10.26.11 OCULUS is looking for NYC-based single practitioners and small firms to submit article suggestions to its Spring 2012 issue, “Small is Big: Can small firms act big?” See the New Deadlines for more information.

Have you heard about the “Sustainability By Design” programs at the Center? Developed in cooperation with Architecture 2030 and Seattle AIA+2030, these continuing education events are aimed at giving NY-based architects practical tools to reduce carbon emissions in their designs. The next module is taking place Friday, 10.28.11 from 1:00-5:00pm. Click the link to RSVP.

Heritage Ball is this Thursday followed by the Party@theCenter. Tickets for the Party are still on sale ($50 in advance, $75 at the door). Click here to RSVP. Hope to see you there!

– Jessica Sheridan, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP

Note: The Center for an Urban Future has launched a survey to examine the importance of NYC’s design and architecture schools. By tracking the ways that design professionals in the New York metro area interact (or fail to interact) with the city’s design schools, the survey will provide new data on their economic importance. The survey can be filled out in 1-4 minutes, and a $500 cash prize will be awarded to a randomly-selected individual. Click here to participate.

How Local Initiatives Are Achieving an Age-Friendly NYC

Event: NYC Council Priorities for an Age-Friendly NYC
Location: Center for Architecture, 10.18.11
Speaker: Jessica Lappin — Chair, NYC Council Committee on Aging
Organizer: AIANY Design for Aging Committee


Safe Streets for Seniors

NYC Department of Transportation

“How do we want to be judged as a society?” asked Council Member Jessica Lappin, chair of the NYC Council Committee on Aging. Part of the answer, she said, is how we help those in need — specifically, how we help seniors maintain active and independent lives. Lappin has been involved in a number of initiatives that not only help the aging population, but also positively contribute to the physical environment in ways that benefit children, women with baby carriages, and people with physical disabilities, among others.

To fulfill the needs of a majority of seniors, a recent competition was held by the Department for the Aging in conjunction with the NYC Council and the Council of Senior Centers & Services to develop the city’s first “Innovative Senior Centers.” The goal is to provide communities in all five boroughs with 50 senior centers that offer comprehensive arrays of expanded services for a broad range of seniors. The first eight contracts have been announced, and the centers are expected to open in January.

Another architectural competition that Lappin is co-sponsoring, “Reimagining the Waterfront: Manhattan’s East River Esplanade, 60th-125th Streets,” aims to generate ideas and concepts that will enhance the pedestrian experience on the East Side for all age groups. The competition is part of a larger effort to create a continuous bike/running/walking path around the edge of Manhattan.

In addition to launching design competitions, Lappin has been involved in other initiatives to help the aging population, as well. The Complete Streets Initiative, specifically the TrafficStat bill requiring the Police Department to publicize data on accidents that occur at dangerous intersections, went into effect this month. With the NYC Department of Buildings and AARP, she is working toward implementing universal design principles into new construction processes.

The efforts of AIANY and the Design for Aging Committee have not gone unnoticed, Lappin said. The committee’s “Top 10 Ways Architects Can Become Age-Friendly” and “Urban Design and Architectural Guidelines for an Age-Friendly New York City” documents have been helpful in her efforts. Hopefully the architecture community can continue to work with the city to develop a more age-friendly NYC.

Gerald Frug Counters “All-Or-Nothing” Approach to Government

Event: Stirling Lecture: Gerald Frug
Location: Center for Architecture, 10.20.11
Speaker: Gerald Frug — Louis D. Brandeis Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
Organizers: Center for Architecture; Canadian Centre for Architecture

“A major design problem is the government system and the inability to get things done… at least the right things,” said Gerald Frug, Louis D. Brandeis Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and winner of the 2010-11 James Stirling Memorial Lecture on the City competition. He maintains that our architectural system is designed along the lines of a state legislature: numerous governmental agencies must collaborate to allow buildings and infrastructure to be built. That they do not do so causes problems, which is detrimental to elected democratic government.

Frug identified a series of fragmentations that are undermining the urban quality of life. By creating appointed public authorities that have little, if any, accountability, he argued that inexpert decisions are made without adequate public input. Similarly, territorial fragmentation occurs as political boundaries are redrawn favoring some neighborhoods over others, giving local preference without thinking of the larger interactive system. Presenting an idea that is often taken out of context, cannot be negotiated, and sustains an “all-or-nothing” nature weakens the government’s ability to act. Meanwhile, public/private partnerships of stakeholders and interest groups (and rarely ordinary voting citizens) leave open the door for corruption.

While identifying problems with governance, Frug offered ideas on rebuilding the government. He stated that a successful system takes both a top-down and bottom-up approach, whereby states divide and cities combine (he called this “accreted regionalism”), rather than by centralizing power, or granting excessive local autonomy.

Considering the economic and political situation in which we strive to build, it is no wonder that Frug quoted Rem Koolhaas, who said, “Architecture is a poisonous mixture of power and impotence.”

Vincent Scully Searches for Architecture

Event: Checkerboard Films Presents: Vincent Scully, An Art Historian Among Architects
Location: Center for Architecture, 10.17.11
Speakers: Suzanne Stephens — Deputy Editor, Architectural Record; Paul Goldberger, Hon. AIA — Architecture Critic, The New Yorker
Organizers: Checkerboard Film Foundation; Center for Architecture


Vincent Scully.

Courtesy Center for Architecture

The abundant interviews in Tom Piper’s film Vincent Scully: An Art Historian Among Architects (2010) reveal that Scully, often considered the historian’s historian, championed questioning, and was himself anything but definitive. A recurring touchstone was his insistence on subjective interpretation — how a work of art or architecture makes one feel, as long as knowledge supports that intuition.

The film begins with Scully guiding viewers through Yale University, his alma mater and where he taught for more than 50 years, where he discusses his appreciation of James Gamble Rogers, Louis Kahn, and Paul Rudolph. Revealing how generations influence and regard each other culminates with his lecture, complete with choreographed slides, on Kahn’s Yale Art Gallery and trip to Giza that informed the gallery ceiling. Such comparisons and explorations infuse Scully’s teachings — and the film.

However, controversy seemed to follow Scully. His book, The Earth, the Temple and the Gods: Greek Sacred Architecture, riled some classicists and archaeologists because he was entirely an outsider, said former student and archaeologist John Hale. Decades later Scully similarly upset many architects when he famously abandoned his allegiance to Modernism.

Long before interdisciplinary collaborations and integration became the buzz Scully was championing the larger picture. He traveled on foot throughout Greece to better understand buildings’ relations to their sites and to each other. He studied architecture as part of a greater context whether, as Robert A.M. Stern, FAIA, stated, as spatial, tectonic, or political, or, as Paul Goldberger, Hon. AIA, relayed in the post-film discussion, as a radical combination of building, landscape, and culture.

As much as this film searches to reveal Scully’s history, it’s also about Scully’s search for architecture.

Architect of Capitol Makes His Mark with Visitor Center

Event: The U.S. Capitol: The Continuing Evolution of a Historic Icon
Location: Center for Architecture, 10.11.11
Speaker: Alan M. Hantman, FAIA — 10th Architect of the U.S. Capitol, 1997-2007
Introduction: Margaret O’Donoghue Castillo, AIA, LEED AP — 2011 AIANY President; Gregory Cranford, AIA — Co-chair, AIANY Historic Building Committee
Organizers: AIANY Historic Building Committee; Center for Architecture
Sponsor: Porcelnosa


The entry to the Visitor Center at the U.S. Capitol.

Matthew G. Bisanz

Alan M. Hantman, FAIA, was appointed to the position of Architect of the Capitol during the second term of the Clinton Administration. With duties that included overseeing 300 acres and 15 million square feet of buildings space, the largest project he took on was the arduous challenge of orchestrating the design and construction of a 580,000-square-foot Visitors Center, designed by RKTL Associates, on the east front of Jenkins Hill, tucked around the pinnacle of the Capitol campus.

Being the focal point of government, it was important not to obstruct the clear view of the Capitol Building on East Capitol Street. For that reason, the Visitor’s Center was designed below grade, under the plaza. Accommodating approximately 4,000 people at any given time, the entry to the center is via a procession of spaces extending three stories underground. Sweeping access ramps lead visitors from Independence and Constitution Avenues to a mezzanine above the Congressional Auditorium overlooking Emancipation Hall. Proceeding down the steps to Emancipation Hall, grand skylights expose daylight views of the Capitol Dome and help orient visitors. Additional spaces within the center include an I-Max theater and Exhibition Hall for multi-functional uses, as well as a dining facility. Hantman’s ability to create a seamless transition between the new construction and the existing Capitol Building was his self-described greatest accomplishment.

Originally slated for completion in January 2005, construction faced a major setback on 9/11, which happened just four days shy of awarding the bid to a contractor (ultimately Balfour Beatty). Only after the design team re-evaluated security measures could construction continue. The mechanical and electrical systems needed to be reconfigured including increased and reconfigured air intakes, and the installation of supplementary fire dampers. Additional means of egress above code requirements were incorporated into the design as a preventative measure. The grand skylights were redesigned for triple the level of security. Furthermore, while construction was on hold, it was also decided that more space was needed for the Senate and Congress. As a result, 170,000 square feet of public assembly space was added to the program.

Ultimately, the Visitor’s Center officially opened on 12.02.08, after Hantman’s term had ended and Stephen T. Ayers, AIA, LEED AP, succeeded him. With approximately 250 million visitors a year visiting the space he initiated, Hantman has left an indelible mark on our nation’s past, present, and future history.

Annual Openhousenewyork Celebrates NYC's Built Environment

Event: openhousenewyork
Location: NYC, 10.15-16.11
Organizer: openhousenewyork


(L-R): Eero Saarinen’s TWA Terminal at JFK International Airport opened its doors (left); while visitors toured The Standard hotel, designed by Ennead Architects (right).

(L-R): Carl Yost; Bill Millard; Bill Millard; Bill Millard


(L-R): Firms gave tours of their offices and recent projects: Michael Syracuse with FXFOWLE discussed the design of the hyperbolic paraboloid Illumination Lawn; Syracuse and Andrew Berlinger of Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners discussed the renovations of the Paul Milstein Pool and Terrace; Dattner Architects hosted tours of its new Midtown office.

(L-R): Courtesy of Brien McDaniel, FXFOWLE; Courtesy of Brien McDaniel, FXFOWLE; Kathy Kia; Carl Yost


(L-R): The AIANY Emerging New York Architects Committee offered site tours of its recently launched competition, The Harlem Edge | Cultivating Connections (Pictured: Amanda Rivera, Assoc. AIA, and Javier Carcamo, AIA). The site is at the Marine Transfer Station at 135th Street. The AIANY Architectural Tourism Committee also gave tours of the NYU superblocks and SoHo, and new architecture on Washington Square, Cooper Square, Bond Street, and the New Bowery. Pictured are groups on Bond Street.

(L-R): Joseph Broda; Jessica Sheridan; Santiago Rivera; Santiago Rivera


Buildings also opened their doors to the public including (l-r): the Austrian Cultural Center, by Raimund Abraham; Sperone Westwater Gallery, by Foster+Partners; C.I.T. Lobby, by James Turrell; P.S. 90 by Curtis+Ginsberg Architects; and the Harlem Stage Gatehouse, by Ohlhausen DuBois Architects with WASA/Studio A and Harvey Marshall Berling Associates.

(L-R): Carl Yost; Carl Yost; Lisa Delgado; Jessica Sheridan; Jessica Sheridan


CFDA Fashion Incubator, by Kliment Halsband Architects (left); Wunderwurks Design Studio New York.

(L-R): Kathy Kia; Kathy Kia; Lisa Delgado; Lisa Delgado

Archtober Celebrates Architecture in the City (Part 2 of 2)

Event: Archtober Building of the Day
Location: Varies, 10.01-31.11
Organizers: Archtober


(L-R): New York Public Library Francis Martin Branch, 1100 Architect; W. 57th POP (Privately Owned Public) Space, Rogers Marvel Architects; Lincoln Center Public Spaces, Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with FXFOWLE and Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners.

(L-R): Timothy Furzer; Paul Warchol Photography; Iwan Baan


(L-R): The Visionaire, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects; Switch Building, nARCHITECTS; 200 5th Avenue, STUDIOS architecture.

(L-R): PCP Architects; Frank Ouderman; Nikolas Koenig


(L-R): East Harlem School, Peter Gluck and Partners; 41 Cooper Square, Morphosis Architects and Gruzen Samton; Toni Stabile Student Center, Columbia University, Marble Fairbanks.

(L-R): Erik Freeland; Iwan Baan; Marble Fairbanks/Jongseo Kim


(L-R): The High Line, James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro; New Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion, UNStudio with Handel Architects; MTA Flood Mitigation Streetscape Design, Rogers Marvel Architects.

(L-R): Iwan Baan; rendertaxi; David Sundberg/Esto


(L-R): Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with FXFOWLE; Sperone Westwater, Foster + Partners; David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects.

(L-R): Iwan Baan; ©Nigel Young/Foster + Partners; ©Nic Lehoux


(L-R): The Standard, Ennead Architects; NYC Information Center, WXY Architecture + Urban Design; Brooklyn Bridge Park, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates; Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Lawn and Lincoln Restaurant, Lincoln Center, Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with FXFOWLE.

(L-R): © Jeff Goldberg/Esto for Ennead Architects; © Albert Vecerka/Esto; Elizabeth Felicella; Iwan Baan

In this issue:
· Hub for Student-Athletes at Columbia University Breaks Ground
· New NYSID Graduate Center Opens, Lobby Gets a Makeover
· Avon Dresses Up New HQ
· Historic Theater Will House Contemporary Art Forms
· Under-Utilized Maintenance Building Gets Transformed into a Campus Center

Hub for Student-Athletes at Columbia University Breaks Ground


Campbell Sports Center, Columbia University.

Steven Holl Architects

Construction recently started on Columbia University’s Campbell Sports Center. Designed by Steven Holl Architects, the new center will form a gateway to the Baker Athletics Complex, the primary athletics facility for the university’s outdoor sports program. Located on the northern tip of Manhattan, the five-story, 48,000-square-foot facility will serve as a hub for student-athletes and coaches. The facility features strength and conditioning spaces, offices for varsity sports, an auditorium, hospitality suite, and student-athlete study rooms. The design concept is derived from field play diagrams used for football, soccer, and baseball. As the diagrams yield the physical push and pull on the field, the building’s elevations allegedly will push and pull in space. At night the Columbia-blue aluminum soffits of the building will be up-lit. As part of the project, the university is also creating Boathouse Marsh, a public park that will overlook wetlands in an inlet of the Harlem River. Designed by James Corner Field Operations, park visitors will be able to walk amid water gardens on a boardwalk along the marsh’s perimeter. The project is scheduled to be completed in late 2012.

New NYSID Graduate Center Opens, Lobby Gets a Makeover


New York School of Interior Design Graduate Center and its lobby.

Gensler (left); photo by David Joseph (right)

The New York School of Interior Design Graduate Center recently opened at Park Avenue and 28th Street. The 40,000-square-foot satellite space (the school’s first), designed by Gensler, houses the school’s new graduate programs in interior design, sustainable interior environments, interior lighting design, and health care interior design. The design is similar to the 20,000-square-foot space on the third floor, which opened in September 2010, with light-filled spaces and an open layout for seminar rooms, lecture halls, exhibition space, computer design labs, and other workspaces. The Graduate Center is expecting LEED Platinum, and sustainable features include materials and finishes made from recycled materials, low-flow plumbing fixtures, LED lighting, daylight-harvesting technology, low-VOC paints, as well as an energy-efficient, water-cooled HVAC system, and sub-metering of electrical usage to help monitor and modulate energy consumption.

M. Castedo Architects redesigned the long and narrow entry space that connects the street entrance to the elevators in the rear of the building. The lobby features a concrete reception desk, porcelain floor tiles, plaster walls, and a faceted wood ceiling that that provides integral light coves and adjustable lighting. The space doubles as a showcase for large artworks from the building owner’s art collection and for student-designed exhibitions.

Avon Dresses Up New HQ


Avon Products U.S. Headquarters.

©Avon Products — Kevin Chu + Jessica Paul Photography

Avon Products recently debuted its new 275,000-square-foot U.S. Headquarters, located in Midtown Manhattan. The cosmetics company occupies the first 12 floors of a 38-story building built in 1963, designed by William Lescaze. The space was retrofitted by HOK according to the standards of the Avon Green Building Promise and LEED-CI Gold. Construction materials were sourced locally and regionally, and recycled materials were used in elements including ceilings, glass office fronts, and countertops. In addition, 95% of seated spaces offer external views while the low-paneled workstations and glass-front offices that line the building’s core allow natural light to penetrate within the facility. HOK served as design and architect-of-record for all of the spaces except a company store and an Image Room that were designed by SpaceSmith. Because Avon is the company for women, 17% of the construction workforce was composed of women subcontractors, electricians, and woodworkers.

Historic Theater Will House Contemporary Art Forms


Strand Theater renovation.

Leeser Architecture

Ground was recently broken for the renovation of the Strand Theater in Brooklyn’s BAM Cultural District, in Fort Greene. Designed by Leeser Architecture, which won a bid from the NYC Economic Development Corporation, the almost century-old theater will become the new home for BRIC Arts | Media House, a non-profit organization that presents Brooklyn-centric programs, including the annual Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival. The $33 million project will expand BRIC’s current 19,000-square-foot space to 40,000 square feet, and bring the organization’s contemporary art, performing arts, and community media programs under one roof. The building features 8,000 square feet of exhibition space across three galleries, a 250-seat performance space, a television studio, two classrooms, an artist performance/work space, retail space, and a public lobby. In addition, the groundbreaking also marked the start of the UrbanGlass reNEWal project, which will completely rebuild and expand UrbanGlass, the largest artist-access glass workshop in the country. The project is expected to be completed in 2013.

Under-Utilized Maintenance Building Gets Transformed into a Campus Center


Administrative Campus Center, Claremont University Consortium.

Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis Architects

Designed by Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis Architects (LTL), the new Administrative Campus Center for the Claremont University Consortium (CUC) in Claremont, CA, is set to open. Through the adaptive re-use of a 42,000-square-foot maintenance building, the new center will consolidate the majority of the university’s departments and services under one roof. The project is composed of a series of intertwined, tactile architectural elements that redefine the existing facility’s public presence, including a continuous, 740-foot-long cedar screen, a custom ceiling cloud, a digital garden, and a field of 168 solar chimneys that provide natural light throughout the space. To redefine the building’s character, a cedar surface wraps portions of its north, east, and south elevations, and slips into the interior, framing a new reception area and café. The south patio is a large, multi-purpose area protected from the weather by a tensile canopy with translucent stretched fabric. The spacing of the cedar panels incrementally increases to allow light inside. Illuminated at night with imbedded LED lights, the cedar ribbon acts as a wayfinding device and creates a new image for CUC. The project is expected to earn LEED Silver certification.


Robert A.M. Stern Architects has won a commission to redevelop the site of a mansion block in central London’s Mayfair.

New York State and City authorities and the United Nations have given the green light for the construction of a 35-story tower for the UN, to be designed by Maki and Associates and FXFOWLE. A waterfront park will also be developed, although the design team has yet to be announced.

The DESIS Lab (Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability) at
Parsons The New School for Design presents “Amplifying Creative
Communities in NYC: North Brooklyn” from 11.07-20.11 at Arts@Renaissance in Brooklyn. This exhibition and workshop series are part of a two-year, design-driven initiative aimed at helping neighborhoods and communities support social innovations that create a more sustainable NYC.

Yale School of Architecture will present the exhibition “Gwathmey
Siegel: Inspiration and Transformation
” from 11.14.11-01.27.12 at the Yale School of Architecture Gallery, Paul Rudolph Hall.

In this issue:
· NYC Launches Online Construction Approval Process
· Gehry Technologies Forms Strategic Alliance of Architects
· 2011 NYASLA President’s Dinner Honors Design Trust, Charles Birnbaum, Len Hopper
· e-Calendar

NYC Launches Online Construction Approval Process


Mayor Bloomberg opened the new Development Hub on 10.12.11. (L-R): Mayor Bloomberg; Robert LiMandri, Commissioner of the Department of Buildings; Robert Tierney, Chair of the Landmark Preservation Commission; Margaret O’Donoghue Castillo, AIA, LEED AP, 2011 AIANY President.

Rick Bell

Architects and engineers will now be able to digitally submit construction plans, or plans for major project alterations, to the NYC Department of Buildings. The Development Hub is located at 80 Centre Street. After digital plans are filed, they are uploaded to a secure website where plan examiners, applicants, and representatives from the Fire Department, Department of Environmental Protection, Landmarks Preservation Commission, Department of Transportation, City Planning, and Department of Parks and Recreation can all view them, identify problem areas, and mark them up in real-time. Architects and engineers can then submit revised plans electronically.

The goal for the program is to accelerate the construction approval process by reducing the overall number of in-person appointments, and by providing plan examiners with the ability to review multiple sets of plans simultaneously.

Gehry Technologies Forms Strategic Alliance of Architects

Gehry Technologies has established a “strategic alliance” of a core group of architects to discuss new approaches to design through technology. Co-founded by Frank Gehry, FAIA, the board of advisors includes: David Childs, FAIA; Massimo Colomban; Zaha Hadid; Greg Lynn; Laurie Olin, FASLA; Wolf D. Prix, Hon. FAIA, FRIBA; David Rockwell, AIA; Moshe Safdie; Matthias Schuler; Patrik Schumacher; Ben van Berkel; and Richard Saul Wurman. The group will meet virtually on a monthly basis and come together annually in person to continue the conversation.

In a statement released by the AIA, AIA President Clark Manus, FAIA, said, “We applaud this enterprise by Gehry Technologies and the Board who are comprised of many AIA members because it is estimated that as much as 30% up to 50% of all time, money, materials, and resources that go into a construction project do not add value to the final product…. We are anxious to see the progress through this effort that will be beneficial for both the industry and clients.”

2011 NYASLA President’s Dinner Honors Design Trust, Charles Birnbaum, Len Hopper
All allied professionals are invited to the 2011 NYASLA President’s Dinner, to be held on 11.17.11 at Tribeca Three Sixty. The New York Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (NYASLA) will honor the Design Trust for Public Space (President’s Award); Charles A. Birnbaum, FASLA, founder of The Cultural Landscape Foundation (Service Award); and Len Hopper, FASLA, Editor-in-Chief Landscape Architectural Graphic Standards and noted educator.

Allied professionals and vendors are invited to attend, as well as to participate with an ad in the printed program. Visit www.nyasla.org/2011dinner, call (212) 269-2984, or e-mail director@nyasla.org.

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