Editor’s Note

I hope everyone has managed to stay warm and dry during our second swirl through polar vortices. Due to the inclement weather, yesterday’s program “(Re)Orientation: Global Campus” has been postponed until 02.03.14. Make sure to check out other upcoming events at the Center for Architecture on our online calendar.

In addition, be sure to submit your work to the AIANY 2014 Design Awards – only three weeks left! Award winners will be recognized at the AIANY Honors and Awards Luncheon at Cipriani Wall Street on 04.23.14. Winning projects will also be featured in the Summer 2014 issue of Oculus magazine, and in the Center for Architecture’s Design Awards exhibition, opening 04.24.14.

AIANY Membership at Historic High

The all-time high number of 5,019 members of the AIA New York Chapter was announced today by Board Secretary Jane Smith, AIA, of Spacesmith. Building on a steady increase in membership last year, under the leadership of 2013 Chapter President Jill N. Lerner, FAIA, the goal of the long-term strategic plan was achieved by a combination of enhanced communications about member value, and increased program and exhibition vitality on the global stage and during the mayoral election. Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, 2014 AIANY President, recognized the achievements of his predecessor, of Board Secretary Smith and her plan for membership development, and of the hard work of AIANY Member Services Director Suzanne Mecs, Hon. AIANYS. President Brown said, “The achievement of this long-awaited milestone underscores that the AIA New York Chapter and our work in civic engagement is increasingly relevant to a large number of architects, associates, those in affiliated professions, and the general public.”

Design for Aging in SMLXL

Riding my bike on the West Side Highway to the exhibition opening of “Booming Boroughs: Redesigning Aging-in-Place in NYC” at the Center for Architecture, I passed an ad for starting a retirement account: “The person who will live to be 131 is alive today.” Though a little ominous, the ad seemed auspiciously fitting – priming me to think about how the idea of aging must be reexamined. Continue reading “Design for Aging in SMLXL”

FitCity Miami: Strolling beside the Sea

Michelle Obama turned 50 the same day last week that AIA Miami hosted Fit City Miami: Health & the Built Environment. The full-day conference at Miami-Dade College’s Wolfson Campus brought together architects, planners, designers, developers, public health professionals, and academics to address how building design and policy decisions can improve health outcomes in communities. Although she was not present on January 17th, the First Lady and founder of “Let’s Move” was quoted at the conference as saying: “You’ve got to keep your body active, even if that means just turning on some music and dancing for an hour.” The dozen speakers included Anamarie Garces de Marcilla of the Consortium for a Healthier Miami-Dade’s Health & Built Environment Committee; Breeze Glazer of Perkins+Will’s New York office; Dr. Gillian Hotz of the University of Miami; Karen K. Lee, MD, MHSC, of the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene; former Miami-Dade Commissioner Katy Sorensen of the Good Government Initiative; and Bernard Zyscovich, FAIA – who was a FitCity8 speaker last year at the Center for Architecture in New York. Continue reading “FitCity Miami: Strolling beside the Sea”

Oculus Book Review: “The Nature of Urban Design” by Alexandros Washburn

The Nature of Urban Design is the product of a mind that can work on many intellectual levels and emotional constructs. This book, by Alexandros Washburn, Assoc. AIA, former chief urban designer for the NYC Department of City Planning, is many books: a precisionist explanation of the premise of urban design; a concise map of the historic conditions of New York City’s urban construct; and a personal journey through Hurricane Sandy. Through it, we get a glimpse of the urbanist as poet. One gets the sense that the book is not quite finished, which is refreshing and true to Washburn’s ethos of an artist’s fluidity influencing space rather than exerting control over the city. Continue reading “Oculus Book Review: “The Nature of Urban Design” by Alexandros Washburn”

Defending Public Space

The “Practical Utopias” exhibition programming concluded with a panel that discussed public space in Asia’s particularly dense cities. Curator Jonathan Solomon, AIA, recapped the exhibition’s themes, including how public and semi-public spaces are made and used, from shopping malls to elevated walkways as in transit oriented development (TOD) networked cities in Hong Kong and Tokyo. Continue reading “Defending Public Space”

Multidisciplinary Design and Ecology as Drivers of Resilient Urban Infrastructure

In a presentation on 01.10.14, organized by the AIANY Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Susannah Drake, ASLA, AIA, founding principal of dlandstudio architecture + landscape, explored the resiliency of NYC’s infrastructure. As both a registered architect and a landscape architect, Drake’s work is particularly concerned with “urban ecological” infrastructure and, more generally, with achieving a fruitful balance between the urban and the natural. dlandstudio takes an integrated approach where collaboration amongst a variety of disciplines, from architecture to landscape architecture, ecology, scientific research, sculpture, planning, and engineering, is a vital component of design. Multidisciplinarity serves as the focal point of Drake’s design philosophy and is evident throughout dlandstudio’s contemporary project portfolio. Drake and her colleagues seek to redefine the divisions between buildings, infrastructure, and ecology to realize a holistic urban ecosystem of related parts. Such an approach is particularly relevant today, when a city’s resiliency and its ability to adapt to changing conditions on a variety of social, economic, and environmental scales is of paramount importance. Drake’s presentation addressed two areas of concern for the contemporary urban environment: stormwater management and greenspace optimization, both of which are crucial in enabling cities to adapt to the impacts of global climate change and respond to the effects of increasingly extreme weather events. Continue reading “Multidisciplinary Design and Ecology as Drivers of Resilient Urban Infrastructure”

Global City, Global Practice, Global Dialogues

As more New York firms work globally, the relevance of importing and exporting international design ideas has never been greater. This exchange of ideas will be essential for understanding and solving the critical design issues of our age. As such, it has been a priority for AIA New York’s Global Dialogues Committee, which was co-chaired for the past two years by Jeffrey Kenoff, AIA, and Bruce Fisher, AIA, both directors at Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF). According to Kenoff, “Our design discussions now coexist in a local as well as a global conversation. The lines defining a subject’s regional impact are becoming increasingly blurred.” Continue reading “Global City, Global Practice, Global Dialogues”

Announcing the Winners of the 2013 Stewardson Keefe LeBrun Travel Grant

The Center for Architecture Foundation and AIA New York Chapter are pleased to announce the winners of the 2013 Stewardson Keefe LeBrun Travel Grant. The purpose of the grant, awarded annually, is to further the personal and professional development of an architect in early or mid-career through travel. The 2013 grant recipients John Paul Rysavy and Jobie Hill highlight the diversity of proposals submitted – from architectural history to historic preservation. Rysavy’s application, entitled “Practices of Ornament in the Making of Public Space,” seeks to unpack the correlation between the works of the Baroque architect, Francesco Borromini and Viennese Modernist, Adolf Loos. Hill’s project, “Slave House Database,” will serve as a “central repository of information” that will benefit researchers and organizations, as well as descendants and individuals, and ensures that “irreplaceable pieces of history are not forever lost.” Continue reading “Announcing the Winners of the 2013 Stewardson Keefe LeBrun Travel Grant”