Rafiq Azam: The Poetry of Architecture and Watercolors of Bangladesh

The event “Architecture as a Way of Life and Placemaking” was certainly not business as usual at the Center for Architecture. As AIANY Architecture for Education Committee Co-chair, Umberto Dindo, FAIA, said, it felt like a meditation on the universe, life, space, and sensations with the pictures falling into place. That feeling was already present when AIANY 2014 President Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, in his opening remarks, invoked and recited a poem by the great Bangladeshi poet Rabindranath Tagore, the literary Nobel Laureate of 1913, who’s poetic strength he credited with helping him in a very difficult period of his life.

Unusual also, because – how many times do you have a chance to meet an architect who prefers to sketch with watercolors rather than with a pencil? How many architects accept that we are not destined to change the world, but only to change ourselves and our designs? And perhaps most exceptionally – how many architects find the courage to move forward after teachers tell them to change their profession because they don’t deserve more than a failing grade? Luckily for us, Rafiq Azam, principal of Dhaka-based SHATOTTO architecture for green living, did. Continue reading “Rafiq Azam: The Poetry of Architecture and Watercolors of Bangladesh”

Mindel House: Eccentric Balance

Well veiled, the destination at the end of the street led many too far. Only after returning on a dirt road did a unique awning peek above the shrub and fence line. A sold-out tour gathered neighbors and city-dwellers alike who soon followed Lee Mindel, FAIA, through his grounds and home that subtly combine local references and modern sensibilities to great effect.

The project is a study in balance, from the veiled entry to the dock that opens onto an egret preserve. Mindel mediated large-scale influences – the grid of the street giving way to the waterfront – to inform the geometry of the site planning and house. Passing through the security gate, one enters a gravel forecourt, mimicking the North Sea Harbor on the site’s opposite side. Landscaping by Rumsey Farber reinforces the nearby nature preserve while mapping out level changes and geometry with stone walls. Between these two poles lie the composition of house and pool house and the “pool of grass and the pool of water,” as Mindel describes the open spaces. The pool house appears traditional, but a closer look reveals the progression from a low façade with a full gable dormer, to a dormer half buried in the façade, to a window in a modern cube. This play on form, tradition, and history runs through the project. Continue reading “Mindel House: Eccentric Balance”

What I Did Over Summer Vacation…

Elementary and middle school students had an opportunity to explore their neighborhoods’ architecture and their own design ideas, thanks to a new partnership between the Center for Architecture Foundation and the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD). This multi-part program combined training for DYCD after-school and summer program staff with hands-on programs for students at four program sites in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Twenty DYCD staff members participated in two days of professional development workshops at the Center in June, which introduced them to fundamentals of architectural design, and successful activities they could use with their students to explore their local architecture. The group learned new architectural vocabulary and design concepts, and went out into the Center’s neighborhood to see how they can serve as clues to understanding a building’s structure, design, age, and function. They tested out hands-on activities they would use with students, such as drawing floor plans and creating scale models, and exploring the structural design of skyscrapers and bridges by building structural models of each. Continue reading “What I Did Over Summer Vacation…”

Names in the News

NYC-based firms selected for the World Architecture Festival 2014 Shortlist include: Rogers Partners Architects + Urban Designers (Syracuse University Energy Campus); Perkins+Will (William Jones College Preparatory High School, Shanghai Planetarium); Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (Ga Mashie, Hyatt Serenity Coast, 1021 West Hastings, Centra Metropark); AECOM (North West Cambridge Masterplan); BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group (Danish Maritime Museum); and Woods Bagot (National Australia Bank, Melbourne)…

James Lennox House and Carnegie East House, a not-for-profit for enriched living communities for older adults will honor Ted Moudis, AIA, of Ted Moudis Associates at their annual Autumn Leaves Gala…The Royal Oak Foundation will honor the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art with the 2014 Heritage Award… Continue reading “Names in the News”

New Deadlines

08.15.14: Call for Submissions: Lighting Architectural Movement Project (LAMP) 2014 – Fibre/Fiber

08.15.14: Call for Submissions: Nka Foundation’s “Reinventing the African Mud Hut Together” Design Competition

08.22.14: Call for Submissions: AIA 2015 Institute Honor Awards

08.29.14: Call for Entries: Blueprint Awards 2014

08.30.14: Call for Entries: 8th Annual London International Creative Competition Continue reading “New Deadlines”

On View: At the Center for Architecture + About Town

On View

The Swiss Touch in Landscape Architecture
Through 08.23.14

Open to the Public: Civic Space Now
Through 09.06.14

Designing for Free Speech: A Call to Design New York City Public Spaces for First Amendment Rights
Through 09.06.14

Affording Resilience: Housing Retrofits for Climate Threats
Through 09.16.14

QueensWay Connection: Elevating the Public Realm
Through 10.31.14

About Town

Opened 08.07.14: The National Lighthouse Museum, designed by Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership (LHSA+DP), recently opened on Staten Island. The museum offers exhibitions to inform viewers about the historical significance and maritime heritage of lighthouses. The museum is located on the original site of the U.S. Lighthouse Service General Depot, and was selected more than a decade ago from 15 nationwide locations.

Opening 08.14.17: The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art announces the opening of “Permanency: Selections from the Permanent Collection,” an exhibition curated by museum staff. It features more than 70 artworks recently acquired by the museum, ranging from the mid-20th century to 2013.

Sighted: Durban Edition

Sophie Troskolanski, an organizer of the Healthcare Otherwhere International Student Competition; Mila Bolt, competition winner and a student at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT); Cameron Sinclair, Founder, Architecture for Humanity, Director, Jolie-Pitt Foundation, competition juror, and UIA keynote speaker; and Madeleine Swete Kelly, a Durban-based architect, were joined by AIANY 2014 President Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, and Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA, at Archiball, the closing UIA party celebrating the student-run competition. Continue reading “Sighted: Durban Edition”