Board Inaugural: 2013 President Jill N. Lerner, FAIA

What follows are adapted remarks from the 2013 Inaugural.

Looking back over the past year, I am proud and humbled by all that our Board and volunteers have done to enhance our advocacy profile, increase our membership, and expand the professional services offered at the Center for Architecture. I would like to highlight the many initiatives and ongoing projects at AIANY and the Center for Architecture, organized around our key objectives: Public Outreach and Advocacy, Design Excellence, and Professional Development, as well as events of the year’s presidential theme, “Global City/Global Practice.” Continue reading “Board Inaugural: 2013 President Jill N. Lerner, FAIA”

2013 AIA Convention Special: Gold Medal Update

I wanted to be sure you all heard the good news! Because of our efforts, during the 2013 AIA Convention the AIA National Board of Directors overwhelmingly approved a change in the Rules of the Board regarding eligibility criteria for the Gold Medal, the Institute’s highest award. Please see this article by Cathleen McGuigan and Laura Raskin in Architectural Record, who broke the story. Continue reading “2013 AIA Convention Special: Gold Medal Update”

146th Annual Meeting Report: Excerpted Remarks by Jill N. Lerner, FAIA, 2013 AIANY President

I would like to say that it has been a true honor to serve as President of AIANY, here in this city of great architecture and great architects. We have a dynamic Chapter, aiming always to make our profession more visible, more relevant, and more aligned with the needs and concerns of our membership. When I took the helm as President in January, I found a well-run entity in strong financial shape, a growing membership base thanks to previous presidents and to excellent management by AIANY staff, and a growing and impressive home base at the Center for Architecture, widely acknowledged as presenting a positive face for our profession, broadening our impact and influence. Continue reading “146th Annual Meeting Report: Excerpted Remarks by Jill N. Lerner, FAIA, 2013 AIANY President”

From the Desk of the President: Advocacy Update

It was a busy and productive month for our advocacy team. It’s clear from the great results and our conversations with government officials that the voice of the architecture community is being heard. Following is an update of our efforts on your behalf.

We are pleased to report that on 03.06.13, the NYC Lobbying Commission released its final report and recommendations seeking to strengthen New York City’s lobbying laws. Since 2011, AIANY has worked with the Commission to clarify and modify the proposed mandates which would require architects presenting plans to any government body to register as lobbyists, which would have massive implications for architects and firms both large and small. In its final report, the Commission agreed with our position and incorporated our recommendations.

On 03.21.13, we made our annual lobbying trip to Washington, DC, to meet with our elected representatives in Congress. This year, we met with Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, and staff from the offices of Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Congressman Charles Rangel, and Congressman Jerrold Nadler, as well as Congresswoman Nita Lowey. We were pleased to have the chance to discuss our legislative priorities for architects locally and nationally. All of the issues we discussed were met with support and encouragement, despite the difficulty of achieving positive results in such a divided congress. Continue reading “From the Desk of the President: Advocacy Update”

Board Inaugural: 2013 President Jill N. Lerner, FAIA

What follows are adapted remarks from the 2013 Inaugural.

Taking the helm of AIA New York is an honor, a challenge, and a responsibility. I stand on the shoulders of many great presidents who have come before, and am conscious of the great legacy of this, the founding Chapter, in particular. I thank my peers for selecting me, and my partners and family for supporting my efforts.

I would also like to recognize the incoming 2013 AIA New York Chapter Board. We had a lively retreat two weekends ago with an excellent exchange of ideas. I am excited to work with all of you. I would especially like to acknowledge 2013 President-Elect Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, co-founder of the Design for Risk and Recovery Committee, which will continue to be so central to the Chapter’s activities over the coming year. Continue reading “Board Inaugural: 2013 President Jill N. Lerner, FAIA”

On the Ground in the Middle East

Participants including Fred Schwartz, FAIA, Mustafa Abadan, William Menking (Moderator), and Rafi Segal discuss practice in the Middle East.

Berit Hoff

With the reality of limited design opportunities in the US in recent years, practitioners cited the need to “go where the work is.”

Berit Hoff

Event: Practice in the Middle East
Location: Center for Architecture, 05.08.2012
Introduction: Jill Lerner, FAIA, Kohn Pedersen Fox, 2013 AIANY President-Elect
Respondent: Rick Bell, FAIA, Executive Director, AIANY
Panelists: Rafi Segal, Rafi Segal Architects; Anthony Mosellie, AIA, KPF; Anthony Fieldman, Perkins+Will; Jay Liese, Corgan; Fred Schwartz, FAIA, Frederic Schwartz Architects; Ed Mayor, FX FOWLE; Sudhir Jambhekar, FAIA, FX FOWLE; JR Radtke, 360 Architects; Craig Schwitter, Buro Happold; Bryon Stigge, Buro Happold; Michael Kostow, AIA, Kostow Greenwood Architects; Reid Freeman, Jamie Carpenter Design Associates; Kyle Krall, Thornton Tomasetti; Bart Voorsanger, FAIA, Voorsanger Architects; Mustafa K. Adaban, SOM; Ashok Raiji, Assoc. AIA, ARUP
Moderator: Bill Menking, The Architect’s Newspaper
Organizers: The event was curated and organized by Jeffrey A. Kenoff, AIA, Bruce E. Fisher, AIA and Lynn Fritzlen, AIA, LEED AP; AIANY Global Dialogues and Professional Practice Committees; a program of the exhibitions “Change: Architecture and Engineering in the Middle East, 2000-Present” and “City of Mirages: Baghdad, 1952-1982″
Sponsors: A. Estéban and Co. (benefactor); Buro Happold (lead sponsor); Eytan Kaufman Design and Development, FXFOWLE (sponsors); Arup, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, Dewan Architects & Engineers, GAD, HDR, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, NAGA Architects, Ramla Benaissa Architects, RBSD Architects, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, World Monuments Fund, Zardman (supporters)

Inspired by Jill Lerner, FAIA, a principal at Kohn Pedersen Fox and 2013 AIANY president-elect, and AIANY executive director Rick Bell, FAIA, the AIANY Global Dialogues and Professional Practice Committees joined forces to host “Practice in the Middle East.” The event promoted a round table discussion structured by the scope of “CHANGE: Architecture and Engineering in the Middle East, 2000-Present,” now on view at the Center for Architecture. Architects who contributed to the exhibit and local experts working in the Middle East comprised the group, and moderator Bill Menking of The Architect’s Newspaper moderated the discussion that explored how firms practice in the region and the subsequent need to balance risks and rewards with the ever-present challenges and prospects.

Given the extreme economic and cultural differences in the Middle East, it is little wonder that the politics of place was a recurrent theme. Despite the lack of women at the table noted by all, in general participants agreed on many points, emphasizing the design opportunities, high aspirations, and the region’s widespread desire for “something new.” A sustained commitment to the area was described to be the key to success in the relationship-based economy. Sudhir Jambhekkar from FXFOWLE mentioned the US government’s helpfulness when working abroad, and in general, Americans and US-based firms are welcome and appreciated for their skill and expertise. Listening to the discussion, it was clear that in this sense we are cultural ambassadors in the midst of cultural and political change. The impact of the Arab Spring suggested a shift from buildings signifying “greed and gaud,” as one discussant remarked, to a new focus on “projects for the people” such as schools and hospitals.

With the reality of limited design opportunities in the US in recent years, most Middle East practitioners cited the need to “go where the work is.” The greatest opportunities (and greatest need) are noticeably in risky places such as Iraq, Libya, and Egypt, which can pose safety hazards. Difficult contracts were also noted, and while long negotiations were seen as expected, it was evident that negotiating a good contract requires patience, time, and “a lot of tea.”

Many in the room professed, however, aspirations to provide greater good and an improved civic environment through high-quality design. Some on the panel were skeptical of these well-intentioned motives, but all agreed that at our core, the design and engineering communities excel at solving large-scale problems – a skill greatly needed throughout the Middle East.