Happy Holidays!

In this last issue of 2014, the AIA New York Chapter would like to wish you all the best in 2015, and thank you for your continued support and readership. We’re looking forward to kicking off the New Year with our first issue on 01.07.15. Stay tuned!

Please note that the Center for Architecture office and gallery will be closed on Wednesday, 12.24.14; Thursday, 12.25.14; Wednesday, 12.31.14, and Thursday 01.01.15.

Happy Holidays!

Message from the President

On the Ides of December I welcomed visitors to the Center for Architecture and introduced the ”Inclusionary/Integrated Housing: Building Development” event, a program organized collaboratively by the AIANY Planning and Urban Design Committee, the AIANY Housing Committee, the AIANY Codes Committee, and the APA Metro Chapter. I hope to open yet another program before year’s end concerned with sustainability – the two, in combination, speak volumes about the challenges and opportunities we face as we enter 2015. The new mayoral administration has begun to tally its affordable housing achievements to date, 16,000 units by 12.31.14, and we have been having conversations with Chapter members and city officials about implementing sustainability and resilience measures. Continue reading “Message from the President”

Lobbying for Libraries

There are 207 branch libraries in New York City, divided between three different library systems – New York, Queens, and Brooklyn. The systems, however, share similar missions and thus face similar challenges. In September 2014, the Center for an Urban Future (CUF) released the Re-envisioning New York’s Branch Libraries report, which unveils many structural and programmatic issues that these libraries face, and recommends ways to address them. CUF and the Architectural League solicited design studies from six interdisciplinary teams to respond to the report and expand on possibilities for the future of NYC’s libraries. Continue reading “Lobbying for Libraries”

Planning with the Community in East New York

The continually skyrocketing cost of real estate affects every sector of New York City, but harms small businesses and low-income renters in particular.  Wages have not kept up with climbing rent costs.  Since 2000, the median gross rent increased 12 percentage points, while the median household income grew just 2%.  This disparity has made it difficult for New Yorkers to stay in their communities, afford basic needs such as food and healthcare, or keep a home at all.  The number of homeless people staying in shelters surpassed that of the Great Depression under the Bloomberg administration, and has continued to soar, with 59,246 individuals now sleeping in shelters every night.  Bill de Blasio won the 2014 mayoral election on the platform of closing the inequity gap.  A hallmark of his plan is to build and preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next 20 years.  In its first stages, the East New York Initiative is an experiment in community-based planning, as the city prepares to build mixed-income affordable housing in the neighborhood, focusing on the square-mile community of Cypress Hills.  On 11.24.14, individuals involved in the research, outreach, and planning of the East New York Initiative convened at the Center for Architecture to share their efforts and findings so far. Continue reading “Planning with the Community in East New York”

Designing to Outsmart Ebola: Time to Think about the Unthinkable

Ebola is the most recent form of one of civilization’s deepest fears. From Daniel Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year and Poe’s Masque of the Red Death, through recent films like Outbreak, 28 Days Later, and Contagion, uncontainable pestilence has consistently gripped people’s imagination, if not always their rationality. The most obvious downside of urban density was once infectious disease. Better public-health infrastructure (chiefly safe water, ventilation, and street and residential sanitation, plus better medical management of microorganisms) was a precondition for what Richard Florida and other urbanists call “the Great Reset”: America’s rediscovery of the many cultural, economic, environmental, and energy advantages of city life. Because urban conditions no longer include rampant tuberculosis, cholera, and the other scourges of the pre-antibiotic era, contemporary New Yorkers can enjoy the benefits of proximity and diversity. Nothing would spoil that particular party like a new and even deadlier plague. Continue reading “Designing to Outsmart Ebola: Time to Think about the Unthinkable”

Two Cools for School

New schools are often touted as being built for the communities in which they are built; however, many merely provide seats for increasing populations. Two recent schools show what it takes to become community resources. The New Settlement Community Campus in the Bronx resulted from a design collaboration between Edelman Sultan Knox Wood / Architects and Dattner Architects; each was appointed by New Settlement and the NYC School Construction Authority (SCA), respectively. The Henderson-Hopkins School by Rogers Partners Architects+Urban Designers is an early step in revitalizing an East Baltimore neighborhood. By engaging the community from the start, they became the community schools they are. Continue reading “Two Cools for School”

Looking Back, Looking Forward

As we approach the close of 2014, the Center for Architecture Foundation looks back at nearly 50 years of organizational history. The Foundation has gone through several transformations since its founding by AIANY in 1966 as a non-profit 501(c)3 organization to complement the Chapter’s professional mission. Its first programs were scholarships for students pursuing a degree in architecture. In 1998, the Foundation adopted the Learning By Design:NY committee, providing the support that enabled it to grow into the nationally-recognized K-12 education program it is today. With the opening of the Center for Architecture in 2003, we changed our name from the New York Foundation for Architecture to the Center for Architecture Foundation, to recognize the role of the Center in our next phase of development. Here, we have expanded our offerings to include design workshops for K-12 students, families, and adults curious to learn more about the city’s built environment and the process of design. Continue reading “Looking Back, Looking Forward”