The Proof is in the Measurement: Making Your Marketing Count

Event: Measuring your Marketing and Business Development ROI
Location: Center for Architecture, 02.09.12
Speakers: Sally Handley, FSMPS, President, Sally Handley, Inc.
Organizer: AIA NY Marketing & PR Committee

In her book, Marketing Metrics De-mystified: Methods for Measuring ROI and Evaluating Your Marketing Effort, expert consultant Sally Handley, FSMPS, opines: “Marketers in professional service industries lag behind our corporate counterparts in the ability to definitively measure the return on our marketing investment…(and) need to demonstrate the link between revenue generated and the marketing dollars spent in order to justify their budgets and demonstrate that they are integral to the firm’s success.” Furthermore, partners and principals need to invest their marketing dollars in marketing initiatives that yield results.

Turns out, most AEC practices are not heeding Sally’s advice. In a survey she conducted of 180 firms, only 38% of those polled were using metrics to calculate the return on investment of their marketing efforts. Of those that were measuring, the most popular metrics used included tracking competitive proposal hit rates (a ratio of successful proposals versus the total number generated) and all jobs won. Firms that are not measuring their efforts pointed to lack of time, inability to acquire the necessary information from unmotivated staff, and a belief that business development outcomes could not be directly attributed to marketing efforts. The egregious culprit, however, may be the fact that 93% of firms surveyed did not have a line item in their budgets for ROI measurement.

Handley’s approach to measuring and evaluating marketing efforts includes quantitative metrics as well as assessing qualitative results. Her “marketing dashboard” includes leads and prospects, communications and public relations, firm identity, proposal and presentation efforts, jobs won, and client satisfaction. As a marketing professional, understanding your firm’s financial goals is crucial. Calculating a marketing recovery factor, which compares the contract value of a project to the marketing revenue spent during the pursuit of that project, is one way to measure efforts by company division, market sector, and client. Handley also advises firms to establish separate marketing budgets for distinct market sectors. By using this method, firms that are trying into break into new market sectors can assess their efforts fairly, as new sectors may not have a strong ROI initially.

Qualitative assessment includes strategically identifying the most appropriate clients as well as projects to pursue. Focusing on retaining key clients and garnering repeat work from them will yield a more effective marketing program. Handley warns against the “more is more” approach to proposals and instead recommends funneling strategic and robust efforts toward fewer goals to produce higher quality work and increase chances of success.

Handley’s key to marketing metrics is goal setting—for example, the number of new client meetings sought or hits to a firm’s website—to assess effectiveness. “The numbers don’t lie,” says Handley, and by starting small and simple in your measurement, even the most daunted marketing professionals can begin to churn out ROI metrics that are bound to get attention.

Jacqueline Pezzillo, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, is a regular contributor to e-Oculus and Oculus as well as a marketing and public relations professional. You can find her at the non-profit, Room to Read.

Deans Discuss Relevance of Architecture

Event: “Arch Schools 2011” Exhibition Reception and Deans Roundtable
Location: Center for Architecture, 11.19.11
Speakers: George Ranalli, AIA — Dean, The City College of New York Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture; Mark Wigley — Dean, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation; Anthony Vidler — Dean, Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at The Cooper Union; Kent Kleinman — Dean, Cornell University College of Architecture, Art and Planning; Urs P. Gauchat, Hon. AIA — Dean, New Jersey Institute of Technology College of Architecture and Design; Frank Mruk, AIA, RIBA — Associate Dean, New York Institute of Technology School of Architecture and Design; William Morrish — Dean, Parsons The New School of Design School of Constructed Environments; Thomas Hanrahan — Dean, Pratt Institute School of Architecture; Stan Allen, FAIA — Dean, Princeton University School of Architecture; Evan Douglis — Dean, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Undergraduate Department in the School of Architecture; Mark Robbins — Dean, Syracuse University School of Architecture; Robert Shibley, FAIA — Dean, University at Buffalo (SUNY) School of Architecture and Planning; Keith Krumwiede — Associate Dean, Yale School of Architecture
Moderator: Sarah Whiting, Assoc. AIA — Dean, Rice School of Architecture
Introduction: Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, DPACSA — Founder, Deans Roundtable and Arch Schools Exhibition
Sponsors: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates; Robert Dell Vuyosevich, AIA


Center for Architecture

For the past seven years, the Center for Architecture has showcased exemplary student work from New York area schools in an annual exhibition highlighting high caliber curricula that seek to produce a new generation of talent. The “Arch Schools 2011” exhibition was kicked off by a discussion among deans of the schools of architecture at 13 of the 14 institutions represented in this year’s annual show. Posited by moderator Sarah Whiting, Assoc. AIA, dean of the Rice School of Architecture, the topic of debate addressed the issue of architects’ social relevance and the role of the profession in public discourse. Each of the deans offered insight into how this charge is integrated into their respective curricula. Mark Robbins, Dean of Syracuse University’s School of Architecture, wants to expose his students to difficult design challenges while providing them with the practical ability to converse with a client. His goal is to breed designers who are “agile enough to deal with a broad scope.” The objective of creating a broad bandwidth resonated with Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation’s Mark Wigley, who feels the responsibility of architecture schools is to equip students with the ability to define the public across a trans-generational spectrum. Many public events orchestrated by Wigley’s department are examples of utilizing discourse as a form of the profession’s social relevance.

The roundtable participants debated the architectural discipline in relation to the Occupy Wall Street movement at some length. The dispersive efficiency with which the movement has gained momentum was noted by Whiting, commenting that this type of discussion parallels architectural discourse. Referencing a recent New York Times article by architecture critic Michael Kimmelman that noted the role of public space as a stage, the participants discussed the role of architecture as a catalyst for social change. “We must not neglect the citizenship of the school,” commented Wigley, adding that the institution needs to take a position in society.

The trend toward exposing students to social relevance appears to be prevalent among many of the schools represented. SUNY Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning Dean Robert Shibley, FAIA, commented that the mix of expert discourse and local knowledge are the ingredients that make architects powerful contributors to the larger environment. By engaging in activities such as the Solar Decathlon and designing innovative housing projects for Habitat for Humanity, students are becoming agents of public change, using their skills to make a difference and fit into the context of society. With a great sense of optimism, deans are collectively empowering students to move away from linear thinking by translating their experience across disciplines and becoming integral informants of society.

Note: The “Arch Schools 2011” Exhibition Reception and Deans Roundtable took place during ConvergenceNYC2011, an annual conference for architecture students in the NY region organized by AIANY Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA) and the AIAS at local schools. This year’s theme, “Possibilities,” set out to explore different career paths students may take after graduation from architecture school. Panels on alternate careers and the IDP/ARE process were part of this weekend, along with firm tours and walking tours hosted by the AIANY Architectural Tourism Committee.

Koch Brings New Art Forms to NYC By Jacqueline Pezzillo, Assoc. AIA, LE

Event: Leslie Koch in Conversation with David Haskell
Location: Center for Architecture, 10.24.11
Speakers: Leslie Koch — President, Trust for Governors Island; David Haskell — Features Editor, New York
Organizer: Center for Architecture
Sponsor: Kramer Levin

Governors Island.

Courtesy Trust for Governors Island

Under the leadership of Leslie Koch, a 2011 Heritage Ball Honoree and recipient of the Center for Architecture Foundation Award, Governor’s Island has changed from a sleepy former military base into a thriving art incubator that attracts nearly half a million people annually. Koch, President of the Trust for Governors Island, attributed the Island’s success to the ability to experimental nature. Without a budget or curatorial staff, Koch initially found it difficult to lure established art institutions as exhibitors on Governors Island. “Orphan organizations” were the first transplants to the island.

The haven spirit of the island continues to welcome various creative events and exhibitions through a permit process and collaborative programming with Koch and her team. “Programming is at the heart of what we do,” said Koch, who compares Governors Island to a summer vacation place. “We have a sense of democracy… the island belongs to everybody. Programs that embrace that spirit of shared privilege work the best.”

Perhaps the most successful endeavor of Koch has been to bridge the psychological gap that surrounds Governors Island. While only 800 yards from Lower Manhattan, and even closer to Brooklyn, many New Yorkers and visitors struggle to associate the destination with the life of the city. By cultivating a place, ironically without introducing any new architecture, Koch created a cultural magnet for visitors. Her ability to watch and learn how people utilize space and then adapt to those lessons has led to many successful developments on the island, including free bicycles, hammocks, and moveable furniture.

Five years after Koch assumed her position the public eagerly waits for Governors Island’s annual open season and its events, which have included sculpture installations by Mark di Suvero, open artist-in-residence studios by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and the annual FIGMENT arts festival (including the FIGMENT/ENYA/SEAoNY City of Dreams Pavilion Competition for the last two years).

2011 AIA Convention: AIANY Chapter Members Receive Honors, Awards

Annually, AIA Honors and Awards recognize firms and individuals that make “lasting impacts on the places in which we live, work, and play… enriching the profession and human experience,” according to AIA President Clark Manus, FAIA. Categories include the Institute Honor Awards for Interior Architecture, the Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture, Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement, Young Architects Award, Institute Honor Awards for Regional and Urban Design, Honorary Members, Associate Awards, Institute Honor Awards for Architecture, and the Twenty-Five Year Award. For a full list of award recipients, click here.

Jury members lauded the 2011 award recipients in each category for their dedication, ingenuity, leadership, and service. Among the NYC projects awarded for design excellence were The Barnard College Diana Center by Weiss/Manfredi, Gowanus Canal Sponge Park by dlandstudio llc, and One Jackson Square by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates in collaboration with Schuman Lichtenstein Claman Efron. AIANY proudly applauded its own Kristen Richards, Hon. AIA, Hon. ASLA, for her elevation as an AIA honorary member, and Ernest W. Hutton, Jr., Assoc. AIA, FAICP, for his Associate Award in recognition of his service to the Chapter.

NYC’s Active Design Guidelines, a manual to encourage architects, urban designers, and city agencies to introduce physical activity within the environments they create, was one of five recipients of the Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement. David Burney, FAIA, Commissioner of NYC’s Department of Design + Construction (DDC), who also received a Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture, accepted the award. A collaboration of the NYC DDC, Health and Mental Hygiene, Transportation, and City Planning, as well as the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget and AIANY, the publication strives to increase physical activity to improve physical and mental health.

Joining the ranks of the Ford Foundation, the St. Louis Arch, and the Kimbell Art Museum, Boston’s John Hancock Tower, designed by Henry Cobb, FAIA, of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners Architects, was awarded the AIA Twenty-Five Year Award for enduring the test of time as an embodiment of design excellence since its completion in 1976. Curtis Fentress, FAIA, a jury member who toured the project prior to its selection, stated that this “holy grail of Modernism” looked just as new as day one and successfully fit into the neighborhood context. Awarded a LEED Gold Existing Building certification in 2010, the 60-story reflective tower continues to occupy a position of prominence in the city and, according to Cobb, it is a persistent and demanding presence in his professional life. When accepting the award, Cobb called the John Hancock Tower resolute, speechless, and its self-denial both a triumph and a tragedy.

Ranging in age, locale, sector and mission, more than 50 projects, individuals, and firms were praised for their embodiment of the core competencies of the practice. Congratulations to all.

Folio Revisits Klaus Herdeg's Indian Stepwells

Event: Special Release: Klaus Herdeg, Formal Structure in Indian Architecture
Location: Center for Architecture, 03.22.11
Speakers: Umberto Dindo, AIA — AIANY Secretary
Introduction: Rick Bell, FAIA — AIANY Executive Director
Organizers: AIANY; Center for Architecture Foundation; India China Institute at The New School; Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC); Society of Indo-American Engineers and Architects (SIAEA)
Sponsors: Grants: Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts; National Endowment for the Arts; Underwriter: Duggal Visual Solutions; Lead Sponsors: Hitachi; Robert A.M. Stern Architects; Sponsors: Grapevine Merchants; Society of Indo-American Engineers and Architects; Supporters: Bittersweet NYC; CetraRuddy; Kingfisher Lager; Friends: Arup; Benjamin Moore; IBEX Construction; Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates; Perkins Eastman; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Special Thanks: Umberto Dindo, AIA; Lutz Konermann; Catherine Scharf; Donation: folios donated by the Herdeg Family

Sun Temple, Modhera, Gujarat.

Umberto Dindo, AIA

The indelible legacy of architect and author Klaus Herdeg resonates in the special release to the Center for Architecture of 200 copies of Formal Structure in Indian Architecture, Herdeg’s seminal folio documenting secular and religious monuments in India.

The folio first accompanied Herdeg’s 1967 exhibition that analyzed Indian structures through technical drawings and photographs, bringing neglected Indian stepwells to the attention of practicing Modernists in the age of India’s post independence. During a time of limited travel to India, Herdeg was the first to identify the historic stepwells, utilitarian water collection systems and cultural gathering places, as monuments of architectural significance, according to Umberto Dindo, AIA, a contemporary and friend of Herdeg.

Decades before India became recognized as a global force, Herdeg placed a spotlight on the neglected, albeit paramount, water structures influencing the country’s ritualistic life and culture. Stepwells served a myriad of functions — water collection cisterns, cleansing of bodies and clothing, and places of worship and social gathering. Although many are in ruins today, surviving stepwells in the Indian provinces of Gujarat and Rajasthan still retain magnificence in planning, structure, and ornamentation. Formal Structure in Indian Architecture is permeated with a passion for these structures, and through this special release architects and historians can take a personal tour led by Herdeg himself.

The folio is still on sale while supplies last. Click here to order.

Asia, Middle East Develop Own Versions of LEED

Event: Sustainable Building Codes and Standards: India, China and the Middle East
Location: Center for Architecture, 03.03.11
Speakers: Steven Baumgartner, PE, LEED AP — Associate, Buro Happold; Karin Benedict — Associate, Arup; Sarah Sachs, LEED AP — Associate, Buro Happold
Organizer: AIANY Committee on the Environment
Sponsor: ConEdison Commercial and Industrial Energy Efficiency Program

As sustainability becomes increasingly embedded in the global collective conscience, developing countries abroad are refining their respective standards for environmentally responsible design and construction. While foreign rating systems reference and sometimes mirror LEED in the U.S., specifications reflect the individual agendas and needs of each nation.

In the Middle East, Abu Dhabi’s Plan 2030 sets forth a vision by the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council for a sustainable city and enforces Estidama (Arabic for “sustainability”), the emirate’s sustainable building program. Tailored to the hot, arid climate of the UAE, Estidama uses a Pearl Rating System, with one pearl out of a possible five set as a mandatory benchmark for all new buildings and two pearls as a requirement for all new government-funded buildings. There are three categories: community, buildings, and villa, and four pillars: environmental, economic, cultural and social. With the climate-specific challenges of vast deserts, lack of shaded areas, and high sun exposure, energy and water efficiency comprise approximately 50% of the achievable credits. Certification is awarded to buildings at different stages — design, construction, operational efficiency two years after completion, and at 80% occupancy.

In China, new construction and high-energy consumption in buildings are major concerns, according to Karin Benedict, an associate at Arup. While LEED has been used as a rating system, the country is increasingly using the Green Building Label system. This new benchmark under development rates buildings on a three-star system in two categories — residential and public buildings. Six categories of credits exist with a mandatory number of credits in each. Similar to Estidama, emphasis is placed on post-occupancy evaluations. Buildings are awarded rankings after operational metering has been performed one year after completion. Although Chinese developers have yet to recognize the benefits of third party endorsement of environmental performance and the Green Building Label remains a voluntary achievement, Benedict predicts mandatory enforcement of these standards is imminent given China’s commitment to energy and carbon emission reductions.

The Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) has established a variety of rating systems, earlier versions of which are very similar to LEED, and more recent versions that are indigenized to the Indian market focusing on water and organic waste management. IGBC Green Homes, IGBC Green Townships, IGBC Green SEZ (Special Economic Zones), and IGBC Green Factory Building are implemented for specific building types, while LEED-INDIA provides a rating system for new construction, commercial, and core and shell buildings. Certification is not mandated and buildings are awarded on tiers identical to LEED in the U.S.: Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

Liquid Wall Prototype Revolutionizes Curtain-Wall Design

Event: The Liquid Wall Prototype: A Case Study in Innovation
Location: Center for Architecture, 10.19.10
Speakers: Tristan Al-Haddad — Assistant Professor, School of Architecture at Georgia Institute of Technology; Peter Arbour, Assoc. AIA — Project Manager, RFR Consulting Engineers; Robert Del Vento, Jr. — Sales Manager, Coreslab Structures; Kelly Henry, LEED AP — Architecture Project Manager, Ductal by Lafarge; Frank Sciame, Hon. AIA — Chief Executive Officer, F.J.Sciame Construction Co.
Moderator: Nina Rappaport — Publications Director, Yale University
Organizers: Center for Architecture, in conjunction with “Innovate:Integrate — Building Better Together,” on view at the Center for Architecture through 01.15.11
Sponsors: Lead Sponsors: Coreslab Structures; Ductal by Lafarge; F. J. Sciame Construction Co.; Gensler; Georgia Institute of Technology, Digital Fabrication Laboratory; Lutron; Mancini·Duffy; MechoShade Systems; Oldcastle Building Envelope; Peter Arbour / RFR Consulting Engineers; Permasteelisa North America; Plaza Construction; Structure Tone; Syska Hennessy Group; Turner; Zetlin & De Chiara; Sponsors: Francis Cauffman Architects; Polytek; HeliOptix; STUDIOS Architecture; Trespa North America


The Liquid Wall.

Peter Arbour/RFR Consulting Engineers

This year’s presidential theme, defined by AIANY President Anthony Schirripa, FAIA, IIDA, is “Architect as Leader.” The concept celebrates the role of architects as innovators and champions of new breakthroughs in construction techniques. It requires vision, risk tolerance, and teamwork. The possibilities of this type of leadership can be seen in “Innovate:Integrate — Building Better Together,” an exhibition of building technology at the Center for Architecture, exploring the collaborative process of design and construction. “In searching for the right platform for an exhibition on leadership in the industry, my thoughts turned to the building process,” explained Schirripa.

The Liquid Wall Prototype, winner of an open competition for curtain-wall design and part of “Innovate:Integrate,” is a first large-scale prototype to be displayed at the Center. Conceived by a team of designers, manufacturers, and construction managers from RFR Consulting Engineers, Coreslab Structures, Ductal by Lafarge, F.J. Sciame Construction, and Georgia Institute of Technology, it represents a breakthrough in performative façade design. According to Peter Arbour, Assoc. AIA, project manager at RFR Consulting Engineers, who conceived the design of The Liquid Wall Prototype, the goal was to “design something that could be easily constructed, was economical, and easy to maintain.”

Conceived as a panelized system, the frame is made of two forms of Ductal, an ultra-high-performance concrete. Digital modeling and CNC milling created undulating flexible molds in which the concrete was set. Triple glazing reduces acoustic transmission while providing high thermal performance, natural day lighting, and transparency. The glazing, designed as replaceable, repairable panels, is installed directly into the concrete frame. Within spandrel cassette panels, non-freezing liquids flow and capture solar energy that is transmitted for use as radiant heat, domestic hot water production, and dehumidification of ventilation systems. The heat recovery systems are optimized to function in both winter and summer. Thermal performance is considered exceptional for this unified curtain wall system due to the elimination of metal units bridging the exterior and interior.

Based on the success of this prototype, designed in a mere four months, “the opportunities for design and constructability are limitless,” said Frank Sciame, Hon, AIA, CEO of F.J. Sciame Construction Co. Although there is a buzz about The Liquid Wall being offered as a manufactured product, it is spurring a regime of testing in curtain-wall design. After the success of this project, Arbour said we can expect “a revolution in the design of building envelopes.”

“Innovate:Integrate” is on view at the Center for Architecture through 01.15.11.

Young Firms Publish Monographs

Event: First Monographs: Young Design Firms and the Experience of Publishing
Location: Center for Architecture, 09.29.10
Speakers: Andy Bernheimer, AIA — Founding Partner, Della Valle Bernheimer; Stephan Jaklitsch, AIA — Principal, Stephan Jaklitsch Architects; Stella Betts — Partner, Leven Betts Studio
Moderator: Kevin Lippert, Publisher, Princeton Architectural Press
Organizers: AIANY Marketing & Public Relations Committee; AIANY Oculus Committee
Sponsor: Group C


(L-R):Think/Make, by Della Valle Bernheimer; Stephan Jaklitsch: Habits Patterns & Algorithms 1998-2008, by Stephan Jaklitsch, AIA; Leven Betts: Pattern Recognition, by Leven Betts Studio

(L-R): Courtesy Princeton Architectural Press; Courtesy Oro Editions;Courtesy Princeton Architectural Press

While myriad firms vie for recognition and status in an increasingly competitive market, some young practices are investing in their reputation by publishing their first monograph. Self-publication can be daunting, but the consortium of young firms that are publishing may have found the secret to success: do it early and, perhaps, often.

Stella Betts, a partner at Leven Betts Studio, fondly recalls the process of conceiving and executing Leven Betts: Pattern Recognition (Princeton Architectural Press, 2008), published 10 years after the firm was founded. The monograph was published as one of 11 Princeton Architectural Press monographs of young firms partially funded by a Graham Foundation grant. Betts refers to the exercise of compiling the monograph as a gift, noting that the process was unlike preparing content for a magazine feature — it involved arduous editing and refinement of materials. Both Betts and her partner, David Levin, AIA, spent a year sketching and diagramming old projects and looking for patterns in their work to best frame the theme of the book.

Stephan Jaklitsch, AIA, principal of Stephan Jaklitsch Architects, had a similar experience. He spent a year gathering, digitizing, and even re-designing projects, focusing on the design process for his monograph. Jaklitsch views Stephan Jaklitsch: Habits Patterns & Algorithms 1998-2008 (Oro Editions, 2008) as the “first threshold” in framing the direction of his firm and publicizing his ideas.

The critical selection of projects to include in a monograph is crucial to achieving a clear theme. Think/Make (Princeton Architectural Press, 2009), Della Valle Bernheimer’s monograph, includes only 10 projects. While the target audience of architectural monographs may seem specific, in the case of Founding Partner Andy Bernheimer, AIA, the monograph is meant to appeal to a broad scope of readers. “Our audience is colleagues, clients, students, our parents,” he said.

Perhaps the most challenging task for each of the three firms was the writing process. Bernheimer is grateful for his publisher’s editors saying, “‘We’re not writers.’ Editors are invaluable.” The consensus among the panelists was that the efforts to produce their first monographs, although time-consuming and taxing, was well worth it and they would consider the process in the future with a more focused lens. The achievement of a first monograph for these young firms has added credibility to their work and garnered them status in the industry.

The 200 West Street Project: Teamwork, Diversity, Creativity

Event: A Conversation with the Architects of 200 West Street
Location: Center for Architecture, 10.05.10
Speakers: Stephen Apking, FAIA — Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Jay Berman, AIA — Pei Cobb Freed & Partners; Maddy Burke-Vigeland, AIA — Gensler; Scott Cohen — Preston Scott Cohen; Timur Galen — Global Head of Corporate Services and Real Estate, Goldman Sachs; Monica Ponce de Leon, Intl. Assoc. AIA — Office dA; Chris Sharples, AIA — Founding Principal, SHoP Architects
Moderator: Dino Fusco — Goldman Sachs
Organizer: Center for Architecture
Sponsor: Kramer Levin


200 West Street.

Photo courtesy Goldman Sachs

Six years, $2.5 billion, six architecture firms, two city blocks, and countless hours of collaboration. The result? The Goldman Sachs global headquarters at 200 West Street, an indelible legacy of the financial giant, and a tribute to teamwork, creativity, and diversity.

Completed in 2009, Goldman Sachs’ new home is not meant to publicize the company’s brand, according to Timur Galen, global head of Corporate Services and Real Estate, but to create a positive work environment. Galen saw the project as an opportunity to engender the culture of Goldman Sachs over time, creating a building that was “somehow like us.” Priding itself on a diverse staff which embodies myriad skill sets and backgrounds and strives to find efficient solutions through collaboration, Goldman sought an identical model for the design team that would realize its new home. Honorees at the 2010 Heritage Ball, the project team selected for the building — Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Gensler, Preston Scott Cohen, Office dA, and SHoP Architects — married talent, experience, vision, and unrelenting perseverance.

Under the direction of Pei Cobb Freed, each firm was tasked with a specific aspect of the 740-foot building. Stephen Apking, FAIA, of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, who worked on the design of the office floors, saw the project as a “network of spaces and experiences that are carefully choreographed.” Largely influenced by the culture of Goldman Sachs, Monica Ponce de Leon, Intl. Assoc. AIA, of Office dA, balanced complexity with a perception of effortlessness in the design of 200 West Street’s dining hall and servery. Chris Sharples, AIA, of SHoP Architects, saw the project as a test bed for ideas, pushing creativity within a stable culture, similar to Goldman’s approach to business.

From the many voices that created 200 West Street, Galen’s mantras for the project emerged: “design matters” and “function is paramount.” An exercise in rigor, the building embodies the energy and collaborative spirit of Goldman Sachs.

New Practices New York Winners Break New Ground

Event: New Practices New York Showcase: Winners’ Panel Discussion
Location: Center for Architecture, 07.29.10
Speakers: Lonn Combs — Co-Founder, EASTON + COMBS; Jonus Ademovic, Assoc. AIA, and Chrostos Athanasiou — Principals, Archipelagos; Christopher Leong, Assoc. AIA, and Dominic Leong — Principals, Leong Leong; Kit von Dalwig, AIA, and Philipp von Dalwig, LEED AP — Principals, Manifold Architecture Studio; Michael Szivos — Partner, Softlab; Jing Liu — Co-Founder, SO-IL; Jeremy Barbour, AIA — Principal, Tacklebox
Moderator: Galia Solomonoff, AIA — Solomonoff Architecture Studio
Organizer: AIANY New Practices Committee
Sponsors: Lead Sponsors: Dornbracht; MG & Company; Valiant Technology; Sponsors: Espasso; Hafele; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Media Sponsor: The Architect’s Newspaper


Gyeonggi-do Jeongok Prehistory Museum, Yeoncheon-gun, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea


In its third iteration, AIANY’s New Practices New York competition recognized seven firms that exemplify innovation, creativity, and out-of-the-box thinking. The founders of the winning firms — EASTON + COMBS, Archipelagos, Leong Leong, Manifold Architecture Studio, Softlab, SO-IL, and Tacklebox — have each dedicated their practices to collaborative models and novel inquiry. While their projects vary from retail interiors to bars and exhibition installations, the awarded practices share an interest in exploring architectural research, materiality, and production methods to inform their work.

To qualify for the New Practices competition, firms must have been established since 2004. It is the innovative strategies with which they design and investigate architecture that make them worthy of commendation. Jing Liu, co-founder of SO-IL, the designer of the PoleDance exhibition at MoMA’s P.S.1, recalled her firm’s initial work designing loft renovations. Liu said, “A good project often starts with a supportive client” who allows boundaries to be expanded and rules to be broken. Liu and her partner, Florian Idenburg, Intl. Assoc. AIA, aspire to interact with diverse clients and projects while ensuring the ideas are the front-runner in the office, rather than the status of their firm identity.

Trailblazers in their craft, this generation of designers represents not just new offices, observed Lonn Combs, co-founder of EASTON + COMBS, but new directions in design. It has been customary in the past for young designers to spend many years working under the auspices of starchitects and large firms and retaining employment within those firms. However, the norm has shifted to abandoning big name bragging rights to developing new practices that venerate experimentation. The rite of passage for young designers, according to Michael Szivos, partner at Softlab, is no longer passing through a well-known firm. It is opening up a firm of one’s own.

The New Practices New York exhibition is on view at The Center for Architecture through 10.23.10.