February 3, 2017
Dear AIA New York members and colleagues,
The leadership of AIA New York wishes to reaffirm to our membership and extended community our fundamental commitment to providing shelter and protecting the health, safety, and welfare of all people. Civil dialogue, reciprocal respect, and the protection of human rights are essential to our activities and are vital characteristics of the profession. We believe in inalienable rights, regardless of creed or nation of origin, gender or sexual orientation, language or skin color.
These values underpin the practice of our profession. We believe in equity in design and its benefits to all, and we embrace inclusivity and the diversity of both society and our profession. Architecture is a civic art that seeks cultural and societal benefit for people across all demographic constituencies. By extension, we support and are aligned with initiatives that endow and strengthen education and the arts.
We will continue to espouse fair and ethical business practices throughout the building industry. We remain committed to mitigating climate change and protecting New Yorkers from its unavoidable consequences, advocating for evidence-based best practices in energy conservation and resilient and sustainable high-performance building design.
We anticipate that under the new president’s administration, policies may and in certain instances will, challenge the values that underpin practices that our profession seeks to protect. Following the election, our Board of Directors issued a call to members for suggestions of how this organization can best respond to the challenges we face as a community. The overwhelming response from AIANY’s January 5th Community Forum event and new Member Voices account (firstname.lastname@example.org) advised our organization to look inward and create foundational tools we can rely on and refer back to as critical issues arise.
To this end, AIA New York has drafted position statements on various aspects of the built and natural environment directly impacted by federal agencies and policies. These statements have been developed in collaboration with AIANY’s Housing Committee, Education Committee, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Committee on the Environment. As issues come to the fore, these statements will guide how we develop our advocacy initiatives as well as how we engage with AIANY members.
We are first and foremost a membership organization, and our members are our strength. We look forward to hearing your voices and working closely with you on issues of urgency to the profession.
David Piscuskas, FAIA, LEED AP
AIA New York
Benjamin Prosky, Assoc AIA
AIA New York
August 05, 2021Design and Construction Industry Letter in Support of the American Jobs Plan
Members of the New York Congressional Delegation,
We are writing on behalf of New York’s design and construction industry professionals to thank you for your strong support of the American Jobs Plan. As outlined, the jobs plan would dramatically improve the quality of New York’s infrastructure, all while reducing inequality, mitigating against the effects of climate change, and creating thousands of good-paying jobs.
As the jobs plan is being debated in Washington, we want to reaffirm our support for its provisions and highlight some areas of improvement that we believe would benefit all New Yorkers:
- Increase funding for mass transit: New York alone requires hundreds of billions of dollars to fund mass transit improvements. We are pleased to know that necessary levels of funding will be dedicated to move the Gateway Program forward, however, we ask that other mass transit projects in New York also receive sufficient funding. Transporting New York’s people and freight more efficiently is imperative to our overall economic growth.
- Fund transportation alternatives: Allocate robust funding to fix our transit challenges through relatively lower-cost design and construction solutions, such as bus lanes, bike lanes, and the pedestrianization of streets. These solutions will reduce the strain on existing infrastructure and improve the quality of life for cyclists, pedestrians, seniors, and people experiencing disabilities. New York has numerous programs and legislation in place to do this, but they require more funding to be implemented successfully.
- Invest in reimagining urban highways: Highways have been critical to the success of modern cities, allowing for people and goods to move with ease, however, they have tremendous social costs, including polluting and dividing marginalized communities. We need dedicated federal funding to reimagine these transportation infrastructure assets into places that provide equitable access to open space, enhanced placemaking, and protection from the effects of climate change.
- Provide funding for New York to implement sustainability legislation: At the state and city level, New York is in the process of implementing, respectively, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) and Local Law 97-2019. These ambitious pieces of legislation require our state and city governments to spend billions of dollars upgrading energy infrastructure and retrofitting government buildings. Yet, funding is needed to make these projects move ahead so that government can lead the way towards a greener, cleaner future.
- Increase funding for affordable housing: NYCHA alone requires at least $40 billion, most of which is expected to come from the federal government. Without significant federal investment, NYCHA’s residents will continue to live in dangerously dilapidated buildings.
- Couple funding for housing with removal of exclusionary zoning: The federal government has a long history of driving local policy through mandates and making the receipt of federal funding contingent upon compliance with important national objectives. Therefore, funding to local governments for the development of housing should be contingent upon the elimination of exclusionary zoning practices that are overly restrictive, decrease affordability, and harm our local and regional economies, i.e., single-family zoning. These policies have seriously hampered efforts to combat the housing crisis in New York City and its surrounding counties, increased segregation and inequality, and ultimately prevented the housing supply from matching the needs of New York’s residents. The jobs plan offers a unique opportunity to combat exclusionary zoning policies across all of New York.
Again, we thank you for your strong advocacy on behalf of New York’s built environment. We are committed to ensuring that the jobs plan becomes law and that billions of dollars of funding support New York’s economy. Please consider our members in the design and construction industries as a resource while you examine the jobs plan and other similar proposals.
Benjamin Prosky, Assoc. AIA
American Institute of Architects New York
Carlo A. Scissura, Esq.
President & CEO
New York Building Congress
John T. Evers, PhD
American Council of Engineering Companies of New YorkMarch 03, 2020AIA New York and NY Delegation Letter of Opposition to Classical Architecture Executive Order
March 3, 2020
President Donald Trump President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue North West Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Trump,
As members of the U.S. House of Representatives representing the state of New York, we are deeply troubled to learn of a draft executive order titled “Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again,” which would officially designate “classical” architecture as the preferred style for all federal courthouses, all federal public buildings in the Capital region, and all other federal public buildings whose cost exceeds $50 million. (1)
We unequivocally oppose this policy to promote one style of architecture for many federal buildings across the country. Restricting many federal buildings to one architectural style disregards the vast artistic diversity and creativity of the American people. The needs and specific characteristics of a community—including its history, regional preferences, topography, weather, and the style of surrounding buildings—may make another architectural style much more appropriate.
As you know, the American Institute of Architects (AIA)—a national association of architects and designers with nearly 10,000 members in the State of New York—recently wrote to you opposing the proposed executive order. (2) We share AIA’s concern that the order will establish an overly bureaucratic process that could eliminate alternate design options that reflect the preferences of local communities. We agree that our federal buildings should be designed with input of, by, and for the people that they directly serve, not political appointees.
We strongly support the mission of the General Services Administration’s Design Excellence Program, which encourages the propagation of different architectural styles with local design preferences and different regional cultural histories. The program also emphasizes the importance of sustainable design, energy efficiency, and the environmental impact of building materials. These are complex issues that often require diverse architectural solutions.
This order also contradicts the federal government’s own “Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture,” written in 1962 by the late New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. In this document, Senator Moynihan wrote, “The development of an official style must be avoided. Design must flow from the architectural profession to the government, and not vice versa.”(3) Straying from these long-standing principles with tat the top-down approach designated by this order will set a dangerous precedent for future Administrations.
Therefore, we believe you should reject this draft executive order and not pursue any policy change that would replace local input within the design process with a predetermined national mandate.
1) Rogers, Katie, and Robin Pogrebin. “Draft Executive Order Would Give Trump a New Target: Modern Design.” The New York Times. The New York Times, February 5, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/05/arts/design/trump-modern-architecture.html.
2) “AIA Issues Letter to President Trump Opposing Proposed Executive Order.” The American Institute of Architects. Accessed February 19, 2020. https://www.aia.org/press-releases/6264391-aia-issues-letter-to-president-trump-oppos.
3) “Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture.” GSA, August 13, 2017. https://www.gsa.gov/real-estate/design construction/design-excellence/design-excellence-program/guiding-principles-for-federal-architecture.February 06, 2020AIANY 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 ChapterJuly 16, 2018Response 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 email@example.com.
Gerard F. X. Geier II, FAIA, FIIDA, LEED AP
Benjamin Prosky, Assoc. AIA
Executive DirectorJune 05, 2017AIA 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 05, 2017AIA 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, 2017AIA 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.January 05, 2017AIA New York Position Statement: Risk and Recovery
Recent changes in policy and regulations at the federal level—such as withdrawing the United States from the Paris Climate Accord, and the rescinding of water pollution regulations, and the suspending of climate-sensible safeguards at the EPA, to name a few—are reversing a decades-long course of positive and protective actions in defending the quality of our national environment.January 05, 2017AIA 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.January 05, 2017AIA 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.January 05, 2017AIA 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, 2017AIA 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, 2016AIANY 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.