas shelf ready.” He saw the big picture issues as being a new era of energy generation and distribution, a clean energy economy, and new concepts such as distributed technology wherein “energy efficiency is our fuel of choice.”

The interchange between the two distinguished members of Congress during the Q&A led Rep. Israel to conclude with a call for the political will to create $400 billion in new jobs, saying “the next generation of job growth is in energy efficiency — that’s the big issue.”

In this issue:
· 15 Penn Plaza Passes City Council
· Union Square Will Become Sukkah City This September
· The Beatrice Tops the Eventi Hotel
· MTA Police Department Moves into New HQ
· DC Commissions a Sustainable Public Library

15 Penn Plaza Passes City Council


15 Penn Plaza.

Pelli Clark Pelli

City Council voted 47 to 1 to approve the construction of Vornado Realty Trust’s project, 15 Penn Plaza. The 67-story Pelli Clark Pelli-designed office tower will rise 1,190 feet, 60 feet shorter than the Empire State Building’s 102nd-story observation deck. The project is expected to create an estimated 6,000 construction jobs, and Vornado has committed to set aside 15% of its contracts for women and minority owned businesses. In addition, the developer has pledged more than $150 million in improvements to transportation connections, including modernizing and reopening the old Gimbels tunnel that connects Herald Square to Penn Station. The new project will replace McKim, Mead & White’s Hotel Pennsylvania.

Union Square Will Become Sukkah City This September



So Sugita, and Ginna Nguyen

Biblical in origin, sukkahs commemorate how the Israelites dwelled during their exodus from Egypt. They are typically temporary structures with at least two-and-a-half walls, a roof made of organic materials that both provides shade and allows views of the stars, and is big enough for a table. Sukkah City: New York City held a competition to re-imagine this Old Testament structure using new methods of material practice and parametric design. Twelve selected teams (out of 600 from 43 countries) will construct their proposals as a village in Union Square Park 09.19-20.10. Seven NYC-based teams were selected: Dale Suttle, So Sugita, and Ginna Nguyen (Gathering); Henry Grosman and Babak Bryan (Fractured Bubble); Kyle May and Scott Abrahams (LOG); Matter Practice (Single Thread); Bittertang (Bio Puff); SO-IL (In Tension); and THEVERYMANY (P.YGROS.C / passive hygroscopic curls). A “people’s choice sukkah” will be installed during the weeklong festival of Sukkot, and selected entries will be displayed at the Center for Architecture in September.

The Beatrice Tops the Eventi Hotel


The Beatrice.

Perkins Eastman with model apartment by Norma King Design

The Beatrice, 30 stories of luxury rental apartments on the uppermost portion of the 54-story, Perkins Eastman-designed Klimpton’s Eventi Hotel, recently opened model apartments. Located in Herald Square, the 302 apartments range from studios to three-bedroom penthouses. Residents have a fitness center with a yoga studio and 6,300 square feet of amenities, including the Cloud Lounge, an outdoor terrace on the 54th floor.

MTA Police Department Moves into New HQ


MTA Police Department Headquarters.

WASA/Studio A

The new MTA Police Department Headquarters is now open on the site of the former Central Islip train station on Long Island. Designed by WASA/Studio A, the 17,000-square-foot, two-story facility is a modern interpretation of an historic train station. Improved communications will make quicker responses to emergencies in the Suffolk County section of the LIRR’s territory possible. The building accommodates the patrol force, including commanding officers, patrol officers, detectives, and administrative staff. In addition, it contains space for the K-9 unit and training facilities, with a motor pool for maintaining and repairing emergency response vehicles. Complying with New York State Executive Order 111, it meets strict energy-efficient guidelines for lighting, heating, cooling, and insulation.

DC Commissions Sustainable Public Library


Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Library.

Davis Brody Bond Aedas

The 22,800-square-foot, three-story Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Library, designed by Davis Brody Bond Aedas, recently opened in Washington, DC. The entry plaza features a 22-foot sculpture by local artist Craig Kraft. The ground floor houses the new materials and catalog stations for the general collections, and the children’s library. The upper level includes the bulk of the adult collection, including reference and periodical sections. The lower level contains community spaces, such as a 100-person, multi-purpose room. The library also offers conference rooms and individual study rooms to allow for collaborative work in a non-disruptive setting. Designed to meet LEED Silver standards, the building incorporates a vegetative roof, displacement air system, solar control, daylight management, and extensive use of recyclable and renewable materials. The southern façade is a corrugated, perforated-aluminum screen wall system that sits three feet in front of a curtain wall, providing shade to the upper level reading room while allowing natural daylight to enter.

In this issue:
· Architecture Week Schedule Announced
· ENYA ARE Bootcamp Schedule for Fall
· eCalendar

Architecture Week Scheduled Announced
This year, Architecture Week will stretch nine days, from Saturday 10.02 to Sunday 10.10. The schedule, bookended by the Center for Architecture Foundation’s Usonian House Tours and the annual openhousenewyork weekend, will include the Center for Architecture’s annual Deans’ Roundtable, in conjunction with our 2010 Arch Schools exhibition; four special programs for our four honorees (Vicki Match Suna, AIA, 200 West Project Team, Clinton Climate Initiative, and Henry Cobb, FAIA); and two exhibition openings (“Innovate : Integrate,” and “MADE IN NEW YORK”). Tours of the High Bridge will be given by the AIANY Emerging New York Architects Committee for openhousenewyork and the committee will also be hosting a Disassembly Party on 10.03 for the Living Pavilion on Governors Island.

And of course, on Thursday, 10.07 is our biggest celebration of the year: Heritage Ball and Party@theCenter. Don’t miss a minute! Check out aiany.org/architectureweek now, and start planning for a great week of the best in architecture and design.

ENYA ARE Bootcamp Schedule for Fall
AIANY Associate members and other New York designers studying for the Architect Registration Examination, mark your calendars! The fall session of the AIANY Emerging New York Architect Committee’s ARE Bootcamp begins in September.

To kick off the series, join us on 09.12.10 for Dorf Day.

The ARE Bootcamp Series begins the following Sunday with:

· 9/19 CDs
· 9/26 Schematic Design
· 10/17 Site Planning & Design
· 10/24 Building Design & Construction Systems
· 11/7 Building Systems
· 11/21 Structures (Part 1)
· 12/5 Structures (Part 2)
Registration is $10/session for members, and $75/session non-members, with join and attend rates available. Click here to register.

eCalendar includes an interactive listing of architectural events around NYC. Click the link to go to to eCalendar on the Web.

Center for Architecture Gallery Hours and Location
Monday-Friday: 9:00am-8:00pm, Saturday: 11:00am-5:00pm, Sunday: CLOSED
Please note the Center for Architecture will be closed at 2pm on Friday 09.03.10, and will not be open Monday 09.06.10 for Labor Day.
536 LaGuardia Place, Between Bleecker and West 3rd Streets in Greenwich Village, NYC, 212-683-0023


New Practices New York 2010


On view July 15 — October 23

Building the Living Pavilion


On view August 3 — October 3

Summer Design Studio Wrap Up


Students from A Room of One’s Own Studio showcase their finished models (left). A personal shelter designed by a student in the Digital Design Studio using Google SketchUp.

Maggie Yolen

Throughout the summer, the Center for Architecture Foundation’s Summer Studios offered NYC area youth the opportunity to learn about architecture and design. Drawing in new students, teachers, and volunteers every week, each Summer Studio approached architectural design in a different manner.

A Room of One’s Own Studio challenged middle school students to design their dream homes. These ranged from a three-level home in Seattle to a loft apartment in Martha’s Vineyard. For some students, the challenge was trying to squeeze a music room into the 1,000-square-foot limit; others considered the best placement for solar panels. Handmade bunk beds, spiral staircases, hammocks, and light fixtures were a few of the finishing touches that students detailed for their final presentations. Inspiration for the models came from visiting apartments throughout the week, arranged by openhousenewyork. Selected work from this studio will be on display in “Building Connections,” the Foundation’s annual exhibition of student work opening 11.04.10 at the Center for Architecture.

After becoming familiar with the history of bridges for the Bridges Studio, students in third through fifth grades explored Central Park and the Brooklyn Bridge. Equipped with sketchbooks and pencils, they documented how bridges work. Each day, students built a different type of bridge, taking turns testing each other’s models with weights. One student used 20 Chinese food containers to construct an arch bridge adorned with staircases made from recycled bottle corks. Another built a two-tiered bridge supported by corrugated paper columns — the bottom level would be for cars and the top for bikers and pedestrians. By week’s end the students could not only identify the differences between arch, cantilever, and draw bridges, they could build them.

The Intro to Digital Design Studio introduced students to Google SketchUp. Tasked with creating a personal shelter, they became pros with the software. One student designed a two-story tree house for her backyard, while another designed an underground retreat. Though it was difficult to pry students away from the program, the studio also included visits to the Meier Model Museum and the office of SHoP Architects.

Because of its success this summer, Intro to Digital Design will be offered as an after-school studio this fall for sixth through eighth graders, as will Architecture Inside-Out, a studio for third through fifth graders that investigates architecture through hands-on model-making, drawing, and discussion. Visit www.cfafoundation.org for more information, and contact info@cfafoundation.org to be added to the Foundation’s mailing list.

Contemporary Architecture Signifies Hope in NOLA

Five years after Hurricane Katrina I spent much of my weekend watching and listening to news reports and documentaries about the storm’s aftermath. One of the most interesting, from an architecture and urban planning perspective, is Studio360’s Podcast, “Five Years After Katrina.” After interviewing Robert Olshanksy and Laurie Johnson, urban planners and co-authors of Clear as Mud: Planning for the Rebuilding of New Orleans, host Kurt Anderson exclaimed that he was feeling more optimistic than he expected after hearing of all the positive developments happening citywide.

One of the stories that news outlets tended to feature throughout the weekend, perhaps because of its positive message, is the Make It Right foundation. On Studio360, Melba Legget talked about living in a new KieranTimeberlake-designed house — the “#4 Brad Pitt house” as she calls it. She spoke about her pleasure with the house’s design because the architects met with her and asked her what she wanted out of every space. On “Meet the Press,” Brad Pitt expressed pride in the fact that “all but one house” is giving energy back to the grid, rather than taking away from it. He also discussed how, with all houses being built to LEED Platinum standards, the Lower Ninth Ward is becoming “the greenest neighborhood in the country.”

What impresses me the most about the Make It Right houses is that they challenge convention yet they are being embraced by the local community, something I was skeptical about when the designs were first released. Aesthetically, they may reference more traditional homes, but most of them do not look like anything that previously existed in the neighborhood. Whether their success is due to the fact that designers are reaching out to future homeowners for their input, or because homeowners are choosing to live in homes that stand out (on “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” it was discussed that residents are choosing the brightest houses so they can direct emergency workers to their homes easier when the next disaster strikes), it is exciting to see communities embrace contemporary architecture.

Recipients of the AIA 2010 Educational Facility Design Awards include: Citations for the Concordia International School Shanghai by Perkins Eastman, and the School Without Walls Senior High School by Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn Architects… 2010 R+D Awards winners include the R-House by Della Valle Bernheimer and Architecture Research Office; and Citations for the New York Stock Exchange Security and Streetscape by Rogers Marvel Architects, and HelioTrace Façade System by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Creative Time announced that the second annual Leonore Annenberg Prize for Art and Social Change will be presented to artist Rick Lowe for his neighborhood-based, community-engaged Project Row Houses…

Situ Studio is collaborating with Professor Adam Maloof of Princeton University’s Department of Geosciences on research on the discovery of the earliest animal life on earth, as well as the digital reconstruction of fossils encased in 650 million-year-old limestone samples… New York University has launched a Masters degree program in London, the Historical and Sustainable Architecture program, offered in conjunction with London’s Sir John Soane Museum…

Lualdi announced its first collection of doors by American designers, including NYC-based Dror Benshetrit, David Rockwell, AIA, and Robert A.M. Stern, FAIA, which will be on view from 10.06-11.19.10 at the Material ConneXion showroom…

Perkins Eastman will expand its existing Mumbai, India, office headed by Principal and Executive Director Aaron B. Schwarz, FAIA… Francis Cauffman has appointed David L. Labe as director of communication…