Editor’s Note

In this last issue of 2013, the AIA New York Chapter would like to wish you all the best in 2014, and thank you for your continued support and readership. We’re looking forward to kicking off the New Year with our first issue on 01.08.14. Stay tuned!

Please note that the Center for Architecture office and gallery will be closed on Wednesday, 12.25.13; Tuesday, 12.31.13, and Wednesday 01.01.14. The gallery will operate on reduced holiday hours, from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM on Thursday, 12.26.13; Friday, 12.27.13; and Monday, 12.30.13.

I’d also like to remind all emerging and innovative firms submit entries to the New Practices New York Competition and the Emerging New York Architects Committee’s Queensway Connection: Elevating the Public Realm Competition. The submission deadline for both is 01.06.14.

And in a bit of Chapter news, congratulations to AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA, for receiving the AIA 2014 Edward C. Kemper Award in recognition of his extraordinary service to the Chapter and New York City, and his commitment to sustainable design and public health!

Happy holidays!

Board Inaugural: 2013 President Jill N. Lerner, FAIA

What follows are adapted remarks from the 2013 Inaugural.

Looking back over the past year, I am proud and humbled by all that our Board and volunteers have done to enhance our advocacy profile, increase our membership, and expand the professional services offered at the Center for Architecture. I would like to highlight the many initiatives and ongoing projects at AIANY and the Center for Architecture, organized around our key objectives: Public Outreach and Advocacy, Design Excellence, and Professional Development, as well as events of the year’s presidential theme, “Global City/Global Practice.” Continue reading “Board Inaugural: 2013 President Jill N. Lerner, FAIA”

Board Inaugural: 2014 President Lance Jay Brown, FAIA

What follows are adapted remarks from the 2013 Inaugural.

Being President of the AIA New York Chapter is an honor, a challenge, a responsibility, and, truly, a great opportunity. My many stellar predecessors, leaders on whose shoulders I stand, have accomplished so much for this institution and profession, and I want to match their service and achievements with my own.

Architecture is a great profession – but for it to be effective in its time, we must work at the intersection of design and urban policy. As we conclude 12 years of exemplary mayoral leadership of Michael R. Bloomberg, we welcome a new mayor, elected with a landslide mandate. Bill de Blasio inherits exceptional improvements and results from the Bloomberg years. Although there will be continued focus on the issues raised in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and on Mayor Bloomberg’s broadly successful PlaNYC initiative, does anyone doubt that we have an opportunity to look afresh at how our city, our beloved city, will grow and change? Continue reading “Board Inaugural: 2014 President Lance Jay Brown, FAIA”

Inclusive Urban Practices on the Rise

As Miodrag Mitrasinovic, associate professor of Urbanism and Architecture at Parsons The New School for Design, pointed out at the 12.07.13 “Cultivating Engaged and Inclusive Urban Practices” forum, many people talk about the importance of inclusive urbanism and design, but don’t follow through with it in practice. Luckily, the panel comprised five individuals who walk the walk. The event was the first of two forums presented in conjunction with the traveling exhibition “People Building Better Cities: Participation and Inclusive Urbanization.” Beginning in Bangkok in February, the exhibition has been seen in 10 cities so far, including New York. Global Studio’s Anna Rubbo introduced the panel by noting that the exhibition comes at a pivotal moment for New York City, when the mayoral election, among other events, has brought inequality and inclusivity to the forefront of public conversation. In this context, architecture, planning, design, and advocacy are making great strides to address issues of social justice through the built environment. Panelists spoke about projects that are subverting traditional top-down approaches to the creation of the urban environment and bringing a public voice to various facets of urbanism. Continue reading “Inclusive Urban Practices on the Rise”

Practicing the Past

Asia’s urban centers are global metropolises and construction continues full speed ahead. One need only look at two photos of Shanghai, one from the 1980s and one from now, to see how quickly Asia continues to grow and change, especially China. New neighborhoods replace old ones, seemingly overnight, and suburban cities blossom across countrysides. Korea is developing new hi-tech cities, and Tokyo, like a molting reptile, replaces its architectural skin every 30 years. While some development consumes suburban land or reclaimed territories, other rampant urbanization demands “old growth.” At the “Preservation in Asian Cities” program on 12.03.13, the question the panelists, who were equally divided between practicing architects and academics, addressed was: “What does growth mean for historical Asia and how can we preserve this heritage?” Continue reading “Practicing the Past”

Smart Cities, Smart Citizens

Two mayors and a university professor met at the Center for Architecture on 12.12.13 to discuss the changing nature of cities in the wake of technological advances. The theme of the evening was simple: cell phones, their ubiquity, the opportunities they present, and the demands they place on cities to respond. AIANY 2014 President Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, commenced with a statistic on the world population of 7.13 billion, citing the number of cell phones in the world as a close second to that number. In fact, the number of cell phones is expected to exceed the world’s population by next year (Silicon India). Continue reading “Smart Cities, Smart Citizens”

Leveraging Tight Resources in Developing Nations’ Schools

If the destruction that Superstorm Sandy inflicted on the New York region tested our resilience, imagine the challenges a natural disaster can impose on a place where material resources are many orders of magnitude smaller. Haiti, according to Gensler’s Mark Thaler, AIA, ranks 145th among 169 countries on the United Nations’ Human Development Index. The earthquake of 2010 revealed the fragility of both its physical infrastructure and its social systems, causing problems on a scale beyond anything most of us can imagine. Some 1.5 million people became homeless, Thaler reports; 86% of the residents of Port-au-Prince have been living in slum conditions; more than 100,000 buildings, including 4,000 schools, were destroyed. What can design accomplish, one may ask, when such devastation is overlaid on a foundation of poverty? Continue reading “Leveraging Tight Resources in Developing Nations’ Schools”

Barclays Center: The Deep Roots Beneath Brooklyn’s Game-Changing Arena

There are many big-name performers and fast-paced sporting events that take place at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, the multi-purpose arena at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues that opened September 2012. Yet the most noteworthy element of this destination isn’t the star power its stadium commands, or even the beauty and functionality of the massive LEED-approved structure designed by SHoP Architects. It’s simply the fact that Barclays Center has done what its detractors swore could not be done: inserted itself into this neighborhood without snarling traffic or disrupting the lifestyles of local residents, providing new energy and life with its programming while working with the existing virtues of this prime location. Continue reading “Barclays Center: The Deep Roots Beneath Brooklyn’s Game-Changing Arena”

Home School at the Center

Learning By Design:NY, the Center for Architecture Foundation’s K – 12 architecture education program has been active in city schools since 1996, pairing architects and design educators with classroom teachers to integrate the study of architecture and design into the school curriculum. For the past three years, home-schooled students have also been able to participate in this hands-on design program using the Center as their classroom. Continue reading “Home School at the Center”