Editor’s Note

Next week, don’t miss the openings of “Palaces for the People: Guastavino and the Art of Structural Tile” at the Museum of the City of New York on 03.26.14, and “Polis: 7 Lessons from the European Prize for Urban Public Space [2000-2012],” a retrospective from the Center for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona, on 03.27.14 at the Center for Architecture. These two shows offer insights into the links between two cities: Barcelona and New York. Stay tuned to our calendar to learn more about related programs for both.

In addition, don’t forget to renew your AIA membership by 04.01.14 to avoid membership lapse!

Ride Citi Bike? The AIANY Wants to Know Your Thoughts!

Inspired by the AIA New York Chapter’s commitment to Active Design and expanding access to transportation options in NYC, the Chapter has launched a survey to study the motivations of Citi Bike users in the city, in consultation with Transportation Alternatives and with Harris Interactive, which is doing a similar survey on Vélib’.

The results from the survey will help us better understand why people use Citi Bike. It will only take a few minutes of your time. All information will be kept confidential.

To take the survey, please click here.

At ABNY, per aspera

Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke of New York State’s economic resilience at the 3.14.14 lunch of the Association for a Better New York (ABNY) held at Cipriani 42nd Street. After a brief introduction by ABNY President William Rudin, the Governor stated that when he took office, “The economy of New York State was in disarray. And we were paying the price: People and businesses were leaving the state.” He noted that “spending out-paced income in New York State for 50 years. You can’t spend more than you make.” Criticizing spending vs. revenue generation by former Governors Nelson Rockefeller and George Pataki, he held back from a critique of the economic policies of former Governor Mario Cuomo, saying, “I’m still close with his wife.” Continue reading “At ABNY, per aspera”

Top of the Morning

Mayor Bill de Blasio welcomed Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny to Gracie Mansion for an early breakfast on Monday, March 17. With two hundred other daughters and sons of Ireland in the room, among them labor leaders and cultural figures, the Mayor was effusive in his praise, saying “the presence of the Irish in New York City over the centuries is to be celebrated today in the peoples’ house.”

Recalling his youth in Massachusetts, growing up in the district represented by legendary House Speaker Tip O’Neill, Mayor de Blasio said that he saw the benefit of Irish political leadership at close hand and was raised in an atmosphere very much benefiting from Irish culture. Continue reading “Top of the Morning”

Oculus Book Review: “Architecture in Uniform” by Jean-Louis Cohen

Mid-way through Jean-Louis Cohen’s lecture at the Center for Architecture regarding his most recent book Architecture in Uniform, he dropped his notes. With a gallant flourish of the hand he pronounced, “It’s okay, I know the story.” And that he does. Cohen’s text is an impressive account of the missing entry of architectural history – the Second World War. Cohen adeptly fills this gap with account after account of not so much the impressive architecture or engineering that went on during the mobilization on all fronts, but the architectural thinking that was manifested during this time. Architects were in all facets of the conflict, at the top, bottom, and in-between. After a number of dormant years for building during the Depression, the act of war seemed to unleash architects’ imagination. Continue reading “Oculus Book Review: “Architecture in Uniform” by Jean-Louis Cohen”

Oculus Quick Take: “How to Study Public Life”

On 02.05.14, Miguel Angel Baltierra, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, interviewed Jan Gehl, founder of Gehl Architects, and Birgitte Svarre, project manager at Gehl Architects, authors of How to Study Public Life, published by Island Press and reviewed by Annie Coggan in this issue of e-Oculus. Listen to the interview here.

Films Behind Façades

Last year, the Montreal International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA), the hotbed of international art films that it is, screened 250 films from 28 countries. This year’s “Architecture on Screen,” the fifth annual at the Center for Architecture, captured seven of those films for two days of architecture, film, and conversation. Continue reading “Films Behind Façades”

New York City Resiliency: Explorations of an Emerging Design Paradigm

On 10.21.14, an interdisciplinary panel representing both the public and private sectors within the design community met to discuss the significance of resiliency in contemporary planning and design. Co-sponsored by the AIANY Design for Risk and Reconstruction (DfRR) and the AIANY Marketing and Communications Committees, “The 21st-Century Practice: Marketing Resiliency Planning and Design” ambitiously attempted to define an ethos which has quickly become one of New York’s central design and planning considerations. The panelists approached the concept of resiliency from a distinctly multidisciplinary focus. Focusing particularly on a New York point perspective, moderator John Fontillas, AIA, LEED AP, a partner at H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture, sought to explore the concept of resiliency in the context of “the art of the possible.” Continue reading “New York City Resiliency: Explorations of an Emerging Design Paradigm”

Collaborative Commissioning

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, so the old saying goes. We toil for hours designing a building’s aesthetics, function, and efficiency – often through the mechanical guts of a building. Although architects depend on environmental consultants and engineers to right-size systems, the most resounding phrase in the “Mind the Gap: Closing the Bridge between Design Intent and Performance” program was collaboration and coordination between design, construction, and operation. Without this, any intention will fail expectations. Continue reading “Collaborative Commissioning”

Teaching and Building Transparently

Vassar College is taking steps to upgrade two well-worn, classically academic buildings. They’ll be complemented by a soaring new science center that will host state-of-the-art lab space. It seems that institutions everywhere are taking this next step, imagining bold buildings for technologically savvy students and teachers. “Transparency,” the big buzzword, is tied to this evolution, and architects are designing facilities to encapsulate that vision.

Four firms presented their work, untangling the manifestations of “transparency,” on 03.05.11 at the Center for Architecture. While walls of glass were a large, if obvious, part of their interpretations, their definitions blurred and shape-shifted as architects accommodated different environments. Continue reading “Teaching and Building Transparently”