Design Matters: 2016 Heritage Ball

On 10.27.16, 1,100 professionals from the architecture, engineering, construction, and real estate industries gathered at Chelsea Piers Pier 60 to celebrate AIANY and the Center for Architecture’s Heritage Ball. While all enjoyed the black-tie networking, the real focus of the evening was to honor leaders who champion design excellence in New York City: Thomas Phifer, FAIA, Founder, Thomas Phifer and Partners; The Rudin Family; Senator Charles E. Schumer; and Alice Tisch. Each of our honorees demonstrates the leadership, vision, and proven commitment to projects that contribute to New York City’s status as a dynamic and energetic global capital.

The Heritage Ball serves as the single largest funding source for the AIA New York and Center for Architecture, and allows the organizations to carry out their missions through many initiatives and programs. In his remarks, AIANY and Center for Architecture Executive Director Benjamin Prosky, Assoc. AIA, shared that, during the next few years, the organizations will strategically focus on a few key areas, including cultivating and supporting diversity in the profession, attracting younger members and audiences, growing the Center for Architecture’s acclaimed K-12 programs, and anticipating and educating professionals about evolving technologies. Prosky concluded by thanking the audience: “Your support tonight is an investment in our future.”

Phifer, the 2016 President’s Award winner, was honored for pushing the boundaries in the field of architecture, and for his inventive design and engaging work for museums and cultural institutions. Phifer celebrated New York City’s architecture community by relating the story of his move as a young architect from South Carolina to New York City, and the tremendous support he received from the city’s architecture community: “The generosity of spirit and support, the way that we all help each other up, is why this award tonight from this community is so important to me. At every turn, you all have been there for me.”

The Rudin Family received this year’s AIA New York Chapter Award for their work pursuing the growth and renewal of NYC’s people, businesses, and communities through philanthropy and their own projects. “We are honored to receive this award from the prestigious AIA New York Chapter,” said Eric Rudin, Vice Chairman and President of Rudin Management Company. “We have always been driven to make New York City a better place to live. It’s a value that has been engrained in our family and our company since my grandfather Samuel Rudin founded Rudin Management in 1925. We are proud to be a part of the greatest city in the world, its people and institutions. We would also like to congratulate U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, Thomas Phifer, and Alice Tisch on also being honored by the AIA.”

Senator Charles E. Schumer was the recipient of the Center for Architecture Award for his leadership and commitment to improving New York through his service in the United States Senate. “The term skyscraper was originally a nautical term…,” noted Schumer. “It earned its current definition in the 19th century, when the architects of New York City, wanting for space, started building up instead of out…And while today we’re not focused on building the tallest structure, there is still that lofty ambition to build the most modern, the most aesthetic, the most sustainable, the most livable. That ambition is the philosophy of New York’s architects, neighborhood planners, and economic development professionals – all of you who have gathered here tonight. That ambition is what makes New York New York. So I stand here with you tonight honored to receive this award, and more confident about the future of our great city that ever before. “

The NYC Visionary Award was bestowed on Alice Tisch, recognizing her leadership in bringing architecture and architectural history to the general public through her commitment to the Museum of Modern Art. At the Heritage Ball, Tisch encouraged architects and those working in the engineering, construction, and real estate industries to study what makes for connections between people: “Don’t forget that. Form follows function, but the function piece has a wide range. Whether it’s an office, whether it’s a cultural institution, or whether it’s a home, make it so that people can connect.”

In appreciation of their significant contributions towards design excellence, AIA New York and Center for Architecture invited each honoree to select an academic program to receive a scholarship for one of its students. Athena Unroe, of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of the Cooper Union, received a scholarship in honor of Tom Phifer, FAIA. Rebecca Lausen, of the the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, received a scholarship in honor of Sen. Charles Schumer. Ashley Smith, of New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, received a scholarship in honor of the Rudin Family. Abena Bonna, of the Yale School of Architecture, received a scholarship in honor of Alice Tisch.

We congratulate all of our honorees and look forward to Heritage Ball 2017!