No Empty Smile

Ten days before it closed in Sugar Hill on August 10th, I was able to visit the “If You Build It” temporary art exhibition, organized by No Longer Empty (NLE) and presented in collaboration with the Broadway Housing Communities. The work of 22 contemporary artists was situated throughout the extraordinary building designed for Broadway Housing Communities by David Adjaye, Hon. AIA. The artwork, on view since June 25th, occupied third-floor apartments and the ninth-floor sales office, along with roof terraces and the entrance forecourt. The exhibition anticipates how the new housing will form links between its architecture and the art, and activism and community spirit of the Sugar Hill neighborhood, described as the historic epicenter of the Harlem Renaissance.

The exhibition marks NLE’s fifth anniversary, which has presented site-specific artwork at locations as diverse as Tapestry on East 124th Street in East Harlem (Weaving In & Out, 2010), to the Andrew Freedman House on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx (This Side of Paradise, 2012). The stated goal of NLE is “to broaden the audience for contemporary art, to promote socially conscious artists, and to build resilience in communities through art.” This is achieved, citywide, with flair and flamboyance, by presenting professionally-curated, site-responsive art exhibitions where a community of artists, educators, scholars, and the public come together to create and experience art, free of market imperatives and institutional constraints. Continue reading “No Empty Smile”

Architects Worldwide to Phase Out Carbon by 2050

At the International Union of Architects (UIA) World Congress in Durban, South Africa, last month, member organizations representing more than 1.3 million architects in 124 countries unanimously supported the 2050 Imperative to eliminate CO2 emissions in the built environment by the year 2050. This is the first time in the UIA’s 65-year history that all the regional Architect Councils of Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Africa signed onto the declaration.

The 2050 Imperative was drafted by Architecture 2030, a non-profit research organization founded by Ed Mazria, AIA, dedicated to the reduction of carbon emissions of the built environment by changing the ways that cities, communities, infrastructure, and buildings are planned, designed, and constructed. The declaration was delivered to the UIA World Congress.

By adopting the Imperative, UIA member organizations are charged with promoting the planning and design of carbon-neutral cities, towns, and buildings. Its action items are partly based on the recent “Roadmap to Zero Emissions” that Architecture 2030 presented at the UN Climate Change meeting in Bonn, Germany, on 07.10.14.

To learn more about Architecture 2030 join us for a breakfast and call to action with Mazria on 09.24.14 at the Center for Architecture. At “DESIGN! Life Depends on Us,” he will lay out the blueprint for a just and carbon-free built environment, and review the progress made in the building sector since issuing the 2030 Challenge in 2006.

Murray & Roberts Des Baker Student Competition – UIA 2014 Durban

The annual Murray & Roberts Des Baker Student Competition took place this year concurrently with the UIA Durban 2014 Congress. In keeping with the Congress theme of ”Architecture Otherwhere,” which explored other ways of knowing and doing, the theme of this year’s Des Baker Competition comprised three components of PLAY + PURPOSE.

Competition Theme
The notion of PLAY alludes to the idea of engagement as the process of interaction between people and products with reference to the passing of time and the experience of place. The idea of PURPOSE is concerned with adding economic, social, and environmental value to a particular place, which emphasises a holistic view of sustainability. Lastly, the ”+” speaks to the all-important conversation that is embedded in the in-between of play and purpose, which is of vital significance in the process of well-considered architecture. Continue reading “Murray & Roberts Des Baker Student Competition – UIA 2014 Durban”

Oculus Book Review: “Street Design: The Secret to Great Cities and Towns”

Street Design: The Secret to Great Cities and Towns is a fine text for professionals and student of urban design. This book can live on one’s desk and be a constant reminder of the New Urbanist standards that can craft urban environments. The textbook-like graphic interruptions and the uneven quality of images makes it feel more guidebook than linear narrative, but it is a thorough compendium of urbanist information. Authors Victor Dover and John Massengale, AIA, specify a series of typologies in the first chapter, “Historic Streets,” which is a tremendous argument in itself for how to read various cities. Massengale has an affable tone and gentle manner. This is exhibited in his prose as well as at his presentation for the AIANY Oculus Book Talk given at the Center for Architecture on 08.11.14. Time spent with the book and Massengale himself renders decades of street observation and interrogation. We all yearn for his vision of a Good Street. Continue reading “Oculus Book Review: “Street Design: The Secret to Great Cities and Towns””

CFAF Young Patrons Set Sail for a Fun Evening Tour of New York Harbor

On 08.19.14, the Center for Architecture Foundation Young Patrons sailed the Hudson and the East Rivers on their first boat tour, highlighting new developments and projects that are dramatically changing Manhattan’s iconic skyline. This Classic Harbor Line tour was led by Arthur Platt, AIA, co-chair of the AIANY Architecture Tour Committee and partner at Fink & Platt Architects, who provided a dynamic and informative narrative about some of New York’s most historic landmarks as well as newer developments like Hudson Yards and the Brooklyn waterfront. Fifty young design professionals from a variety of creative fields embarked on The Manhattan, a luxurious 1920s-style modern yacht designed by Rick Scarano. To view more beautiful photos of the night, visit the Center for Architecture Foundation Young Patron’s Facebook Page. Our sincere thanks to Platt, our Young Patrons Committee members, and friends of the Foundation for making this event such a memorable one. Continue reading “CFAF Young Patrons Set Sail for a Fun Evening Tour of New York Harbor”

Names in the News

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner Victor Calise of the of the NYC Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) honored JetBlue, Theater Breaking Through Barriers, Handi-Lift, New York Relay, and Christina Curry at the 2014 Sapolin Awards, which recognize individuals and organizations that make significant contributions to increasing accessibility for people with disabilities…The winners of Architectural Lighting magazine’s 2014 AL Light & Architecture Design Awards are Studio V Architecture/Tillotson Design Associates, Horton Lees Brodgen Lighting Design/AECOM, BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group, John Pawson/Mindseye Lighting, and Renfro Design GroupContinue reading “Names in the News”

New Deadlines

09.05.14: Request for Qualifications: St. Petersburg Pier, Florida Redesign, Replacement, or Renovation

09.05.14: Call for Entries: Architect Magazine 2014 Annual Design Review

09.05.14: Call for Entries: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2015 National Award for Smart Growth Achievements

09.10.14: Call for Entries: Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition

09.12.14: Call for Nominations: City & State’s 40 under 40 Rising Stars Continue reading “New Deadlines”

On View: At the Center for Architecture


Sonic Forest: Civic Celebrations
Opening 09.05.14

On View

The Swiss Touch in Landscape Architecture
Through 08.23.14

Open to the Public: Civic Space Now
Through 09.08.14

Designing for Free Speech: A Call to Design New York City Public Spaces for First Amendment Rights
Through 09.08.14

Affording Resilience: Housing Retrofits for Climate Threats
Through 09.16.14

QueensWay Connection: Elevating the Public Realm
Through 10.31.14


08.25.14: The AIANY Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA) celebrated their 10-year anniversary while cruising around Lower Manhattan aboard Classic Harbor Line’s yacht. (l-r) Amanda Rivera; Jessica Sheridan, AIA, LEED AP BD+C; Harry Gaveras; Venesa Alicea, AIA, LEED AP BD+C; Omar Mitchell; Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, AIANY 2014 President; Brynnmarie Lanciotti, AIA; Emily Kotsaftis, AIA; Joanne  Fernando, AIA; Rick Bell, FAIA, AIANY Executive Director; Alex Alaimo, Assoc. AIA Continue reading “Sighted”