The Rapid, Rocky Path to Disaster Recovery

With a nod to the late Mayor Ed Koch’s reality-checking tagline, on 02.13.13 the AIANY Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee (DfRR) assembled local and national emergency-management experts to consider the city’s performance during Superstorm Sandy and the implications for that storm’s inevitable successors. Continue reading “The Rapid, Rocky Path to Disaster Recovery”

Rhetorically Speaking: State of the City on Valentine’s Day

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Borough President Marty “Fuggedaboutit” Markowitz were both born on Valentine’s Day. But there seemed to be no particular love lost between them at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, where the mayor delivered his final State of the City Address on 02.14.13 after a short introduction from the BP. Marty’s gag gift to Hizzoner was a large, Styrofoam cup – useful as a prop in the mayor’s call for eliminating extruded polystyrene containers to facilitate recycling. After describing his realized dream of seeing a professional sports team come back to Brooklyn, the Beep gave the microphone to Mayor Bloomberg with “once you think you’ve heard it all, you haven’t.”

The first English language reference to Valentine’s Day was in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Parliament of Foules, written in 1382, whose introduction speaks of a political version of heaven: “First know yourself to be immortal; and always see that you labor diligently and teach for the common profit.” Chaucer wrote of a congress of birds convened that day to win the favor of the eagle, not-for-nothing the longtime symbol of the American Institute of Architects. There were many similarities between the scene at Barclays and Chaucer’s crowded convocation: “there was scarcely room for me to stand, so full was the entire place.”

The mayor’s remarks touched on the key points of the Bloomberg Administration’s achievements, many of which, in housing, the environment, urban design, and access to the waterfront, are consistent with positions taken by the AIA New York Chapter. He noted: “Each of the five boroughs is better off than ever before and the State of the City has never been stronger.” Continue reading “Rhetorically Speaking: State of the City on Valentine’s Day”

Masterplanning Futures: Adaptive Planning in the 21st Century

As an author, critic, and curator, London-based Lucy Bullivant, Hon. FRIBA, makes no small plans. So it was no surprise when she told the audience at the Center for Architecture on 02.14.13 that her latest book, Masterplanning Futures was four years in the making. She said she saw it as “a necessary project” because there are so few books on master planning that go much beyond descriptive analysis to offer comparative analysis. Continue reading “Masterplanning Futures: Adaptive Planning in the 21st Century”

Oculus Book Review: Grand Central Terminal Centennial

Popular culture has grown increasingly more defined by names with celebrity status and punctuated in the media and the arts by gratuitous repetition. There is, however, one international icon that stands in defiance of that notion. At 100 years of age (yes, it has had “work done”), Grand Central Terminal is a name so recognizable that even though its surname was changed three times (Depot to Station to Terminal), the first name – Grand – has always remained intact. Not only is this luminary a building, but, similar to many New Yorkers, it has battled survival in tough economic times and developed the facility of reinvention. Continue reading “Oculus Book Review: Grand Central Terminal Centennial”

CFAF Launches New Program for Homeowners with What to Expect When You’re Renovating

Forty homeowners, contractors, and architects gathered at the Center for Architecture on 02.13.13 for the first offering of the Center for Architecture Foundation’s (CFAF) newest program, “What to Expect When You’re Renovating.” This program, part of the CFAF’s initiative to offer more adult programs geared towards the general public, covered the basics of renovating an apartment in NYC. Continue reading “CFAF Launches New Program for Homeowners with What to Expect When You’re Renovating”

Names in the News

The 2013 Jury of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects elevated 122 AIA members to its prestigious College of Fellows, including thirteen AIANY members: Israel Berger, FAIA; Heidi L. Blau, FAIA; Raymond C. Bordwell, FAIA; Carlos Brillembourg, FAIA; Susan A. Chin, FAIA; Judith DiMaio, FAIA; Kenneth D. Levien, FAIA; Carol Loewenson, FAIA; Richard Metsky, FAIA; Margaret E Newman, FAIA; Terrence E. O’Neal, FAIA; Peter Schubert, FAIA; and Claire Deborah Weisz, FAIA… Please come celebrate their achievements at the Center for Architecture on 02.28.13 at the New Fellows ReceptionContinue reading “Names in the News”

New Deadlines

The Oculus 2013 Editorial Calendar has been set. If you are an architect by training, or see yourself as an astute observer of New York’s architectural and planning scene, Oculus wants to hear from you! Projects/topics may be anywhere, but architects must be New York-based. Please submit story ideas by the deadlines indicated in the calendar to Kristen Richards, Hon. AIA, Hon. ASLA: Read the latest issue of Oculus, Winter 2012, now available online.

02.18.13 Call for Entries: AIANY Interiors Speed Presentation Edition 4: The Death of Decadence

02.22.13 Call for Projects: FitNation Exhibition at the Center for Architecture

03.08.13 Call for Proposals: Center for Architecture 2013 Graphic Designer Shortlist

Continue reading “New Deadlines”


02.11.13: The February Oculus Book Talk was dedicated to the Grand Central Terminal Centennial, with a gathering of the four authors of three new tomes on this magnificent train station. They discussed its grand history and continuing success. As panelist Sam Roberts said, “It will never outlive its usefulness.”

02.20.13: At a breakfast meeting of the Association for a Better New York, Sen. Charles Schumer spoke about the post-Sandy future of New York, immigration policy and the future of high tech (“one of our great futures”). He also discussed his success in securing 20 million dollars for the Army Corps of Engineers to address the challenges of climate change in the Hudson Region. Continue reading “Sighted”