New Practices Grows Up

Event: New Practices New York Showcase Series
Location: Häfele Showroom
Speakers: Winners of the 2006 New Practices New York competition
Organizer: AIANY New Practices Committee; The Architect’s Newspaper
Sponsor: Häfele America Co.

Zakrzewski Hyde Architects

Travelogue, an installation by Zakrzewski Hyde Architects, is currently on view at the Häfele Showroom. It is the final installation of the New Practices Showcase series.

Zakrzewski Hyde Architects

This month marked the end of the 2006/7 New Practices Showcase Series and the beginning of a new series of programs organized by the AIA New York Chapter’s youngest committee, the New Practices Committee. The program germinated two years ago at a new members reception at the Center for Architecture, when Nino Hewitt, AIA approached Susan Chin, FAIA, (2005 AIANY President) and myself and asked, “What kind of support does the AIA provide for new practices? I just started an architectural firm (LEVEL Architecture), and I need some help.”

Susan and I looked at each other and quickly realized that, although the Chapter has a professional practice committee, an emerging architect committee, and offers numerous forums for young professionals, we did not provide many programs that were specifically aimed at the needs of recently-developed practices. We decided to remedy the situation by partnering with The Architect’s Newspaper and launching “The New Practices Roundtable,” a series of programs reaching out to young practices offering resources in areas of business practice, technology, and marketing. At the roundtables, new practitioners shared ideas, discussed best practices, and vented frustrations. It was “group therapy for emerging practices.” The series was a major success and attracted over 500 attendees in four sessions.

One year later, we expanded the program to showcase emerging practices entitled “New Practices New York.” To launch the program, we announced a mini-portfolio review for practices founded after January 1, 2000. More than 50 practices submitted, and six architectural firms were selected: Architecture In Formation; G Tects; Gage/Clemenceau Architects; Interboro Partners; WORK AC; and Zakrzewski Hyde Architects.

The showcase highlighted the firms’ achievements in a group exhibition at the Center for Architecture last summer. (The show was re-exhibited at a gallery during the AIA Convention in San Antonio this past May, and is traveling to London this fall.) Following the initial showing, a bimonthly exhibit and reception was held for each of the practices at the Häfele Showroom. The final showcase, featuring Zakrzewski Hyde Architects, is on display through the end of August.

A new generation of young architects is now gaining recognition and becoming leaders in the professional community, thanks to the showcase program. In fact, a number of the participants have taken the reins and are turning the roundtables into a full-fledged committee at the chapter. The new committee’s first program, “Super-Models, MEGA_100+, Large-Scale Firms Revised,” was held at the Center on July 11, and examined how large practices are redefining themselves to emulate the passion and agility of young practices (See “Large Firms Struggle to Outbid Small Firms,” by Jessica Sheridan, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, in this issue of e-Oculus). In the next issue of e-Oculus, Matthew Bremer, AIA, principal of Architecture In Formation, and Marc Clemenceau Bailly, AIA, principal of Gage/Clemenceau, will write about the objectives of this new committee. If you are interested in joining and/or participating in the committee, please contact Amanda Jones, AIANY Program Committee Coordinator.

In closing, I want to thank Susan Chin, FAIA, Joan Blumenfeld, FAIA, IIDA, AIANY President, James McCullar, FAIA, Rick Bell, FAIA, and the staff at the AIA NY Chapter, The Architect’s Newspaper, Häfele America, and all our program sponsors and participants. It’s been a great run, and we look forward to the next generation of programs for young practices.