Once again, OCULUS, the quarterly magazine of the AIA New York Chapter, is calling for story ideas and submissions for its upcoming issues. See the  note below from editor Kristen Richards, Hon. AIA, Hon. ASLA, for more information on how to contribute.

Elegy for a Fertile Culture

Speakers Dena Al-Adeeb, left, and Hadani Ditmars

Matt Shoor, AIA

Event: Iraqi Culture Pre- and Post-Invasion: From Secular to Sectarian
Location: Center for Architecture, 03.15.12
Speakers: Hadani Ditmars, author, journalist, and photographer; Dena Al-Adeeb, artist, scholar, and activist
Introduced by: Rick Bell, FAIA, AIANY Executive Director
Organizers: The Center for Architecture
Benefactor: A. Estéban & Company
Lead Sponsor: Buro Happold
Sponsors: Eytan Kaufman Design and Development; FXFOWLE
Supporters: Arup; Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation; Dewan Architects & Engineers; GAD; HDR; Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates; NAGA Architects; Ramla Benaissa Architects; RBSD Architects; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; World Monuments Fund; Zardman

“It has never been easy for artists in Iraq…But now, this is the worst it’s ever been.” This plaintive declaration, originally spoken by poet Saadi Youssef and published by author Hadani Ditmars in the March 2008 issue of The Walrus, encapsulates the current state of the arts in contemporary Iraq. Civil society is in decline, factionalism is rife, and artists are literally fleeing for their lives.

The Center for Architecture hosted Ditmars and Dena Al-Adeeb, an Iraqi artist living in exile in the United States, in a frank discussion that touched upon the struggle for artistic expression in an increasingly suppressive and sectarian society. Ditmars, author of Dancing in the No Fly Zone, presented compelling evidence of the rapid and debilitating degradation of Iraqi culture in the post-invasion era, putting present-day conditions in the context of the rich artistic history of Iraq in the latter half of the 20th century.

In the late 1950s, petrodollars contributed to the rapid expansion of the nation’s infrastructure. Foreign architects, such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, and Arthur Erickson, were commissioned to design a variety of civic, sports, religious, and cultural facilities. Their involvement contributed to what Ditmars referred to as a “Bauhaus in Baghdad,” a flourish of Iraqi modern architecture and design.

Ditmars asserted that, following Saddam Hussein’s rise to power, and continuing through years of war and economic sanctions, artists were buoyed by a certain siege mentality. The enemies of art were known (Baathists, Hussein and his cronies), and topics that may have incurred their ire could be avoided or shrouded in double entrendre and satire.

Given the constantly shifting political environment in contemporary Iraq, however, Ditmars and Al-Adeeb suggested that today’s artists are terrified that their work has the potential to offend any party, at any time. Unlike during Saddam’s reign, Iraqis no longer know who is watching them. Moreover, unanticipated sectarian reprisals in response to “offensive” art can be swift and vicious.

As a result, most cultural activity has ceased entirely. The Iraqi National Orchestra has been silenced. The vibrant theater scene in Baghdad has been reduced to a shadow of its former glory. Visual artists are not exhibiting artwork, if they are even producing it at all. In order to maintain the freedom to create, many artists have been forced into exile. They join 6 million of their fellow countrymen in a diaspora that extends from the Middle East to North America and beyond.

Al-Adeeb indicated that the role of the Iraqi artist in exile has evolved into documentarian and preservationist. Artists want to record the ascendance and decline of their rich and varied society. In an elegiac sentiment, she implied that if Iraqi culture is to vanish in its homeland, Iraqi artists want to be the ones to write its history.

Matt Shoor, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, is an architect, writer, and educator currently employed by Macrae-Gibson Architects. He is a frequent contributor to e-Oculus, and recently received his architectural license. Matt can be reached at mshoor@gmail.com.

Architecture on Stage

Actors Michele Rafic and Yusef Bulos in The House

Laura Trimble

Event: Building ANew: Noor Theatre Presents a Reading of Short Plays by Award-winning Middle Eastern Playwrights.
Location: Center for Architecture, 03.16.2012
Playwrights: Jacob Kader, Ismail Khalidi, Mona Mansour, Tala Manassah, Daria Polatin, Najla Said, Sam Neave, and Heather Raffo.
Director: Pirronne Yousefzadeh
Cast: Leila Buck, Yusef Bulos, Piter Marek, Eric Miller, Michele Rafic, Darrill Rosen, Najla Said, and Daniel Shamoun.
Organizer: Noor Theatre
Benefactor: A. Estéban & Company
Lead Sponsor: Buro Happold
Sponsors: Eytan Kaufman Design and Development; FXFOWLE
Supporters: Arup; Columbia University, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation; Dewan Architects & Engineers; GAD; HDR; Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates; NAGA Architects; Ramla Benaissa Architects; RBSD Architects; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; World Monuments Fund; Zardman

“I’m not sure what this is—a theater?” So begins “The House” by Mona Mansour and Tala Manassah, one of several plays featured in a recent reading by the Noor Theatre at the Center for Architecture. The opening line of the play was a fitting question, posed as it was at a venue not commonly known for its theatrical productions. But, as AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA, noted, the Center was once home to Fringe Festival events, and the evening proved to be a similarly lively intersection between theater and architecture. Bell’s informal poll of the audience found that half came from the theater world and half from architecture.

The evening of readings added another dimension to the Center’s current exhibitions, “CHANGE: Architecture and Engineering in the Middle East, 2000-Present” and “City of Mirages: Baghdad, 1952-1982.” The piece “Build, Forget” by Ismail Khalidi staged the design of a fictional competition project that could have been inspired by many of the works on the walls.

Each play from Noor, which supports and presents the work of playwrights of Middle Eastern decent, was commissioned by the Center for Architecture specifically for the event. The playwrights’ intentions to create dialogue about space and cities were evident, and their approaches to the subject varied widely. The plays conjured deeply personal experiences of daily life in the Middle East, leading the audience on a walk through a few cities, across a few decades, and into a few homes and apartments.

A projected backdrop of scenery during the first moments of each piece was the only visual cue employed, but each play had its own way of evoking a space. “A Room for Each Season,” by Heather Raffo, juxtaposed contemporary Baghdad with the city’s heyday, at one moment describing gossip communicated through kissing mashrabiyas and at the next noting that the new U.S. Embassy covers 94 football fields. “Perimeters for safety have exploded in every space, every psyche. How do you design safety outside a wall?” asked the monologue.

The play “The Magic Carpet Hides the Hole in the Ceiling,” by Najla Said, manifests a similar anxiety arising from the history of conflict in the region. The speaker tells us that since she was a girl she has known when the ceiling falls it is as a sign of war and catastrophe. Like many of the other short plays, “The Magic Carpet” uses a description of space as a trigger to talk about current events, or as an elegy for loss by migration or destruction, offering a reminder to architects of the pivotal that role space plays in imagination and memory.

Greta Hansen is a New York-based architectural designer and writer.

Design for the Rising Tide

Charrette participants (seated, clockwise from top) David Piscuskas, FAIA; Deborah Gans, AIA; Lee Weintraub, FASLA; Pablo Vengoechea; Richard Dattner, FAIA; Mary Kimball (hidden). Standing: (l-r) Illya Azaroff, AIA, co-chair of the Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee, and Thaddeus Pawlowski of the Department of City Planning.

Benedict Clouette

Event: “Freeboard” Design Charrette
Location:
Center for Architecture, 03.23.12
Participants:
David Piscuskas, FAIA, 1100 Architect; Richard Dattner, FAIA, Dattner Architects; Deborah Gans, AIA, Gans Studio; Lee Weintraub, FASLA, Lee Weintraub Landscape Architecture; Pablo Vengoechea, Pablo Vengoechea Architect; Mary Kimball, NYC Department of City Planning; Vincent Linarello, Alexander Gorlin Architects; Anne-Sophie Hall, AIA, Grimshaw Architects; Chris Garvin, AIA, Terrapin Bright Green; Julia Murphy, AIA, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Wids Delacour, AIA, Delacour & Ferrara Architects; Erick Gregory, NYC Department of City Planning; Jill Lerner, FAIA, Kohn Pedersen Fox; Basar Girit, Situ Studio; Bill Browning, Terrapin Bright Green; Maria Milans del Bosch, Mathhew Baird Architects; Denisha Williams, ASLA, Denisha Williams Landscape; Jeff Schumaker, NYC Department of City Planning; Beth Greenberg, AIA, Dattner Architects; Reid Freeman, AIA, James Carpenter Design; Eric Bunge, AIA, nArchitects; Carmi Bee, FAIA, RKTB; Allison Duncan, ASLA, Allison Duncan Design; Skye Duncan, NYC Department of City Planning; Peter Gluck, Peter Gluck & Partners; Jonathan Marvel, AIA, Rogers Marvel; Stephen Cassell, AIA, Architecture Research Office (ARO); Florence Schmitt, Matthew Baird Architects; Chris Holme, NYC Department of City Planning; Hayes Slade, AIA, Slade Architects; Marc Puig, nArchitects; Landon Brown, Toshiko Mori  Architects; Lisa Tsang, Obra Architects; Jamie Chan, NYC Department of City Planning; Leah Cohen, NYC Department of City Planning; Frank Michielli, AIA, Michielli + Wyetzner; Colin Cathcart, AIA, Kiss Cathcart; Matthew Berman, Assoc. AIA, workshop/apd; Claire Weisz, AIA, WXY architecture + urban design; Susannah Drake, AIA, ASLA, dlandstudio; Jessica Fain, NYC Department of City Planning; Michelle Valdez, NYC Department of City Planning; Pablo Castro, AIA, Obra Architects; James Slade, AIA, Slade Architects; Winka Dubbledam, Assoc. AIA, Archi-tectonics; Michael Kwartler, FAIA, Environmental Simulation Center; Tricia Martin, LEED AP, WE Design; Michael Marrella, NYC Department of City Planning; Colin Gardener, NYC Department of City Planning; Illya Azaroff, AIA, Co-chair, Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee; Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, Co-chair, Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee
Organizers:
New York City Department of City Planning; AIANY Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee

Last August, Hurricane Irene brought high waters to New York, driving residents from their homes, costing the city millions of dollars, and giving New Yorkers a hint of what to expect from climate change and sea level rise.

Recognizing the need for fresh ideas to address these new risks to the city, a recent design charrette at the Center for Architecture brought together more than 50 architects, urban designers, landscape architects, planners, and educators to develop creative responses to the challenges posed by rising water levels and increasingly unpredictable weather patterns. The event, a joint project of the New York City Department of City Planning and the AIANY Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee, called on designers to propose strategies to improve the city’s flood-resistance while also maintaining the vitality of New York’s streets.

The charrette’s participants were divided into groups, each addressing a different building typology (single-family homes, elevator apartments, mixed-use buildings, and multi-family row-houses), and were charged with producing solutions for similar buildings sited in low-lying and flood-prone areas. The brief asked that the designs respond to the anticipated water elevation levels of a 100-year flood, and prompted the teams to keep in mind the pedestrian experience of the street.

During the charrette, the participants crowded around tables, sketching their ideas over typical sections and elevations of their building types. Many of the teams produced several possible schemes, reflecting different trade-offs and priorities, all of which were discussed in a round of presentations at the conclusion of the charrette.

“The design charrette was a creative, collaborative, and dynamic step in addressing the risks that we confront as we move into the 21st century,” said Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, co-chair of the Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee and an organizer of the event. “These members of the New York design community stepped up, voluntarily and on short notice, and donated their time, energy, and creativity in pursuit of inventive solutions.”

The afternoon ended with a call to continue to refine the ideas generated at the event, and the suggestion of future workshops to address a greater range of scales, moving from the building to the city and the region. The Department of City Planning is expected to issue a report summarizing the findings of the charrette this summer.

Benedict Clouette is a writer and the editor of e-Oculus.

In this issue:
· Housing Replaces Parking in Central Harlem
· Make-A-Wish Fulfillment
· A Diamond in The Rough
·
University of Pennsylvania Builds a Hub for Nanotechnology
· Prescription for a New Hospital – Architecture + Art


Housing Replaces Parking in Central Harlem

The Dempsey’s street front, with brick façade and glass entry.

Jim Shanks

The Dempsey, an affordable housing development designed by Dattner Architects, recently opened. Located in Central Harlem, the 84,000-square-foot building replaces an underutilized parking area of the Dempsey Center, a neighborhood multi-service center, with 80 units of housing ranging from studios to three-bedrooms. The masonry bearing wall and pre-cast concrete plank building is organized into bays of contrasting brick colors to provide scale and visual interest. Brick banding and a contrasting brick base emphasize the building’s residential character and were designed to complement the streetscape, which includes a landscape buffer between the street line and the first floor apartments. The entry is distinguished by a recessed, glazed window wall. As a participant in the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) Multi-Family Performance Program, the building’s sustainable elements include a well-insulated, sealed envelope, energy-efficient lighting and mechanical equipment, and an interior stair that is naturally lit by a window wall located opposite the elevators to encourage using the stairs. The Dempsey is a joint venture between Phipps Houses, New York City’s largest not-for-profit developer/owner of affordable housing, and West Harlem Group Assistance, Inc. (WHGA), one of Harlem’s oldest and largest community development organizations. The project was developed under the Bloomberg Administration’s New Housing Marketplace Plan, and was built by Monadnock Construction.


Make-A-Wish Fulfillment

The atrium of the Samuel & Josephine Plumeri Wishing Place

Alan Schindler

The Samuel & Josephine Plumeri Wishing Place, located in the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Disney-esque Magic Castle dedicated to grant wishes to children battling life-threatening medical conditions recently opened in Monroe Township, NJ. Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership (LHSA+DP) transformed an existing 6,500-square-foot space into a four-dimensional environment with a choreographed narrative designed to transport wish-kids to a magical place where any wish can come true. The focal point of the project is a double-height atrium filled with larger-than-life plants and flowers that evoke the feeling of being in an enchanted garden. Graphic elements such as shelves filled with books adorn the walls of the “Inspiration Room” to help stimulate kids’ imaginations so they can decide on what to wish for. The “Wishing Room,” which resembles a magician’s cabin, features a special cabinet containing a glowing crystal. When the crystal is removed and the wish is bestowed on it, the room automatically turns into a nighttime scene so the wish can be conveyed across a star-filled sky. LHSA+DP collaborated with Argyle, NY-based Adirondack Studios, scenic and entertainment designers and fabricators of interactive environments, and Moorestown, NJ-based architect-of-record, RHM Associates.


A Diamond in The Rough

The street entry to the Gem Tower

dbox

Five years after plans designed by Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM) were unveiled, and after subsequent delays due to the recession, steel has finally topped out and the crystalline curtain wall with embedded steel medallions is rising on the 450,000-square-foot International Gem Tower in the Diamond District. The first 20 floors of the 34-story building are being sold as commercial condominiums for retail establishments and office suites for businesses in the diamond, gem, and jewelry trade, while the upper floors will be retained by developer Extell, which plans to lease the space to financial and professional services firms. The two sections of the building were designed to act independently, each with its own dedicated lobby, elevators, and security system. Retail, featuring expansive display windows, is located in the lobby, mezzanine, and second floor with a dedicated escalator and elevator. The building features industry-specific ventilation and filtration system for light jewelry manufacturing, high-speed destination dispatch elevators, and a state-of-the-art security and vault system. Amenities include underground valet parking, a private executive club and fitness center, and onsite restaurants. Tishman is the project’s construction manager, and the building is expected to be delivered during the 3rd quarter of 2012.


University of Pennsylvania Builds a Hub for Nanotechnology

A rendering of the Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Weiss/Manfredi

Construction recently finished on the steel frame of at the Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology, the new gateway to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Designed by Weiss/Manfredi, the 78,000-square-foot facility contains state-of-the-art lab spaces, including a 10,000-square-foot cleanroom (totally free of dust, vibration, and electromagnetic fields). Other program elements specific to the emerging field of nanotechnology include a 6,500-square-foot characterization suite, used for imaging equipment such as an electron microscope, and 12,000 square feet of laboratory modules. The labs are organized around a central courtyard, allowing for exterior views and making the scientific activities highly visible. A galleria, located between the lab and exterior enclosure, is wrapped in a metal-paneled façade with a bent ripple that reflects and refracts the surrounding buildings and activity of the city. An ascending route climbs from the courtyard through the building to a forum space that cantilevers 65 feet over the courtyard, and the steel shear wall structure for the cantilever is expressed on the interior and exterior, emphasizing the connection to the campus. Additional public spaces include a staircase that doubles as a lounge, conference rooms, and a café.


Prescription for a New Hospital – Architecture + Art

The Johns Hopkins Hospital Building features a glass curtain wall designed in collaboration with artist Spencer Finch.

Paul Warchol

When the new 1.6 million-square-foot, Perkins+Will-designed Johns Hopkins Hospital Building in Baltimore – comprising the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center (named after the Mayor’s mother), and the Sheikh Zayed Tower for adult care – opens this April 2012, it will not only be a state-of-the-art medical facility, but a curated repository of over 500 works of art created by more than 70 artists. Brooklyn-based artist Spencer Finch, in collaboration with the architectural team, is responsible for the largest work in the building – a shimmering glass curtain wall that envelops the exterior of the building using the glass-as-water concept with two panes of glass to create a sense of depth. Inspired by Monet’s impressionist landscape paintings, 26 hues that work best in East Baltimore’s light were selected, and hundreds of hand-drawn frits became computer-generated ceramic etchings in the glass. The towers, designed concurrently and constructed as a single project, are located on a five-acre site and contain 560 all-private patient rooms, 33 expansive operating rooms, and healing gardens. The architecture and art collaboration includes the project’s curator, New York-based art advisor Nancy Rosen, consulting architect, Rowayton, CT-based KOLKOWITZ KUSSKE, and Philadelphia-based landscape architects OLIN. The acquisition and integration of art into the buildings was made possible in large part by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

THIS JUST IN…

Toshiko Mori is designing a new 22,000-square-foot space for the Sean Kelly Gallery (three times the size of its current location in North Chelsea) adjacent to Hudson Yards on West 30th and 10th Avenue. In addition, Mori is designing the new glass-canopied subway station entrances of the No. 7 line that will service the area.

The Center for an Urban Future reports New York City graduates twice as many students in design and architecture as any other U.S. city, and the city’s design schools are not only providing the talent pipeline for New York’s creative industries, but have become critical catalysts for innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic growth. Read the complete report at:
http://www.nycfuture.org/images_pdfs/pdfs/DesigningNYsFuture.pdf

The Preservation League of New York State has added the block-long former IRT Powerhouse, on 11th Avenue at 59th Street, to its Seven to Save list of threatened historic resources. The Beaux-Arts building was designed by McKim, Mead and White. The League also named the South Village, a 35-block area with architecturally and historically significant buildings and sites constructed between the 1820s and 1930s. The organization will announce the remaining five sites shortly.

The Morpholio Project, a portfolio app created by designers Mark Collins, Toru Hasegawa, Anna Kenoff, and architect Jeffrey Kenoff AIA, recently launched a new iPad version. The app allows its community of users to share work through an image-based interface, as well as collaborate on projects and critique each other’s designs.

When the new 1.6 million-square-foot, Perkins+Will-designed Johns Hopkins Hospital Building in Baltimore comprising the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center (named after the Mayor’s mother), and the Sheikh Zayed Tower for adult care opens this April 2012, it will not only be a state-of-the-art medical facility, but a curated repository of over 500 works of art created by more than 70 artists. Brooklyn-based artist Spencer Finch, in collaboration with the architectural team, is responsible for the largest work in the building – a shimmering glass curtain wall that envelops the exterior of the building using the glass-as-water concept with two panes of glass to create a sense of depth. Inspired by Monet’s impressionist landscape paintings, 26 hues that work best in East Baltimore’s light were selected, and hundreds of hand-drawn frits became computer-generated ceramic etchings in the glass. The towers, designed concurrently and constructed as a single project, are located on a five-acre site and contain 560 all-private patient rooms, 33 expansive operating rooms, and healing gardens. The architecture and art collaboration includes the project’s curator, New York-based art advisor Nancy Rosen, consulting architect, Rowayton, CT-based KOLKOWITZ KUSSKE, and Philadelphia-based landscape architects OLIN. The acquisition and integration of art into the buildings was made possible in large part by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Testimony at the City Planning Commission
On Wednesday, February 29th AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell offered testimony at a City Planning Commission hearing on the Citywide Zone Green Text Amendment.  While the Chapter supports the amendment, which seeks to remove barriers to the construction of green building features in the City of New York through modification of the Zoning Resolution, we also offered comments for possible refinement or revision.

AIA Announces Support for International Green Construction Code
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced its support for the International Green Construction Code (IgCC), a new model code expected to help conserve energy in both commercial buildings and residential structures while providing direction for safe and sustainable building design and construction. The International Code Council (ICC) is publishing the IgCC today, March 28.

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

Testimony at the City Planning Commission
On Wednesday, February 29th AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell offered testimony at a City Planning Commission hearing on the Citywide Zone Green Text Amendment.  While the Chapter supports the amendment, which seeks to remove barriers to the construction of green building features in the City of New York through modification of the Zoning Resolution, we also offered comments for possible refinement or revision.

AIA Announces Support for International Green Construction Code
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced its support for the International Green Construction Code (IgCC), a new model code expected to help conserve energy in both commercial buildings and residential structures while providing direction for safe and sustainable building design and construction. The International Code Council (ICC) is publishing the IgCC today, March 28.

eCALENDAR
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

CURRENT EXHIBITIONS

City of Mirages: Baghdad 1952-1982

Baghdad.jpg

On view 02.22.2012–05.05.2012

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

CURRENT EXHIBITIONS

City of Mirages: Baghdad 1952-1982

Baghdad.jpg

On view 02.22.2012–05.05.2012

CFAF Tours Brooklyn and the Middle East

The Foundation’s Brooklyn Heights Walking Tour for families began at the Brooklyn Historical Society and concluded at the Promenade, overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge.

Eveline Chang

Visitors learned about Modernist architecture in the Middle East on the Foundation’s guided tour of exhibits at the Center on March 14th.

Jaime Endreny

On 03.14.12, the Center for Architecture Foundation welcomed the public to its first guided exhibition tour of “City of Mirages – Baghdad, 1952-1982” and “CHANGE: Architecture and Engineering in the Middle East, 2000-Present,” led by CFAF’s Lead Design Educator, Tim Hayduk. “City of Mirages” tells the story of Iraq’s struggle to modernize in the mid-20th century with the help of some of the West’s best practitioners. The show, which traveled from Barcelona, Spain to the Center for Architecture, includes models, video footage, and drawings sourced from around the world. Tour attendees were also introduced to the “CHANGE” exhibit, which provides a survey of current work in the Middle East throughout regions of varying geography, cultures, climates, and economies.

In contrast to the expansive geographical area covered by CHANGE, the CFAF gave a local tour, just across the East River in historic Brooklyn Heights. The program began with an overview of the Center for Architecture’s 2009 exhibition, “Context/Contrast: New Architecture in Historic Districts, 1967-2009,” currently on view at the Brooklyn Historical Society. “Context/Contrast” investigates how “appropriate” new architecture in historic districts has allowed neighborhoods to evolve without endangering the essential character that contributes to their public value and makes them worth protecting. Families then explored the architecture of this architecturally diverse and historic neighborhood on an interactive walking tour with Design Educator Jane Cowan. Both children and adults learned how to look for clues in the built environment to uncover some of Brooklyn Heights’ fascinating history.

The Center for Architecture Foundation is offering an exhibitions-based FamilyDay@theCenter on 04.14.12, and an additional lunchtime exhibitions tour of “City of Mirages” and “CHANGE” on 05.04.12. For additional information about the CFAF’s various programs, please visit www.cfafoundation.org.