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e-Oculus: Eye on New York Architecture and Calendar of Events
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Editor-in-Chief Benedict Clouette
Contributing Editors Murrye Bernard, LEED AP
Linda G. Miller
Online Support Ahmad Shairzay • Kevin Skoglund
Editorial Advisor James S. Russell, FAIA

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Reports from the Field


In this issue:

· Design Awards
· Critiquing the Critics
· Something New Under the Sun
· Enrique Norten: This Will Kill That
· Oculus Book Talk: Guy Gugliotta, Freedom’s Cap: The United States Capitol and the Coming of the Civil War

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Reports from the Field

AIANY Honors Winners of the 2012 Design Awards



Event: AIANY Design Awards 2012 Juror Symposium
Speakers: Thomas H. Beeby, FAIA—Principal-in-Charge of Design, Hammond Beeby Rupert Ainge; Rand L. Elliott, FAIA—President, Elliott + Associates Architects; Scott Erdy, AIA—Principal, Erdy McHenry Architecture; Bernardo Fort-Brescia, FAIA—Principal, Arquitectonica; Anne Fougeron, FAIA—Principal, Fougeron Architecture; Thomas Hacker, FAIA—Founding Principal, THA; Alice Y. Kimm, FAIA—Partner, John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects (JFAK); Gary L. Lee—Founder and President, Gary Lee Partners; Michael Lehrer, FAIA—Principal, Lehrer Architects; Bruce Lindsey, AIA—Dean, College of Architecture and Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design, Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, Washington University; Donlyn Lyndon, FAIA—Eva Li Professor Emeritus of Architecture and Urban Design, University of California Berkeley; Carme Pinós, Hon. FAIA—Principal, Estudio Carme Pinós
Moderator: Alexandra Lange
Organizer: AIA New York Chapter
Sponsors: Ennead Architects, Porcelanosa (Patrons)
Location: Center for Architecture, 03.05.12

The full list of winners of the 2012 AIANY Design Awards can be found here.

Last week, on a warm and spring-like day, 12 architects, educators, and designers gathered at the Center for Architecture to decide the winners of the 2012 AIA New York Chapter’s Design Awards. In the evening, following a full day of debate that narrowed the field to the 36 projects chosen for Honor and Merit Awards, the jury joined architecture critic and historian Alexandra Lange for a symposium to announce and discuss the winning designs.

Jurors considered designs in four categories, eventually choosing two Honors Awards in Architecture, three in Interiors, three in Un-Built Work, and two in Urban Design. According to the rules, the submitted projects had to be completed by architects or designers practicing in New York, or be New York City projects designed by architects or designers based elsewhere. This year, the premiated work was drawn from 391 entries, almost half of which were in the Architecture category.

Several of the jurors emphasized the generosity to the public realm, and to the users of the buildings, that the chosen projects exhibited. As juror Carme Pinós, Hon. FAIA, summarized, “We didn’t reward the most spectacular architectural gestures. Rather, in many of the projects, the form results from the users, and from a sense for how people inside might feel.” Jurors also spoke of the importance of architecture in shaping the city. Donlyn Lyndon, FAIA, in discussing Interboro Partners’ Holding Pattern at PS1, described the power of design to contribute to civic life, saying, “Urban design is a process of projecting what the public realm can become, which necessarily includes the initiatives of many people.”

Many of the winning projects retain a sense of modesty, characterized by a subtle negotiation with their contexts, even as they powerfully reshape their sites. Juror Bruce Lindsey, AIA, expressed his appreciation for the Hirshhorn Museum Seasonal Inflatable Pavilion by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and KlingStubbins, noting how it transforms the building without harming it through a simple move that is also temporary. Lange observed that many of the projects selected in the Un-built category, including the Hirshhorn, are provocative but still realizable. Considering the range of projects, she remarked, “The winners are not the most zany of the entries, and are actually very appropriate, for example, in their reuse of existing buildings, or in their approach to the context of their site.”

Nonetheless, the work selected for awards consistently demonstrates a well-resolved aesthetic and conceptual clarity. Discussing an interior by SO-IL and Formactiv, juror Alice Kimm, FAIA, noted, “The projects we chose all do something in a strong way, whether with program, space, light, or material. What interested us in interiors was that there is often more room for invention than in projects that are more purely architectural.” Many of the chosen interiors went beyond superficial treatments to address the organization and circulation of their buildings, and provide new interpretations of the spaces in which they intervened.

Indeed, a commonality in much of the chosen work is a desire to act on its context, and to enliven the city, whether by introducing new programs or by acting on ideas and perceptions. As juror Michael Lehrer, FAIA suggested, “One of the most important things that design can do is to affect how people see things.” In celebrating these projects, the 2012 AIANY Design Awards perhaps reflected a larger cultural shift, recently noted elsewhere, toward considerations of architecture’s role in civic culture.

Benedict Clouette is a writer and the editor of e-Oculus.

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Reports from the Field

Critiquing the Critics

James Russell, FAIA, (left) speaking at “Architectural Criticism Today,” with panel members Cathleen McGuigan, Paul Goldberger, Hon. AIA, Justin Davidson, and moderator Julie Iovine.

Courtesy the Center for Architecture

Event: Architecture and the Media Series – Architectural Criticism Today

Speakers: Julie Iovine—The Architect’s Newspaper (moderator); James Russell, FAIA—Bloomberg; Cathleen McGuigan—Architectural Record; Justin Davidson—New York Magazine; Paul Goldberger, Hon. AIA—The New Yorker

Organized by: Center for Architecture and the AIANY Oculus Committee and Marketing & PR Committee; co-organized by The Architect’s Newspaper.

Location: Center for Architecture, 02.27.12

When architects want to gauge the success of new buildings or other significant projects, they turn to columns by critics such as Paul Goldberger, Hon. AIA, James Russell, FAIA, and Justin Davidson, or they peruse publications like Architectural Record and The Architect’s Newspaper. These writers and editors participated in a panel discussion—the first in a four-part series—examining the state of architectural criticism today: how it reaches the general public, the effects of digital technology, and the recent shift away from a focus on “starchitects.”

Some critics write for the general public—”People who might know Frank Gehry but don’t know SHoP,” explained moderator Julie Iovine of The Architect’s Newspaper. Architecture columns vie for space with movie and pop-culture pieces. Though each critic on the panel targets a slightly different audience, they agreed that interest has shifted from the celebrity architect and “object buildings” to larger debates about the future of the city.

Digital technology has, no doubt, influenced the way the public consumes criticism—they have become critics themselves. “Twitter and the Internet add a whole new level of immediacy to ‘undercooked’ ideas,” Russell said. Even critics find themselves writing about buildings before they are complete, using only renderings as their guide. Goldberger noted that there is an expectation of decisiveness when critics review a finished building, but when it comes to the un-built, he feels a responsibility to be equivocal.

But what about critics’ responsibility towards the architects about whose work they write? According to Goldberger, “Good criticism has to pay attention to the social, economic and political context—architects’ good intentions don’t always have a place.” Cathleen McGuigan, editor-in-chief of Architectural Record, concurred: “Criticism is not just giving a thumbs-up or thumbs-down.” She strives to include images that illustrate projects within their urban context and also interviews end users. Ultimately, the panelists tried to keep things in perspective. As Goldberger concluded: “Nobody tears down a building if we don’t like it.”

Read The Architect’s Newspaper’s transcription of the event here

Murrye Bernard is a freelance architecture writer and a contributing editor to Contract Magazine and e-Oculus.

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Reports from the Field

Something New Under the Sun

Yas Marina Hotel in Abu Dhabi, UAE, by Asymptote with Dewan Architects and Engineers, and engineering by Arup.

Bjorn Moerman Photography

Event: Culture and Climate: Contemporary Architectural Responses in the Middle East
Speakers: Hana Kassem, AIA LEED AP—Director, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates PC; Gordon Carrie, CEng, LEED AP —Associate, Arup; Anthony Fieldman, AIA, LEED AP—Design Principal, Perkins+Will; Paul Stoller, LEED AP BD+C—Director, Atelier Ten; Louise Harpman, Assoc. AIA—Clinical Associate Professor of Architecture, Urban Design, and Sustainability, New York University (moderator)
Organizer: Center for Architecture
Sponsors: A. Estéban & Co. (benefactor), Buro Happold (lead sponsor); Eytan Kaufman Design and Development, FXFOWLE (sponsors); Arup; Columbia University, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation; Dewan Architects & Engineers; GAD; HDR; Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates; NAGA Architects; Ramla Benaissa Architects; RBSD Architects; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; World Monuments Fund; Zardman (supporters)
Location: Center for Architecture, 03.01.2012

The more active global architecture firms become in the Middle East, the more complex and fruitful the exchanges of ideas are between regional traditions and the technologies, strategies, and assumptions of external cultures. The speakers at this panel, associated with the Change and City of Mirages exhibitions currently on display at the Center, emphasized the bidirectionality of these dialogues while taking account of the distinctive features that make the 16 Middle Eastern nations natural sites for certain types of projects, but sites of resistance to others. In projects for governmental, educational, and corporate clients around Western Asia—an alternative name, moderator Louise Harpman pointed out, for parts of the world that were first dubbed “the Middle East” by American and English naval and military strategists in the early 20th century—these firms have found productive ways of engaging with cultures that remain proudly resistant to being defined by outsiders.

Arup’s Gordon Carrie, CEng, LEED AP, explained some of the essentials of estidama, the sustainability principles that function under Abu Dhabi’s 2030 plan as the local equivalent of LEED standards. Since this region is one of the brightest places on Earth, Carrie noted, solar energy is a natural here; photovoltaics can be exceptionally efficient, particularly when integrated into holistically designed systems (and protected from sandstorms). The religious practice of ritual purification makes these nations relatively heavy users of water, and the scarcity of water resources means that gray-to-green infrastructural forms (rain gardens, sand filters, bioswales) have great potential, though cultural taboos make wastewater-reuse systems hard to implement—a phenomenon also found in New York, Atelier Ten’s Paul Stoller, LEED AP, noted.

Although the region includes eight climates as defined by the Köppen classification, intense sunlight is an unavoidable fact of life here. As the joint presentation by Stoller and Perkins+Will’s Anthony Fieldman, AIA, LEED AP, set out a series of important physical, cultural, and architectural qualities they have observed in the region, aridity—2-4 inches of rainfall per year—is an important principle connecting many of the others, such as protectiveness and modesty (expressed in the form of streets narrow enough to be self-shading, as well as home structures preserving social and gender separation), texture and intricacy (as in the elaborate geometries of mashrabiya screens), and a sense of discovery (embodied in contrasting compressed and open spaces). “The world’s hottest climate,” Fieldman noted, is “not something to be feared; it’s more something to rise to the occasion to.”

Structures that modulate gradual transitions in temperature through optimized apertures, reflective internal rather than external glazing, traditional tent-like forms, and other relatively low-tech approaches are generally successful here. Civic space as it’s understood in the West, KPF’s Hana Kassem, AIA, LEED AP, observed, has barely existed in Abu Dhabi, and malls, for better or worse, are one of the fast-developing forms of it. Her firm has looked to an older local tradition, the souk or open-air commercial quarter, as a model for the “media souk” in a new media production zone, twofour54 (named for the emirate’s latitude and longitude), where individual building components weave together to join at a central bazaar-like area, making the relatively novel “live/work/connect” mixed-use concept more culturally comprehensible.

The oil-rich nations of the region have been modernizing rapidly, in some cases too rapidly to take much heed of resource conservation as they have brought Western cooling technologies to their large-scale projects. Their leaders are avidly curious about some, though not all, design principles developed elsewhere, Fieldman reported. It is unrealistic for Westerners who have only recently “woken up from our energy binge,” in his phrase, to expect former nomadic cultures—in places whose primary economic activity a few decades ago was pearl diving, as Kassem noted about the United Arab Emirates—to adopt building technologies that strive to shield 100% of solar gain, or to eschew air conditioning, but the sense of environmental stewardship is increasing. The earlier-industrializing nations have much to offer, but also much to learn from Western Asia’s centuries-long experience managing the controllable and uncontrollable challenges of their world.

Bill Millard is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in OCULUS, Icon, Content, The Architect’s Newspaper, and other publications.

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Reports from the Field

Enrique Norten: This Will Kill That

Rendering of TEN Arquitectos’ Acapulco City Hall

Courtesy TEN Arquitectos

Event: Enrique Norten: This Will Kill That
Speaker: Enrique Norten, Hon. FAIA—Principal, TEN Arquitectos
Organizer: AIANY Cultural Facilities Committee
Reception sponsor: TEN Arquitectos
Location: Center for Architecture, 03.07.2012

Enrique Norten’s recent talk, provocatively titled “This Will Kill That,” could be best considered in two parts. In the course of his lecture, Norten moved between a fresh mix of recent work by his firm TEN Arquitectos and a historical analysis of the relationship between architecture and media technologies.

Norten began the night comparing physical urban space and digital cyberspace
through the lens of Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1901 The Art and Craft of the Machine. Norten’s lecture took its title from a chapter in Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, which is also a touchstone for Wright in Art and Craft. Norten’s point was well taken: while cities might have once served as the true “machines for living” (Corbusier), the machine in which we increasingly live is cyberspace’s cloud. Nevertheless, while remarking on last year’s Arab Spring and flipping through slides of occupied squares across the world, Norten asserted that one actually “has to be present to change the world.” Cyberspace, it seems, cannot supplant physical space, at least when it comes to political change.

Although the phrase “This Will Kill That” can be interpreted as a reference to erosion of the Church’s monopoly on truth, following the advent of the printing press (from Hugo: “All civilization begins in theocracy and ends in democracy”), Norten aptly put his finger on the other meaning: “Printing will kill architecture.” Or as Norten suggested, “Thought has become liberated from architecture.” Indeed, Norten, via Hugo and Wright, identifies a larger issue of contemporary architecture: its relative impermanence and resultant decline as humanity’s principle repository of memory.

While this author might address the issue from slightly different position—after all, what building isn’t a reflection of its time and a wellspring of information about an era?—it is probably true that contemporary architecture rarely rises to the level of “the great handwriting of the human race” (Hugo again).

What does this have to do with TEN Arquitectos’ work? Well, perhaps it’s the fact that the four projects presented—Acapulco City Hall, Rutgers University’s Livingston Campus, the Chapo Museum in Mexico City, and the Amparo Museum in Puebla, Mexico—each starts with a consideration of public space and the social dimensions of the building’s program.

Acapulco City Hall, located at an important intersection, separates the sections of the program (different bureaucratic offices) into boxes, and stacks each under a roof that spans two-and-a-half football fields; the roof is green, of course, and is covered with solar panels and troughs for rainwater. The interstitial spaces created between the stacked bureaus serve as circulation and public space, enabling the building to be open 24/7 and serve as a public square at the end of a typical government workday.

Work for the Rutgers University Livingston Campus, which includes a master plan and a business school, attempts to “create an edge” to what is an extension of the main New Brunswick campus. Carved out of the Rutgers Ecological Preserve, the plan rings the site with buildings, leaving central quads open for circulation. The Business School is the literal campus gateway.

For the Chapo Museum, instead of demolishing a crystal palace-style structure on the site, Norten opted to slip the museum under the existing roof, as if it were a “ship in a bottle.” The existing shell protects the building and, like the Acapulco project, the interstitial space between roof and building is available for assembly and circulation.

The final project, the Amparo Museum, also works with an existing building. This time, new space is found on the building complex’s roof. By inserting a new structure into the middle of the collection of colonial buildings and expanding up, the public realm is again rediscovered in an interstitial space.

In an attempt to weave the two halves together, perhaps we can end with a quote by David Remnick from the March 12th issue of The New Yorker: “Democracy is never fully achieved. At best, it’s an ambition, a state of becoming.” Are we destined, then, to occupy an interstitial space along Hugo’s procession of civilization (theocracy to democracy)? If so, then perhaps there is still hope for architecture to embody ideas despite its materiality. By opening up public space, Norten’s architecture attempts to unlock architecture’s power to influence people and effect change.

Daniel B.F. Fox is AIA New York’s office manager and liaison to the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

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Reports from the Field

Oculus Book Talk: Guy Gugliotta, Freedom’s Cap: The United States Capitol and the Coming of the Civil War



Location: Center for Architecture, 03.12.12
Speakers: Guy Gugliotta — journalist and author
Introduced by: Rick Bell, FAIA — Executive Director, AIANY
Respondent: Alan M. Hantman, FAIA — 10th Architect of the Capitol
Organizers: AIANY Oculus Committee; AIANY Historic Buildings Committee

At a time when citizens are increasingly frustrated by Congress’ inability to leverage a spirit of bipartisanship into action on their behalf, Freedom’s Cap: The United States Capitol and the Coming of the Civil War, a recent book by former Washington Post reporter Guy Gugliotta, is an important reflection on the history and the meaning of a building that symbolizes our democracy. It is also a testament to how a powerful architectural vision can be retained even when the core beliefs and values of its users are being torn apart.

In his recent lecture at the Center for Architecture, part of the Oculus Book Talks series, Gugliotta described the expansion of the U.S. Capitol during one of America’s most bloody and tumultuous periods in history – the Civil War. The Capitol, like other great buildings, had its share of drama and intrigue throughout its design and construction. The original Capitol building of 1800 was burned to the ground during the War of 1812 and was reconstructed soon after, but by 1850, Gugliotta said, it was rotting from water infiltration. The architect charged with the expansion, Thomas Ustick Walter, wrote in a letter to his wife, Amanda, that “The building is like one grand water closet – every hole and corner defiled.”

Gugliotta described the bitter feud between Walter and Army engineer Montgomery C. Meigs, who supervised the construction of the Capitol dome. Walter, as Gugliotta noted, believed Meigs was stealing his legacy as he fought for greater control of the design. He wrote of their quarrel in early 1858, “We have got completely at war.” In Gugliotta’s book, the relationship between these two brilliant men unfolds amidst the backdrop of a country that was also in conflict, fighting for its very soul. The unlikely champion of the Capitol’s expansion was Jefferson Davis, the junior senator from Mississippi who during the 11 years before he left the Senate to become the President of the Confederacy, was the building’s greatest advocate. Gugliotta noted that the rifts created by the Civil War became deeply personal among the three men—Davis, Walter, and Meigs—who oversaw work on the Capitol. While the architectural expansion of the Capitol and its iconic design was a symbol of a united America, the history of its construction is inseparable from the Civil War. The statue “Freedom” was placed atop the Capitol’s new dome in 1863, shortly after the Battle of Gettysburg.

In his response to the presentation, former Architect of the Capitol Alan Hantman, FAIA, drew parallels between the complex politics surrounding the Capitol of the 1850s and those today. He noted that when he was appointed in 1997, he assumed that his greatest hurdle would be gridlock between the Republicans and Democrats, but that in fact it was conflicts between the Senate and House that posed the most serious challenges. Rick Bell, FAIA, pointed to similarities between our contemporary moment, characterized by economic uncertainty and polarizing rhetoric in national debates, and the Panic of 1857, which, as Gugliotta notes, was set off by the Dred Scott Decision on the rights of slaves. Bell observed that 1857 was also the year of the AIA’s founding, and that moments of crisis, whether economic or moral, sometimes drive the creation of new institutions, or, as in the expansion of the Capitol, strengthen the resolve of existing ones.

Maxinne Rhea Leighton, Assoc. AIA, is a member of the AIANY Oculus Committee. She is in charge of managing the Northeast Region Business Development and Marketing at Parsons Brinkerhoff.

Note about Oculus Book Talks: Each month, the AIANY Oculus Committee hosts a Book Talk at the Center for Architecture. Each talk highlights a recent publication on architecture, design, or the built environment — presented by the author. The Book Talks are a forum for dialogue and discussion, and copies of the publications are available for purchase and signing. The next talk will take place on 04.04.12, featuring Alexandra Lange, author of Writing About Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities. Click here to RSVP.

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In The News



In this issue:
· Frieze Decorates Randall’s Island
· A Final Gwathmey-Designed Building is Added to the Skyline
· Fumihiko Maki Re-Makes Astor Place
· First Look at Designs for the Final Section of the High Line
· Armory Show Redux
· Reinventing the Suburban Office Building

Frieze Decorates Randall’s Island


Rendering of the pavilion.


Frieze New York has released renderings of SO-IL’s design for a temporary structure that will snake along the East River on Randall’s Island. The London-based international contemporary art fair’s first foray in New York will take place in a “mutated pie-shaped tent section” using “wedges” that will be inserted into the structure at five locations. From the outside, the wedges allow for an otherwise straight tent to appear supple and meander. Frieze will feature commissioned works of art, the majority of which will be situated outdoors throughout the island. The fair will include works from more than 170 leading galleries and takes place May 4 – 7, 2012.

A Final Gwathmey-Designed Building is Added to the Skyline


Rendering of 323 Park Avenue South

Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman & Associates Architects

One of the last projects designed by the late Charles Gwathmey, FAIA, is now rising. Known as 323 Park Avenue South, the project is being realized by Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman & Associates Architects for Tessler Developments. The 33,200-square-foot, 10-story luxury residential condominium features sixteen 1,350-square-foot two-bedroom residences, and one 3,100-square-foot, full-floor penthouse, as well as ground-floor space for retail. Amenities include 10-foot-high ceilings, bathrooms with heated floors, and optional SmartHome technology.

Fumihiko Maki Re-Makes Astor Place


Rendering of 51 Astor Place

Maki and Associates

Construction is underway and new images have been released for 51 Astor Place, a 400,000-square-foot, 12-story office building designed by Maki and Associates, which replaces Cooper Union’s old engineering building and a Starbucks. The structural steel and concrete slab building incorporates a low-e glazed and aluminum curtain wall. Features include a private green roof on the fifth floor, a tenant-accessible green roof on the 13th, a James Carpenter-designed cast glass art installation, and an urban plaza designed by Thomas Balsley Associates with its own Alexander Calder sculpture and a bicycle storage room with showers. The project, developed by Edward J. Minskoff Equities, is designed to achieve LEED Gold certification. Adamson Associates International serves as associate architect on the project.

First Look at Designs for the Final Section of the High Line


Rendering the 11th Avenue access point for the High Line.

Image by James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro; courtesy City of New York and Friends of the High Line.

Friends of the High Line (FHL) and the City of New York recently unveiled initial designs for the third and final stretch of elevated freight rail line that wraps around Hudson Yards. In keeping with FHL’s practice of seeking public input, the High Line design team James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro presented schemes at a community meeting. Comments from the meeting will be compiled in a summary document to be posted on the FHL website and shared with the design team. The estimated total cost of capital construction of the High Line at the rail yards is $90 million. FHL is actively working to raise private funding, and the City has launched the public review process for a zoning text amendment that would set a framework for critical funding from the Related Companies for the portion of the High Line on the Eastern Rail Yards. The funding would cover approximately 30% of the estimated total cost of building the final section, and would pave the way for construction to begin later this year.

Armory Show Redux


BSC’s design features yellow-painted “Street Seats” and landmark towers.

Andy Ryan

The Armory Show, a leading international contemporary and modern art fair and one of the most important annual art events in the city, recently took place on Piers 92 and 94 on the Hudson River. Organizers engaged Bade Stageberg Cox (BSC) to redesign and reinvigorate the show. The firm countered the common complaint of “fair fatigue” by making the space more comfortable and easier to navigate by employing a single-loop circulation. BSC’s layout balanced gallery areas with lounges that serve as both a visual respite from the art and places where impromptu performances and chance meetings could occur. Lounges, analogous to parks or town squares, serve as social spaces around which galleries were organized; landmark towers oriented the visitors and identified the lounges. BSC also created “Street Seats,” an installation for the coffee bar at Pier 94. An eclectic mix of chairs found abandoned on city streets were repaired, painted taxi cab yellow, and ended up traveling and reappearing at different points throughout the fair during its five-day run.

Reinventing the Suburban Office Building


Rendering of the renovated building.


KPF has broken ground on the renovation of an existing 225,000-square-foot building in Madison, NJ. What was once an outdated windowless Verizon call center will be repositioned and transformed into a Class A suburban office building for Realogy, the parent company of several leading real estate franchise brands. The renovation is designed to pull nature directly into the office environment, which is achieved by cutting out the central third of the original building to create a series of open-air courtyards. The central courtyard divides the building into two parallel office wings, and moves outward in layers into the parking area, which is re-envisioned as a part of the landscape. Landscape swales and plantings help to reestablish natural aquifers. The lobby, which serves as a central connector, is conceived as an architectural promenade leading to the third floor by way of an ornamental stairway. Once employees are inside the building they surround a captured forest while they themselves are surrounded by environmentally responsible landscape designed in collaboration with Nelson Byrd Waltz Landscape Architects. The project is expected to achieve LEED Silver certification.


After a 12-month renovation, fashion retailer Joe Fresh will open later this month at 510 Fifth Avenue. The 14,000-square-foot, two-story store is located in the former Manufacturers Hanover Trust building, a designated landmark building designed by SOM’s Gordon Bunshaft, FAIA. The Toronto-based interior design firm Burdifilek created a clean backdrop to highlight the collection’s bold color aesthetic and created custom fixtures and finishes in matte white, blackened steel, and clear sandblasted acrylic. A big win for preservationists is property owner Vornado Realty’s  recent agreement to return sculptor Harry Bertoia’s  ”Golden Arbor,” a  70-foot-long copper, nickel, and brass gilded screen has which has been reinstalled on the second floor of the store. Other concessions have been made to improve the connection to the important design elements of the original architect’s vision, but the signature scissor escalators won’t be replaced in their original configuration.

Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates has been selected by the George Kaiser Foundation to transform more than 55 acres of land along the Arkansas River into a recreational, civic, and cultural destination in Tulsa, OK. The firm is already holding sessions to elicit ideas from the public.

The New York City Department of Housing, Preservation and Development (HPD), the DESIS Lab (Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability) at Parsons The New School for Design, and the Public Policy Lab have formed a partnership to explore ways to facilitate community engagement in the development of housing-related services. The team, composed of Public Policy Lab fellows and Parsons faculty and students, will target specific neighborhoods where HPD programs and initiatives are most active, starting with the Melrose Commons Urban Renewal Area in the Melrose section of The Bronx. This initiative is part of Public & Collaborative, a global effort of the DESIS Network in which more than a dozen academic design labs around the world will explore how to enhance the connections between citizens and public services. Parsons will host a series of four lectures in March and April that will bring together leading European and New York City designers with policymakers to explore the intersection of social innovation and public service. For more information visit http://nyc.pubcollab.org/.

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Around the AIA + Center for Architecture



AIA Grassroots 2012 Recap
AIANY joined colleagues from across the nation at the 2012 Grassroots Leadership and Legislative Conference in Washington, DC. Conference participants convened for three days to empower our collective voice, speak with members of Congress, and share a vision of what America can be – through design. The theme of this year’s conference was Leadership Advocacy Communication, and featured keynote speakers Dr. Richard Jackson, MD, author of Urban Sprawl and Public Health, and former Marine Vernice Armour, the first African-American female combat pilot. ArchiPAC, the AIA’s bipartisan political action committee, raised over $50,000, a new record, with more than 400 donors.



At the conference, AIANY received the 2012 AIA Grassroots Excellence Award for Component Outreach Communications – Outstanding Overall Program for “Archtober,” the first ever month-long festival of architecture and design in New York City, which took place throughout October 2011. The award was conferred by Mickey Jacob, FAIA, First Vice President of the AIA, on March 9, 2012, at the AIA Grassroots Conference at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC. Pictured here, AIA National President Jeff Potter, FAIA, stands with AIANY Managing Director Cynthia Phifer Kracauer, AIA, LEED AP; Laura Ann Trimble, Partnership Programs Coordinator; Daniel Fox, Office Manager & Liaison to the Landmarks Preservation Commission; Nicole Friedman, Communications Director; Vicki Long, CAE, Hon AIAFL; and Robert Ivy, FAIA, AIA Executive Vice President & CEO, for the award presentation.



AIA New York State was the recipient of two Grassroots awards at the 2012 conference in Washington, DC; the first, conferred on Thursday, March 8, was for the Government Affairs Overall Program. On Friday, March 9, the AIANYS “Every Building Has an Architect” postcard program was honored with a communications award. Here, Russell Davidson, FAIA, Vice President, AIA National, stands with David Businelli,  AIA, AIANYS Immediate Past President; Stephanie Quirini, AIANYS Communications Director; Edward Farrell, AIANYS Executive Director; Burt Roslyn, FAIA, AIANYS Past-President; and Eric Goshow, AIA, LEED AP, Acting President and President-Elect, AIANYS, after the communications award was presented.



The AIANY delegation held meetings in the Rayburn House Office Building with Congressman Jerrold L. Nadler, as well as with senior legislative staff in the offices of Congresswoman Nydia M. Velazquez, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, and Congressman Charles B. Rangel. Here, AIANY President Joseph J. Aliotta, AIA, LEED AP leads a conversation with Congressman Nadler. AIA Brooklyn Chapter President Giuseppe Anzalone and AIA Queens President Michael Cosentino joined AIANY for the meetings.

In the meetings, AIANY presented the AIA’s Plan for Economic Recovery and asked our elected representatives for their support on a number of initiatives. The plan calls for action on four items to create jobs in the hard hit design and construction industry: Removing Barriers to Private Sector Lending, Saving Energy, Creating Jobs, Helping Small Firms Grow and Thrive, and Revitalizing America’s Neighborhoods by passing a transportation bill. Read more about these agenda items here

AIANYS Acting President Eric Goshow, AIA, LEED AP, similarly led the state delegation meeting in the Hart and Russell Senate Office Buildings with senior legislative staff in the offices of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Senator Charles Schumer. The state delegation was accompanied by President of AIA UK Etain Fitzpatrick, AIA, and President of AIA Europe Thomas Bitnar, AIA, RIBA, CKA.



AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, right, visited the Capitol with Thomas Bitnar, AIA, RIBA, CKA, President, AIA Europe, and Etain Fitzpatrick, AIA, President, AIA UK.



Debra S. Kunce, FAIA, 2012-2013 AIA Vice President, announced that AIA National is embarking upon a repositioning led by Pentagram in partnership with LaPlaca Cohen.



2012 AIA First Vice President and President-Elect Mickey Jacob, FAIA and 2012 AIA President Jeff Potter, FAIA, announce that ArchiPAC had set a new fundraising record. Over $50,000 was raised from more than 400 donors.



AIA DC hosted the annual Grassroots Big Sibs dinner at their spectacular new District Architecture Center, located at 421 7th Street, near Gallery Place. The “big sibs” are comprised of the 15 largest AIA Chapters; those attending included Board Members and component staff from Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Washington DC and New York. AIA DC President Jon Penndorf, AIA, LEED, and Executive Director Mary Fitch, AICP, Hon. AIA, welcomed guests, including AIANY’s Venesa Alicea, AIA, LEED AP BD+C; AIANY President Joseph J. Aliotta, AIA, LEED AP; Illya Azaroff, AIA; AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA; AIANY Policy Director Jay Bond; Mary Burke, FAIA; AIANY Communications Director Nicole Friedman; AIANY Managing Director Cynthia Kracauer, AIA, LEED AP; and AIANY Partnership Programs Coordinator Laura Trimble.



How to create and operate a Center for Architecture” was the topic of a pre-conference workshop that drew almost 50 participants on Wednesday, 03.07.12. Local and State Component Presidents, Presidents-elect and Executive Directors from Sanibel to Hawaii were on hand to compare their aspirations, intentions and plans with examples presented by Lisa Richmond from AIA Seattle, David Crawford, Hon. AIA of AIA North Carolina, and Rick Bell, FAIA representing AIA New York. Seattle’s storefront at 1911 First Avenue near Pike Place Market has greeted designers and the general public for 30 years. AIA North Carolina’s “green and grand” new center, designed by Frank Harmon, FAIA, opens to the public on St. Patrick’s Day, this coming Saturday, 03.17.12. Presentation was also made of all 17 AIA Centers – ranging from AIA San Francisco’s Center for Architecture & Design, to the newly opened Boston Society of Architects’ BSA Space at Atlantic Wharf. The program was reprised by Mary Fitch, Hon. AIA of AIA DC and John Claypool, AIA from AIA Philadelphia on Saturday, 03.10.12.

The Accent on Architecture Gala, benefitting the American Architectural Foundation, took place on Friday evening, 03.09.12 at the Mellon Auditorium on Constitution Avenue. Honorees for 2012 included Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia, Haworth, Inc., and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Representing the AIA New York Chapter were Regional Directors Susan Chin, FAIA and Anthony Schirripa, FAIA and AIANYS Board Member Mary Burke, FAIA, along with Cynthia Kracauer, AIA, Laura Trimble, and Rick Bell, FAIA.

eCalendar includes an interactive listing of architectural events around NYC. Click the link to go to to eCalendar on the Web.

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At the Center for Architecture



Center for Architecture Gallery Hours and Location
Monday-Friday: 9:00am-8:00pm, Saturday: 11:00am-5:00pm, Sunday: CLOSED
536 LaGuardia Place, Between Bleecker and West 3rd Streets in Greenwich Village, NYC, 212-683-0023


LIVE FEED: Middle East Collaborations, 2005-2012

On view 02.17.2012–03.14.2012


City of Mirages: Baghdad 1952-1982


On view 02.22.2012–05.05.2012


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At the Center for Architecture Foundation

FamilyDay@theCenter: Build a Geodesic Dome

Groups work to construct different parts of the geodesic dome.

Claire Buckley

Kids proudly show off the structure they created.

Claire Buckley

As groups connect their pieces, the dome begins to take shape.

Claire Buckley

Families admire the finished product.

Claire Buckley


Inspired by the geodesic dome, participants create their own structures out of toothpicks and marshmallows.

Claire Buckley

Families gathered at the Center for Architecture on 03.10.12 to learn about the geodesic dome, an interesting structural form invented and designed by Buckminster Fuller. Visitors viewed a slideshow, looking at examples of geodesic domes and learning about some of the history of this unique structure. Kids and their parents then had the exciting opportunity to build a large-scale geodesic dome of their own; families worked in groups to create individual pieces, and, as they linked them together, one giant dome formed. Participants were able to explore the composition of a geodesic dome and discover the shapes that make up its structure. Everyone was truly impressed with what they had created, and the kids enjoyed climbing in and out of the structure and standing underneath the dome.

In the workshop portion of the program, participants let their creativity show as they built their own structures out of toothpicks and marshmallows. The creations showed a variety of unique and interesting designs. The kids proudly shared their final constructions and left the Center with new ideas and inspiration.

The Center for Architecture offers Family Days each month. Our next Family Day will be a walking tour of historic Brooklyn Heights on March 17.

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Names in the News



The 2012 AIA New York Chapter Design Awards for Architecture, Interiors, Urban Design, and Un-Built Work honored 36 projects and the firms behind them. The complete list can be found here.

Lee Skolnick, FAIA, and the late Ralph Lerner, FAIA, HKAI, were honored with John Q. Hejduk Awards for Architecture from Cooper Union…The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art announced the winners of the Arthur Ross Awards for Excellence in the Classical Tradition, including Rhett Butler (Artisanship); Francis Morrone (History/Journalism); and Edwina von Gal (Landscape Design)…CIVITAS will present the 2012 August Heckscher Award for Community Service to Carmine Branagan, Director, National Academy Museum and School and Penelope Maynard and Lynden Miller for the Transformation of Central Park’s Conservatory Garden…Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts will honor several projects and buildings as part of its 29th annual meeting and awards ceremony, including 875 Park Avenue by FSI Architecture (Restoration Award); National Academy Museum & School by Bade Stageberg Cox Architecture (Renaissance Award); The Frick Collection Portico Gallery by Davis Brody Bond (Transformation Award); Central Park Conservancy: East Meadow (Distinctive Achievement Award); 7 Gracie Square (Extra Mile Award) and Schaller & Weber (Good Neighbor Award)…

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) commends the U.S. State Department for moving forward with a shortlist of nine design teams for the New Embassy
Compound in Mexico City, Mexico—the first State Department project solicited under the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) new Design Excellence program; the shortlist includes AECOM/Snohetta; Allied Works Architecture; Diller Scofidio + Renfro / Buro Happold; Ennead Architects; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects…Five teams have been shortlisted to design the University of Buffalo’s new School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences building in the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, including Cannon Design, Diller Scofidio + Renfro/Gensler, Grimshaw Architects, HOK, and Rafael Viñoly Architects… 

Vishaan Chakrabarti, director of the Center for Urban Real Estate (CURE) at Columbia University’s graduate school, is joining SHoP Architects as its seventh partner… Brian T. Ahern, Assoc. AIA, has joined GreenbergFarrow as the firm’s residential studio director…

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New Deadlines



2012 OCULUS Editorial Calendar
If you are an architect by training or see yourself as an astute observer of New York’s architectural and planning scene, note that OCULUS editors want to hear from you! Projects/topics may be anywhere, but architects must be New York-based. Please submit story ideas by the deadlines indicated below to Kristen Richards, Hon. AIA, Hon. ASLA: kristen@ArchNewsNow.com.

Spring: Small Firms Doing Big Things [closed]
Summer: 2012 AIANY Design Awards [closed]

Fall: Learning Curve
Pedagogical shifts affecting architecture for education. — How architects/architecture reinforce new ways of teaching. — How architects/architecture can change the pedagogy. — How big institutional expansion plans are changing the city. — Case studies.
Submit story ideas by 06.01.12

Winter: In Sickness and In Health / Health & Well-being
Why and how the healthcare industry (providers, pharma, etc.) investing in architecture. — What are the trends? — Issues: generational; demographic; sustainability; technology. — Case studies
Submit story ideas by 07.27.12


03.15.12 Call for Entries: AIA NY Medal of Honor Design Competition
03.15.12 Call for Entries: IBHS / AIAS Student Design Competition – Fortified: Keeping a Lid On It!
03.16.12 Call for Submissions: Shadow City(s) – AIANY Global Dialogues Committee
03.30.12 Call for Proposals: Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn Summer Concerts 2012
03.31.12 Call for Entries: Dwell / Design Within Reach Live/Work Design Contest
04.01.12 Call for Applications: RISD Dean of Architecture + Design
04.06.12 Call for Entries: Co.Design / Porsche $20,000 Next Design Challenge
04.09.12 Call for Entries: 2012 Steedman Fellowship in Architecture International Design Competition
04.13.12 Call for Proposals: Jason Pettigrew Memorial ARE Scholarship
04.19.12 Call for Entries: Architecture Foundation of British Columbia 100 Mile House Open Ideas Competition
05.01.12 Call for Proposals: FIGMENT/ENYA/SEAoNY City of Dreams Pavilion Competition
05.31.12 Call for Expressions of Interest: Projects for 10th Annual OHNY Weekend October 6 + 7 2012
[Ongoing] Call for Proposals: Design Trust for Public Space

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02.27.12: “Architectural Criticism Today” was the first of four panel discussions being presented throughout the year in the Architecture and the Media series. It was organized by the Center for Architecture and AIANY’s Oculus Committee and Marketing & PR Committee, and co-organized by The Architect’s Newspaper. For the complete schedule, click here.


(L-R): James Russell, FAIA, Bloomberg; Cathleen McGuigan, Architectural Record; Paul Goldberger, The New Yorker; Justin Davidson, New York Magazine; and Julie Iovine, The Architect’s Newspaper (moderator)

Kristen Richards

02.29.12:“LIVE FEED: Middle East Collaborations, 2005-2012″ featured presentations and projects by faculty and students of the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.

GSAPP Dean Mark Wigley addresses the audience, with Craig Konyk, AIA, at left.

Nicole Friedman

Rick Bell, FAIA, introduces the panel of Columbia faculty, (L-R) Robert Beauregard, Jennifer Broutin, Kamal Farah, Markus Dochantschi, Assoc. AIA, Mario Gooden, AIA, Craig Konyk, AIA, and Mark Wigley.

Nicole Friedman

02.29.12: Winners of the 2012 IESNYC Student Lighting Competition were announced at an awards ceremony.


(L-R): Sejung Oh, Pratt Institute (Grand Prize); Sang Yoon-Lee, Pratt Institute (Second Prize), Farnaz Hamedanchian, New York School of Interior Design (Third Prize), Rupam Patheja, Parsons The New School for Design (Honorable Mention), Andrew An, Pratt Insitute (Honorable Mention); Caleb Ferris, Pratt Insitute (Honorable Mention); and David Krawczyk, Pratt Institute (Honorable Mention)

Naomi Castillo Photography

03.01.12: A panel discussion was held in conjunction with the opening of the exhibition “Made in USA – German Architects in New York” at the German Consulate General. The exhibition is on view through 03.23.12.


(L-R): Curator Matthias Neumann (normaldesign); Philipp von Dalwig, Assoc. AIA (MANIFOLD Architecture Studio); Jürgen Riehm, FAIA (1100 Architect); Thomas Warnke (space4a); Thomas Leeser (Leeser Architecture); Lisa Green (Selldorf Architects); and Tom Winter (Tom Winter Architects)

Natalia Roumelioti


Models on display as part of the exhibition

Natalia Roumelioti

03.05.12:The AIANY 2012 Design Awards Symposium was held at the Center for Architecture. View the list of winners here.

(L-R): Architecture jurors Anne Fougeron, FAIA, Carme Pinós, Hon. FAIA, and Thomas Beeby, FAIA.

Benedict Clouette

(L-R): Urban Design jurors Michael Lehrer, FAIA, Donlyn Lyndon, FAIA, and Bernardo Fort-Brescia, FAIA.

Benedict Clouette

(L-R):Un-Built Work jurors Thomas Hacker, FAIA, Bruce Lindsey, AIA, and Scott Erdy, AIA.

Benedict Clouette

(L-R): Interiors jurors Rand L. Elliott, FAIA, Alice Y. Kimm, FAIA, and Gary Lee.

Benedict Clouette


(L-R): Design Awards Committee Co-chair Betty Chen, AIA, Commissioner, NYC Planning Commission; author and critic Alexandra Lange, moderator; and Design Awards Committee Co-chair Ronnette Riley, FAIA, principal, Ronnette Riley Architect.

Kristen Richards

03.06.12:The “Spotlight Collection by David Rockwell” was launched by Jim Thompson Fabrics at the Greenwich Hotel.


(L-R): David Rockwell, AIA, principal, Rockwell Group; Kristen Richards, Hon. AIA, Hon. ASLA, editor, Oculus and ArchNewsNow.com; and George Calys, San Francisco Examiner architecture critic


03.07.12:Enrique Norten, Hon. FAIA, principal of TEN Arquitectos, who delivered a most thoughtful lecture titled “This Will Kill That,” organized by the AIANY Cultural Facilities Committee.



Kristen Richards

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