Aspiring Architect Interns at CFAF


CFAF students (left) and CFAF Intern Irene Li.

Glenda Reed

Glenda Reed, operations manager at the Center for Architecture Foundation (CFAF), spoke with Irene Li, an urban planning student at NYU, about her experiences interning at CFAF.

Glenda Reed: Everyone at the CFAF calls you Irene, but you also have another name. Can you tell me about that?
Irene Li: Haoning Li is my Chinese name. I was born in Taipei and lived in Shanghai for six years before coming to the U.S. to study urban planning at NYU. Shanghai is the city that inspired me to want to be an architect. Everyone there is focused on the possibilities of the future. The way that this optimism manifests itself in Shanghai’s architecture is really interesting to me.

GR: What made you want to intern at CFAF?
IL: I want to become an architect. I thought the Foundation would be a good place to get work experience and learn more about the field of architecture. I started volunteering at Family Days [monthly Saturday hands-on design workshops for parents and children] and now intern in the office twice a week.

GR: What are some of the rewarding aspects of your internship?
IL: I enjoyed helping organize grant submissions. This helped me to understand the professional standards expected of architects presenting their work. I also enjoyed interacting with the kids in youth programs. It feels great coming to the Center for Architecture to work and be connected to the profession.

GR: What are your plans after graduation?
IL: I will be graduating this coming fall and will need to find a job. I want to intern or work for a few years, hopefully in an architecture firm, and then apply to graduate school in architecture.

There are many ways to get involved with CFAF including volunteering and interning. Currently, there are two openings for an Exhibition Assistant and a Programs@theCenter Summer Assistant. For more information visit and

Brunner Grant Pushes Project to Next Level


Arnold & Sheila Aronson Gallery.


Glenda Reed, Operations Manager at the Center for Architecture Foundation (CFAF), spoke with Alice Min Soo Chun, 2008 Brunner Grant Recipient, about the high-tech architectural fabric she is developing with her partner, Laura Briggs:

Glenda Reed: Briefly describe your 2008 Brunner Grant project.
Alice Min Soo Chun: The “3rd Skin” is an adaptable building system that both saves and generates energy. Each “3rd Skin” structure functions as an accessory to existing buildings. The profile and form is calibrated to optimally shade the building and reduce energy load during “over-heating” periods while maintaining view-shed access. The skin is also shaped to simultaneously harvest solar energy to provide electricity to the urban streetscape. The project taps into the emerging flux of clean-technology and interactive sensory experience by engaging the burgeoning field of technical textiles and thin film photovoltaics. We are using high-strength fabric as sub-straight, and fashioning methods to create this lightweight structure that will be easily manufactured. The system could play an important role in building retrofits.

GR: What has receiving the Brunner Grant meant to you personally and professionally?
Laura Briggs and I were honored and excited to receive the Brunner Grant. We have been extremely motivated by our project. It has enabled us to further our ongoing academic research into ecologically sound building practices and new forms of renewable energy. Through the grant we have been able to engage many talented members of the professional design and manufacturing communities. We have used the funding towards the development of an operable prototype that was exhibited in January at the Aronson Gallery at Parsons The New School for Design. The acknowledgment from the Center for Architecture has provided a critical stepping-stone for our creative development and our ability to pursue more significant support for the project’s next phase of development.

The 2010 deadline for the Arnold W Brunner Grant has passed. There is still time, however, to apply for Center for Architecture student scholarships. The Eleanor Allwork Scholarship, the Center for Architecture Design Scholarship, and the Fontainebleau Prize are due Monday, 03.15.10. Visit for more information about the Center’s scholarships and grants program.

Meet Jean Parker Phifer, FAIA, LEED AP, 2010 President of the Center for Architecture Foundation


Tim Hayduk

The Center for Architecture Foundation’s 2010 President, Jean Parker Phifer, FAIA, LEED AP, specializes in planning, restoration, and sustainable design projects for cultural institutions. She has designed and restored numerous buildings, monuments, public spaces, and landscapes, primarily in New York. Phifer is an adjunct associate professor of Environmental Design at New York University, and served as the President of the NYC Art Commission, now the Public Design Commission, from 1998-2003. She is the author of Public Art New York (Norton, 2009).

Glenda Reed, Operations Manager at the Center for Architecture Foundation, spoke with Phifer about her visions for design education in the coming year.

Glenda Reed: What excites you about the Center for Architecture Foundation?
Jean Parker Phifer: I am delighted that the foundation reaches thousands of children, teenagers, and adults to develop skills in visual literacy, and to broaden their grasp of how design issues can impact their mental and physical well-being. We are helping the citizens of the future to craft their environment in a positive way.

GR: Why do you think design education is important?
JPP: Design education is more important now than ever, since our daily lives are shaped increasingly by the built environment. Helping people of all ages to understand and interpret this environment gives them the tools they need to participate in planning and design efforts to improve their communities in innumerable ways, from enhancing neighborhood vitality to designing new public facilities and parks.

GR: What are your goals as President of the Foundation in 2010?
JPP: In the next year we will partner with the AIANY Chapter to increase funding for programs, lectures, and exhibitions at the Center for Architecture, and we plan to enlarge the reach of our educational programs both in schools and at the Center. We also plan to build a larger membership base for the Center, reaching beyond the architectural community to draw in a larger audience interested in design and planning issues in NYC.

Three New Ways to Connect with the Center for Architecture Foundation


Center for Architecture Foundation.

Catherine Teegarden

With new membership opportunities, a new website, and a new Facebook page, the Center for Architecture is easier to stay in touch with than ever before. The Foundation has launched a series of public membership options that offer many exciting benefits. Individual, Family, and Patron members all receive special invitations and program discounts at the Center, including VIP invitations to exhibition openings, member prices for AIANY lectures, and discounted admission to special events. Patron members have the opportunity to book a child’s birthday party at the Center. All memberships help support youth and family programs as well as scholarships and grants at the Center. For more details visit the new Center for Architecture Foundation website.

The new website is designed to be more user-friendly. We hope that the easy-to-read tabs and clean aesthetic make the site easier to navigate. Scholarship and grant applications will soon be available online as well as online registration and payment for Foundation programs. The website is a great way to keep up-to-date with the Foundation’s vacation camps, Family Days, and new building tours.

In addition to the new website, the Center for Architecture Foundation has a new Facebook page. Become a fan of the Foundation and receive invitations to programs and special events via Facebook. Help the Foundation introduce more young people to architecture and design as well as share an insider’s perspective on innovative new buildings in New York by inviting your friends to become a fan too! Hope to see you on the web or at the Center soon.

Teachers Learn How to Teach Architecture & Design


Teachers learning about architecture and design.

Glenda Reed

Some 30 classroom teachers came to the Center for Architecture on 11.03.09 for “Learning from the Built Environment,” a professional development workshop put on by the Center for Architecture Foundation. During the four-and-a-half hour workshop, design educators Catherine Teegarden and Tim Hayduk modeled ways that teachers can incorporate architecture and design into classroom activities.

One of the more challenging exercises asked teachers to build a scale model of the Center’s library, where the workshop was held. Working in groups, they measured the room’s dimensions and drew scaled plans and elevations. Using the drawings as templates, each group transformed their two-dimensional drawings into a three-dimensional scale model of the library space. Walking through the process demystified a project for the teachers that could be daunting to a class of fourth graders. The event culminated in a guided tour of student projects in the Foundation’s annual exhibition on view in the lower level of the Center. One educator claimed the show “helped me to visualize what children are capable of constructing, and that these design projects can be expanded into whole units of study.” Teachers left the workshop equipped with new ideas and a classroom-ready activity packet.

This professional development workshop was part of the Foundation’s larger mission to promote public awareness and a broader appreciation of the impact of architecture, design, and planning in the built environment. The Foundation’s professional development initiative most often occurs in conjunction with Learning By Design:NY (LBD:NY), an in-school residency program that pairs design educators with classroom teachers. By educating teachers, the Foundation can reach many more young people than would otherwise be possible. For more information about LBD:NY and future professional development opportunities please visit

Fifth Graders Achieve Platinum Rating, Or At Least its Equivalent


P.S. 51 student and Programs@theCenter projects.

Glenda Reed

On the morning of 10.21.09 the main hall of the Center for Architecture was converted into a fifth grade classroom. Students from P.S. 51 clustered around tables covered with brown paper eager to begin their two-hour workshop on sustainable architecture. Director of Programs@theCenter Catherine Teegarden introduced them to the role of the architect in the building process as well as basic green design strategies including passive solar heating and rainwater reclamation. Then, as lead architect, each student planned and built a model of his or her own sustainable structure.

Using an array of recycled supplies donated through Materials for the Arts, Perkins+Will, and other generous sources, students gave form to their ideas. Once their models were complete, the students then used a simplified version of the LEED checklist, SEED (Skills in Energy and Environmental Design), to rate their buildings. The checklist allots one point for each strategy employed. Ten points gets you a Green rating — the fifth grade equivalent of LEED Platinum. At the end of the workshop students presented their new designs to fellow classmates.

The Center for Architecture Foundation hosts K-12 school groups across the five boroughs in two-hour workshops called Student Days that introduce students to architecture and design. “Sustainable Architecture” is a popular program among visiting schools, as is “The Language of Architecture,” in which students learn to “read” the design and function of a building through observational walks and sketching. In “City Design,” students work together to create a model city based on planning and zoning guidelines they develop as a group, and students build a 14-foot dome in “Build a Geodesic Dome.” For more information and a complete list of the youth programs that the Foundation offers, visit

Students Build Connections at Center for Architecture


The “Building Connections” exhibition is now on view at the Center for Architecture.

Center for Architecture Foundation

The Center for Architecture Foundation celebrated a year in built environment education at the opening of the 13th annual “Building Connections” exhibition on 09.17.09. The exhibit showcases K-12 explorations of architecture and design, with student models and drawings from the Foundation’s 2008-2009 Learning By Design:NY in-school residencies and Programs@theCenter workshops. While highlighting the students’ hard work and talent, the 2009 “Building Connections” also elaborates on the Foundation’s teaching methodology and provides a valuable resource for educators everywhere who are interested in bringing design education into their classrooms.

At the opening, children and adults alike marveled at a four-foot-square model of a Lower East Side tenement block circa 1900 (pictured), created in a 4th grade Learning By Design:NY residency at P.S. 150, which integrated architecture into the class’s Social Studies immigration unit. Students took care with every detail, from cornice to street vendor cart. Another focal point is a series of Frank Gehry-esque cardboard chairs made by teenagers in one of Programs@theCenter’s summer studios. (Although the chairs are functional, visitors are asked to appreciate their designs while refraining from testing their structural integrity.)

“Building Connections” is on view through 01.09.10, and will be accompanied by a number of public programs. On 10.28.09, educators and those interested in built environment education are invited to drop in for an Open House to learn more about how the Foundation can bring its special type of education to local communities. A professional development workshop for educators on 11.03.09 will guide participants through hands-on activities about architecture and design. Educators will walk away from the workshop with a classroom-ready resource and activity packet. For more information about these programs and the Center for Architecture Foundation, visit