Inaugural Speech: 2010 AIANY President Anthony Schirripa, FAIA, IIDA

2010 AIANY President Anthony Schirripa, FAIA, IIDA, and 2010 AIA National President George Miller, FAIA, before the program.

Sam Lahoz

2010 Architect as Leader
Looking back over the past year, I am proud and humbled by all that our board members and member volunteers have done to enhance our advocacy profile, increase our membership, and expand the professional services offered at the Center for Architecture.

The 2010 theme — “Architect as Leader” — examined how we as architects can lead: on projects, at our firms, and in our communities. We have always been considered thought leaders, but this year I wanted to focus on how we could be pro-active community leaders, bringing people together especially during these difficult economic times.

Along with a series of “Architect as Leader” programs throughout the year, in September we launched a professional development series, the “Architects Fast Track Leadership” program. While we targeted our young professionals for the series, I am pleased to report it has also attracted a more mature audience. This year we reached an even younger audience — students at my alma mater, Brooklyn Tech — through “Innovate:Integrate” programming. If you haven’t had a chance to enjoy “Innovate:Integrate,” my presidential theme show, it is on view until January 15, and we have one more related program, a conversation on January 5 with Chris Ward, the executive director of the Port Authority of NY and NJ.

We’ve had so many great programs this year, it’s hard to pick out a few to highlight. Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch was here just a few weeks ago, delivering the annual Ratensky Lecture. Also, our Global Dialogues Committee held a comprehensive, two-day architectural summit on the architecture of Brazil’s 2014 World Cup. Earlier this fall, Danish urbanist Jan Gehl spoke to a standing room only crowd. And perhaps our most successful program this year was our architectural cruises, as featured in Vogue, the New York Times, and Time Out New York. We’re now circumnavigating Manhattan twice a week! While the 2010 season is almost over, I look forward to more tours in 2011. My thanks to AIANY Board Member Abby Suckle, FAIA, for her dedicated work on this project.


(continued) Inaugural Speech: 2010 AIANY President Anthony Schirripa, FAIA, IIDA

Healthy Cities
Our ongoing collaboration with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is growing. Together with the Department of Health and six other agencies including the NYC Department of Design and Construction, we created and helped publish the Active Design Guidelines, which grew out of Fit City 3 and 4. Fit City 5 was a huge success, and mark your calendars now for Fit City 6 on May 17.We also launched both the NYC Department of Transportation’s Street Design Manual, and the Inclusive Design Guidelines created by the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities.

Not Business As Usual
In 2009, we initiated the “Not Business As Usual” initiative in an effort to rally the architecture and design community during the economic downturn. Participants engage in bi-weekly free lunch programs focused on the series’ core topics: : job skills development, presentation skills development, and government advocacy. This year, we continued the program, with everything from NYSERDA energy code training to public speaking workshops. If you haven’t yet attended an “NBAU” lunch, please join us on December 15 for the next session: how to use the EPA’s Portfolio Manager and Target Finder program.

Visitors to the Center for Architecture this year viewed some of our most immersive and interactive exhibitions yet. I already mentioned “Innovate:Integrate — Building Better Together.” The highlight of the show is a full-size prototype of an energy-efficient curtain wall. Building a prototype like this is a first for the Center — thank you again to Sciame and our generous sponsors for making this possible. We hope to do more projects that demonstrate experimental design and construction technologies through cross-industry collaboration.

The Center installed another 19 exhibitions this year, most notably “Our Cities Ourselves,” an exhibition we developed in partnership with the Institute for Transportation and Development and Policy.

“MADE IN NEW YORK,” showcasing the work of AIANY members, was on public view at the West 4th Street subway station this October. The creative use of subway advertising space compelled tourists and straphangers alike to look over projects in the “galleries” on their way to the train. And, of course, we were all proud to see “ContextContrast: New Architecture in Historic Districts” installed at the AIA National Headquarters last spring.

Helfand Gallery Showcases
This year, the Margaret Helfand Gallery featured everything from a showcase of the 2,200-unit New Domino development by Rafael Viñoly Architects with Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners, and Quennell Rothschild and Partners on the East River waterfront, to a handmade cedar sukkah by tinder.tinker. The storefront gallery rotates monthly with timely, relevant projects that have far-reaching impacts on NYC’s built environment. We will continue to generate public interest in important projects, as well as present in-depth information to the Center’s design community in this exciting — though compact — space. Tonight, we’re celebrating the soft opening of the most recent Helfand Spotlight, selections from AIA National’s Design for Decades initiative, the brainchild of AIA National President George Miller, FAIA.

New Members in 2010
At this time, I would like to welcome all 615 new members who joined the AIA New York Chapter in 2010. I hope that you’ve had the opportunity to participate in programs at the Center for Architecture. While this has been a difficult year for other AIA components, the influx of new members has offset a slightly lower retention rate so our overall membership has remained stable.

I would also like to recognize the 96 members who became newly registered architects this year. We expect many more associates to attain licensure as the fourth edition of our Architectural Registration Exam Boot Camp begins in January 2011. These popular programs, the Study Materials library and the spin-off self-guided study groups have been instrumental in aiding our young professionals.

ENYA Merit Award
Among those recently licensed, I’d like to congratulate Serena Chen, AIA, LEED AP, the recipient of the first annual ENYA Merit Award, a $1,500 prize that defrays the exam expenses.

The purpose of the ENYA Merit Award is to recognize the significant contributions of Emerging Architects to the AIA New York Chapter at an early stage of their career. As an Intern Architect, Serena was an active Associate AIA member involved in several AIANY Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA) programs in addition to her involvement with The Nature Conservancy. Since achieving her license, Serena continues to contribute to the Chapter by creating and leading the Structural Systems ARE Boot Camp course.

Training Center
We opened the Ibex Training Center last fall, and continue to present very successful courses in REVIT Architecture and host study groups and lab hours in the space. I’m happy to say that our younger participants are using the training center, too. This summer and fall, the Center for Architecture Foundation hosted vacation and after school programs on digital design.

Geothermal Gallery
Speaking of spaces in the Center, have you been to the geothermal gallery lately? We installed a glass fire door so visitors can see the geothermal well in action, and plans are underway for a permanent geothermal gallery. Stay tuned for more news on the “geo-vater.”

Digital Initiatives
Most of our communication with you is now done online, and I would like to recognize some of the significant technology initiatives we have implemented this year. The re-launched is running smoothly with more functionality than ever. We have started recording on-demand Webinars, and are making our online directory more robust. We have joined with Naylor to publish OCULUS and roll out a new integrated media campaign. In 2011, you’ll be able to read the digital edition of our magazine. We’re building the Chapter’s online presence with Vimeo and Flickr accounts, and we’re on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and foursquare.

I’d also ask that you join us on the front lines. Under the guidance of Director for Legislative Affairs Margery Perlmutter, AIA, and our new Policy Director Jay Bond, we’ve taken our advocacy agenda to the next level.

Our agenda seeks to:
– Enhance and strengthen the leadership role of the Chapter with public policy issues concerning architecture, preservation, and urban planning.
– Foster broader involvement of the AIANY Board and membership.
– Advocate the interests of the architectural profession on issues of the built environment, professional regulation, education, and legislation.

With Jay’s 14 years of experience in city and state government, we have new energy and perspectives driving our work with agencies and representatives. We have lobbied in Washington and Albany, and met with local, state, and national leaders. We examined how all of the City agencies that affect the design and construction of buildings interface with one another. In that process, we reached out to the Charter Review Commission and Deputy Mayor for Operations to begin a discussion about how we could improve the effectiveness of these agencies’ efforts. Stay tuned for more updates on this important project. Ultimately, we want to make it better to practice in New York City.

2010-2015 Long Range Plan / “The Weave”

This enhanced advocacy agenda is part of the 2010-2015 Long Range Plan. I’m happy to say that we’ve made progress not only in advocacy, but also in outreach, professional development, and design excellence. Completing “The Weave,” an initiative of AIA National further honed our priorities and goals as a Chapter.

I am also happy to report that despite the rugged economy, the Chapter ended the year in a strong financial position thanks in large part to the fundraising efforts of the Board members and committees. We hosted two successful fundraising events, the Design Awards Luncheon and the Heritage Ball.

I want to recognize the entire staff of the Center for their dedication and great work over the past year. Day in and day out, I see your commitment, and I know that many long nights and weekends have been spent ensuring the success of the Chapter and the Institution.

2010 AIANY Board
I would also like to thank our Chapter leaders — the 2010 AIA Board and the chairs of our 25 Committees. Our committees have had exceptional programming this year. I applaud the New Practices Committee for another successful iteration of New Practices New York, and ENYA, for their first annual City of Dreams Pavilion on Governors Island and for the great High Bridge competition and exhibition. I thank the Professional Practice Committee for organizing the programs in support of Architect as Leader, and would like to congratulate the Committee on the Environment for their five-part Integration series with ASHRAE. Finally, I would like to acknowledge the Global Dialogues Committee for their enthusiasm throughout the year. With programs like the Brazil World Cup architectural summit, you broaden our audience.

2011 Nominating Committee
The 2011 Nominating Committee has been elected. I am looking forward to working with Michael Arad, AIA, Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, Sara Elizabeth Caples, AIA, and Yvonne Yan Szeto, FAIA, on this committee, with staff support from Suzanne Mecs, now Honorary AIA New York State.

Thanks to all for your commitment to the Chapter.

Architects Take the Lead

Note: The following speech was presented at the 2010 AIA New York Board Inaugural that took place 12.08.09 at the Center for Architecture. Tony Schirripa, AIA, IIDA, is the 2010 AIANY President.

Past AIA New York presidential themes have celebrated the work that architects do. And that work, the final, finished project, is all that most of the general public knows of us. Now it’s time to celebrate and elevate the “complete” architect — the designer, planner, innovator, and leader. As we begin to emerge in 2010 from one of the worst recessions of our lifetime, architects will have the opportunity not just for more work, but for designing projects that will lead our industry, this city, and the nation on the road to recovery and growth. We will be asked to show the way in designing sustainable buildings, to help communities plan for a healthy and viable future, and to lend the full breadth of our knowledge and skill to policy decisions — local and global — in this increasingly interdependent and integrated world.

I have established as the 2010 theme “Architect as Leader.” We will explore the role of the architect in the leadership of projects and firms, in communities, and the political arena.

Through this theme, we will explore the following topics:
· Leadership in Sustainable Design will highlight the ways in which architects contribute to building a sustainable world. We are, after all, the designers of energy-efficient, cost-effective, smart buildings. The USGBC, LEED, Green Globes, and Energy Star — all the standards and rules in the world — are only pieces of paper until we interpret them and bring them to life. But our role goes far beyond design: it is our responsibility to teach people how to use sustainable buildings, how our buildings can be catalysts for sustainable communities, and how design and behavior are interdependent.

· Not Business as Usual will continue to provide the necessary resources and support to our members during the recession. Through the series we will enhance job skills, training, and provide new opportunities for professional development to all members of the design community.

· Leadership Training in partnership with a major university will explore methods and challenges of running a successful business today. Our architectural education does not include a thorough exploration and study of the business of architectural practice; it is expected that we will learn what we need through on-the-job experience. That may have been adequate in the past; today the world is far too complex for ad hoc, on-the-fly learning. We need a higher level of knowledge and skill, gained through a more formal, integrated education in the business of managing people — especially a younger, mobile, and more diverse generation of professionals — in developing and implementing a strategic business plan. We also must train for today’s challenges, like preparing for a smooth ownership transition, and maintaining a healthy practice no matter the economic conditions.


Architects Take the Lead (continued)

Our highly engaged program committees are poised to hold more programs than ever before in 2010, continuing an upward trajectory in the number, breadth, and depth of the Chapter’s committee programs.

Both the New Practices Committee and the Emerging NY Architects Committee (ENYA) are planning their biennial competitions. The New Practices Competition is back in New York after a brief stint in San Francisco, and will once again recognize exciting new firms in NYC, and ENYA’s biennial ideas competition will feature design proposals for High Bridge. A recently reinvigorated Marketing and PR Committee has also been very busy planning for 2010, and has more than a half-dozen programs on the horizon, the first of which will delve deeper into the topic of social media.

We will continue our relationship with the United Nations to broaden the perspective of urban experience through the third Conference on Sustainable Urbanization, and with the Department of Health to influence policy and practice around matters of health and physical activity in our fifth annual Fit City conference in May. On February 26th and 27th, the Center will showcase architectural selections from Art on Screen, featuring films from Montreal’s FIFA Film Festival. The Center for Architecture joins the Morgan Library & Museum and The New York Public Library as the newest venue for this annual festival.

In October 2010, the year’s theme will culminate with a major exhibition highlighting how architects, engineers, and contractors come together to build the structures and neighborhoods we design. The exhibition will include interactive elements that demonstrate the close collaboration of design and construction teams during the building process, from BIM to curtain wall erection and testing. Hands-on displays will teach young people about skills such as brick laying, pouring concrete, and setting studs.

In prior years the Inaugural Fund has supported major exhibitions including “Going Public” in 2006 and “Architecture Inside/Out” in 2007. Additional theme-related programs: for example, our annual Sustainable Urbanization Conference, and last year’s Greening the Iron Ribbon conference on regional transportation planning and development. We could never achieve the quality of advocacy and design excellence at the Center without the generous support of the Inaugural Fund sponsors. We thank everyone who has contributed in the past and we continue to seek funding for these great annual projects and other program initiatives.

As many of you know, AIA has launched a national campaign for carbon neutrality in buildings by 2030. In New York, we have begun and will continue to advocate for higher standards of energy efficiency. But we need your help. Mayor Bloomberg’s Greater Greener Buildings plan, one of the nation’s biggest efforts to reduce energy consumption in existing buildings, is coming to a vote at City Council as soon as Wed, 12.09.09. Please call your city council member tomorrow morning in support of this landmark suite of bills.

The Chapter understands that, beyond advocacy, architects must understand changes in energy code regulations, and we have presented a number of technical training programs on the new codes. The Chapter’s Committee on the Environment, with the instrumental aid of President-Elect Margaret Castillo, AIA, LEED AP, has developed and implemented a number of Energy Code Training Sessions. Developed in cooperation with the Mayor’s Office, ASHRAE-NY, and the Urban Green Council, these sessions present successful — and sold out — courses on “what the design team needs to know” about energy code changes. Working with the Urban Green Council, the Chapter has just responded to an RFP from NYSERDA to jointly continue these workshops and expand them statewide.

I’m looking forward to a resurgent economy, a stronger and greener Chapter recognized for its intellectual, practical, and imaginative leaders, and creating an AIA New York City that unifies the chapters in all city boroughs in 2010. And I look forward to working with all of you toward these goals.