Editor’s Note

The New York Architects’ Regatta Challenge is less than one month away! The New York Architects’ Regatta Foundation’s annual fundraiser supports charitable enterprises that provide waterfront access and educational experiences, including Riverkeeper, Project City Kids, Soundwaters, The Sailing Foundation of New York, and Rock the Boat. The two-day event will kick off on 09.10.14 with a cocktail party and skippers’ meeting in the Model Room of the New York Yacht Club. Racing will follow the next day, 09.11.14.

To read about last year’s regatta and how the AIA New York Chapter’s “Flying Eagles” fared, see the e-Oculus report by AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA, here.

For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page or email nyarchitectsregatta@gmail.com

In addition, the registration deadline for the 2015 City of Dreams pavilion competition has been extended to 09.20.14, with submissions due 09.31.14. Organized by FIGMENT, the AIANY Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA), and the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY), the competition asks participants to create a gathering place on Governors Island for people to participate in programs, enjoy a performance or lecture, and experience the interaction of art and history on the island. The theme of the pavilion points toward the future, challenging designers to create a temporary structure in the most sustainable and efficient way possible. For more inspiration, see our article on this year’s competition winner, CDR Studio’s Governors Cup, written by Ruben Ramales here.

Insight for Architects

AIA and Reed Construction Data are pleased to announce a new AIA member benefit. Insight for Architects is an instant upgrade for your market intelligence, allowing architects to locate prospective pre-bid projects and clients and make valuable industry-specific network connections. Reed tracks nearly a half-million projects across the United States and Canada, and applies tested analyses to cultivate information, reports, and leads that provide architects with valuable knowledge to grow their firms.

This new way of connecting architects to business opportunities was first showcased at the 2014 AIA National Convention in Chicago.

Access this benefit through www.AIA.org/REED with your AIA log-in.

Urban in Durban

The triennial congress of the International Union of Architects (UIA) took place this past week in Durban, South Africa. The official delegation of the American Institute of Architects was led by AIA President Helene Dreiling, FAIA, and included former President Kate Schwennsen, FAIA, dean of the Clemson University School of Architecture, and AIA 2016 President Russell Davidson, FAIA, of New York.  AIANY 2014 President Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, and Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA, were speakers in sessions on resiliency and active design, respectively. Brown also led a discussion on public space issues at a forum organized by the City of Durban. The congress was attended by more than 4,000 architects from around the world. Previous AIANY Presidents Margaret Castillo, AIA, LEED AP, and James McCullar, FAIA, have attended UIA meetings in Tokyo (2011) and Turin (2008), where the Chapter’s positions on energy policy and affordable housing were eloquently expressed. Given the extent of international practice, our Chapter has made active participation in the UIA a priority since shortly after the opening of the Center for Architecture.

Each day the Durban congress began and ended with significant keynote presentations. Among those speaking were Francis Kéré from Burkina Faso, who gave an extraordinary talk on the use of local materials; Professor Wang Shu from Hangzhou, the 2012 Pritzker Prize laureate, who spoke eloquently about cultural continuity; 2013 Prtizer Prize laureate Toyo Ito from Tokyo, who spoke twice, once on his post-Fukushima work and again on his inventive cultural facilities; AIANY member Susannah Drake, AIA, FASLA, principal of dlandstudio; and Cameron Sinclair, co-founder of Architecture for Humanity. In all, 10 keynote presentations were delivered, complimented by many panels and workshops, which made for a very rich three days. Continue reading “Urban in Durban”

Counsel for City Council

The de Blasio Administration has proved that it embraces New York City’s current development surge, but the pressure is on to address high-priority issues such as resiliency, aging infrastructure, and universal design. City Council members are eager to hear from experts, such as AIANY members, about initiatives related to the built environment. In meetings over the past few weeks, three council members requested input on a few of their upcoming projects. Continue reading “Counsel for City Council”

#TweetforTreat: Archtober Kick-Off Cools Off New Yorkers

On 08.01.14, Archtober 2014 kicked off its Building of the Day schedule with a truckload of Coolhaus New York’s architecturally-inspired frozen treats. The Center for Architecture’s dedicated team of Archtoberites, branded umbrellas in hand, parked themselves in front of the Public Theater, prepared to hand out ice cream sandwiches to followers of New York City’s architecture and design festival, rain or shine. The theater, recently renovated by Ennead Architects, will open its doors to an architect-led tour of design enthusiasts on 10.01.14 as the first Building of the Day of 2014. Continue reading “#TweetforTreat: Archtober Kick-Off Cools Off New Yorkers”

The Queensway – A Bright Path to New York’s Future

On 7.17.14, the Center for Architecture opened its doors to the “QueensWay Connection: Elevating the Public Realm” exhibition. The installation’s opening and symposium two days later, organized by AIANY’s Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA), reaffirms the significant opportunity a 3.5-mile stretch of abandoned railway presents for both Queens and the City of New York. ENYA, which hosts a biennial design ideas competition focused on elevating the public realm, is in full support of the collective efforts of the Friends of The QueensWay community organization and the Trust for Public Land in the development of the QueensWay linear park. Through the adaptive reuse of an extant railway, the QueensWay is poised to become a catalyst for economic growth, environmental stewardship, and community development within Central Queens. ENYA’s Queensway Connection: Elevating the Public Realm Competition further substantiates this opportunity to transform a blighted, disused structure into a civic amenity and an iconic park. Continue reading “The Queensway – A Bright Path to New York’s Future”

Oculus Book Review: “Permanent Change: Plastics in Architecture and Engineering”

The recent publication Permanent Change: Plastics in Architecture and Engineering is, dare I say, delightful. It is the fourth in a series of conference publications at Columbia University that investigated materiality, this effervescent compilation of history, theory, and, in this case, actual chemistry made for a fascinating reading experience. At the Oculus Book Talk on 07.01.14, Co-editor Michael Bell, professor of Architecture at Columbia University, chair of the Columbia Conference on Architecture, Engineering and Materials, and director of the Master of Architecture Program Core Design Studios, led us through the conference proceedings to shed light on this complex cultural condition called “plastics.“ He also highlighted many of the conference participants and writers. Participating in the Book Talk were: Dr. William F. Carroll, Jr., vice president of Industry Issues for Occidental Chemical Corporation ; Billie Faircloth, research director at KieranTimberlake, a a leader in practice-based architectural research and innovative buildings; and George Middleton, AIA, CSI, president of George Middleton & Associates, a construction industry consulting firm based in Chicago. Continue reading “Oculus Book Review: “Permanent Change: Plastics in Architecture and Engineering””

Oculus Quick Take: “Permanent Change: Plastics in Architecture and Engineering”

On 07.01.14, Miguel Angel Baltierra, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, interviewed Michael Bell, professor of architecture at Columbia University and co-editor of Permanent Change: Plastics in Architecture and Engineering, published by Princeton Architectural Press and reviewed by Annie Coggan in this issue of e-Oculus. Listen to the interview here.

Modern Architecture Still Moving

Many homes reach the point when owners outgrow them or they’re sold or abandoned. Sometimes, the property is more desirable than a piece of architectural history, which is often left to rot away. Every year we hear stories of an architectural milestone in gross disrepair or under threat of sale or demolition. Mary Kay Judy, principal of Architectural & Cultural Heritage Conservation, cited Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House as a prime example of a home with a once, and again, uncertain future. Though it was preserved in situ, when it went to auction in 2003, the purchaser had the option to relocate it to a new site. The four houses in the “Moving Modern” panel were all moved to ensure their safety and continued existence, each under very different circumstances, from wholesale relocations to disassembled parts in storage. Continue reading “Modern Architecture Still Moving”

Brownstones, Industrialized: Tour of the OEM Post-Disaster Housing Prototype

On 08.11.14, the AIANY Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee (DfRR) organized a tour of the recently-unveiled NYC Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Post-Disaster Housing Prototype, led by Cynthia Barton, the OEM Housing Recovery program manager, and James Garrison, AIA, principal of Garrison Architects. The OEM prototype was born out of the 2007 “What if New York City…” competition organized by OEM, the NYC Department of Design + Construction, Rockefeller Foundation, and Architecture for Humanity. In the wake of a disaster, FEMA typically provides trailers for those who cannot return to their homes. The design competition sought to create post-disaster provisional housing suitable for the urban density of New York. Seven years later, the winning design has been installed in a lot adjacent to OEM’s headquarters in Brooklyn Heights/DUMBO. Continue reading “Brownstones, Industrialized: Tour of the OEM Post-Disaster Housing Prototype”