New Deadlines

2015 Oculus Editorial Calendar
The Oculus 2015 Editorial Calendar has been set. If you are an architect in practice or by training, or see yourself as an astute observer of New York’s architectural and planning scene, Oculus wants to hear from you! You may submit projects/topics from anywhere, but architects must be New York-based. Please submit story ideas/projects by the deadlines indicated below to Kristen Richards, Hon. AIA, Hon. ASLA:

Fall 2015: “Home” (In conjunction with the Housing Exhibition + Archtober)
Housing progress report/report card: whether market rate or affordable, is it living up to our expectations for design, community integration, environmental responsiveness? For affordable and low-income housing, is innovation helping us hit the number of units New York City needs? Continuing controversy about “inclusionary” housing (80/20 and such). Off-site/modular construction. BSA Housing Awards. (To include input from social scientists, urban anthropologists, psychologists, etc.)
Deadline for story ideas, projects: 05.08.15

Winter 2015: “Makers in a Digital World” or “Architecture & the Digital World”
How we present and build what we do: 21st-century visual representation, mapping, big data. Life-cycle of a building: an idea, draw it, digitize for CNC milling machines, construct, share via Instagram, etc. Cooper-Hewitt tech “pencils”; etc.
Deadline for story ideas, projects: 08.07.15 Continue reading “New Deadlines”


02.05.15: Mark Strauss, FAIA, AICP, Senior Partner, FXFOWLE; AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA; Bruce Fowle, FAIA, LEED AP, Founding Principal, and and Alfreda Radzicki, AIA, LEED AP, Principal, FXFOWLE, celebrated the launch of the firm’s new monograph, Reveal Filter Revolve Effect, and the opening of “REVEALing Architecture” at the National Academy Museum & School. Continue reading “Sighted”


Would you like to make a difference in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in New York City? The Department of Buildings is expanding their Sustainability Team. Applications are being accepted for a number of positions, including plan examiners, inspectors, and management positions. See the full job descriptions and the minimum qualifications on the NYC Public Service Careers website at Applications are accepted only if submitted through the Public Service Career website. Applications sent directly to DOB by e-mail or mail will not be accepted.

  1. Energy Code Compliance Plan Examiner– DOB is hiring registered and non-licensed architects, professional engineers, and engineers-in-training to join the Energy Code Compliance Team. Plan Examiners focus on examining and reviewing applications to the Department for compliance and violation of the NYC Energy Conservation Code.  Job #179595 is posted for registered architects or professional engineers. Job #179597 is posted for non-licensed professionals with training as architects or engineers. Positions are available across the borough offices.
  2. Energy Code Compliance Inspector– DOB is hiring qualified individuals to join the Energy Code inspection team. Inspectors observe construction for compliance with the NYC Energy Conservation Code. Job #179483 is posted for qualified Multi-Discipline Inspectors. Job #179445 is posted for qualified Inspectors. Assignments will cover all five boroughs.
  3. Energy Code Compliance Coordinator– DOB is hiring a registered architect or professional engineer to coordinate a team of energy code plan examiners. The candidate must have established experience with the NYC Energy Conservation Code and prior management experience. Job #182899 is posted for qualified registered architects. Job #182898 is posted for qualified professional engineers.
  4. Sustainability Enforcement Audit Program Manager– DOB is hiring a registered architect or professional engineer to manage a team of energy code inspectors and assist in development of an evolving enforcement program. The candidate must have established experience with the NYC Energy Conservation Code, field experience in construction, and prior project management experience. Job #179508 is posted for qualified registered architects. Job #179594 is posted for qualified professional engineers.


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New York Meets Prague Functionalism

Though Germany’s Bauhaus and the Dutch De Stijl are renowned the world over as major exponents of European Modernist design, there was a third center of avant-garde architecture that, while equally productive, has not achieved the same level of international recognition: Prague Functionalism. Starting tomorrow, 02.12.15, the Center for Architecture will present the U.S. premiere of the exhibition “Prague Functionalism: Tradition and Contemporary Echoes,” which traces the Czech city’s Modernist architecture from its roots to its influence on current projects. The exhibition presents photographs and drawings of buildings both built and unbuilt, and includes several models of historic and contemporary buildings, along with a to-scale reproduction of a 1930s minimal housing unit.

If you can’t make it to tomorrow’s opening, the exhibition will be on view through 05.23.15. You can also check the Center’s exhibition page for related programming.

Statement of the City

On 02.03.15, Mayor Bill de Blasio outlined his take on the State of New York City after his first year in office. The program started with a timeline of achievements, such as the May 2014 announcement of the goal of 200,000 affordable housing units, and the pledge of a $210.5 million effort to reduce crime citywide, including at New York City Housing Authority sites. Along with housing, the Mayor noted that his primary goal was education, saying that there were now 53,000 kids in pre-Kindergarten classes as of this past September. He also reiterated his September pledge of 80% carbon reduction by the year 2050. The overview concluded with the refrain: “Together we’ve accomplished a lot, and we’re just beginning.” Continue reading “Statement of the City”

The Mod Moment: Nearly Ready to Rock the Construction Industry?

The opening panel in the “Dialogues from the Edge of Practice” series, launched by 2015 AIANY President Tomas Rossant, AIA, considered an approach that’s been on the verge of disrupting architecture and construction for decades – since 1833, in fact. If one accepts a contention raised in the Museum of Modern Art’s 2008 exhibition “Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling,” balloon-frame residences represented “arguably the first prefabricated construction system.” Modular or off-site construction, a theoretical improvement on inefficient conventional building methods, has captivated a long list of innovators: Gropius, Le Corbusier, Wright, Fuller, Safdie, Kurokawa, and beyond. Though practice has yet to catch up with theory, modular has advanced to the point that some view it as a pivotal technology in New York’s effort to expand its affordable housing stock. The Nehemiah Spring Creek houses in East New York, the Stack in Inwood, the Pod Hotel in Williamsburg, the Parks Department’s post-Sandy beach pavilions, and the B2 residential tower at Pacific Park (caught in a stop/start cycle of disputes between Forest City Ratner and Skanska but reportedly back on track to become the world’s tallest modular building) all provide tangible local proof that mod, at last, may be the future. Continue reading “The Mod Moment: Nearly Ready to Rock the Construction Industry?”

Embracing the Waterfront, from New York to Copenhagen

“The water keeps reminding us that the water is actually changing,” remarked Lykke Leonardsen, head of Copenhagen’s Climate Unit. Waterfronts, once hosts to the very industries contributing to pollution, are now particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels. In the last few decades, abandoned postindustrial waterfront sites have been reclaimed by municipalities and transformed into integrated social and recreational urban spaces in the form of parks, housing, beaches, and other facilities.  Waterfront Edge Design Guidelines (WEDG) was created by the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance (MWA) to ensure waterfront access is met with resilient, ecological, and equitable design. A panel on waterfront resiliency strategies in New York and Copenhagen accompanied the opening of MWA’s WEDG exhibition at the Center for Architecture. Continue reading “Embracing the Waterfront, from New York to Copenhagen”

Thwarting the Perfect Storm

If New Yorkers were surprised by the breadth of destruction Hurricane Sandy brought, climate scientists are generally in agreement that coastal natural disasters will only increase in severity over the coming years. As many as 50% of Americans presently live in coastal cities, as AIANY President Tomas Rossant, AIA, noted in his introduction to the AIANY Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee’s event, “Looking Inland: Planning for Protection of At-Risk Coastal Cities,” at the Center on 01.29.15. That staggering number serves to underline the necessity of creating more resilient urban coastlines. Rossant opened the evening by noting that the city government is enacting policy shifts, including Mayor de Blasio’s “80×50” plan to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. Design professionals can (and many certainly have done) work to compound these efforts through self-directed “proactive policy directives,” as Rossant said. The speakers, who included urban designers, civil engineers, and landscape architects, each looked to the water’s edge to understand more fully how water and land interact in order to determine how to build stronger coastal cities. Continue reading “Thwarting the Perfect Storm”