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  • December 16, 2020

    On Wednesday, December 9, AIANY WIA hosted its 12th Annual Speed Mentoring event, which is a core component of our annual programming. Mentees of all experience levels were mentored by powerhouse leaders in the architectural profession including former AIANY Chapter Presidents, current firm partners, and architectural thought leaders. Groups of two or three mentees were paired with individual mentors for three 20 minute sessions. Mentees at all experience levels participated, including recent graduates. At the end we regrouped in one large forum to recap and connect with each other.

    We are grateful to the amazing mentors who volunteered to make this event a success. Thank you also to the mentees who showed up and asked lots of questions. This event is critical in bridging the gap, addressing the leaky pipeline to licensure, and supporting the community of women architects and designers.

    Mentors included: Augusta Barone, AIA; Sandra Benjamin, AIA; Louise Braverman, FAIA; Christine Hunter, AIA; Leslie Jabs, AIA, Sara Jazayeri, AIA; Andrea Lamberti, AIA; Elizabeth Leber, AIA; Sara Lopergolo, FAIA; Julia Murphy, AIA; Julie Nelson, AIA; Mindy No, AIA; Anik Pearson, AIA; Angelique Pierre, RA; Betty Rexrode, RA; Faith Rose, AIA; Wendi Shafran, AIA; Kimberly Sheppard, FAIA; Hayes Slade, FAIA; Andrea Steele, AIA; Elizabeth Thompson, AIA; Roberta Washington, FAIA; and Kim Yao, AIA.

    We are energized and encouraged by the positive feedback received from our esteemed mentors: “We are at a pivotal moment for women in the field and all of these efforts will dramatically help to close the gap!” and “I love knowing that WIA exists and has our back.  Feels good in a tough world out there!” What a great way to end the year 2020!

    To continue the mentoring initiative, please check out some useful articles and resources under our WIA webpage’s Related Links.
  • November 25, 2020

    On November 18, the AIANY Women in Architecture committee hosted the second edition of the “In Dialogue With…” series during the monthly committee meeting. This edition, aptly titled “In Dialogue With…a Mentor and a Mentee on a Mutual Path to Advance in our Profession”, focused on goals and expectations in a mentor-mentee relationship,  what contributes to a successful relationship, the different phases and purposes of mentorship, how to find role models/mentors, communication/self-advocacy, dealing with disappointment and setbacks, and graduating into a pandemic.

    Our featured guests were Maj Zaheda, WELL AP, Project Manager at Ware Malcomb and Nadeen Hassan, Founder, Primaverarch, which is an organization created by four minority-women who recently graduated from the Spitzer School of Architecture at the City College of New York, and is dedicated to stimulating change for the recognition of women in the architectural profession. Maj (Mentor) and Nadeen (Mentee) were matched by the Architecture League Mentorship Program of New York.

    While Maj and Nadeen did have a list of goals for the program in the beginning, they spoke about their relationship growing organically through different phases of mentorship. To achieve this, they spoke about being authentic and honest to get the most out of their time together,  and having an open mind while signing up for a mentorship program. They saw mentorship as a mutual benefit by respecting each others’ opinions and thoughts, allowing the relationship to evolve into a friendship, which came through beautifully during this session. Maj shared useful anecdotes on how she guided Nadeen to overcome disappointments or adversity, and to navigate conversations with peers, managers or people in a position of authority who don’t offer support. Maj and Nadeen offered advice and inspired us to remain positive in the face of challenges.

    The conversation was facilitated by Rosalind Tsang, AIA, AIANY WIA Committee Advisory Board Member. The program was a great success in encouraging all to consider or seek out being a mentor or a mentee. A time of Open Discussion followed amongst attendees, including guests from the AIANY TORCH Mentorship program, who shared advice and experiences with mentorship. We are grateful to all who attended to support and advocate for mentorship, one of the AIANY WIA’s core programs!

    The November meeting agenda with details and resources can be viewed here.

  • November 17, 2020

    On November 11, the AIANY Women in Architecture Committee and the Design for Aging Committee hosted a presentation focused on design excellence in affordable and supportive housing in New York City. Panelists represented the architect, client, supportive housing advocacy organization, and public agency, demonstrating how close collaboration is essential in providing access to housing—a fundamental right—to our most vulnerable communities. Our speakers, Akiko Kyei-Aboagye, AIA, LEED AP, Principal, Urban Architectural Initiatives, Rachel Simpson, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Senior Associate, Magnusson Architecture and Planning, Laura Mascuch, Executive Director, The Supportive Housing Network of New York, Takisia L. Whites, Director of New Initiatives and Underwriting, Robert Sanborn Development and Principal/Founder, Urban Impact Capital Partners and Emily Lehman, Assistant Commissioner, Division of Special Needs Housing, NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) presented initiatives and projects that provide safe, equitable, and sustainable housing.

    Emily Lehman provided an overview of HPD’s role to promote quality and affordable housing by highlighting plans through which its mission is achieved, including the ‘Five Borough-Ten Year Plan’. Key takeaways were the qualification parameters for housing to be considered ‘affordable’, identifying HPD’s financing programs, and design guidelines for supportive and affordable housing. Laura Mascuch summarized The Supportive Housing Network of New York’s work as an advocacy organization whose members who operate 52,000 supportive units statewide including 32,000 in NYC, and some of the key funding challenges the lie ahead. Takisia L. Whites underscored a “housing first” approach as a guiding principal of supportive housing with the aims to house and provide support which empowers people to continue their healing process. She also described how clients manage agency funding and pre-development and operating budgets for supportive housing developments. Akiko Kyei-Aboagye and Rachel Simpson presented several award-winning projects their firms have designed for mission and community-based clients.  Both architects shared how the design of this housing brings value and dignity to all communities and leads the way in how to design below minimum energy code.

    Jen Stencel, AIA, LEED AP, Associate Principal, Magnusson Architecture and Planning, facilitated an engaging, insightful conversation, and moderated questions from our audience. The event was inspiring and showcased the dedication to design and management in projects that serve the most vulnerable in our society.

  • November 11, 2020

    The AIANY Women in Architecture Committee is seeking applications for new co-chair with the planned departure of one of the current co-chairs at the end of the year.

    The AIANY WIA Committee develops and promotes women leaders within the architecture profession, with a focus on mentorship, licensure, and networking opportunities in architecture and the allied design and building industries. The AIANY WIA Committee is the definitive leadership resource for women in the architecture profession. 

    Interested AIA members can apply by sending a copy of their CV and a 250-word cover letter outlining their interest in the committee, why they feel suited to lead it, and in what direction they hope to take it, to Joseph Corbin, Please specify which committee you are applying to in the subject line. The deadline to apply is Friday, December 18.

  • October 26, 2020

    At our October monthly committee meeting, we continued the Design Presentation Series, during which Ayumi Sugiyama AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Director of Cultural Projects at SHoP Architects, shared with us the design and construction processes of the Barclay’s Center and the American Copper Buildings.

    The presentation included remarkable structural details and visualizations of the arena’s iconic exterior, built from 12,000 uniquely-shaped panels in weathered steel that converse with the color of local brownstone blocks. Ayumi also highlighted the interior of the Barclay’s Center, which is a reflection of the cityscape. The site employs custom terrazzo used to merge the tones of a New York City sidewalk with the arena’s accent colors. In light of recent events and #BlackLivesMatter, Ayumi also spoke of the importance of designing public community spaces as a part of all building typologies, including residential and commercial projects.

    Ayumi spoke of the American Copper Buildings on the East River, which has the city’s highest skybridge, which boast a structural featthe city’s highest skybridge which houses a lap pool and shared amenities. She spoke to the challenges of the riverside site, which was flooded during Superstorm Sandy, and elaborated on design decisions that were made to meet resiliency benchmarks including supplying in-house back-up power for every unit. 

    We thank Ayumi for her compelling presentation, and also thank our members for engaging in a lively discussion.

    You can view the full meeting agenda, and access links to resources and good reads here.


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