In Memoriam: Two Tributes to Aldo Giurgola (1920 – 2016)

When Aldo passed away on 05.15.16, he left an unforgettable legacy. He was a great architect and teacher who moved through his life of remarkable achievement with a humility rare among his peers. It is heartwarming to know that he touched many people in our field. My partners and I have received many condolence notes that bear this out. Continue reading “In Memoriam: Two Tributes to Aldo Giurgola (1920 – 2016)”

In Memoriam: Ashok Bhavnani, AIA, Ashok Bhavnani Architects (1933-2015)

As a young architect, I had the pleasure of seeing the Bhavnanis on a number of occasions at my parents’ home on the Upper East Side. In this informal setting, I was especially impressed by Ashok Bhavnani’s deep appreciation of art and drawing. He and his wife Mitzi were seasoned travelers, and I recall very engaging tales of their adventures, especially in Italy. For several decades he was John M. Johansen’s partner during some of the firm’s pivotal work, but in his later career he had his own practice with distinct accomplishments in New York, including the jewel-like Merkin Concert Hall tucked into the Lincoln Center neighborhood. Ashok Bhavnani was a thoughtful, talented, and dedicated architect – a credit to our profession who will be greatly missed.

In Memoriam: Stuart K. Pertz, FAIA (1936-2015)

Stuart Pertz, FAIA, architect, urban planner, ceramic artist, NYC Planning Commissioner, and teacher died on 07.08.15 of cancer. Over a 40-year career spanning five New York City mayors and countless changes to the city he loved, Pertz became one of the most respected and influential thinkers about urbanism. Continue reading “In Memoriam: Stuart K. Pertz, FAIA (1936-2015)”

Michael Graves, FAIA, a Memory

A few days have gone by since I heard of Michael Graves’s death. There has been wide coverage in the general media – spots on TV shows and a front-page obit in the New York Times. I posted my own photographic tribute on my maiden-name Facebook page: a picture I took last year of the wheelchair-bound architect, with my also-architect husband Benjamin Kracauer, AIA, at Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, CT.

As a Princeton architecture student in the 1970s (almost the entire decade – 1971-1979), I was Graves’s student in design studio, repeatedly took his Visual Studies class, and had him on reviews. Five Architects was well thumbed, Peter Eisenman, FAIA, showed up for Michael’s juries. The Institute – not the American Institute of Architects, but rather the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies – was a mecca for internships with Peter, Rem Koolhaas, and a host of others making their own mayhem in New York. Oppositions came out regularly: a platform for an academic discourse on architecture and planning that may have singlehandedly invented its own private language through appropriation of critical thought from the other more verbal disciplines of literature, philosophy, and history. And I was a Navy-brat-public-school kid from Los Angeles, transplanted by ambition to the recently co-educated ivy halls. Continue reading “Michael Graves, FAIA, a Memory”

Thoughts on an 80-Year Life – Jordan L. Gruzen, FAIA (1934-2015), IBI Group ▪ Gruzen Samton

To describe a life justly and clearly in a limited verbal narrative illuminates the paradox of framing time past with current memory. Behind large accomplishments one finds large personalities – generally an axiomatic truth, though highly inflected by the individual. Jordan Gruzen loved the physical realm and vigorous activity in it; the operative concept is love. This man cherished life – total immersion! He embraced it with delight, consistently demonstrating the psyche of a cheerful person – one rooted in a teleology of optimism. That optimism centered on beauty; it propelled Jordan’s actions and responses. One could see his excitement percolate when the topics of architecture, New York City, design, business, sailing, painting, sculpture, music, women, and family – especially when his adored wife, Lee, two daughters, Rachel and Georgia, and son, Alex, were broached. All were entry points to the same end – an oncoming possibility of engaging gorgeous splendor. Why wouldn’t one be optimistic if that were how one perceived life; what a blessed way to live? Continue reading “Thoughts on an 80-Year Life – Jordan L. Gruzen, FAIA (1934-2015), IBI Group ▪ Gruzen Samton”

In Memoriam: Paul Katz

Dear Friends,

With great sadness, we share the news of the loss of our friend and colleague, Paul Katz, FAIA, HKIA, who passed away suddenly on 11.20.14. Paul was a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and a stalwart participant in the global dialogues on design and urbanism at the Center for Architecture.

His projects are located all over the world, transforming skylines and streetscapes. Some were featured last year at the Center in the “Practical Utopias” exhibition, now on view in Seoul.

At Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, Paul had a major role in growing a practice that now numbers nearly 700 people in six offices around the world. As design thinker, mentor, and president of the firm, Paul was always there for all who needed advice, support, or a good word about work in progress. His design work transformed cities; his wit, good nature, and keen intellect changed all who were fortunate enough to be in his circle.

In lieu of flowers, Paul’s family has asked for donations to the KPF Foundation, which will be applied to a Scholarship or Fellowship promoting study in the fields of architecture and urbanism. Checks may be sent to: KPF Foundation, 11 West 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036.

On behalf of the Board and staff of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter, we express our deepest sympathies to Paul’s family, friends, and colleagues.

With regards,

Lance Jay Brown, FAIA

Rick Bell, FAIA
Executive Director

THINKing Fred Schwartz

Even though Fred Schwartz, FAIA, passed away on 04.28.14, the loss was still fresh to many, speakers and audience alike, at the Center for Architecture on 06.30.14, when family, friends, colleagues, and collaborators gathered to share memories and anecdotes. AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA, introduced the evening program with an invocation from New York poet Delmore Schwartz. Quoting from “At this Moment in Time,” Bell said: “Disturb me, compel me…You are exact. You tug my sleeve/Before I speak, with a shadow’s friendship, / And I remember that we who move/ Are moved by clouds that darken midnight.” Continue reading “THINKing Fred Schwartz”