Washington Comes to Harlem

Roberta Washington, FAIA, with C.S. 154 students.

Tim Hayduk

Last month, Roberta Washington, FAIA, Center for Architecture Foundation (CFAF) 2009 Board President and current board member, made two visits to C.S. 154, the Harriet Tubman School: first for the CFAF’s Learning by Design:New York (LDB:NY) residency and second per the request of art teacher Ms. Sciascia.

The LDB:NY residency focused on the architecture and landmarks of Harlem. Washington showed slides of the work of African-American architects whose buildings play an important role in the architectural history of Harlem and beyond. Students were excited to hear that Washington, who is the principal of Roberta Washington Architects and a long-time Harlem resident herself, designed several buildings that they recognized in their neighborhood. They instantly felt a connection to the architect and her work. Ultimately, students will use their knowledge and research from their LBD:NY residency to create a “Guide by Cell” audio guide of their neighborhood.

In Sciascia’s art class, students are learning about the built environment and the various design-related professions. During her visit, Washington explained to the 50 second graders the skills required to become an architect and described a typical day in the life of an architect. Students asked many questions, including, “How long does it take to build a project?” and “If the architect does not work out, who takes over the project?” Thanks to Washington, there may be a few more budding architects in our midst.

Special thanks to Washington for donating her time and to the CFAF and LBD:NY. For more information about the Foundation or scheduling a LBD:NY residency, visit www.cfafoundation.org, or contact Tim Hayduk at thayduk@cfafoundation.org.

NYC Accelerates Bike Law Enforcement

I live on the Upper West Side, where much of the contention around the new bike lane on Columbus Avenue has centered on some business owners who claim that the shifting traffic patterns have negatively impacted profits (see “DOT Agrees To Modifications To Street Redesign On UWS,” by Tetiana Anderson, 02.07.11). However, there also seems to be a wave of bike riders who are speaking out against these new lanes, as well. While I am in favor of expanding bike lanes throughout the city, and I understand that there will be growing pains as drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians adjust to new infrastructure, the expanded paths are far from perfected.

The new bike lanes are intended to encourage people to ride bikes in the city. However, as stated on the Biking Rules website, riders must follow all the rules of the road that apply to motor vehicles — i.e., stopping at all red lights and stop signs, riding with the flow of traffic, and stopping before crosswalks. These rules are increasingly being enforced. The security guard in my building was ticketed recently for going through a red light while riding home at 2:00am, when, he claims, there was no traffic or pedestrians. The NY Post reported on officers ticketing riders running red lights in Central Park (see “Tix blitz on Central Pk. cyclists,” by John Doyle, 03.16.11). The report also states that 230 tickets have been issued to cyclists for traffic violations in the city so far this year.

I think it is time to re-evaluate the laws and determine the best balance required to encourage cyclists and provide for both their safety and the safety of those around them. I agree that bike riders must abide by traffic laws, but I do not think that they should be subject to the same regulations or penalties as motor vehicles. While bikes can be dangerous to pedestrians, they are not nearly as deadly as cars or trucks. Idaho has had a law in place since 1982 that lets cyclists run red lights after slowing down to make sure crossing an intersection is safe, called the “Stop As Yield” law. Utah, Oregon, and Montana considered implementing a similar law, but in all cases it did not pass through legislature. NYC streets may be more dangerous than Idaho, but I think this is just one law worth considering.

The recipients of the 2011 AIA Housing Awards include, in the category of One/Two Family Custom Housing, R-House by Della Valle Bernheimer and Architecture Research Office; and Special Housing, The Schermerhorn by Ennead Architects

The International Interior Design Association (IIDA) announced the winners of the 38th Annual Interior Design Competition, including the David Yurman Townhouse by Gabellini Sheppard Associates and the Andaz 5th Avenue Hotel by TonyChi and Associates

Winners of the 11th Annual NYC Section of the Illuminating Engineering Society’s Student Lighting Competition include: “Peace Bomb” by Kevin Lee of Pratt Institute, Industrial Design (Grand Prize); “Shadow Ripples in a Pond of Light” by Rebecca Bost, Parsons The New School for Design, MFA Lighting Design and Architecture (Second Prize); “Was It a Rat I Saw?” by Brandon Lenoir, Parsons The New School for Design, AAS Interior Design (Third Prize); and “Light Lunch” by Margaret Cabanis-Wicht, Pratt Institute, Master of Industrial Design; “The Heart of A Confident Man” by Shane Moan, Fordham University, BA Theater Design Production; and “Familiar Objects In a New Light” by Andrew Koudlai, Fordham University, Visual Arts (Honorable Mentions)…

Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, has been elected the inaugural Chancellor of the recently formed College of Distinguished Professors within the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA)…

Nancy Aber Goshow, AIA, LEED AP,
will be honored as a 2011 Partner of the Year at the 24th Annual Partners for Progress Gala presented by the Queensborough Community College Fund…

Scott Lauer, former director of the Robin Hood Foundation L!brary Building Initiative and founder of openhousenewyork (OHNY), has been named vice president for programs at the American Architectural Foundation…

HOK New York announces that Juliette Lam will lead Strategic Initiatives for the firm’s worldwide Interiors practice, and Tom Polucci will lead the New York Interiors practice…

2011 OCULUS Editorial Calendar
If you are an architect by training or see yourself as an astute observer of New York’s architectural and planning scene, note that OCULUS editors want to hear from you! Projects/topics may be anywhere, but architects must be New York-based. Please submit story ideas by the deadlines indicated below to Kristen Richards: kristen@ArchNewsNow.com.

2011 Themes:
Spring (President’s Theme): Design for a Change: Buildings, People, Energy

Summer: AIANY Design Awards 2011

Fall: Interior Activity
Architects as interior designers; Changes in corporate culture = transformation of the workplace; Architects designing products/Multi-disciplinary cross-overs; Rebranding hospitality, restaurants, retail to attract new audiences; Interiors as laboratories for small firms.
Submit story ideas by 04.22.11

Winter: Up, Down, and Sideways: Density and Transportation
Density enabled by transportation: mass transit, cycling; Moynihan Station; Regional connections; Housing Authority: former purposeful disconnect, now reintegrating back into neighborhoods; How a century of New York skyscrapers has/is/will affect the architecture, planning, and culture of the city and the world.
Submit story ideas by 08.19.11

For further information, contact OCULUS Editor Kristen Richards: kristen@ArchNewsNow.com.

03.25.11 Registration Deadline: Save A Sample!

04.04.11 Call for Entries: suckerPUNCH International Ideas Competition for LIC Cinema

04.08.11 Call for Entries: EcoHome Design Awards

04.09.11 Call for Entries: Dekalb Market — Not Just A Container

04.26.11 Call for Entries: Think Space — Geopolitical Borders

05.03.11 Call for Entries: Douglas Haskell Award for Student Journals

07.15.11 Call for Entries: The Mid-Polis — 2011 Open Building Competition Challenge

10.07.11 Call for Entries: 2011 NOMA Student Design Competition

03.15.11: The AIA elevated 104 of its members to the College of Fellows, and seven are members of the AIA New York Chapter. Their achievements were honored at a reception at the Center for Architecture.

Seven new fellows from the AIANY (L-R): Thomas M. Phifer, FAIA; Stanley T. Allen, FAIA; Audrey Matlock, FAIA; Henry Myerberg, FAIA; David Miles Ziskind, FAIA; Michael Anthony Nieminen, FAIA; and Burton Lloyd Roslyn, FAIA.

Emily Nemens

(L-R): Past AIANY Presidents Mark Strauss, FAIA, AICP, LEED (2006), Mark Ginsberg, FAIA, LEED AP (2004), and 2010 Fellows Committee member Peter Samton, FAIA (1977-8).

Emily Nemens

2010 Fellows Committee Chair Stanley Stark, FAIA, and AIANY Past President Tony Schirripa, FAIA, IIDA.

Emily Nemens

Audrey Matlock, FAIA, and David Burney, FAIA, commissioner of the NYC Department of Design + Construction and 2010 Fellows Committee member.

Emily Nemens

03.14.11: Tony Hiss discussed his new book, In Motion, as part of the monthly Book Talk series presented by AIA NY’s Oculus Committee.

(L-R): Oculus Committee chair Kirsten Sibilia, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP; Tony Hiss; 2011 AIANY President Margaret O’Donoghue Castillo, AIA, LEED AP; Oculus Committee Member Miguel Baltierra; and AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA.

Kristen Richards

Author Tony Hiss.

Kristen Richards

03.16.11: The topic of this month’s Not Business As Usual Series was “How to use EPA’s Portfolio Manager,” the no-cost, online designated reporting tool for NYC benchmarking.

(L-R): Deborah F. Taylor, AIA, LEED AP, Chief Sustainability Officer, NYC Department of Buildings; Margaret O’Donoghue Castillo, AIA, LEED AP; and Steve Zirinsky, AIA, co-chair of AIANY Building Codes Committee

Suzanne Mecs

03.16.11: Chris Ward, Executive Director of the Port Authority of NY and NJ, presented on the topic of “Innovation and Integration of the Future.” He discussed the progress at the World Trade Center site and other challenges facing the region, with a special focus on the waterfront.

(L-R): Joe Aliotta, AIA, LEED AP, AIANY President-Elect; Tony Schirripa, FAIA, IIDA; Richard Anderson, President of the NY Building Congress; Chris Ward; Margaret O’Donoghue Castillo, AIA, LEED AP; and Rick Bell, FAIA.

Emily Nemens


03.09.11: Today’s big announcement is that OCULUS is now available online! Click here to read the Winter 2010/11 issue, “Global Practice New York.” Flip through the pages on your computer; jump to articles from the Contents tab; e-mail the issue to a colleague; save it to your desktop or print specific pages. We on the AIANY Oculus Committee have been working hard behind the scenes with our new publisher Naylor to bring this service to you. We hope you enjoy! We also welcome your feedback. E-mail eoculus@aiany.org with your comments.

– 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.

2011 AIANY Design Awards Announced


The annual AIA New York Design Awards program recognizes local and international projects by NYC architects, as well as work designed in NYC by non-local firms. There were a total of 433 submissions this year, and juries comprised of internationally prominent designers chose Honor and Merit Award winners within four categories: Architecture, Interiors, Un-Built Work, and Urban Design.

Architecture, Honor Awards:
· Diller Scofidio + Renfro, FXFOWLE Architects (Associate Architect): Hypar Pavilion Lawn and Restaurant at Lincoln Center
· Steven Holl Architects, CCDI – China Construction Design International: Horizontal Skyscraper — Vanke Center
· LOT-EK: APAP Openschool
· Thomas Phifer and Partners, Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee (Associate Architect): North Carolina Museum of Art
· Thomas Phifer and Partners: House in Midwest
· Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, Tom Eliot Fisch (Associate Architect): C.V. Starr East Asian Library

Architecture, Merit Awards:
· Diller Scofidio + Renfro: Granoff Center for the Creative Arts at Brown University
· Greeley-Hansen, Hazen & Sawyer, and Malcolm Pirnie in association with Ennead Architects: Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant
· Ennead Architects: Gateway Center, Westchester Community College
· Ennead Architects: The Standard
· Roger Ferris + Partners: Country Estate
· Foster + Partners, AAI Architects (Adamson) (Architect of Record): Sperone Westwater
· SAA / Stan Allen Architect, W.B. Huang Architects & Planners: Taichung Info-Box
· Rafael Viñoly Architects, SmithGroup (Architect of Record): UCSF Dolby Regeneration Medicine Building

Interiors, Honor Awards:
· Dean/Wolf Architects: Inverted Warehouse/Townhouse
· Michielli + Wyetzner Architects: EDAW Inc.
· Thomas Phifer and Partners: Fifth Avenue Apartment
· Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects: David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center

Interiors, Merit Awards:
· Cook + Fox Architects: 641 Avenue of the Americas
· Dean/Wolf Architects: Implied Rotation Townhouse
· OBRA Architects, Terry Chance/ Site Assembly: Urbia Furniture System for Small Apartments in Big Cities
· SYSTEMarchitects: aA SHELTER
· WXY Architecture + Urban Design: NYC Information Center

Un-built Work, Honor Awards:
· LEVENBETTS: PhXcaseXcase: Cactus Flower Housing
· Morphosis Architects, SRA Architectes (Associate Architect): Phare Tower
· SO-IL: Kukje Art Center

Un-built Work, Merit Awards:
· CR Studio Architects: Marine Company 1 Firehouse
· EASTON+COMBS: Changing Room
· KNEstudio | University of Illinois: urbanCLOUD
· Philip Lee Workshop: Just Add Water: A Proposal for the NYC Shaft Sites
· NAMELESS: Playcloud
· Sage and Coombe Architects: Bronx River Art Center
· Joel Sanders Architect: LGBT Retirement Community

Urban Design, Honor Awards:
· Diller Scofidio + Renfro, FXFOWLE Architects, and Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners: Lincoln Center Public Spaces
· dlandstudio, Architecture Research Office: Lower Manhattan: A New Urban Ground
· Michael Van Valkenburgh, Maryann Thompson Architects (Associate Architect): Brooklyn Bridge Park

Urban Design, Merit Awards:
· James Corner Field Operations: Qianhai Water City
· PPJ-Perkins Eastman, Posco E&C, Jina, and Vietnam Institute of Architecture: HANOI Master Plan to 2030 and Vision to 2050

AIANY Design Awards Jury Celebrates Diverse Design

Event: Design Awards Jury Symposium – Winners Announced
Location: Center for Architecture, 03.01.11
Jurors: Architecture: Minsuk Cho, — Principal, Mass Studies; Vincent James, FAIA — Principal, VJAA & Cass Gilbert Professor-in-Practice, University of Minnesota School of Architecture; Murat Tabanlioglu — Principal, Tabanlioglu Architects; Interiors: Neil Frankel, FAIA, FIIDA — Chair, University of Wisconsin/Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning; Monica Ponce De Leon — Principal, Office dA; Patricia Patkau, FRAIC, Hon. FAIA, Hon. FRIBA — Principal, Patkau Architects; Urban Design: Julia Czerniak — Principal, CLEAR & Associate Professor, Syracuse University School of Architecture; Marilyn Jordan Taylor, FAIA — Dean, University of Pennsylvania School of Design; Ray Gastil — Director, Gastilworks Planning & Design; Un-Built Work: Chris Genik, AIA — Principal, Daly Genick & Dean, Newschool of Architecture and Design, San Diego; Joe Rosa — Director, University of Michigan Museum of Art; Elias Torres Tur — Partner, Martinez Lapena — Torres Arquitectos
Moderator: William Menking — Editor-in-Chief, The Architect’s Newspaper
Sponsors: Patron: Trespa; Sponsors: Buro Happold; Ingram Yuzek Gainen Carroll & Bertolotti, LLP; Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates; MechoShade Systems, Inc.; New York University; Structure Tone Inc.; Studio Daniel Libeskind; Syska Hennessy Group; Swanke Hayden Connell Architects; Weidlinger Associates, Inc.

Jurors discuss winners in four categories, including Architecture, Interiors, Urban Design and Un-built work.

Courtesy Center for Architecture

Whether it’s site-specificity or small-scale intimacy, the AIANY Design Awards jurors rewarded 38 projects that are diverse with a variety of approaches — with Honor and Merit Awards.

The Architecture category winners included several projects built in Asia. Juror Minsuk Cho pointed out that it can be challenging designing modern architecture within the context of Asian building traditions, but he believes that entries such as Merit Award-winning Stan Allen Architect succeeded by creating a design that is “not only site-specific, but also time specific.” The temporary Taichung Info-Box is constructed with bamboo, a local material that can also be easily recycled. Another theme among winning projects was the play on topography. The Honor Award-winning Hypar Pavilion Lawn and Restaurant at Lincoln Center by Diller Scofidio + Renfro with FXFOWLE Architects was the “most simple and most successful” of these designs, stated Vincent James, FAIA, who noted that the changes in planes create a 3-D effect.

Chicago architect Neil Frankel, FAIA, FIIDA, found the entries in the Interiors category “ethereal” compared to work in his hometown, and believes that “NYC is rich with intimate spaces.” Monica Ponce De Leon noticed a “struggle for how to make architecture out of nothing” within small spaces. Thomas Phifer and Partners’ Fifth Avenue Apartment, which won an Honor Award, incorporated reflective surfaces in window frames, “a simple move that transforms the character of the space,” she said. Jurors agreed that there wasn’t a central idea among the winning projects, and those they selected exhibited distinct methodologies and ranges of scale, from private apartments to the very public NYC Information Center by WXY Architecture + Urban Design, which won a Merit Award.

“Urban design is creating opportunity,” said Ray Gastil. Jurors for the Urban Design category believed that Brooklyn Bridge Park by Michael Van Valkenburgh and Maryann Thompson Architects deserved an Honor Award for its “surface and creation of topography,” according to Marilyn Jordan Taylor, FAIA. She noted that many projects garnered awards by creating “urban junctions” that invite in the surrounding neighborhood. However, Julia Czerniak pointed out that there were aspects absent from submissions, including temporary, small-scale projects, and the policy component of how to actually get work built.

Projects within the ephemeral Un-built Work category ranged from those by well-known firms, including the Honor Award-winning Phare Tower by Morphosis Architects with SRA Architectes, which jurors praised for breaking away from the skyscraper ideal, as well as work by emerging firms. SO-IL’s Kukje Art Center, which received an Honor Award, features a “skin that is just unstable enough to suggest all types of uses,” which intrigued Chris Genik, AIA. Jurors gave a Merit Award to Playcloud by NAMELESS, part of the 2010 FIGMENT/ENYA/SEAoNY City of Dreams Pavilion competition on Governors Island, for its “optimism of confined space for adults to play,” according to Joe Rosa. Although, he admitted, there could be some structural issues with the design.

On 04.12.11, the winners will be honored at the Design Awards Luncheon at Cipriani Wall Street. The projects will be featured in an exhibition at the Center for Architecture (04.14-06.25.11) and in the summer issue of OCULUS. For more information about the AIANY Design Awards, click here.

Columbia University Aims to Break Down Walls to the Community

Event: Conversation on Columbia University’s Manhattanville Academic Mixed-Use Development
Location: Center for Architecture, 02.28.11
Speakers: Philip Pitruzzello — Vice President, Columbia University Facilities, Manhattanville Construction; Fanny Gong, AIA, LEED AP — Assistant Vice President, Design Management, Columbia University Facilities, Manhattanville Development
Organizer: AIANY Public Architecture Committee

Courtesy neighbors.columbia.edu

Manhattanville in West Harlem: view from 130th Street looking east.

The Manhattanville Master Plan is at the “beginning of getting ready for construction,” stated Philip Pitruzzello, vice president of the Columbia University Facilities Manhattanville Construction. Both he and Fanny Gong, AIA, LEED AP, assistant vice president for design management, presented a campus overview, design concepts, and construction progress of Renzo Piano Building Workshop’s master plan. Although not much more than demolition and slurry wall construction are visible at this point in time, Columbia University expects that Manhattanville will break boundaries, both within the private institution and outside of its own walls.

The master plan is one of the pilot projects for LEED for Neighborhood Development; it has the goal of achieving a minimum LEED Silver certification; it is a partner with the Environmental Defense Fund; and it is part of the PlaNYC University Challenge. To uphold such standards, the commitment to sustainability encompasses the health and welfare of the general public throughout construction and beyond. Pitruzzello noted that these goals were incorporated early in the planning process. Innovative strategies include developing a clean construction program and re-using more than 90% of the existing masonry and steel on the site.

Currently, four buildings designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, two buildings by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, along with landscape architecture by James Corner Field Operations are being developed north of 125th Street as part of the plan’s first phase. Some of the overarching design goals include maximizing transparency at the street level, and providing views of the Hudson River to the west, flexible research and academic space, and contiguous below-grade services. The most groundbreaking aspect of the design, however, Pitruzzello said, is the concept of “no gates, no walls.” Traditionally, Columbia University has literally fenced itself off from the community. In Manhattanville, academic buildings will incorporate small format retail and a network of open spaces and links to the water at street level. In so doing, the university is encouraging intermingling and it is trying to attract the community beyond its own students.

The first phase of the Manhattanville is scheduled for completion in 2015 with later phases expected to be complete around 2030. With promised economic and social benefits anticipated in the near future, hopefully Columbia University will be able to live up to its new standard.

"Salaam Bombay!" is as Relevant Today as it was 20 Years Ago

Jugaad Urbanism Film Series: Salaam Bombay!
Location: Center for Architecture, 02.25.11
Speakers: Mira Nair — Director, “Salaam Bombay!;” Aseem Chhabra — Director, Indo-American Arts Council
Introduction: Aroon Shivdasani — President & Executive Director, Indo-American Arts Council
Organizers: Center for Architecture; Indo-American Arts Council; The New School; Society of Indo-American Engineers and Architects
Sponsors: Grants: Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts; National Endowment for the Arts; Underwriter: Duggal Visual Solutions; Lead Sponsors: Hitachi; Robert A.M. Stern Architects; Sponsors: Grapevine Merchants; Society of Indo-American Engineers and Architects; Supporters: Bittersweet NYC; CetraRuddy; Kingfisher LGER; Friends: Arup; Benjamin Moore; IBEX Construction; Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates; Perkins Eastman; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Special Thanks: Umberto Dindo, AIA; Lutz Konermann; Catherine Scharf; Consulate General of Switzerland

Director Mira Nair speaks with Aseem Chhabra, director of the IIAC Film Festival, after a screening of “Salaam Bombay!”

Caley Monahon-Ward

Before “Monsoon Wedding” put her in the international spotlight, Mira Nair’s 1988 directorial debut, “Salaam Bombay!” went on to win more than 25 international awards, including the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Shot on location in Bombay, she used real street kids as actors who received dramatic training at a workshop before production started.

Jugaad means “clever and resourceful” in Hindi, and a Jugaadu is a person who can get a job done by using easy-to-find materials without spending a lot of money. The current exhibition at the Center for Architecture, “Jugaad Urbanism,” shows solutions to big problems facing many people living in India’s cities. Clearly, the child actors in the film are jugaadus. They form small, close-knit groups and take on any menial task that comes their way to exist in the colorful, cacophonous, albeit slums, of Bombay.

In the film, the kids swagger like Bollywood stars to draw attention when in public, and they certainly have moments of desperation when alone, but they generally show no signs of self-pity. Their behavior, Nair said at the post-film screening Q&A, earned both her respect and concern for their welfare when filming.

Nair used the film’s profits to establish the Salaam Baalak Trust, which opened its first center in Bombay/Mumbai in 1989. The center provides a safety net of services for street kids, including all aspects of child development, from physical, medical, educational, and social, to vocational needs. To date, there are 25 centers serving 5,000 kids in Mumbai and Delhi. When asked “can art change the world?” her answer was simply “yes,” and it is evident in her body of work and her work with the trust.

“Salaam Bombay!” is part of the Jugaad Urbanism Film Series that screens films on Friday nights through 04.15.11.