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.