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  • 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.

  • October 19, 2020

    On October 16, the AIANY Women in Architecture Committee was honored to host Kim Yao, AIA New York 2020 President, who presented on advocacy in architecture at our Leadership Breakfast event. Yao walked us through her path in the profession, starting out as an intern at Architecture Research Office (ARO) shortly after graduation and eventually becoming Principal. As demonstrated by her path at the firm, ARO prides itself on being a “bottom-up” organization.

    The cornerstone of Yao’s practice at the ARO is engaging with and advocating for the community to impact the built environment of NYC and around the country through a sustainable lens. Notable projects run the gamut of typologies including private homes in Colorado, a higher-education stadium addition for the University of Cincinnati, public visitor spaces and the boathouse at Brooklyn Bridge Park, adaptive reuse educational learning commons, commercial interiors and showrooms, material studies and architectural product development, passive house units for Syracuse, NY, and two pilot passive house public schools in downtown Brooklyn. During the presentation, the focus was on how public spaces in NYC have become greener, more accessible, and sustainable over the past 20 years. In the new era of COVID, design is continuing to evolve and adapt. The way we collaborate as a profession changed overnight. This abrupt switch exposed many underlying inequities in the profession. Under Yao’s leadership, AIANY addresses these issues head-on through panel discussions and collective action. Yao works as a citizen architect, advocating on behalf of the community. She established AIANY’s 2020 theme “Charting NYC 2020” and has been instrumental in issuing the Statement on Criminal Justice Facilities to establish actionable steps for addressing systemic racism in the prison system.

    In addition to practicing as an architect, Yao is a professor at Columbia GSAPP, Parsons The New School SCE, and Barnard College. Through her design studios, Yao encourages students to explore the spatial and environmental implications of recent legislation such as Local Law 97 which requires property owners to track and reduce emissions.

    Yao’s latest project is geared toward engaging the public in a shared vision for the future of the city called Visualize NYC 2021. The microsite consists of a series of prompts from design, policy, and environmental experts on “how to help envision a better New York City for all.”

    In closing, Yao reflected on how AIANY can lay the groundwork to follow through on these efforts to advocate for underrepresented user groups in 2021 and beyond, by pooling resources and harnessing the digital format to extend our reach to communities of color and those who are not used to interfacing with architects. We thank Kim Yao, AIA, for her wonderful presentation, and also all who attended and participated in the Q&A.

  • October 13, 2020

    To kick off Archtober, the AIANY Women in Architecture committee hosted Womxn to the Front: Design, Activism and Lessons from the Creative Frontlines with keynote speaker, design strategist and activist De Nichols. De shared her insights and a collective call-to-action for womxn designers to further activate our vision, voice, and power during the current moments of economic, public health, and racial crises facing the U.S. Through four stages in her presentation- Grounding, Sharing, Organizing and Calling, De explained that “Womxn to the Front” means, “tending to the cores and intersections of our entangled issues and ensuring we do not leave our people behind or ignore their contributions”. She also stressed on long-term support and partnership as a means for progress, by introducing the audience to many of her incredible projects across varying scales.

    The presentation was followed by a conversation with Kavyashri Cherala, AIANY WIA Media & Communications Manager. The discussion highlighted the role of womxn leadership at the collective Design as Protest, the brainstorming process behind the key Design Justice Demands, how organizations can get involved, hold themselves accountable to enable gender parity in the workplace, and the ways more inclusive public spaces can be designed for protest, gathering and celebration. Kavya emphasized on the central role of women in many protests around the world- recently in Belarus, Sudan, India, Brazil and the US, and rounded off the discussion by moderating several insightful questions that our audience put forth.

    We thank our co-sponsors, Beyer Blinder Belle and FXCollaborative, for their generosity and support in making this event possible.

    The presentation and panel discussion will be available to view on our webpage shortly.

  • October 7, 2020

    On September 24, the AIA Women in Architecture committee hosted a global event as part of our annual Women Design Leaders Series, Design Leaders Without BordersTaking advantage of the current situation where we’re all attending sessions virtually, WIA had speakers from the Netherlands, Canada, Thailand, and Tanzania. The panelists—Astrid Piber, Partner of UN Studio, Betsy Williamson, Principal at Williamson Williamson, Kotchakorn Voraakhom, Founder of Landprocess and Porous City Network, and Victoria Marwa Heilman, Principal at VK Green Architects—spoke about diversity efforts in their country, their sustainability approach, and how their education in the US has affected their work. The work shown by these four architects shows the great impact of women practicing around the world! Hana Kassem, AIA LEED BD+C, Principal at KPF in New York, did an incredible job navigating between the broad range of topics, ending on a note about Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the terrible loss of one of the greatest advocates for women’s rights in US History.

    If you missed this engaging presentation and dialog, a video of the event will be posted to this site in 2-3 weeks.

  • September 22, 2020

    On the 16th of September, the AIANY Women in Architecture committee hosted the first of a new series “In Dialogues With…”, during the monthly committee meeting. Rosalind Tsang, AIA, LEED Green Associate, WIA Advisory Board member, was in conversation with Gaylin Bowie, Associate & Senior Project Manager at Robert A.M. Stern Architects. Rosalind, who is Chinese-Canadian and Gaylin, who is Caribbean-American, shared touching, personal experiences recounting memories about their encounters with racial awareness, how they navigated their personal and professional lives.

    The discussion was in three-parts, and focused on Discovery, Journey & Navigation, and Next Steps, Motivation, Call to Action. They spoke about how race factored into their current position in life, decisions made in tandem, and lessons learned. They also spoke about how recent events (George Floyd and the resurgence of the BLM movement) reminded them of an earlier time in their lives, and what is different and hopeful at this point in their lives. Highlights also included role models, and speaking of ways in which organizations can combat racism in the workplace, and set guidelines.

    Rosalind and Gaylin were candid and thoughtful. This event is a perfect precedent as to how we can be in a professional setting yet still be vulnerable, listen, and learn. It reinforces that conversation is the first step toward awareness, understanding, justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

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

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