AIANY Breaks Through to the Other Side

On 01.17.12, AIANY and the Center for Architecture Foundation celebrated breaking through the walls connecting 536 to 532 LaGuardia Place.

AIANY President Joseph J. Aliotta, AIA, LEED AP, welcomes guests at BREAKTHROUGH. The event celebrated the expansion of the Center for Architecture, linking of the original space at 536 LaGuardia Place with the adjacent storefront at 532.

Rick Bell

NYC Bike Share Edges Into Driving Lane

Event: NYC Bike Share Exhibition Opening and Conversation with DOT and Alta
Location: Center for Architecture, 01.11.12
Speakers: Janette Sadik-Khan — Commissioner, NYC Department of Transportation; Alison Cohen — President, Alta Bicycle Share; Rick Bell, FAIA — Executive Director, AIANY
Introductions: Joseph J. Aliotta, AIA, LEED AP — President, AIANY
Organizers: AIANY (Margaret Helfand Fund); DOT; Alta Bike Share
Sponsors: DOT; Alta Bike Share


“Two Wheel Transit: NYC Bike Share.”

Center for Architecture

As reported here earlier (see “DOT Is Building… NYC Riders Will Come,” by Bill Millard, e-Oculus, 01.04.12), a major evolutionary step in New York’s transportation ecosystem is a few months away. “Two Wheel Transit,” an exhibition installed at the Center for Architecture in the Margaret Helfand Gallery (designed by Pure+Applied), provides details on the NYC Bike Share program. At last week’s opening, the Center reached overflow capacity. If this turnout is any gauge of general civic interest, our streets are in for an influx of Alta’s sturdy bikes — a step toward what 2012 AIANY President Joseph J. Aliotta, AIA, LEED AP, hailed as “the future of urban mobility.”

NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Alta President Alison Cohen discussed the plan’s specifics. One reason New York should be fertile ground for the system, Sadik-Khan observed, is that it builds on the foundation of recent progress in cycling infrastructure: 500 miles of lanes citywide, on track to meet the goal of 1,800 by 2030. The initial program area has 1.2 million residents plus 2 million daily commuters. It also matches up well with a map of New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) facilities, as well as the obvious tourist-magnet areas. It is not a system aimed at elite populations: arrangements with credit unions and other organizations will enable New Yorkers currently without credit cards to participate in Bike Share alongside cardholders, and at $90 a year, the estimated membership cost will make it the most affordable transit mode in town, after the Staten Island Ferry and walking.

The 10,000 bikes, manufactured for Alta and DOT by Montréal-based Public Bike System (Bixi), will be housed at 600 solar-powered, wireless docking stations distributed at large sidewalk areas, subway grates, parks, and privately owned plazas. Sponsorship negotiations are in progress, as are community-board deliberations over final siting decisions to minimize pedestrian congestion. A Quinnipiac poll last fall indicated that 72% of city residents support the plan, with 59% calling for stations in their own neighborhoods. As a transit mode well suited to New Yorkers (“We’re all time-sensitive; we walk faster than anybody else on the planet”), bike share, Sadik-Khan concluded, is “the right fit for the right city at the right time.”

Cohen, who is returning to New York after four years leading share systems in Melbourne, Washington, and Boston, placed the system in a global context, presenting detailed examples of the kinds of information the stations produce (with embedded GPS technology generating routing data, plus associated smartphone apps keeping tabs on station-by-station bike availability, bike share is a number cruncher’s dream). Each community-based system has a local flavor, and use patterns vary as much as bike designs or sponsorship: in Washington’s Capital Bike Share, which logged 1.2 million miles in its first year, members take about 80% of rides, while Boston’s Hubway, with many stations concentrated along the Freedom Trail, has a 50/50 split between members and tourists. (Boston, interestingly, also has larger weekend peaks and more nocturnal riders, with implications that may settle bets over which is the better city for nightlife.)

The systems are too new, Cohen reported, for reliable data on one million-dollar question: the extent of reduction in auto use. Questioned after the event about observed effects on wider urban transportation patterns such as taxi and bus ridership, Cohen reported, “The only way we have to measure that is from an annual survey, and we’re just issuing our first annual survey for Boston and our second for DC; the early numbers from 2010 show that 5% to 40% of rides would have been a single-occupancy-vehicle ride” rather than walking or public transit. Paris and Barcelona data, Sadik-Khan noted, indicate that 40% of trips occur in conjunction with another mode, integrating bike share into a multimodal transit system. Positive effects on bike-shop revenues imply that bike share is “lifting all boats,” expanding the cycling population, not replacing bike ownership with rental. Effects on public health and synergies with the Active Design movement seem intuitive; Cohen reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are helping to support the systems in Boston, Nashville, and Chattanooga, advancing the twin goals of obesity reduction and public-health data gathering.

Another critical question is whether the system’s intended users (more longtime non-riders and visitors than avid urban cyclists who already own bikes) will respond as enthusiastically as the crowd at these events. This, too, will be unanswerable until the system has been in operation for a while, but Sadik-Khan, finding that New York’s burgeoning bike culture is a hot topic beyond the boroughs’ borders, senses that an influential transformation may be under way. “It’s really exciting to work in a city where everybody says ‘go, go, go!’ And that’s not what it used to be. You travel around the world, and people want to hear the story of New York.”

Note: Also see “Bike Share: Live and Learn,” by Ryan Cunningham in Metropolis, published 01.16.12.

Rent Green: It's Not All about Saving $$$

Event: Homes=Energy: What you can do as a Renter
Location: Center for Architecture, 01.12.12
Speakers: Cameron Bard — Project Manager, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA); Eileen Egan-Annechino — Manager, Consolidated Edison Co. of NY, Inc.; Rory Christian — New York City Housing Authority
Organizer: NYSERDA
Sponsors: Underwriters: ARUP; Con Edison; Perkins+Will; Lead Sponsors: Buro Happold; STUDIOS Architecture; 3M Window Films; Energy Products Distribution; APG Design Studio; Sponsors: FLIR; MechoShade Systems, Inc.; Robert Silman Associates; Trespa; Supporters: Acheson Doyle Partners Architects, P.C.; DeLaCour Family Foundation; Ibex Construction; KPF; Syska Hennessy Group, Inc.; Friends: 1100 Architect; Bleecker Area Merchants & Residents Association (BAMRA); Brenda Levin; Capsys Corp.; Community Environmental Center, Inc.; Helpern Architects; Hugo S. Subotovsky AIA Architects, LLC; Levien & Company; New York Building Congress, Inc.; Oppenheimer Brady Vogelstein; P.W. Grosser Consulting, Inc.; Swanke Hayden Connell Architects; Viridian Energy & Environmental, LLC


Center for Architecture

In a city of so many renters, New Yorkers don’t have a lot of incentives to cut back on energy use at home — homes that they don’t own; homes that are often warmed by landlord-provided heat. Though we can potentially save a few dollars by being more energy conscious, perhaps our collective environmental conscience should be the guide. In conjunction with the Center for Architecture’s exhibition “Buildings = Energy,” on view through 01.21.12, representatives from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Consolidated Edison, and the NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA) discussed ways renters can change their behaviors and start saving more energy.

Last year, NYSERDA, Con Edison, and Councilmember Brad Lander organized a competition challenging 161 households in District 39 in Brooklyn to cut back on energy use. Participants reduced their usage an average of 4% (one household boasted a 49% reduction). Throughout the competition, monthly newsletters ranked the homeowners’ usage against one another. However, Cameron Bard, a project manager with NYSERDA, was surprised to learn that participants claimed more interest in simply learning about their personal energy use than actually competing with their neighbors.

Con Edison is the company responsible for supplying NYC’s power, which accounts for one-third of the load in New York State. Manager Eileen Egan-Annechino outlined the many ways in which the company is conserving, including the Smart Grid initiative, a push for system-wide efficiency; an online Home Energy Calculator ; a rebate program for purchasing energy-efficient air conditioners; and the e*billing option (ConEd plants a tree for each customer who signs up). Egan-Annechino advised renters to “be proactive,” but noted that “changes don’t always translate into savings.” Market fluctuations coupled with a plethora of evolving charges can make decoding bills confusing. Instead, she advised consumers to check their kilowatt hour (kWh) energy usage to determine if they are actually using less than previous billing cycles.

People living in affordable housing developments, such as those maintained by NYCHA, often feel even less incentive than the typical renter to save energy, since they aren’t responsible for paying utility bills. NYCHA supports 178,000 apartments, so it racks up increasingly hefty electric bills each month. As noted by Director of Energy Rory Christian, most of NYCHA’s housing stock is aging and wasn’t initially built with energy efficiency in mind. Aside from continually retrofitting these buildings, NYCHA aims to persuade residents to do their part, too. They established Resident Green Communities, which educates residents on energy conservation measures. NYCHA has also begun to install wireless energy modules to display the temperature in apartments and monitor electric use.

Participants offered several suggestions for renters to reduce energy consumption, including:

  • · Replace incandescent bulbs with CFLs
  • · Clean light bulbs regularly to remove grime
  • · Use lower-wattage bulbs in areas like hallways
  • · Install weatherstripping around doors and windows
  • · Plug electronics into advanced power strips
  • · Unplug cellphone and laptop chargers when not in use
  • · Buy Energy Star appliances and use energy-saving settings
  • · Set your fridge to 40 degrees Fahrenheit and clean coils regularly
  • · Use the microwave instead of the stove (it uses half the power)
  • · Install a timer on your AC

In this issue:
· New Public School is on the Books for Riverside South
· Hell’s Kitchen Outs a New Hotel
· Former School Becomes Live/Work Space for Artists
· Two Residences Support Seniors and Homeless Adults
· Sustainable Commons Energizes Athletics at Arcadia University
· New Buildings Commemorate Gallic Battle

New Public School is on the Books for Riverside South


Riverside Center School/PS-IS 342.

Dattner Architects

The Upper West Side will gain its first new public school in decades. Designed by Dattner Architects, the 100,000-square-foot Riverside Center School/P.S.-I.S. 342 will be located on the lower five floors of Riverside Center Building 2, a new 43-story residential tower in the 75-acre Riverside South development. Funding for the school portion of the building’s core and shell will be provided as a public benefit by Extell, Riverside South’s developer. The school’s fit out, including a rooftop recreation area, will be provided by the NYC School Construction Authority. Dattner is collaborating with the base-building design team, which includes Atelier Christian de Portzamparc with architect-of-record SLCE. The school has an assigned capacity of 488 students and is expected to open its doors in 2015.

Hell’s Kitchen Outs a New Hotel


Out NYC.

Paul C. Dominguez

Billed as the city’s first gay-/straight-friendly urban resort, the Out NYC is scheduled to open this March in Hell’s Kitchen. Built in the 1950s as a Travelodge, the approximately 90,000-square-foot structure later became a homeless shelter. The 105-room boutique hotel contains rooms ranging from sleep shares for four to 350-square-foot bedroom suites. In addition, the hotel features a 14,000-square-foot nightclub, lounge and cabaret, a restaurant, business/conference center, function space, a 5,000-square-foot wellness center enclosed in a glass-covered atrium, and three distinct landscaped courtyards. Paul C. Dominguez, architect and a managing director of Parkview Developers, served as lead designer, and Matt Markowitz Associates is the architect-of-record.

Former School Becomes Live/Work Space for Artists


El Barrio Artspace.

HHL Architects

Construction has begun on the transformation of former P.S. 109 in East Harlem into El Barrio Artspace, a mixed-use affordable home for local artists and their families, designed by Buffalo-based Hamilton Houston Lownie Architects. Originally designed by Charles B.J. Snyder in the Collegiate Gothic Revival style, the 115,000-square-foot 1898 building is known for its steeply pitched roof, copper-clad cupolas, and decorative terra cotta. Upon completion, the building will contain up to 90 sustainable units of live/work space, ranging from studios to two-bedroom apartments. In addition, the five-story building will contain 10,000 square feet of non-residential space for arts and cultural organizations, a community garden and kitchen, and a green market. Demolition of the building, which was on the National Register of Historic Places, had already begun when the community stepped in and protested. The $50 million community-driven project is being developed by the Minnesota-based nonprofit Artspace with El Barrio’s Operation Fightback. Victor E. Morales Architect is serving as associate architect. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2013.

Two Residences Support Seniors and Homeless Adults


Urban Pathways Hallets Cove House.

Gran Kriegel Associates

Gran Kriegel Associates has designed two new residential buildings for long-term housing with onsite support services. Funded by the Department of Housing, Preservation and Development (HUD), the almost 45,000-square-foot, eight-story El Rio Residence for Comunilife is located in the West Farms section of the Bronx, and contains 65 efficiency apartments for low-income seniors. Interior common areas include a food warming pantry, lounge, multipurpose room, residents’ storage, laundry room, offices for support services, and front and rear landscaped yards for recreational activities. The project’s small footprint also maximizes separation from a 1901 Neo-Gothic structure that shares the site. Since the historic structure is New York State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO)-eligible, the design required review by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission and the SHPO. Because of this, the building’s massing and façade materials were carefully designed to harmonize with its neighbor.

Urban Pathways Hallet’s Cove House, a 32,000-square-foot, L-shaped, six-story facility for formerly homeless adults living with mental illness in Astoria, Queens, includes 50 studios with kitchenettes. Funded by the New York State Office of Mental Health, the project features a communal lounge on each floor, a multipurpose room for dining and informal gatherings, plus a landscaped back yard for passive recreation. Both projects will be completed by the end of 2013.

Sustainable Commons Energizes Athletics at Arcadia University


Arcadia Commons.

Kliment Halsband Architects

Kliment Halsband Architects has completed the 50,000-square-foot Arcadia Commons, a gathering place at Arcadia University in Glenside, PA. The new, three-story building extends the existing recreation and athletic center, giving it a new, gray native schist-and-terra-cotta façade. The building features a multi-purpose space for 500-person assemblies, a gallery for student and faculty work, a café, and an office suite with smaller spaces for informal group meetings. In addition, the existing athletics and fitness facilities have been expanded. Photovoltaic cells on the roof connect to a monitor inside the building displaying real-time information on electrical output. Forty-two geothermal wells under the campus green provide low-emission, energy-efficient heating and cooling, and power the new cooling system for the gymnasium. An energy-recovery system captures and recycles energy, and operable windows allow cross ventilation when outside conditions permit.

New Buildings Commemorate Gallic Battle


Alésia Museum and Archaeological Park.

Bernard Tschumi Architects

An interpretive center, the first phase of the Al&eacutesia Museum and Archaeological Park complex designed by Bernard Tschumi Architects, is set to open in March. Located in Burgundy, France, the museum is on the site of the historic Battle of Al&eacutesia, between Julius Caesar and the Gauls in 52 B.C., and contains exhibits and interactive displays that contextualize the events of the battle and its aftermath. The cylindrical building, almost 50 feet tall and 164 feet in diameter, features an exterior wood envelope, as the Roman fortifications would have been constructed at the time of the siege, some of which are reconstructed nearby. The roof of the building is planted with low shrubs and trees, camouflaging its presence when seen from the town above. The second building, scheduled to be completed in 2015, will act as a more traditional museum, with a focus on found objects and artifacts excavated from the site. Also cylindrical, but made of stone, the building is partially buried into the hill so that from above it appears to be an extension of the landscape.


Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Hollwich Kushner (HWKN) have been selected to design a new entertainment complex to replace the Pavilion dance club on Fire Island Pines that was destroyed by fire last year.

The Landmark’s Preservation Commission has voted to create the East 10th Street Historic District, between Avenues A and B, which is composed of 26 mid-19th- and early 20th-century buildings.

An exhibition of 18 built and speculative projects designed by LTL ARCHITECTS Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis will be on view at the College of Wooster Art Museum in Wooster, OH, through 03.05.12.

Slade Architecture‘s exhibition “FOR_PLAY,” which focuses on projects both built and unrealized that were designed for play or include an element of play, will be on view at Syracuse University School of Architecture from 01.31-03.23.12.

Spector Group has been chosen to serve as interior architect for 50,000 square feet on three floors for investment management firm, Man Group. Located in midtown, the office is designed to achieve a LEED Gold certification.

In this issue:
· Announces New SDAT Communities
· AIA, Public Architecture Partner on Pro Bono Services
· e-Calendar

AIA Announces New SDAT Communities
On 01.10.12, the AIA announced that seven communities throughout the U.S. were selected to take part in the Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT), including: Augusta, GA; Austin, TX; Sipaulovi Village, AZ; South Hadley, MA; Springfield, IL; Stanwood, WA; and Wenatchee, WA. Technical assistance will be provided to the communities, representing an institutional investment in sustainable development. Click here to read more about the program.

AIA, Public Architecture Partner on Pro Bono Services
The AIA has created a new partnership with Public Architecture in support of pro bono design, encouraging architecture and design firms to participate in The 1%, a program in which firms commit a minimum of 1% of their time to pro bono services. The program also facilitates a matching service to connect firms with nonprofits seeking pro bono design services. The AIA will collaborate with Public Architecture to build a web portal to record metrics on firms’ contributions to the program and the communities they serve. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed 12.13.11 in San Francisco. Click here to read the news release.

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
536 LaGuardia Place, Between Bleecker and West 3rd Streets in Greenwich Village, NYC, 212-683-0023


Building Connections 2011

On view 10.01.2011-02.11.2012


On view 10.01.2011-01.21.2012

Arch Schools 2011

On view 11.19.2011-03.03.2012

Two Wheel Transit: NYC Bike Share

On view 01.11-02.04.2012

CFAF Announces LeBrun Travel Grant Recipients

Tarana Hafiz in earlier fieldwork studies in Accra, Ghana (left); Matthew Schulte’s installation for ArtPrize 2010 (collaborators Steven Mankouche and Joshua Bard) in Grand Rapids, MI.

Image courtesy of Hafiz (left); photo by Beth Singer (right)

The Center for Architecture Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of the 2011 Stewardson Keefe LeBrun Travel Grant: Tarana Hafiz,a research assistant at the University of Houston’s Community Design Resource Center and Director of Urba_Haus Collaborative in Houston, TX; and Matthew Schulte, a lecturer at the Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning at the University of Michigan and Principal at MPS Design-Build in Dexter, MI.

Hafiz’s project, “The Industrial Imprint of the Buriganga,” is a research-design project studying the community effects of Dhaka’s once affluent waterway. She will travel to the capital city of Bangladesh to investigate the global system of waste management and water distribution, which has been negatively affecting developing mega-cities such as Dhaka.

Schulte’s “Wind, Water and Land: A Comparative of Study of Windmills and Landscape Architecture of the Dutch Lowlands and the American Dustbowl” will be a comparative study of historical windmills, their complimentary landscape forms, and waterways in the development, planning, and settlement of the alluvial plains of northern and western Holland and in the western-central regions of the U.S.

The Stewardson Keefe LeBrun Travel Grant was established to further the personal and professional development of an architect in early or mid-career through travel. The 2012 deadline is 11.01.12.

The Arnold W. Brunner Grant deadline is 02.01.12 and is awarded annually to fund a project that contributes to the knowledge, teaching, or practice of the art and science of architecture. For application details and information regarding other awards that the Center for Architecture Foundation offers, visit

The Folly about Pavilions

Having spearheaded the FIGMENT/ENYA/SEAoNY City of Dreams Pavilion competition for the last couple of years, I have been pleased to see similar competitions sprout and gain momentum. Last week, the Architectural League hosted a panel on pavilions and follies (in conjunction with its Folly competition to build a pavilion at Socrates Sculpture Park during the summer of 2013). Throughout the discussion, it became clear to me that pavilion architecture is an important contributor to the future of the profession… at least at this moment in time.

Pavilions give architects opportunities to test new materials and ideas. Firms can experiment with color, weather, and movement. And because pavilions are often ephemeral, architects can be bolder and more exploratory than they might if designing and building a large, permanent structure. In doing this, firms can push their designs to the point of failure and have enough time to figure out what went wrong and fix it. For example, Michael Loverich of Bittertang discussed the daily process of going out to Governors Island last summer to assess and repair the unexpected damage (both natural and manmade) placed upon Burble Bup from the day before.

Because of the design/build aspect of pavilions, firms are given the opportunity to not only show their design ability, but also to prove that they can build them, said SO-IL’s Florian Idenburg, Intl. Assoc. AIA. This is important for young firms that do not necessarily have many built projects.

Galia Solomonoff, AIA, principal of Solomonoff Architecture Studio and moderator of the panel, made an analogy between architects such as Rem Koolhaas and Aldo Rossi, and younger firms like SO-IL and Bittertang. She said that while the older generation used the city and urban planning to push the boundaries of architecture and expand its definition, now younger architects are using temporary structures to redefine the profession. In addition to the City of Dreams Pavilion, Folly, the MoMA/P.S.1 Young Architects Program, SHIFTBoston, the Land Generator Initiative, Art Basel, and biennials and expos in Venice and Shanghai, for example, the list of opportunities for young firms is growing.

The AIA has selected the 2012 recipients of the Institute Honor Awards, including: 8 House by BIG; 41 Cooper Square by Morphosis Architects; and The Standard by Ennead Architects… 2012 Institute Honor Awards for Interior Architecture include: David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects; HyundaiCard Air Lounge by Gensler; and The Wright restaurant at the Guggenheim Museum by Andre Kikoski Architect… 2012 Institute Honor Awards for Regional & Urban Design include: Miami Beach City Center Redevelopment Project by Gehry Partners with West 8; and SandRidge Energy Commons by Rogers Marvel Architects

AIA New York State announced the 2011 Honor Award recipients: George Miller, FAIA, James William Kideney Gold Medal Award; Robert Coles, FAIA, Fellows Award; Dennis A. Andrejko, FAIA, and Susan Chin, FAIA, Matthew W. Del Gaudio Service Award; Alfreda Radzicki, AIA, President’s Award; Rogers Marvel Architects, Firm Award; Brooklyn Bridge Park, Community Development Award; Kent Kleinman, Cornell University, Educator Award; James Lai, Assoc. AIA, and Jessica Sheridan, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, Intern/Associate Award…

The Kimball Art Center announced five finalists in the design competition for its renovation and expansion project, including BIG / Bjarke Ingels Group and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, MO, announced five finalists for its Pavilion Project, a competition in association with the upcoming “Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World’s Fairs, 1851-1939,” including AECOM and Echomaterico

Material ConneXion announced it has opened a new office in Shanghai… Los Angeles-based CO Architects and NYC-based FXFOWLE have announced the formation of a joint venture firm to be known as CO/FXFOWLE… Madison, WI-based Flad Architects has opened an office in NYC…

Stages Consultants, a recently opened theater planning and design practice, was founded by Damian Doria and Alec StollFore Solutions, a green building consulting firm, has joined Thornton Tomasetti to form a new Thornton Tomasetti Building Sustainability practice to be lead by Gunnar Hubbard, AIA, LEED AP

Marc Wouters, LEED AP, has joined Stantec’s NYC practice as a senior associate and leader of the firm’s urban design and planning efforts in the Tri-State region… The Mufson Partnership has named Julia Belkin a partner…