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February 06, 2020 | National AdvocacyAIANY Letter on Draft Executive Order on Classical Architecture
President Donald Trump
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue North West
Washington, DC 20500
We are writing on behalf of the American Institute of Architects New York, a nearly 6,000 member association of architects and designers based in New York City. We are deeply troubled to learn that a draft executive order is circulating among White House staff that, if signed by you, would officially designate “classical” architecture as the preferred style of all federal courthouses, all federal public buildings in the Capital region, and all other federal public buildings whose cost exceeds $50 million.
We strongly and unequivocally oppose this policy to promote any one style of architecture for federal buildings across the country. Classical architecture has tremendous value, but so do other architectural styles. Depending on the needs of the community—including regional preferences, topography, weather, the style of surrounding buildings, the history of the community—a different approach may be much more appropriate. The topdown approach designated by this order will effectively cut local community voices out of the design process.
Other considerations for the design approach proposed by an architectural team include cost of materials and constructability, the environmental impact of building materials, requirements for implementation of modern building systems, and long-term efficiencies of building operations. These complex issues require diverse architectural solutions.
We agree our federal buildings should evoke respect; but that respect comes from the power of our system of self-government. Federal buildings should incorporate local design preferences and different regional cultural histories. Ultimately, the architecture should be designed with input of, by, and for the people whom it directly serves. Historically, the imposition of a single architectural style has set a dangerous precedent, representing an assault on a free and open society.
We urge you to reject this draft executive order and not pursue any policy change that would replace local input within the design process with a predetermined national directive.
Kim Yao, AIA
2020 President, American Institute of Architects New York ChapterJanuary 30, 2020 | 80x50 InitiativeStatement of Support for Int. 1816-2019, NYC Energy Conservation Code
AIA New York in consultation with advisors on its Committee on the Environment offers its support for Intro No 1816, which would make NYC’s Energy Conservation Code one of the most advanced building energy codes in the country and would make a major contribution toward advancing the goals of energy efficiency and carbon reduction that the city has set for 2030 and beyond. While the new Code takes significant steps to reduce energy consumption and hence emissions, it is not stringent enough on its own to meet the 80×50 goal and the targets set by Local Law 97.
There are many improvements to lighting and mechanical systems that can improve a building’s energy performance and the updated regulations do address these to some extent, but as architects we have a particular awareness of the impact a building’s envelope can have on energy efficiency, and occupant health and comfort. High performance glazing, more effective insulation, and airtight construction should be the standard for all of our buildings, not just the exceptional few.
The new code does take steps toward envelope improvement, but there is still a long way to go. The argument is often made that setting standards for glazing, insulation, and airtightness will result in significantly higher construction costs and will have negative impacts on real estate values. But in fact, the opposite is true: high performing envelopes lead to lower upfront mechanical costs, increased leasable area, higher productivity from occupants, lifetime energy savings, and increased resilience.
While we think that this legislation is undeniably a step in the right direction and will help architects design better, more energy-efficient buildings, and we are unanimous in our opinion that adoption of the new code is far preferable to the alternative, our enthusiasm for the progress it offers is tempered by the knowledge that it simply does not go far enough to respond to the current climate emergency.October 10, 2019 | 80x50 InitiativeAIA New York Arthur Kill Terminal Support Letter
October 4, 2019
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building Albany, NY 12224
Dear Governor Cuomo:
We are writing on behalf of the American Institute of Architects New York (AIANY) to express our support for the Arthur Kill Terminal project being developed by Atlantic Offshore Terminals in Staten Island, New York. AIANY and its nearly 6,000 members have proudly maintained a long-standing commitment to sustainability in architecture, seeing it as a vital component to the modern industry’s approach to design and construction.
New York is on the precipice of change. The enactment of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act and the state’s commitment to 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035, as well as the awarding of 1,700 megawatts—the nation’s largest procurement of offshore wind—signaled to the rest of the country that New York leads the nation in clean energy. The State is primed to become the supply chain hub for the multi-billion-dollar offshore wind industry. Therefore, the State must support the design and construction of port infrastructure to spur the development of offshore wind.
The Arthur Kill Terminal is uniquely positioned to handle the challenges of developing the offshore wind industry. Due to vessel access constraints, such as bridges and other barriers, most existing U.S. ports are unsuitable for wind turbine staging. Located on Staten Island’s Charleston neighborhood, the Arthur Kill Terminal is able to bypass these constraints with its completely unrestricted access to the Atlantic Ocean and facilitate offshore wind projects across the coast. As it stands today, the Arthur Kill Terminal is the only port in New York where offshore wind turbines can be staged and assembled onshore and brought out to sea.
AIANY is committed to fostering sustainable design and construction. We are pleased to express our support for the Arthur Kill Terminal project and look forward to working with you in advancing the development of offshore wind in New York.
Benjamin Prosky, Assoc. AIA
Hayes Slade, AIA
2019 PresidentSeptember 05, 2019AIA New York Supports Int. 1482, Bird-Friendly Glass Bill
AIA New York (AIANY), the professional association representing nearly 6,000 of New York City’s architects and related professionals, is expressing its support for Int. 1482. This bill would require bird-friendly glass be used in new construction for ninety percent of glass 75 feet and below.
Buildings in New York City kill 90,000 to 200,000 birds each year. Many of these deaths could be easily preventable through the use of fritted glass, screens, and other design solutions. These materials and techniques have other benefits related to sustainability, as they keep sunlight out, making buildings cooler.
Bird-friendly design is already widespread in the industry. The American Bird Conservancy’s Threat Factor rating is an existing reference standard used by design professionals to evaluate the dangers materials and techniques pose to birds. Furthermore, LEED provides a pilot credit for bird collision deterrence.
While AIANY supports Int. 1482, one shortcoming of the current version is that it only applies to new construction. With LL97 of 2019 mandating retrofitting in many large buildings to stay under carbon emission limits, the City has a rare opportunity to ensure that bird friendly glass is installed en masse. Therefore, it is important that buildings that are undergoing retrofits also be required to comply with the bill’s provisions.
Bird collisions are a fixable problem, requiring the implementation of materials and techniques that some architects already utilize. Action by the City Council would significantly decrease bird deaths from collisions. Therefore, AIANY calls on the City Council to pass Int. 1482 and the Mayor to sign it into law.July 22, 2019AIA New York Opposition to Contractor Monitoring Software Bill
AIANY is expressing its strong opposition to Int. 1602, a New York City Council bill which would push the City to use software to monitor City contractors. Contractor monitoring software tracks computer usage of individual employees of government contractors, such as architecture firms. A private corporation, which develops and monitors the software, would have access to information on the computer usage of individual architects at any firm doing business with the City; this would include the ability to take screenshots of contract workers’ computers, as well as logging keystrokes and mouse movements.
It is unknown what this information could and would be used for, and how safe it is from hacking threats. Furthermore, it is impossible to quantify the quality of design based on computer usage, as much design work takes place away from computers. Evaluating the quality of design work based on computer usage is a poor practice that no client, including the City, should follow.
Throughout the country, a single company that produces contractor monitoring software has been paying lobbyists to introduce similar pieces of legislation. During the recently concluded 2019 session of the New York State Legislature, a similar piece of legislation, S5398, was defeated. Fortunately, legislation enabling the monitoring software’s use has not passed in any state or municipality.
In order to protect privacy of its members, and ensure a fair evaluation of their work, AIANY strongly opposes Int. 1602. AIANY calls on the City Council and Mayor de Blasio to prevent this dangerous bill from becoming law.
Benjamin Prosky, Assoc. AIA
Hayes Slade, AIA
2019 PresidentMarch 14, 2019AIA New York Statement on Final Inspections
In August 2018, the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) issued Bulletin 2018-008, which required that an architect or engineer perform final inspections for significant amounts of work, a service formerly performed by DOB inspectors. AIA New York has given the repercussions of this bulletin time to be felt, and our initial fears about it seem justified.
The privatization of building inspections and other duties of DOB represents a threat to public safety. Lapses in judgement or bad decisions can occur in design as in any other field. Limiting inspections by DOB, even in work that does not affect egress or occupancy, can put members of the public in serious physical danger. Final inspections provide another set of eyes to examine work. Without these, some mistakes may not be caught, threatening the safety of building users.
Removing the option of having final inspections performed by DOB inspectors is also an equity issue. Final inspections protect rent-regulated tenants from abuses by owners, especially in cases where work is self-certified. Furthermore, the firms most heavily affected by this bulletin tend to be smaller firms who can face pressure from owners to both act as the architect of record and perform the final inspection on the same work. This creates a liability concern, falling hardest on those firms who can least afford these risks.
The Directive 14 of 1975 (D14) program, which this bulletin would make mandatory for a significant amount of work, was instituted at a very different time for New York City. In 1975, the City was on the brink of bankruptcy, forcing essential services like building inspections to be cut. Today, the City is in far better financial shape. When essential services are cut, the most vulnerable, such as rent-regulated tenants, are more likely to suffer.
We hope that the new DOB Commissioner, whoever that may be, will rescind the bulletin. AIANY understands the budgetary concerns within DOB, and the desire to expedite processes. However, when privatization sacrifices safety and equity, we will oppose it.
Benjamin Prosky, Assoc. AIA
Hayes Slade, AIA
2019 PresidentMarch 14, 2019AIA New York Statement on Void and Ceiling Heights
The New York City Zoning Code establishes various development controls, including floor area ratios (FAR), to ensure development goals such as equitable access to sunlight and air for occupants and pedestrians alike.
There have been some instances recently where luxury residential buildings have skirted regulations around zoning. These buildings include unusually large mechanical voids, which do not count towards FAR. This allows buildings to be taller than normally permissible in order to enhance views, while making the lower floors devoid of life, creating an unwelcome feeling for pedestrians. The NYC Department of City Planning’s (DCP) proposal to limit mechanical void height for residential buildings to 25 feet, with 75 feet separating voids, is an attempt to address this issue.
AIA New York believes the height limit should be 25 feet to 35 feet clear of structure, which is within range of DCP’s proposal. In the rare cases where a building’s mechanical systems require more than the allotted height, designers and developers would maintain the ability to do so, though this would count towards FAR. AIANY has long been an advocate for quality design that contributes positively to communities and promotes equitable access to the city’s multiple and diverse assets, including light, air, and a welcoming public realm.
However, AIANY is against prescriptive limits on residential building ceiling height. Bills such as New York State’s A5026/S3820, which would count any residential building floor with ceiling height above 12 feet twice towards FAR, represent overreactions to the abuse of mechanical voids. This would affect all floors, whether their predominant use is as a mechanical space, a lobby, residences, or amenity space.
Furthermore, prescriptive limits on ceiling height would cause new construction to become far more monotonous, creating fewer opportunities for differentiation and variety, qualities that distinguish great cities. Neighborhoods with significant amounts of new construction, which are often less well off, would be impacted most.
AIANY will continue to advocate for good design for all New Yorkers. Buyers able to afford units above the ground plane do not have a right to purchase their home-with-a-view at the expense of the streetscape. At the same time, the State does not have the right to subject poorer areas of the city to endless rows of identical apartment buildings that could result from city-wide ceiling-height mandates. We need action by the City and State that is in line with good design, and good city planning practices to alleviate these problems.
Benjamin Prosky, Assoc. AIA
Hayes Slade, AIA
2019 PresidentFebruary 27, 2019AIA New York Responds to MTA Fee Reduction
Dear AIA members,
AIA New York wants to bring to your attention a newly announced MTA cost reduction program. Vendors providing professional, technical, and advisory services will be required to implement a 10% reduction in the current per-hour unit rate, effective March 31, 2019. It should also be noted that the MTA already has limits in place for the fee portion of markups. The MTA requests email confirmation by March 8, 2019, and no response will be interpreted as commitment to comply.
AIA New York is working with ACEC, New York Building Congress, and other stakeholder organizations to find out more information and determine how we can jointly advocate for our members. As this initiative was implemented without prior notice, we are still in the process of gathering more details. We would like to note that AIA New York is not legally allowed to negotiate over specific amounts of compensation.
If you are affected or concerned, please email Adam Roberts, Director of Policy, at email@example.com.
You can find a link to the letter that the MTA has been distributing here. We will be reaching out soon with updates and potential courses of action.
Benjamin Prosky, Assoc. AIA
Executive Director, AIA New York
Hayes Slade, AIA
2019 President, AIA New YorkFebruary 19, 2019AIA New York Workplace Harassment Testimony
February 13, 2019
Thank you to Governor Cuomo, Speaker Heastie, and Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins for supporting these hearings today, and to Senators Biaggi, Skoufis, and Salazar, and Assembly Members Crespo, Walker, and Titus for chairing them.
Workplace harassment has long been a significant problem in the construction industry, including in architecture. AIA New York, the professional organization representing nearly 6,000 architects working and living in Manhattan, has worked hard to limit workplace harassment in the profession.
Last year, following multiple accusations of workplace harassment in our industry, we publicly retracted prestigious design awards from notable architects. We also supported an effort to amend our national organization’s code of ethics to more explicitly address sexual harassment. This helped instigate a conversation in New York’s architecture community about the need for better and safer working conditions. Condemning harassers can be a powerful tool, but it alone is not enough to curb workplace harassment.
Further action by our state government is needed not only to punish harassers, but also to protect victims. As a professional association, there is limited action we can take to legally protect our members from workplace harassment. It is the duty of New York State’s government to protect its residents. New York State’s laws around protecting victims are flawed and need to be improved. We support efforts that make it easier for a victim to take legal action against an employer committing or enabling harassment.
AIA New York will continue to do its part to fight workplace harassment however we can. Nevertheless, our members need help from Albany to fully protect them. We again thank all the elected officials supporting these hearings and hope that impactful legislative solutions will result from them.
Benjamin Prosky, Assoc. AIA
Hayes Slade, AIA
2019 PresidentDecember 05, 2018 | 80x50 InitiativeStatement of Support for Retrofitting Legislation
AIA New York strongly advocates for a more sustainable and equitable built environment. Through programming and by supporting various pieces of legislation, we have encouraged our 5,600 members to design in a more environmentally conscious manner.
Despite advances in sustainable design over the years, far more can be done to make our cities green. Crucially, we need to support efforts to retrofit existing buildings. While sustainable design for new buildings is increasingly widespread, far more New Yorkers live and work in older buildings, most of which have not been retrofitted according to the latest technologies and design practices.
If we do not retrofit our existing building stock en masse, we jeopardize the health and safety of ourselves and future generations. Right now, around 70% of New York’s carbon emissions are generated by buildings. In order to tackle issues around climate change, resiliency, and air quality, we need to retrofit our existing building stock.
Furthermore, continuing to overlook the retrofitting of existing structures may lead to greater inequity in our built environment. It should not be a luxury to live or work in a well-insulated building, though in New York City this is often the case. Those with sustainably designed apartments and offices often pay less in energy bills, which further exacerbates financial divides. If we do not address this issue now, our city will increasingly be divided between those who can afford to live and work with all the benefits of sustainable design, and the less fortunate who live and work in deteriorating buildings.
For these reasons, we applaud Council Member Costa Constantinides’ pieces of legislation, Int. 1252 and Int. 1253, which require existing buildings over 25,000 square feet to meet energy efficiency targets. For years, market forces and government incentives have led to slow but steady increases in retrofitting. Unfortunately, we do not have time for a process that does not require immediate improvements. We need the City to require that the bulk of our large building stock start retrofitting as soon as possible.
These pieces of legislation have the potential to significantly improve the daily lives of millions of New Yorkers, while also spurring the growth of the green sector. New Yorkers deserve to live and work in better conditions, and for that reason we ask the City Council to pass, and the Mayor sign, Int. 1252 and Int. 1253.
Gerard F. X. Geier II, FAIA, FIIDA, LEED AP
Benjamin Prosky, Assoc. AIA
Executive DirectorOctober 30, 2018AIA New York Charter Ballot Proposal Statement
AIA New York Urges “Yes” Vote for the 2018 Charter Ballot Proposals
Earlier this year, Mayor de Blasio organized a Charter Revision Commission to examine potential changes to the New York City Charter. Much like the constitution, the Charter is the guiding document of New York City’s government. The Charter Revision Commission has released three recommendations, which will appear on the ballot on Tuesday, November 6. Voters will have the opportunity to vote “Yes” or “No” on these ballot proposals.
The proposals are summed up as follows:
1. Campaign Finance: Should contribution limits be lowered, and public matching funds be increased?
2. Civic Engagement Commission: Should a Civic Engagement Commission be created to establish a citywide participatory budgeting program and support civic engagement efforts?
3. Community Boards: Should term limits be imposed for community board members, should there be new application and reporting requirements for applicants, and should land use professionals be provided to assist community boards?
You may read the full ballot proposal questions here. While the first proposal is not directly related to the practice of architecture, the latter two are very much connected with the profession.
The Civic Engagement Commission would oversee a citywide participatory budgeting program, which would increase public involvement in, and commitment to, crucial capital projects for public buildings. Meanwhile, the commission’s work to provide land use professionals to community boards and further general civic engagement efforts would be very beneficial.
Regarding the third proposal, opportunities for architects to serve on their community boards are often stifled by a lack of turnover among current board members. This prevents community boards from having access to members who understand land use policies. Not only could term limits help solve this issue, but the ballot proposal would go further by requiring that community boards have access to land use professionals who are employed by the city, if the Civic Engagement Commission is established.
AIANY encourages its members to vote on Tuesday, November 6, and recommends that they vote “Yes” for Ballot Proposal #2 in favor of establishing the Civic Engagement Commission, and “Yes” for Ballot Proposal #3 in favor of Community Board term limits and access to land use professionals.
As part of AIANY’s 2018 Presidential Theme, “Architect Activist,” we have encouraged our members to become more engaged in public service. We are fortunate that this year, there will be two ballot proposals which can increase the involvement of architects in New York City’s government.October 15, 2018AIA New York Statement on Immigration Detention Facilities
AIA New York Statement on Immigration Detention Facilities
October 11, 2018
The dignity of people and recognition of human needs must be foremost in every detention facility plan and design. We advocate for the following functional and design principles in any detention project, irrespective of legal status:
Normative Environment – The detention setting should provide a safe and secure environment, access to daylight and fresh outdoor air, comfortable furniture, and a healthy atmosphere. Design should allow for positive social opportunities between people, without compromising the safety and security of detainees or their custodians. Specific design elements must consider the human occupants, favoring glazing over bars, using modesty panels where appropriate, and providing activities space to reduce idleness.
Access to Support – Detainees are often confined without access to support from their friends, families, and social service providers, which will inevitably impact their emotional and financial condition. The planning and design of a detention facility must provide space and accommodate access to a support network that facilitates communication and interaction between detainees and those who are able to help them. Facilities must also provide space for medical care, including mental health support, which is critical where both mind and body are at risk due to the often-stressful experiences surrounding detention.
Access to Justice – Location and design of a detention facility play key roles in access to justice. Every detention facility should provide adequate space for legal counsel to consult with detainees, and facilities should be located at sites with convenient access to counsel and courts of law. The infrastructure of a detention facility should support access to legal research material to help detainees better understand their legal standing and advocate for themselves. The planning and design of a facility should work in favor of the rights of a person to access justice.
Design alone is not capable of solving our immigration crisis; however, poor design can be an element of the problem. AIA New York stands strongly on behalf of the wellbeing of those inside these facilities, and in favor of design solutions that benefit them and their families.October 15, 2018AIA New York Statement on the Borough Correctional Facilities
AIA New York Statement on the Borough Correctional Facilities
October 11, 2018
The proposed borough correctional facilities that are to replace Rikers Island are incredibly sensitive projects, where considerations regarding work quality, neighborhood integration, and safety must be primary concerns. Rikers Island is widely considered to be flawed in its design; it is essential that the new facilities not repeat past mistakes.
When New York City was given design-build (D-B) authority by the State for the construction of the new borough correctional facilities, it brought up many questions about the benefits of using design-build for jail construction.
AIA New York recommends that the City follow these best practices when using design-build authority to construct the borough correctional facilities:
• The architect should report directly to the client. This will prevent design decisions about safety or quality of life from being overlooked due to cost or time savings.
• To ensure quality, use a two-step process to select the D-B team: request for qualifications (RFQ) followed by request for proposals (RFP) from shortlisted firms. Contractors and design professionals should have experience in design-build or jail design/construction, or ideally both. Stipends should be provided to incentivize firms to respond to the RFQ.
• Hire a “criteria architect” to work with stakeholders to help determine programming. The criteria architect should be separate from the D-B team, hired directly by the City, and should remain throughout the entirety of the project. A major part of this role is to build trust with the community and local officials, ensuring that they are included in discussions about architectural programming.
• The City needs to minimize delays at all costs, as the entire D-B team is working on the same schedule. To stay on schedule, the City should employ an attorney with significant D-B experience to handle contracts and approvals.
• A manual on D-B should be available for reference so the D-B team understands the parameters and expectations of D-B work in New York City, including the role of the community in the projects.
This unique opportunity to physically redesign our correctional system offers a chance to solve the design problems seen in Rikers Island. To provide the maximum benefit to community members, detainees, and city workers, it is imperative that the City follow the aforementioned best practices.
Gerard F. X. Geier II, FAIA, FIIDA, LEED AP
Benjamin Prosky, Assoc. AIA
Executive DirectorJuly 16, 2018 | National AdvocacyResponse of AIA New York’s President and Executive Director to the Janus Decision
Response of AIA New York’s President and Executive Director to the Janus Decision
Recently, the US Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME that nonunion workers cannot be forced to pay fees to public sector unions representing them in collective bargaining. There is reason to believe that this will deplete the power and protections that unions afford public sector workers.
The results of this ruling are of deep concern to AIA New York. We are proud to represent a diverse range of architects and allied professionals, including many who work for the government at the federal, state, and local levels.
We recognize the potential threats of this ruling to the livelihood of our public sector members. While the US Department of Justice does not allow us to advocate for architects’ wages or fees, we are permitted to advocate on their behalf with regards to issues affecting the livelihood of our members.
Many of the issues most paramount to our public sector members are among our highest priorities. Increased mass transit funding, safer and better designed correctional facilities, and more sustainably designed City-owned office buildings are just some of the issues for which AIANY is currently advocating.
AIANY has and will continue to be in communication with public sector unions to ensure that the voices and interests of architects remain strongly represented within federal, state, and city agencies.
If you have any questions about the advocacy work AIANY is doing on your behalf, please reach out to Adam Roberts, Government Affairs Coordinator, at 212-358-6116 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gerard F. X. Geier II, FAIA, FIIDA, LEED AP
Benjamin Prosky, Assoc. AIA
Executive DirectorJune 18, 2018Statement in Support of New York City Transit's Fast Forward Plan
New York City Transit’s Fast Forward Plan
Why is this Important?
AIA New York (AIANY) is a professional organization representing over 5,500 architects dedicated to the quality of life of New York City’s residents, workers, and visitors. Recognizing the importance of access to high-quality, reliable, efficient and equitable mobility for all users, we support the region’s public transit systems as necessary to the vitality of the City and region. The goals of New York City Transit’s (NYCT) recently released Fast Forward Plan align with the guiding principles of AIANY’s Transportation + Infrastructure Policy Framework issued in 2017 which addresses the issues of mobility, placemaking, sustainability, building better and funding/financing.
Background of Subway Action Plan (2017)
In June 2017, Governor Cuomo declared a state of emergency for New York City’s subway system, citing a debilitating increase in train and equipment breakdowns and resultant service. This follows a decade-long fall in bus ridership, a two-year decline in subway ridership, and a 14% loss in overall MTA ridership since 2007. In response to the Governor’s declaration, the MTA created the NYC Subway Action Plan, outlining a strategy for immediate repairs due to disinvestment and deferred maintenance. $836M in emergency funding was allocated for short-term repairs, shared by the State and City.
While the emergency stabilization plan did produce incremental improvements in the past year, it did not directly address long-term needs, including the modernization of the outdated signal system, replacement of obsolete subway rolling stock, lack of universal access to most subway stations, lags in communications and fare technologies, normal maintenance and repair, and endemic cost and schedule overruns on capital projects.
Fast Forward Plan (2018)
In May 2018, Andy Byford, the new President of NYCT, addressed these long-term needs with the Fast Forward Plan, which outlines improvements to the NYCT bus and subway systems over 10 years. The plan aims to:
• Accelerate the replacement of signal system on 11 subway lines
• Provide universal accessibility at an additional 180 subway stations
• Make state-of-good-repair improvements at 300 subway stations
• Implement a new fare payment system
• Purchase 6,500 new subway cars
• Purchase 4,900 new buses
• Redesign all bus routes in the City
To meet this ambitious timeframe, more frequent weekend and evening service disruptions will be required. Coupled with management and service improvements as well as efficiencies in procurement, this proposal has the potential to renew the City and region’s transit systems in the decades to come.
AIANY supports the strategy to prioritize state-of-good-repairs, modernization and equal access as the first and best investments in public transit. To this end, we call on the public and businesses impacted by public transportation, government agencies responsible for the maintenance and operation of the networks, and government bodies tasked with securing the necessary capital funding to cooperate in implementing the plan within the 10-year timeframe.
We commend the MTA on its willingness to engage in a forthright analysis of its needs and look forward to the release of further details on the costs, schedule, and funding mechanisms required to achieve this bold plan.May 24, 2018Statement on the Expansion of the Frick Collection by Selldorf Architects
Dear Chair Srinivasan, Commissioners,
The American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY) is expressing its support for the proposed expansion of the Frick Collection by Selldorf Architects.
AIANY advocates for more access to architecture, particularly those great buildings that have been designated by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The proposed expansion to the Frick Collection would allow for the public to gain access to the beautifully designed upstairs rooms in the original structure of the Frick House, while only slightly changing the original exterior by Carrère and Hastings.
We find it important to note how well the proposal actually maintains the Beaux-Arts exterior. The addition draws inspiration from the style with the use of bronze, a material frequently associated with Beaux-Arts architecture. Yet, the bronze also distinguishes the addition from the original masonry exterior, clearly delineating which aspects of the exterior are part of the original design.
Furthermore, the massing of the expansion does not overshadow the grandiosity of the original design, nor does it appear out of place with the historic apartment buildings and townhomes nearby. Open spaces, such as the famed Russell Page garden, are also untouched.
The proposed expansion of the Frick Collection by Selldorf Architects manages to give the public greater access to historic interiors, without compromising the landmarked exterior. For this reason, AIANY strongly urges the Landmarks Preservation Commission to grant approval for this proposed expansion.March 29, 2018AIA New York Expresses Concerns Regarding Proposed Demolition of 270 Park Avenue
March 29, 2018
The American Institute of Architects, New York Chapter (AIANY) is expressing concerns regarding the proposed demolition of 270 Park Avenue, formerly known as the Union Carbide Building. Designed in 1961 by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the building is a notable example of the International Style.
AIANY appreciates the level of discussion and awareness that has been brought to International Style buildings and Modern architecture’s heritage as a result of recent news regarding 270 Park Avenue. The International Style has become widely representative of the modern office building.
AIANY’s chief concern is the precedent this may set for sustainable design in New York. Currently, buildings are responsible for 70% of carbon emissions in New York City. The Union Carbide building was recently retrofitted in 2012, achieving LEED Platinum status, the highest possible rating. Without a better understanding of how it will be dismantled and what is going to replace it, demolishing such a recently renovated green building, particularly one as prominent as 270 Park Avenue, implies that sustainable design is a low priority.
Furthermore, if demolished, 270 Park Avenue would be the tallest building ever purposely razed. Demolition and construction are particularly energy intensive activities. As mentioned in AIANY’s recently-released Zero Waste Design Guidelines, construction and demolition waste account for 25-45% of the solid waste stream by weight nationwide. Construction and demolition waste is also often contaminated – with paint, adhesives, and fasteners. Demolition of 270 Park Avenue would represent a shift away from the values of sustainability and responsibility in building design, which are championed by architects in New York and beyond.
AIANY asks that JPMorgan Chase and our elected officials find a way to address these pressing concerns. We hope there will be studies to investigate adaptive reuse approaches, which may retain or work with the existing structure, in order to minimize the environmental impact of demolition. As architects, we strongly believe in new and innovative design, but also recognize the value of historically influential architecture and champion sustainability. The Chapter hopes to be a resource to JP Morgan Chase and our elected officials, as we strive for the common goal of keeping New York vibrant and economically competitive.March 23, 2018AIA New York Project Policy Statement - Amtrak Gateway Program and Infrastructure Plan
The economic vitality and quality of life for the regions served by Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor route between Washington, D.C and Boston depend on a robust transportation system. Hundreds of thousands of riders on NJ Transit and Amtrak pass through the rail tunnels under the Hudson River each day. The Gateway Program would construct much needed additional rail tunnels to supplement the currently existing ones, which are overcapacity and damaged from Hurricane Sandy. President Trump’s resistance to providing federal funding for Gateway represents a serious threat to the future of the project. Without Gateway, it is impossible to repair the existing tunnels without dramatically reducing capacity.
Moreover, the Trump Administration’s infrastructure plan has signaled its intent to reduce federal investment in all infrastructure projects. The President’s infrastructure plan would provide only $200 billion in federal grants over 10 years to fund up to only 20% of approved project costs.
The success of our nation’s cities and towns are dependent upon their access to transportation. For too long, our federal, state, and local governments have not invested in infrastructure. As cities and towns with good transit options have witnessed remarkable construction booms, those with worse infrastructure have remained stagnant.
Withdrawing or minimizing funding for Gateway represents a threat to the continued vitality of one of our nation’s most dynamic regions, the Northeast. Meanwhile, a federal withdrawal from infrastructure spending would further punish those regions most in need of substantial investments to spur development.
Recognizing the importance of robust transportation networks to the growth and vitality of the City, region, and nation, AIANY strongly supports Amtrak’s Gateway Program and the continuation of the Federal Government’s role in significantly funding infrastructure projects.
AIANY supports the following as necessary actions by program sponsors and government bodies at all levels to realize Amtrak’s Gateway Program:
- Maintain the Federal Government’s role as a substantive partner with local and state governments to build and maintain infrastructure critical to the nation’s economic vitality. Continue federal TIGER, Fast Track and New Starts programs with adequate funding for qualified public transportation projects across the country.
- Break out the Gateway Program components into discrete projects that can be funded, designed and constructed separately. Prioritize early completion of the most critical elements of the program. Identify alternative funding sources for later components of the program by capitalizing on momentum from completing earlier portions.
- Create new revenue sources at the state and local levels to supplement funding from the federal level and require that all project partners can meet their funding commitments. These can include new user fees, updated fuel taxes or vehicle miles traveled (VMT) fees indexed to inflation, new dedicated taxes for critical transportation projects, congestion pricing, and implementation of value recapture strategies.
The economic vitality of our country is inextricably tied to robust national and regional mass transit networks. Providing substantial federal support for Gateway and other infrastructure projects is in the regional and national interest. As architects, we strive to improve the way people experience the built environment, which can only be done by improving our nation’s infrastructure.October 25, 2017Transportation + Infrastuture Policy Framework
AIANY Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Policy Framework developed to support the goal of sustainable growth for the New York City Region.October 24, 20172017 Mayoral Campaign Green Building Roadmap
Policy roadmap for local candidates to maintain New York City’s national leadership on climate change by upgrading its buildings, training its workforce and streamlining energy efficiency. Developed by AIANY, Urban Green Council, REBNY & 32BJ SEIU.June 27, 2017Testimony Before the New York City Council Committee on Environmental Protection
Testimony before the New York City Council Committee on Environmental Protection on a series of energy-related: Intro 1629; Intro 1637; Intro 1644; Intro 1651.June 13, 2017 | Zero Waste Design GuidelinesTestimony Before the NYC Council Committee on Housing and Buildings
Testimony before the New York City Council Committee on Housing and Buildings on Intro 1307-A, a bill to amend the City Charter in relation to the minimum qualifications for Department of Building inspectors.June 05, 2017 | National AdvocacyAIA New York President Letter: Paris Climate Accord
AIA New York opposes the administration’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement.January 31, 2017 | Zero Waste Design GuidelinesTestimony Before the NYC Council Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management
On 1.31.17, AIANY testified before the NYC Council Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management in favor of Intro 201, a bill to require recycling of discarded carpet from commercial buildings.AIA New York Position Statement: Education
The public school system is the hallmark of our democracy and public education is an inalienable right of our citizens. Public schools should provide all students with the quality learning environments and education the deserve.January 05, 2017 | 80x50 InitiativeAIA New York Position Statement: Sustainability and the Environment
In 2014, U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions totaled 6,870 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents, a per capita total of 17 metric tons for each resident of the United States.AIA New York Position Statement: Transportation and Infrastructure
The transportation infrastructure of New York City and the surrounding tristate area directly impacts the welfare and livelihood of its over 20 million residents and those of hundreds of millions of visitors and travelers each year.AIA New York Position Statement: Housing
Section 8, created by the Housing and Community Development Act of 1978, provides rental subsidiaries to approximately 4.8 million low-income households nationwide.AIA New York Position Statement: Historic Preservation
For more than thirty-five years, the federal Historic Tax Credit (HTC) has successfully facilitated a national policy of connecting the insistent evolvement of our present with the accomplishments of our past by preserving our historic resources.January 05, 2017 | Aging in Place GuidelinesAIA New York Position Statement: Design for AgingThe world population of people over the age of 65 is increasing. By 2020, it is estimated that people aged 65 and older will outnumber children under the age of five for the first time in human history; by 2050, over 15% of the world’s population will be 65 or older, topping out at 1.5 billion people.November 15, 2016 | National AdvocacyAIANY Board of Directors Letter to Membership Regarding the 2016 Election
The statement made post-election by AIA National of behalf of you, the largest chapter within its network of 89,000 members, pledged your support to an administration that many strongly denounce.October 11, 2016Testimony Before the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission on the Richard Gilder Center
On 10.11.16, AIANY testified in favor of the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation at the American Museum of Natural History, designed by Studio Gang architects.September 20, 2016Testimony Before the New York City Council Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations on the Public Design Commission
AIANY testified before the New York City Council Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations on the Public Design Commission. The Oversight Hearing introduced a bill (No. 1276-A) that would require the PDC to submit an annual report.June 22, 2016 | 80x50 InitiativeTestimony Before the New York City Council Committee on Housing and Buildings on a Series of Energy-related Bills
AIANY testified before the City Council Committee on Housing and Buildings with Urban Green Council. The hearing addressed: Int. No. 1160, Int. No. 1163, Int. No. 1165, and Int. No. 1169, which would update NYC’s Energy Code.May 04, 2016Testimony on Water Street Upgrades Text Amendment Before the New York City Council Committee on Zoning and Franchises
AIANY testified at the City Council hearing on the Water Street Upgrades Text Amendment on 05.04.16.April 25, 2016Letter in Support of Water Street Upgrades Text Amendment
On 04.21.16 AIANY submitted a letter in support of the Water Street Upgrades Text Amendment to the City Planning Commission before the 04.25.16 vote.February 10, 2016Testimony Before the City Council Committee on Zoning and Franchises on Zoning for Quality and Affordability
AIANY testified at the City Council hearing on the Department of City Planning’s Zoning for Quality and Affordability proposal on 02.10.16.January 29, 2016Statement Submitted to the NYS Department of State
AIANY submitted a statement requesting that the effective date of the State Energy Code be extended to January 1, 2017.January 15, 2016Statement Submitted to the New York City Council Committee on Environmental Protection on Intro. 478
AIANY submitted testimony supporting AIANY supports Intro. 478 in its effort to encourage the elimination of fossil fuels and the implementation of photovoltaic systems but suggested that the best approach to achieving this would be to focus on whole building analyses.December 16, 2015Zoning for Quality and Affordability
AIANY testified before the City Planning Commission on the Department of City Planning’s Zoning for Quality and Affordability proposal on 12.16.15.December 14, 2015 | 80x50 InitiativeTestimony Before the City Council Committee on Recovery and Resiliency and Committee on Environment Protection on OneNYC
AIANY submitted testimony at the oversight hearing on the resiliency and sustainability sections of the OneNYC plan.November 16, 2015Zoning for Quality and Affordability
On 11.16.15, AIANY testified at the Manhattan Borough President’s public hearing on the Zoning for Quality and Affordability and Mandatory Inclusionary Housing proposal.November 12, 2015Testimony Before the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission on the Kaufmann Conference Rooms
On 11.12.15, AIANY testified in favor of landmarking the Edgar J. Kaufmann Conference Rooms at 809 United Nations Plaza, designed by Alvar Aalto. The hearing was the final hearing dedicated to clearing LPC’s 95-item backlog.October 25, 2015Response to Hearing on Intro. 775 and Improving the Landmarks Process
The five chapters of the American Institute of Architects in New York City distributed a memo in response to the hearing on Intro. 775.October 21, 2015Testimony Before the Landmarks Preservation Commission on the Park Avenue Historic District
On October 21st, AIANY executive director, Rick Bell, FAIA presented testimony in regard to the proposed the Park Avenue Christian Church Annex site.October 20, 2015Reissued Statement in Support of Landmarking the IRT Powerhouse
AIANY originally supported the landmarking of the IRT Powerhouse in 2009. There will be another hearing on the site in November 2015 as part of LPC decalendaring efforts.September 30, 2015Testimony Before the Landmarks Preservation Commission on the Proposed 140 West 81st Street Project
On September 30, AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA, presented testimony in favor of the proposed 140 West 81st Street project designed by DXA Studio.September 25, 2015Testimony Before the City Council Committee on Housing and Buildings
On 09.25.15, AIANY submitted testimony on Intro. 721-A, green building standards for certain capital projects.September 22, 2015Testimony Submitted to the New York City Council Committee on Environmental Protection
AIANY submitted testimony for the record on Intro. 609 regarding ground source heat pumps.September 21, 2015Statement from the Five AIA Chapters of New York City in Support of the NYC Department of City Planning’s Zoning for Quality and Affordability Proposal
AIANY joined with the other four AIA chapters in NYC to issue a brief statement in support of DCP’s ZQA after it was certified on 09.21.15. A more detailed statement to follow.September 09, 2015Testimony Before City Council Committee on Land Use on Intro. 775
On 09.09.15, David Burney, FAIA, AIANY Interim Executive Director, testified on behalf of the five AIA chapters in NYC. Our testimony was in opposition to Intro. 775, which would change processes at the Landmarks Preservation Commission.May 05, 2015AIANY Testimony before LPC on 28 Liberty Project by SOM
AIANY testified in favor of SOM’s proposed renovation of 28 Liberty.May 01, 2015Comments on LPC Decalendaring
AIANY submitted comments on the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission effort to address its backlogged calendarApril 24, 20155 AIA Chapters of NYC Memo on Intro. 775
All 5 AIA Chapters of NYC came together in response to City Council Intro. 775, which proposes significant changes to Landmarks Preservation Commission. AIANY supports reforms to LPC to increase transparency and efficiency; however, the proposed solutions go too far and threaten NYC’s historic sites.April 23, 2015AIANY Testimony Before the New York City Council Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises on One Vanderbilt Avenue
AIANY submitted a statement for the record in favor of the proposed One Vanderbilt Avenue.April 15, 2015 | Aging in Place GuidelinesAIANY Testimony Before the New York City Council Committee on Aging
AIANY Design for Aging Committee provided testimony on an Aging in Place Guide.March 25, 2015Testimony Before City Planning on the Zoning for Quality and Affordability Proposal
On 03.25.15, AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA, submitted testimony at the NYC Department of City Planning public scoping meeting for the Housing New York: Zoning for Quality and Affordability proposal.February 27, 2015AIANY Testimony Before the New York City Council Committee on Environmental Protection
This oversight hearing and conference covered on site-sourced and stored renewable energy. AIANY provided testimony on select technologies.February 04, 2015Testimony Before the City Planning Commission on the proposed Vanderbilt Corridor rezoning and One Vanderbilt project
On 02.04.15, AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA, testified in favor of the NYC Department of City Planning proposal to rezone the Vanderbilt Corridor and the One Vanderbilt project, designed by KPF.January 01, 2015New York City Construction Codes Effective Date Letter to Commissioner Chandler
AIANY joined BOMA, BTEA, NYSAFAH, NYBC, and REBNY in writing a letter to NYC Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler to ask the Department to delay the effective date of the 2014 Construction Codes until three months after Codes have been printed, or January 1, 2015. The additional lead time will only help to ensure compliance and provide relief.January 01, 2015New York City Construction Codes Effective Date Letter to Speaker Mark-Viverito
AIANY joined BOMA, BTEA, NYSAFAH, NYBC, and REBNY in writing a letter to NYC Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler to ask the Department to delay the effective date of the 2014 Construction Codes until three months after Codes have been printed, or January 1, 2015. The additional lead time will only help to ensure compliance and provide relief.November 18, 2014Testimony Before the Landmarks Preservation Commission on the Proposed 346 Broadway/108 Leonard Project
AIANY submitted testimony in favor of the proposed 346 Broadway aka 108 Leonard project designed by Beyer Blinder Belle.November 03, 2014AIANY Testimony Before the New York City Council Committees on Transportation and Economic Development
AIANY testified at an oversight hearing on Assessing the Economic Impact of New York’s Failing Infrastructure, focusing on TransportationOctober 30, 2014 | Aging in Place GuidelinesAIANY Testimony Before the New York City Council Committee on Aging
AIANY testified at an oversight hearing on Age-Friendly NYC Aging Improvement Districts-Successes and Future ChallengesOctober 23, 2014AIANY Testimony Before the New York City Council Committee on Environmental Protection
AIANY testified in favor of Int 0378-2014, A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to reducing greenhouse gases by eighty percent by 2050.July 22, 2014Testimony Before the Landmarks Preservation Commission on the Proposed One Vanderbilt Avenue Project
On July 22nd, AIANY President Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, and AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA, presented testimony in favor of the proposed One Vanderbilt Avenue project designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox.June 18, 2014 | Aging in Place GuidelinesAIANY Design for Aging Committee Testimony Before the New York City Council Committee on Aging
This oversight hearing addressed “How Can the City Expand and Preserve Affordable Housing Options for Seniors?” and Int 0337-2014, a Local Law to create a senior housing task force. AIANY DFA testified in favor of the proposed legislation.May 20, 2014Letter in Support of a Stand-alone Sustainable Development Goal on Cities
We wrote to Ambassador Elizabeth M. Cousens in support of the proposed Sustainable Development Goals on cities and human settlements by the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals.May 15, 2014AIANY Support an MTA Transportation Reinvention Commission
AIANY wrote to MTA Chairman Prendergast in support of Governor Cuomo’s recommendation that the Metropolitan Transit Authority create a Transportation Reinvention Commission tasked to develop a reinvention plan for the future of the region. AIANY would like to recommend commission members who could lend valuable expertise.April 28, 2014Testimony Before the New York City Council Committee on Consumer Affairs on Intro 265
On April 28th, AIANY provided testimony to express serious concerns about Intro 265. AIANY feels that Intro 265 would add an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy to architects’ already highly regulated processes.April 09, 2014 | Zero Waste Design GuidelinesCouncil Members, Advocates and Business Leaders Call on Mayor To Make Sustainability & Resiliency High Priorities in Next 100 Days
A broad coalition of City Council members, business leaders and advocates from transportation, environmental and health organizations called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to make sustainability and climate resiliency high priorities for the next 100 days of his administration and beyond.April 02, 2014Testimony Before the New York City Council Housing and Buildings Committee on T2014-0702 and T2014-0701
On April 2nd, AIANY submitted testimony in regard to two proposed bills in the City Council. AIANY supports the passage of T2014-0702 and T2014-0701 in relation to public access stairs and hold-open devices.February 25, 2014Letter in Favor of the Proposed Domino Sugar Refinery Site
On February 25th, AIANY and AIA Brooklyn submitted a letter in favor of the proposed site plan by SHoP Architects for the Domino Sugar Refinery site in Brooklyn to Carl Weisbrod, Chair of the City Planning Commission. We support the affordable housing, resiliency, and building height aspects of the project.February 11, 2014Testimony Before the Landmarks Preservation Commission on the Proposed Park Avenue Historic District Expansion
On February 11th, AIANY executive director, Rick Bell, FAIA presented testimony in regard to the proposed Park Avenue Historic District, and, in particular, the Park Avenue Christian Church Annex site. AIANY supports the creation of a Park Avenue Historic District and the idea of inserting a residential structure, proposed by Beyer Blinder Belle, where the Park Avenue Christian Church Annex has been located adjacent to the sanctuary.
February 10, 2020BQE in Context: Report from AIANY BQE Taskforce
As the Mayor’s Expert Panel worked on their report, members of the AIANY Planning & Urban Design Committee and the AIANY Transportation & Infrastructure Committee formed a taskforce to hold workshops examining many of the same proposals and information provided to the Mayor’s panel. These workshops culminated into a complimentary report finalized in July 2019.February 02, 2018 | Aging in Place Guidelines樓宇業主之在地安養指南 - Aging in Place Guide for Building Owners - Mandarin長者友善住宅更新建議此指南提出住宅樓宇更新建議，以適合年長住戶居住。透過做出這些改進，樓宇業主將幫助居民在步入老年時仍能夠安全、舒適且獨立地在家生活。
In collaboration with the NYC Department for the Aging, the AIANY Design for Aging Committee released the Aging in Place Guide for Building Owners in July, 2016. A 21-member advisory panel of city agencies, design professionals, nonprofit organizations, community partners, and businesses assisted with the creation of the guide.October 25, 2017Design Guidelines: Rehabilitation of NYCHA Residential Buildings
Read the Design Guidelines: Rehabilitation of NYCHA Residential BuildingsOctober 17, 2017 | Aging in Place GuidelinesGuía para propietarios de edificios sobre el envejecimiento en el hogar - Aging in Place Guide for Building Owners - SpanishMEJORAS AMIGABLES PARA LA TERCERA EDAD EN EDIFICIOS RESIDENCIALESEsta guía recomienda mejoras en los edi cios residenciales para alojar a inquilinos de la tercera edad. Al hacer estas mejoras, los propietarios de edificios pueden ayudar a los residentes a permanecer en sus hogares a medida que envejecen de manera segura, cómoda e independiente.
In collaboration with the NYC Department for the Aging, the AIANY Design for Aging Committee released the Aging in Place Guide for Building Owners in July, 2016. A 21-member advisory panel of city agencies, design professionals, nonprofit organizations, community partners, and businesses assisted with the creation of the guide.October 25, 2016 | Aging in Place GuidelinesAging in Place Guide for Building Owners - EnglishRECOMMENDED AGE-FRIENDLY RESIDENTIAL BUILDING UPGRADESThis guide recommends residential building upgrades to accommodate older tenants. By making these improvements, building owners can help residents remain in their homes as they age—safely, comfortably, and independently.October 25, 2013A Platform for the Future of the City
Read “A Platform for the Future of the City”August 12, 2011Update to the 2011 New York Energy Conservation Code
Update to the 2011 New York Energy Conservation Code