Farming in the City: Melding Design and Agriculture

Event: Farming our Future: Diversity and Design Ingenuity in NYC Urban Agriculture
Location: Center for Architecture, 08.01.12
Moderator: Susan Chin, FAIA, Executive Director, Design Trust for Public Space
Speakers: Colin Cathcart, AIA, Partner, Kiss + Cathcart Architects; Pat Kirshner, Director of Operations & Planning, The Battery Conservancy; Elliott Maltby, Principal, thread collective; Toby Tiktinsky, Director, Bright Farms; Lee Weintraub, FASLA, Principal, Lee Weintraub Landscape Architecture; Michael Wadman, Vice President, Phipps Houses;
Organizers: AIANY, Design Trust for Public Space, and the New York Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects

Celebrating the Design Trust for Public Space and Added Value’s Five Borough Farm project, the night kicked off with Rick Bell, FAIA, AIANY executive director, asserting that the Center for Architecture’s newly-green garden – a product of the collaboration of the ASLA’s young landscape architects committee and ENYA – proves amazing things can happen in small spaces. Moderator Susan Chin, FAIA, Design Trust executive director, explained the Five Borough Farm website, publication, and posters that demonstrate the value of urban agriculture and provide a roadmap for expanding the movement.

Colin Cathcart, AIA, of Kiss + Cathcart Architects, endorsed scaling up urban agriculture. Hydroponic and other urban agriculture methodologies, Cathcart believes, have the potential to render unnecessary large-scale, fossil fuel-based agriculture, and its subsequent global warming emissions. Organizations such as Bright Farms, explained Director Toby Titinsky, aim to make this large-scale commercial urban farming a reality. By farming on grocery store rooftops and partnering in long-term retail distribution agreements, Bright Farms hopes to facilitate consumers purchasing produce mere hours after it is picked.

By introducing urban agriculture throughout public housing, Elliot Maltby of thread collective asserted these “towers in the park” could be transformed into “towers in the farm.” Presenting the realities of developing and maintaining a large scale urban farm, The Battery Conservancy’s Pat Kirshner explained the two year old Battery Urban Farm, which includes bamboo fencing repurposed from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Big Bambu” installation and a design based on Battery Park’s infamous wild turkey Zelda, has already welcomed more than 870 students to its soil.

Landscape architect Lee Weintraub, FASLA, and real estate developer Michael Wadman praised the South Bronx housing development Via Verde, designed by Grimshaw Architects and Dattner Architects, for successfully integrating urban agriculture into large-scale urban housing. Via Verde‘s fully accessible garden plots spiral from various courtyards and outdoor spaces at grade level up to rooftops. While political, philosophical, and design elements motivated Via Verde’s farming components, Wadman noted that the real estate industry, specifically at certain Long Island City luxury housing developments, is considering urban farming’s potential as a marketable tenant amenity.

The speakers overwhelmingly affirmed urban agriculture’s diverse benefits – not only the positive health effects resulting from better access to fresh produce, but its potential social, economic, and ecological benefits as well. While existing programs such as GrowNYC and those offered by the Lower East Side Ecology Center are already thriving, for the urban agriculture movement to capitalize on burgeoning public interest and the rapidly increasing consumer demand for locally grown produce, there must be increased municipal government support and an investment in soil, land, seeds, and other critical resources.

Golden Opportunities: Olympic Parks of the Past, Present & Future

The event featured video produced by John Mcintyre, ANZIA, that interspersed recorded interviews with images of past Olympics architecture.

Daniel Fox

Event: London 2012 Olympics @ The Center: Lecture and Opening Ceremonies Party
Location: Center for Architecture, 07.27.12
Moderator: Rick Bell, FAIA, AIANY Executive Director
Speakers: Alkis Klimathianos, Kohn Pedersen Fox (Athens Olympics); João Pedro Beckheuse (via Skype), Winner of the Olympic Port Competition (Rio 2016 Olympics); and pre-recorded interviews with Kevin Owens, London Organizing Committee; Jeff Keas, Populous; Dan Epstein, Sustainability Leader/London 2012 Olympics; Michael Taylor, Michael Hopkins & Partners; and Jerome Frost, ARUP (London Olympics)
Organizer: AIANY Global Dialogues Committee
Reception by: Food by The ChipShop; beer by Fuller’s and Whychwood; wine by Monsieur Touton
Sponsor: Microsol Resources with technical support by Autodesk

Millions tuned in to watch Olympic athletes compete, but London itself was the real star of the show. Hosting the Olympic Games creates an opportunity for a city to introduce itself to the world, but it also permanently alters the fabric of the city. Future host cities should take note of both the victories and mistakes made in planning for parks of the present and past. “Cities learn from each other, and these changes can be jump-started by the infusion of ideas from another place,” remarked Rick Bell, FAIA, who moderated a panel discussion of designers involved with parks in Athens (past), London (present), and Rio (future).

The first of the modern Olympics was held in Athens in 1896, and then returned to the city in 2004. According to Alkis Klimathianos of Kohn Pedersen Fox, who worked on the Athens Olympics, the planners faced the challenge of offsetting pollution and congestion, while grappling with post-9/11 security issues. In the wake of the Olympics, many of the venues fell into disrepair and have become unofficial homeless shelters due to the overwhelming cost of up-keep (over $3 billion annually). There were some positive changes: infrastructure now connects the region, and many notable architects have since contributed to the architectural legacy of Athens.

The planners and designers for London’s Olympic Park – including members of Populous, Michael Hopkins & Partners, and ARUP – discussed their experiences in a pre-recorded video conference call, which was interlaced with full-sized images of buildings and sites being discussed. They agreed that London is a city many people are already familiar with, so they didn’t attempt to make a grand cultural statement through the park’s design. Instead, they focused on transforming the previously neglected East End into a thriving place to live and work long after the Games are over. Thanks to transportation improvements, what was once a 40-minute trip from the center of London is now only a seven-minute ride by rail.

The next city to play host is Rio de Janeiro in 2016, and the planning process is well underway. João Pedro Beckheuse, winner of the Olympic Port Competition, joined the panel via Skype to discuss the growth the Games will bring to the harbor, including 4,000 housing units and a new five-star hotel. “This level of investment and growth would take 20 to 30 years without the Olympics,” he noted. Still, Rio has a few hurdles to clear before the torch can be lit: Adam Williams of AECOM, the firm behind the master plan for Rio’s park, was not able to join via Skype because his computer was stolen.

Boldface in Seattle

Seattle Space Needle from Chilhuly Glass Museum and Garden

Rick Bell, FAIA

Arthur Cohen and Michael Bierut leading the CACE discussion on the AIA Repositioning. The project slide reads, “Our Premise: The nature and practice of architecture is evolving and the AIA must evolve with it in order to secure its leadership position.”

Rick Bell, FAIA

Jeff Potter, FAIA, at lectern, leads an ovation for Karen Lewand, in turquoise in foreground, back to camera.

Rick Bell, FAIA

One of the big secrets of Seattle is that it doesn’t rain there in August. That isn’t the reason that both the AIA’s Knowledge Leadership Assembly (KLA) and Council of Architectural Component Executives (CACE) met concurrently in the Starbuck City last week, but it certainly made it more pleasant. Three days of meetings took place at two well-designed hotels – the Fairmount for the committee leaders and the Pan Pacific for the association staff. The groups were able to come together for evening receptions at the Olympic Sculpture Park by Marion Weiss, FAIA, and Michael Manfredi, AIA, and at the Wooden Boat Center on Lake Union, a short trip by kayak to the boathouses starring in Nora Ephron’s Sleepless in Seattle – in which Tom Hanks plays the insomniac widower architect who leaves Chicago for the city of Jimi Hendrix.

AIA Executive Vice President Robert Ivy, FAIA, said at the kickoff : “Our members go out and change the world every day. Change is in the air. The mood is expectant.” Central to both meetings was the presentation of the working hypotheses of the AIA’s Repositioning effort, introduced by AIA President Jeff Potter, FAIA, who noted that “across our profession the sun is starting to come up,” and referenced a bumper sticker seen in Texas that read: “Give us just one more boom, and we won’t screw it up.”

The AIA’s blue-sky re-envisioning team is being led by New York-based consultants LaPlaca Cohen and Pentagram; Arthur Cohen and Michael Bierut kept a usually contentious cohort of almost 200 AIA staffers enthralled with logic and wit, outlining the nine central premises of the new institute in the making. Some of the broad ideas delineated resonate with the activities and strategic plan of AIANY, including: Going Beyond Bricks & Mortar to engage with policy; Focus on Connectivity to activate a community of peers; and Being Good for Business by bolstering efficiency and economic returns. The inclusive and transparent process can be reviewed on the Repositioning the AIA website.

Our region was represented at KLA by Mary Burke, FAIA, Chair of the Interiors Knowledge Community Advisory Group, and by David Del Vecchio, AIA, former Regional Representative from New Jersey. New York’s CACE attendees were Ed Farrell for AIANYS and CACE Executive Committee member Valerie Brown, Hon. AIANYS, from the Westchester Hudson Valley Chapter. Notable sponsors present included Laura Marlow from Reed Construction Data, Ann Casso from the AIA Trust, Ned Cramer from Hanley Wood, and Tom Schell from Naylor, which publishes Oculus along with a host of other AIA and association publications.

In a rare undisputed election, the CACE members present elected new executive committee officers. The current CACE ExCom is led by AIA Florida Executive Director Vicki Long, Hon. AIAFL, as 2012 President and by President-elect Carolyn Boyce of AIA Pennsylvania. New officers for next year will be 2013 President-elect Tina Litteral, Hon. AIA, from AIA Arizona, along with Heather Vance of AIA Utah, Kate Shelton of AIA Charlotte, and Melissa Hunt, of AIA Eastern Oklahoma.

CACE Honors were conferred at a closing dinner at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center (next door to the Edgewater where John Lennon is said to have put out a fishing line from his hotel window). Also announced was that AIA South Dakota is the recipient of the Hanley Wood grant for $10,000 this year. And Karen Leward received a standing ovation and appropriate accolades upon the announcement that she is retiring after many years of wonderful service as Component Executive of AIA Baltimore.

The heart of the CACE meeting, though, was the presentation of best practices by AIA Components, large and small. Among the notable presentations were those on membership development by AIA Seattle’s Lisa Richmond, Margot J. van Swearingen, Assoc. AIA, Sian Roberts, AIA, and Natalie Quick, and on Emerging Professionals and ARE prep by AIA San Francisco’s Michelle Railsback, AIA South Carolina’s Adrienne Montare and Kevin Fitzgerald, AIA, the director of the AIA’s Center for Emerging Professionals. A program on how to garner publicity and media for Chapter activities was led by Lindsey Ellerbach of AIA Eastern Oklahoma, Alison Pruitt of AIA Palm Beach, and Dawn Taylor of AIA Kansas City.

The meetings generally took place in conference rooms with windows, but at the outset, AIA Seattle President Rico Luis Quirindongo, AIA, and Chapter Executive Director Lisa Richmond encouraged attendees to take advantage of their limited free time to see the architectural treasures of the city, including the new headquarters building of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation by NBBJ.

Rico called Seattle “the last frontier,” and noted that the city was “trying to figure out how to go net zero.” Conference attendees were seen at the Chihuly Glass Museum and Garden, OMA‘s Seattle Library, and the Seattle Art Museum by Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates (now VSBA), and its addition by Allied Works Architecture. AIA Mississippi Executive Director Joe Blake was spotted at the Seattle Space Needle, celebrating the 50th anniversary of its construction as the centerpiece of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. And at least one CACE staff person admitted to attending the Nicki Minaj concert so as to see the interior of the landmarked Paramount Theater. Reviewed in advance in the Seattle Times, the sold-out Pink Friday concert had all of the bombast and rap eloquence of her recent Super Bowl half-time show. Minaj, a graduate of LaGuardia High School in Manhattan, sported bold-face makeup that used most – if not all – of the primary colors.

When the annual CACE meeting took place in New York in August of 2007, the AIA Sesquicentennial was celebrating America’s favorite architecture, a lot of which was to be found in our town. For those fortunate enough to go to Seattle, this Big-Sib sister city unveiled its exemplary environmental initiatives (including a 2030 Eco District), along with extraordinary waterfront planning and active recreation facilities. The Seattle Chapter was also ahead of us in that it opened the very first AIA-led storefront architecture center, some 31 years ago, led by AIA poet laureate Marga Rose Hancock.

So, if Seattle seems to be a colorful, sunny, and vibrant city that, parenthetically, never sleeps, it may have the advantage of being three hours earlier than New York. There is also something about the coffee.

Fitting In

As a still from the film suggests, it is becoming difficult for single people earning a median income to find housing.

Daniel Fox

The panelists discuss the results of an audience survey. The slide on the screen indicates that if only one type of housing unit were to be built, the majority wished it to be small apartments for single adults.

Daniel Fox

Event: Making Room: Film Screening and Panel Discussion
Location: Center for Architecture, 08.09.12
Moderator: Ernie Hutton, FAICP, Assoc. AIA
Speakers: Jerilyn Perine, Executive Director, Citizens Housing & Planning Council (CHPC); Mark Ginsberg, FAIA, Chair, CHPC; John Shapiro, AICP, Chair, Pratt Institute Planning & Sustainability; Marcie Kesner, AICP, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP
Organizers: AIANY Planning and Urban Design Committee and the Citizens Housing &
Planning Council

According to the Citizens Housing and Planning Council (CHPC), data models show that there is “a substantial mismatch between the types of housing units available in New York City and the shape of our 21st-century households. Our diverse households – predominantly single people – are trying to fit themselves into homes and apartments not designed for their needs. And our housing is unable to evolve because the size, shape, and even occupancy requirements of our homes are governed by old-fashioned laws and codes.” This research illustrates scientifically what we all know anecdotally and personally: if you’re single in New York and, like “Home Alone’s” Kevin McCallister, just want to live alone, you’re pretty much out of luck when it comes to finding an affordable studio.

What about the almost one million people expected to move to New York by 2030? The more popular New York becomes – especially for the young and single – the fewer one’s (legal) housing options become, as new stock is not keeping up with the aforementioned changes in our households. And those dated codes? According to Curtis + Ginsberg Architects Principal and CHPC Chair Mark Ginsberg, FAIA, “four different pieces of regulation define family in three different ways.”

So, what should we do? According to the CHPC and its Executive Director Jerilyn Perine, innovative design is part of the solution: new architectural forms, micro units like those proposed by Mayor Bloomberg’s adAPT NYC initiative, and studios with multi-purpose furniture, for example, are good starts. And although New York has the eighth largest per-capita population of single people, Perine affirmed that it should be at the forefront of thinking about creative solutions for single people.

At “Making Room: Film Screening and Panel Discussion,” we screened a film that documented the CHPC’s “Making Room” design showcase, held last November with the Architectural League of New York. Proposals from the five teams suggested a range of ways in which we can meet our pressing needs through new design and policy.

One of the most provocative schemes was by Stan Allen, FAIA, and Rafi Segal, who suggested that we take 1950s and ’60s office buildings and insert residential units, with two office floors becoming three residential ones; the core of these residential units would remain office and shared space. Azby Brown, director of the KIT Future Design Institute in Tokyo, suggested that we “edit life” like the Japanese, reducing stuff while increasing its usefulness.

All of the teams’ excellent presentations can be seen on CHPC’s website. Feasibility aside, wonderful things can come from imaginative design, and this is only the first step in the CHPC’s plan to “transform the housing options for all New Yorkers for the years to come.”

Oculus Book Review – High Line: The Inside Story of New York City’s Park in the Sky

High Line: The Inside Story of New York City’s Park in the Sky
By Joshua David and Robert Hammond
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011

“Corner of the Sky” was once a song solely associated with the Broadway musical “Pippin.” Not anymore. Now it is synonymous with the experience of walking the High Line – which is every bit as theatrical. Home to more than 200 species of grasses, wildflowers, shrubs, and trees, the raised rail tracks that once carried a cargo train known as the Lifeline of New York has become a beautiful respite above the fray. This is reflected not just in the beauty and serenity of the place, but by the different ways that people behave: there is actual strolling; looking up from a handheld device long enough to take in the sky or comment upon the architecture of a neighboring building; hand holding with an occasional kiss; children running on the stadium-style seating risers without parents chasing after them. The first few times I observed this it seemed unreal, like a stage set. I thought I was watching the opening scene of Sondheim’s “Sunday in the Park with George.”

The style of this book reflects that open space sensibility. While the details of the High Line story are far from a relaxing stroll along New York City’s park in the sky, the dialogue format between the two impresarios Joshua David and Robert Hammond makes for a very accessible and in-depth exchange. Their shared experience and sometime differing perspectives are candid and not veiled by hindsight. [editor’s note: check out David’s “Oculus Quick Take” podcast interview with Miguel Baltierra, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, here].

David and Hammond’s co-authored account describes their initial encounter at a community board meeting where flirtation morphed into obsession, not of each other but of the object of their mutual affection – saving a 70-year-old elevated railroad track. As with many of the improbable victories in New York’s history, with exemplars like Jane Jacobs and those who fought to save Grand Central Terminal, challenges are often met and won by those who did not understand the complexity of what they were initially getting into. If they did, they probably would not have entertained it in the first place, and certainly not persevered.

Lucky for us David and Hammond are two such people. In 1999, they formed Friends of the High Line and, for a decade, pushed against opposition groups, politicians advocating demolition, development problems, the economic downturn, and the aftermath of 9/11. This was the beginning of what ultimately became the innovative transformation of an urban ruin into an ecologically creative and socially vibrant public space.

The lush and evocative images in the book are a reminder that a walk along the High Line is a wonderful way to re-experience the joie de vivre of New York. Even on a very hot and muggy Saturday in August, the tempered and more relaxed behavior was still present and oh so very real.

In this issue:
• Nation’s Capital Get New Welcome Mat
• New Theater for the Theatre for a New Audience
• Brooklyn Beauty Gets Restored
• Back to School
• Beachy Keen Pavilion and Comfort Station
• A Room with a View

Nation’s Capital Get New Welcome Mat

Rendering courtesy HOK

Amtrak has recently released a master plan, developed with HOK and Parsons Brinckerhoff, in collaboration with developer Akridge and several regional transportation agencies, to revitalize Washington, DC’s Union Station. The plan calls for tripling passenger capacity, doubling the number of trains the station can handle, and improving the passenger experience. At the heart of the plan is a train shed that integrates new passenger concourses with significant retail and passenger amenities, all accessed through new street entrances. The design brings more natural light into the station, and a planted roof retains rainwater and tempers the interior environment. As an integral part of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor investment plan, the upgrading will accommodate an additional level of tracks, platforms, and concourses below the existing track level. These changes will support increasing commuter and intercity rail service with room for future expansion of high-speed rail. The estimated cost for the station reconstruction and terminal capacity expansion ranges from $6.5 to $7.5 billion in 2012 dollars, and the phased construction will take over 15 to 20 years. HOK is providing master planning, programming, architecture, cost modeling, stakeholder consensus building, and project management services for the project.

New Theater for the Theatre for a New Audience

Rendering courtesy H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture

The Theatre for a New Audience’s new 27,500-square-foot home in Downtown Brooklyn designed by H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture recently celebrated its topping out. The 299-seat theater is the first performance space designed expressly for Shakespeare and classic drama since the completion of the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center in 1965. The project includes studio spaces for performances, rehearsals, and events, a book kiosk, lobby café, and theatrical support spaces. The new theater, slated to open in the fall of 2013 with an inaugural production directed by Julie Taymor (of Spider-Man and The Lion King fame), is designed to achieve a LEED Silver certification.

Brooklyn Beauty Gets Restored

Courtesy Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman + Associates Architects

Courtesy Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman + Associates Architects

Originally designed by Helmle and Huberty and completed in 1913, the Hotel Bossert, located in the Brooklyn Heights Historic District, is being restored and renovated by Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman + Associates Architects. The proposed plan to preserve the façade of the 14-story hotel known for its diamond-patterned brick is currently being reviewed by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Upgraded mechanical and HVAC systems will allow windows to be free of air-conditioning units, partially restoring the exteior to its historic appearance. The lobby-level reception lounge, ground floor, and lower-level meeting rooms will be renovated with new lighting, finishes, flooring, fixtures, and furnishings. An under-utilized back-of-house space will be reclaimed and redesigned as a lobby-level destination restaurant. The hotel’s famed Marine Roof, a two-story restaurant once called “the Waldorf-Astoria of Brooklyn,” will again become an exclusive restaurant and lounge. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2013.

Back to School

© Paul Rivera

© Paul Rivera

© Paul Rivera

The new 225,000-square-foot CUNY School of Law, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) recently opened on the first six floors of 2 Court Square (formerly the Citigroup LIC building) in Long Island City. Completed in 2007, the 14-story LEED Gold-certified building was originally designed by KPF as a speculative office building with open-plan floor plates. The building’s podium was designed to allow Citigroup to expand the building to a height of 38 stories as needed. The school occupies the entire podium. The interior fit-out includes a mix of classrooms, seminar rooms, tiered lecture halls/auditoriums, and shared student spaces on the first through third floors, with a 72,000-square-foot law library, faculty and administrative offices on the fourth through sixth floors. The school also maintains its own entrance, prominent signage, security perimeter, and a dedicated elevator bank.

Beachy Keen Pavilion and Comfort Station

© Mark Yoes, AIA

The new Beach 30th Pavilion and Comfort Station in Far Rockaway, Queens, recently opened. Designed by WXY Architecture + Urban Design, the 2,700-square-foot structure, located along one of the primary paths linking the neighborhood with the boardwalk, is designed to interact organically with the reconstructed dune landscape. Held aloft on almost 20-foot-high slender columns, the undulating cast-in-place concrete shade roof extends from a glazed-brick-striped, 1,050-square-foot structure that serves as a comfort and park maintenance station. The rooftop mixes skylights and oval cutouts, the largest of which exposes a planted area beneath that is open to the weather. Non-traditional seating for this type of comfort station features ottoman-like furnishings resembling stones smoothed by the ocean that sit on a recycled plastic “boardwalk.” WXY collaborated with landscape architect Quennell Rothschild and Partners on the master plan for the almost 30-acre park. In addition to the pavilion and comfort station, WXY designed the previously-realized stage and a café shade structure. The project is one of five regional parks envisioned by PlaNYC.

A Room with a View

“Tatzu Nishi: Discovering Columbus,” artist’s concept exterior

Courtesy of the artist and Public Art Fund, NY

Berlin- and Tokyo-based artist Tatzu Nishi, known for his site-specific public art projects that transform historical monuments by surrounding them with domestic spaces, plans to do the same with Gaetano Russo’s marble figure of Christopher Columbus in Columbus Circle this September. Nishi’s artwork, commissioned by Public Art Fund, will feature a room supported by metal scaffolding that will surround the sculpture, and furnished with all the trappings of a contemporary living room such as lamps, a couch, coffee table, television. Custom wallpaper by the artist includes images from pop culture that he associates with the U.S. Large, loft-style windows will afford visitors dramatic views of Central Park and Midtown Manhattan that can only be seen from Columbus’s perspective. In conjunction with the exhibition, the Public Art Fund will also oversee the conservation of the Columbus Monument in cooperation with the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, Art & Antiquities Division. Tishman Construction, an AECOM Company, is the fund’s construction partner. and Visitors will access the room by climbing six flights of stairs within the scaffolding, and a lift will be available for anyone in need of assistance. “Discovering Columbus,” on view September 20 – November 18, is free to the public

This Just In

All Aboard Florida has named SOM as lead architect and planner for its four stations and associated transit-oriented developments in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Orlando. Florida-based Zyscovich Architects serves as associate architect and planner.

The Department of City Planning is holding an info session on Friday, August 17, 9:00 – 10:00 am, for practitioners who work in the land-use and environmental review process and other interested parties to review the improved pre-certification process and other BluePRint changes. RSVP to The last and final session will be September 14th.

The team of Diller Scofidio + Renfro and the U.K.’s Witherford Watson Mann Architects is one of seven invited to bid for the scheme to open up the public spaces at the Royal Opera House in London. A winner will be selected in December.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission recently voted to take public testimony on September 11th on whether the Rainbow Room atop 30 Rock should be designated an interior landmark. The space, built in 1934 and renovated in 1987, has been closed for more than three years.

In this issue:
• AIA Contract Documents In-person Workshop @ AIA National
• e-Calendar

AIA Contract Documents In-person Workshop @ AIA National
Are you thinking about making the switch from paper to digital Contract Documents, or a new user interested in learning more about AIA Contract Documents and Software? AIA National is hosting an in-person course geared towards prospective and new customers of AIA Contract Documents software and agreements. AIA staff will train participants in content, software, and popular forms. Using comprehensive contract documents is the most important thing you can do to protect your project, minimize risk, and avoid costly litigation. Learn more about the course here.

The AIA also recently launched a new, one-stop educational portal featuring webinars, podcasts, on-demand continuing education courses, FAQs, guides, and more. To learn more and view upcoming events, please visit

Still like your paper documents? As always, you can stop by the AIANY office at 536 LaGuardia Place to purchase paper documents from Eve Dilworth Rosen, AIANY Office Manager (; 212.358.6113).

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

An Uplands Tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Building 92

Shani Leibowitz welcomes guests at Building 92’s new lecture space.

Tim Hayduk

Guests walk through the colossal shipbuilding shed that will soon become Duggal Visual Solution’s production space. The butt-joint glazing perfectly frames the Williamsburg Bridge and neighborhood.

Tim Hayduk

What was once called Wallabout Bay has been fashioned into one of New York City’s most progressive and dynamic workplaces: the Brooklyn Navy Yard (BNY). Part of the New Buildings New York tour series, the Center for Architecture Foundation (CFAF) had the opportunity to take guests on a behind-the-scenes tour, led by Shani Leibowitz, BNY’s vice president of development and planning, Elisabeth Leber, AIA, LEED AP, of Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners, and Nancy Hudson, PE, of Robert Silman Associates.

CFAF’s tour began at Building 92, a new welcome center and museum housed in a late-19th-century building with an elegant glass and steel addition carefully grafted to the original. We were welcomed by Liebowitz, who provided an overview of BNY’s history and current mission. The audience learned about the fine balance between development and preservation, sustainable design, the support of minority- and woman-owned business, and other forward-thinking practices that BNY’s mission a model one would hope other manufacturing and industrial districts might adopt. Leiber explained how the structure of the new addition to Building 92 was prefabricated within the walls of the yard, along with exterior metal panels depicting a view of the BNY during its WW II heyday.

Following our introduction, we boarded a BNY bus to see other structures in various states of renovation. Former shipbuilding sheds provide today’s industries with the elbow room to think and work on large scale. Imaging giant Duggal Visual Solution is fully renovating one such shed into a cathedral-sized workplace. We were invited to walk the length of the enormous floor, and treated to an epic view of the Williamsburg Bridge through the structure’s north facing windows. Steiner Studios has also adapted a handsome, WWII-era building, and built several sound stages of various sizes for filming movies and commercials.

Admiral’s Row is comprised of a series of buildings in various states of collapse and ruin, taken over by a jungle of plants and trees. The bus driver drove down what was once a distinguished lane; with difficulty, one could make out the houses through the thick growth. Long neglected, the BNY is fully committed restoring two buildings, working with Robert Silman Associates as consulting engineers for this initiative. The naval hospital and staff housing are other 19th-century ruins that will one day be restored. All in all, we were able to experience a historical place poised magnificently between its past and future – where preservation is moving hand-in-hand with progress and experimentation, allowing the public to celebrate and benefit from our past in a new way.

A handful of participants opted to take a guided walk from the Jay Street-Metrotech subway station to the BNY prior to the tour. Walking from Downtown Brooklyn through Fort Green Park gave one a sense of how the City of Brooklyn developed before consolidation in 1898. We passed the Prison Ship Martyr’s Monument in Fort Greene Park, walked through Fort Green’s leafy residential streets, and learned about housing built for Navy Yard workers during WW II.

The sold-out tour raised $2,500 to help support the Foundation’s Programs@theCenter – interactive gallery tours and hands-on workshops designed to engage youth and families in contemporary topics about the built environment. The next tour in the New Buildings New York series will be at the Signature Theater on September 18th. Visit for more information or to purchase tickets.

The Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) announced two NYC-based members who have been named Fellows, David Koren, FSMPS, CPSM, Assoc. AIA, Associate Principal, Director of Marketing, Perkins Eastman, and Bernice Bako, FSMPS, CPSM, Director of Marketing, Turner Construction…

Terrence O’Neal, AIA, who has served Community Board 6 (CB6) since 2009, was recently appointed Chair of the Land Use & Waterfront Committee by CB6 Chair Mark Thompson, Sr. V.P. at Capalino & Company…

Brien McDaniel, who was the Director of PR for FXFOWLE, was appointed Assistant Director of Communications at the Museum of Modern Art…Jenna McKnight has resigned as News Director at Architectural Record to become Editor-in-Chief of Architizer; Laura Raskin will serve as interim news editor for Record

R. Anthony Fieldman, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, formerly a Principal in Perkins+Will’s New York office, has founded a new practice, RAF|T

Carlos J. Cardoso, AIA, has been named a Partner at Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners…Perkins Eastman has promoted Christine Schlendorf, AIA, to Principal..

Save A Sample!, the industry’s nationwide annual design recycling drive, announces Farah Ahmad as its 2013 Coordinator…

Mancini•Duffy/TSC welcomes Keiko Kim, LEED AP, and Christina Coppotelli Daly as Business Development Directors, and Kim Sly as Marketing Director…The Durst Organization appointed Joy Habian as the new Director of Marketing…