Designing on the Edge

We hope that everyone is staying nice and warm following the great snowstorm scare of 2015. Now that things are more or less back to normal, the AIA New York Chapter would like to invite you to attend the first event of a series related to the theme of AIANY 2015 President Tomas Rossant, AIA, “Dialogues from the Edge of Practice.” The theme will explore how architects are boldly enlarging the purview of the practitioner, bringing their particular critical problem-solving skills and design acumen to endeavors previously considered outside the traditional scope of practice. According to Rossant, there has never been a time when the role of the architect has been more relevant as an instrument to shape culture, society, and the environment.

On 02.02.15, “Edge Construction: The Future of Modular” will focus on how architects have pushed the boundaries of the profession into the design of alternative construction means and methods. Modular, or offsite, construction has become broadly accepted but not yet employed at a large scale. What is the future of this construction method? And, considering Mayor de Blasio’s affordable housing plan, should modular construction techniques be employed to deliver more affordable housing to the city? Join us to hear answers to these questions and more!

2015 Opportunity Agenda: Restoring Economic Opportunity

At the Association for a Better New York (ABNY) breakfast meeting on 01.20.15, Governor Cuomo announced part of his “2015 Opportunity Agenda” – a plan to update New York’s infrastructure. He addressed initiatives to modernize New York’s airports, expand public transportation, and invest in statewide infrastructure repairs and maintenance.

One of Cuomo’s priorities for 2015 is to address the need to overhaul New York’s regional airports. In addition to finding ways to link the area airports together, the governor launched a Master Plan Design Competition to reimagine LaGuardia and JFK airports. He compiled a seven-member committee to advise him and the Port Authority on the top airport redesigns. See the complete list of panelists and design criteria here. Continue reading “2015 Opportunity Agenda: Restoring Economic Opportunity”

Architecture for Humanity Chapters Stand United

While you may have heard the unfortunate news regarding Architecture for Humanity’s San Francisco headquarters closing its doors, Architecture for Humanity New York (AFHny) has reassured its members and supporters that our city’s local chapter is here to stay. AFHny, along with 57 chapters worldwide, has vowed to continue volunteering pro-bono design services, advocacy, and training within communities. Continue reading “Architecture for Humanity Chapters Stand United”

Oculus Book Review: Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America’s Sorted-Out Cities

Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America’s Sorted-Out Cities is fundamentally a healthy book about urbanism, written by clinical psychiatrist Mindy Thompson Fullilove, MD. The book’s analysis is a practice of hands-on urbanism worked through the lens of Fullilove’s research on public health issues in distraught urban areas. Organized in nine elements meant to heal broken cities, the book is actually a collection of bright and joyous urban tales played out by Fullilove, an exuberant storyteller. The nine points are measurements prescribed by Fulliliove’s mentor and colleague, urbanist Michel Cantal-Depart. Jean Nouvel, Hon. FAIA, writes in the introduction of Cantal-Depart’s magpie demeanor and ability to “map” the terrain of a new project/city not just abstractly, but spiritually. Continue reading “Oculus Book Review: Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America’s Sorted-Out Cities”

Build Me a Story

The evening’s lecture, occasioned by the book release of What If…?: The Architecture and Design of David Rockwell, brought together stage director Jack O’Brien and director of space David Rockwell, AIA. Moderator and monograph editor Chee Pearlman noted that they “collaborate in theater and create worlds.”

Discussing the campfire story origins of theater, O’Brien explained the need to exceed previous versions, noting that theater “will always need a ‘where,’ and nobody gives better ‘wheres’ than David.” While Rockwell admitted that he started as a fan of “live experience in a place with a story,” one aspect keeping his interest is that theater is an early adopter of technology, from Walter Gropius and Josef Urban to Robert Lepage’s recent Ring Cycle, and lighting to lasers to overly complicated robotics. Continue reading “Build Me a Story”

Mandatory Inclusionary Housing: The Developer’s Perspective

Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning is a centerpiece of the De Blasio Administration’s ambitious affordable housing plan to build 80,000 new affordable housing units and to preserve an additional 120,000 units over the next 10 years. The proposed policy mandates that developers, in exchange for receiving zoning bonuses of up to 20%, will build a proportionate number of affordable housing units. Under the plan, developers building market-rate units must also build affordable units. The endeavor to build more affordable housing dovetails with the goal of economic integration. Inclusionary affordable housing units can be built in three ways: integrated into the same building development, condensed in a building segment on the same site (two adjacent buildings with two entrances, sometimes called “poor doors”), or built on another site within a half-mile of the same community board. Often when developers opt for this third option, they will sell the land to nonprofit affordable housing developers, who then build the units. Continue reading “Mandatory Inclusionary Housing: The Developer’s Perspective”

Design Professionals Share Their Expertise with Aspiring High School Students at the Center

On 01.15.15, the Center for Architecture hosted staff and students from our partner school, the Urban Assembly School of Design and Construction (UASDC), for a semi-annual presentation by students in the school’s architecture program, led by CFA Design Educator Yves Roger. Roger has been teaching at the school through our Learning By Design:NY program for eight years, introducing students to the process of architectural design. Ninth-grade students begin exploring fundamentals of scale, structure, and shaping space through 2-D and 3-D design exercises, culminating in their designs for a cube house and a bridge. Tenth-graders delve deeper, working in teams to design a high school, a museum, and living space based on the complex geometries of the ancient Chinese tangram puzzle. Eleventh- and twelfth-graders who choose to continue with architecture move into advanced classes, working independently on studio projects, and developing their portfolios for college applications. Continue reading “Design Professionals Share Their Expertise with Aspiring High School Students at the Center”

Names in the News

Metropolis magazine’s Game Changers 2015, honoring the foremost forward-looking talents in the world of architecture and design, includes Brooklyn-based Water Pore PartnershipENR’s “20 Under 40” list includes Jessica Sheridan, AIA, LEED AP, and Jean Anderson of Gensler, Alexander Napoli of HNTB, and Scott Allen, Assoc. AIA, of Perkins+WillContinue reading “Names in the News”