FitCity Columbus: Oh Boy in Ohio

Phil Ochs, the lyrical folk singer who shared Greenwich Village and the ‘60s with Bob Dylan, grew up in Columbus, Ohio, and sang of his youth there, with lyrics saying: “I’ve been all over the country / But I don’t believe I’ve had more fun / Than when I was a boy in Ohio.” With CoGo bike-share and car2go municipally-owned smart cars, Columbus has blazed an example of a city where fun goes to set a new standard. The 15th largest city in the country, Columbus and its mayor, Michael B. Coleman, have embraced the concept of Active Design with a system of linked parks, discrete neighborhood improvements such as those in the Short North Historic District, and riverfront changes including the Scioto Mile. This spirit was described in a recent WOSU public radio segment “All Sides with Ann Fisher” marking the opening of the Ohio version of the “FitNation” exhibition curated in New York by Emily Abruzzo, AIA, LEED AP.

FitCity Columbus, a program organized by AIA Columbus Executive Director Gwen Berklekamp, CAE, and Programming & Development Coordinator Jessie Masters, took place at the Columbus Center for Architecture and Design on 02.19.14. It addressed how architects and designers are tackling heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses by means of active design. The program announcement noted that “from the design of healthcare facilities to initiating public health policy changes, architects play a key role in encouraging people to burn calories through the creation of quality spaces and engaging environments.” The keynote speaker was Columbus-based architect Peter Bardwell, FAIA, FACHA, principal of BARDWELL+associates and co-chair of the AIA National Architecture for Health Knowledge Community. He spoke of how a broad approach is needed to achieve a greater emphasis on health as distinct from using medication to treat disease. The key word was “salutogenic” in an analysis consistent with the tenets of the Active Design Guidelines, also presented later the same evening. Continue reading “FitCity Columbus: Oh Boy in Ohio”

Guastavino State of Mind

“What do Carnegie Hall, the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, Grand Central Station, Grant’s Tomb and the Bronx Zoo’s Elephant House have in common?” At first, this question, asked by WNYC’s Leonard Lopate at The Greene Space’s conversation “Guastavino in New York” may stump even the most inveterate New Yorker. The answer, however – the presence of tile vaulting by Spanish architect Rafael Guastavino – is, according to Jill Lerner, principal at KPF and immediate past-president of AIANY, something that New Yorkers are always “subconsciously aware of.” Continue reading “Guastavino State of Mind”

Imagining, and Measuring, the Unimaginable

Humans have been studying earthquakes scientifically for about 2,000 years, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory geophysicist Dr. Klaus Jacob says, ever since Han Dynasty-era polymath Zhang Heng invented the first seismometer so that the Emperor would know about distant earthquakes before the news reached him by messengers on horseback. Now we have multiple networks, like the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology, the U.S. Geological Survey, and overseas equivalents, linked and sharing information. Knowing a quake is likely doesn’t equate to predicting its timing, but the state of knowledge about locations, depths, and magnitudes helps the design and construction professions prepare for these probabilistic events and mitigate damage. Continue reading “Imagining, and Measuring, the Unimaginable”

Resiliency of NYC Hospitals, Post-Sandy

On 02.26.14, a packed Tafel Hall was the setting for “After Sandy: Recovery and Resiliency and NYC’s Hospitals,” which examined the impact of the storm on New York City’s hospitals, how its effects are still being felt 16 months later, and efforts to increase hospitals’ resilience. The storm was a devastating wake-up call for all involved in the operation and design of hospitals in the city, causing the closing of six hospitals and the emergency evacuation of 6,500 patients from hospitals and nursing homes throughout the city. The program took a detailed look at three of the hospitals most impacted by the storm, as well as the response of the city and AIANY through the formation of post-Sandy task forces that made recommendations to increase hospitals’ resiliency against future climate change-driven storms such as Sandy. Continue reading “Resiliency of NYC Hospitals, Post-Sandy”

Unveiling Marginalized Communities

Mark Gardner, AIA, LEED AP, opened the “Invisible Histories: The Social Practice of Civic Engagement” program by introducing the concept of invisibility and civic engagement: “Tonight is about making the invisibile, visible. Each of these panelists has studied and participated in a process to understand how to uncover the stories of marginalized communities.” He was referring to the buildings, vacant lots, and public spaces where these communities existed unchanged. The lecture helped shine a light on people’s numbness towards these communities, and bring the matter of civic engagement to the forefront of our attention, prompting us to pause and take notice the public housing “projects” on our way to work in the morning. Continue reading “Unveiling Marginalized Communities”

A Healthy Dose of Competition Makes Olympic Game Design a Gold Medal Winner

The Center for Architecture Foundation hosted its first school break program of the season 02.18-20.14. The program, titled “Olympic Game Design, coincided perfectly with the 30th Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, allowing 3rd through 7th graders to learn from the Games in real time. With a focus on garnering inspiration from an Olympic event, students learned about the design of the event’s venues – think bobsled or luge course, ski jump, ice rink or swimming pool, from either the Winter or Summer Olympics. Students then designed a model that doubled as an arcade-style game. Part of our inspiration for the program came from Caine’s Arcade, a touching short documentary about an inventive boy in Los Angeles who builds his own arcade games out of discarded boxes from his father’s auto parts dealership. Continue reading “A Healthy Dose of Competition Makes Olympic Game Design a Gold Medal Winner”

Names in the News

The winners of the 2014 AIANY Design Awards are: Architecture Honors:  Donald Judd Home and Studio by Architecture Research Office/ARO; the Danish Maritime Museum by BIG Bjarke Ingels Group; 4 World Trade Center by Maki and Associates; Johnson Museum of Art Addition and Alteration by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners; Columbia University Campbell Sports Center by Steven Holl Architects. Architecture Merits: Stapleton Library by Andrew Berman Architect; Pier A Restoration and Adaptive Reuse by H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture; East 34th Street Ferry by Kennedy & Violich Architecture; 250 Bowery by Morris Adjmi Architects; Sanggye 341-5 by N.E.E.D. Architecture; Fire Island House by Richard Meier & Partners; Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility by Selldorf Architects; House in Ghent by Toshiko Mori Architect. Interiors Honors: The Barbarian Group by Clive Wilkinson Architects; Calvin Klein Collection, Forum 66 by SPaN Architecture. Interiors Merits: Runner & Stone by Latent Productions; West Side Townhouse by o’neill rose architects; Hudson Pier Residence by Shelton, Mindel & Associates; Red Bull Studios New York by SLAB Architecture; Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at JFK by Slade Architecture; Wieden + Kennedy by WORKac. Project Honors: New Hampshire Retreat by NADAAA; the Triangle School by NAMELESS Architecture; (No) Stop Marconi by N H D M / Nahyun Hwang + David Eugin Moon; The Edgeless School by Sage and Coombe Architects. Project Merits: MI’RAJ – Prishtina Central Mosque Competition by APTUM; Starlight by Cooper Joseph Studio; New Law Library of Harlem by *MULTIPLICITIES; Sanhe Kindergarten by OBRA Architects; Harvest Dome 2.0 by SLO Architecture; Sinthian Cultural Center and Artists’ Residence by Toshiko Mori Architect. Urban Design Honors: Zaryadye Park by Diller Scofidio + Renfro; Transforming Boston’s Midtown Cultural District by Handel Architects. Urban Design Merits: Ga Mashie by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates; St. Patrick’s Island by W Architecture and Landscape Architecture/CivitasContinue reading “Names in the News”

New Deadlines

2014 OCULUS Editorial Calendar!
The Oculus 2014 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 below to Kristen Richards, Hon. AIA, Hon. ASLA:

Fall 2014
Submit story ideas by April 30, 2014

Winter 2014
Emerging Skyline / Evolving Street
Submit story ideas by July 14, 2014 Continue reading “New Deadlines”

On View: At the Center for Architecture + About Town

On View

NYRP EDGEucation Pavilion
Through 03.06.14

Arch Schools 2013
Through 03.22.14

Considering the Quake: Seismic Design on the Edge
Through 05.26.14


Copenhagen Solutions
Opening 03.13.14

Polis: 7 Lessons from the European Prize for Urban Public Space [2000-2012]
Opening 03.27.14

2014 Design Awards
Opening 04.24.14 Continue reading “On View: At the Center for Architecture + About Town”