Occupy Cipriani Wall Street?

Cipriani Wall Street

Sam Lahoz

Event: Honors & Awards Luncheon 2012
Location: Cipriani Wall Street, 04.18.12
Honoring: Ennead Architects, 2012 AIANY Medal of Honor; Alexander Garvin, Hon. AIANY, 2012 AIANY Award of Merit; Paul Goldberger, Hon. AIA, 2012 Stephen A. Kliment Oculus Award; The 2012 AIANY Design Awards Winners

Paul Goldberger, Hon. AIA, Alex Garvin, Hon. AIANY, and Ennead Architects’ Susan Rodriguez, FAIA, were in good company last Wednesday at the AIA New York Chapter’s sold out 2012 Honors & Awards Luncheon. Some 800 architects, engineers, developers, and design professionals gathered—nay, occupied—Cipriani Wall Street to celebrate the three Honor Award and 36 Design Awards winners.

In a format different from last year’s program, which included only Design Awards winners, concise remarks by the three honorees and a well-orchestrated awards conferral left much time for chatting, table-hopping, and networking. Indeed, all signs pointed to an improving economy and positive outlook for 2012.

Goldberger, who won the 2012 Stephen A. Kliment Oculus Award, mused about the sometimes antagonistic relationship between architects and critics, noting the humorous fact that architects were honoring an architecture critic, an act akin to “feeding the hand that bites you.”

For Garvin, it paid to be a good teacher. A professor of countless Yale graduates including Goldberger and AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA, he was pleased to receive the 2012 AIANY Award of Merit from the people who he considers the experts at “knowing good design.” The award acknowledged his work as a professor, public servant, and private practitioner at his firm AGA Public Realm Strategists, Inc.

Susan Rodriguez, FAIA, of Ennead Architects (which Goldberger jokingly called “the firm formally known as Polshek”), spoke about the wide scope of work the firm undertakes, as well as its commitment to civic principles.

Indeed, perhaps more than any other profession, architects (and landscape architects) are uniquely concerned with the civic impacts of their work. Many of the day’s winning projects paid particular attention to the public realm, especially the September 11th Memorial, which won an Honor Award in the Architecture category. It was designed by Michael Arad, AIA, of Handel Architects.

Occupy Cipriani Wall Street: perhaps a metaphorical stretch. One could say, though, that architects did occupy Cipriani’s grand Beaux Arts banking hall—the former headquarters of National City Bank (now Citibank)—not necessarily as radicals but rather as professionals committed to the practice of civic and principled architecture.