I am confident that most AIA members would agree with me that a designer’s work is never done! Designing housing or schools or hospitals is challenging, creative, and time-consuming work. However, as an association that advocates for the profession, AIA New York understands that architects have to make a case for the value of design even before a commission can actually be imagined or funded. Long before the exceptional work acknowledged in this Design Awards issue was even started, architects had to engage in a form of design advocacy with a client, a community, or even government entities.
Advocacy is at the core of our efforts to promote design excellence. First, I’d like to congratulate all the architects and design professionals who had a role in realizing, and advocating for, the award-winning projects recognized in these pages. I would also like to acknowledge the work of an outstanding design and social justice advocate, Roseanne Haggerty, who is being recognized this year with the AIANY Award of Merit. And finally, I would like to share some insight into the Capitol Hill Day that AIA led in Washington, DC, on March 6, 2019.
Each year AIANY members on the Honors and Awards Committee identify exceptional people who enrich the design community in a myriad of ways. In this issue, 2019 AIANY President Hayes Slade, AIA, acknowledges one of the three 2019 honorees: Medal of Honor recipient Deborah Berke, FAIA; and Oculus Editor-in-Chief Molly Heintz recognizes another: Interior Design Editor-in-Chief Cindy Allen, recipient of the Stephen A. Kliment Oculus Award. The third honoree at this year’s Honors and Awards Luncheon is being celebrated with the AIANY Award of Merit, which highlights exceptional work in advocating for design by non-architects. Roseanne Haggerty, housing activist and developer, has spent her career not only identifying strategies to end homelessness, but implementing them through innovative financing, community engagement, the preservation of existing buildings, and the development of new ones. After completing an architecture degree at Columbia University GSAPP in 1990, she founded Common Ground Community, an organization devoted to developing supportive housing and ending homelessness. In 2011, Haggerty expanded her work to broader community efforts to end homelessness by founding Community Solutions. She is the recipient of the 2012 Jane Jacobs Medal from the Rockefeller Foundation and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2001. Additionally, Haggerty has been actively engaged with AIANY: She gave the 2016 annual Samuel Ratensky Lecture on housing, and recently met with AIANY members and Urban Design Forum Fellows to advise them on their collaborative efforts on Conscious Shelter Design Guidelines for the NYC Department of Homeless Services.
Inspired by the impact that design advocates like Roseanne Haggerty have made, I am proud to report on the Capitol Hill Day that AIA recently held in Washington, DC. On March 6, a delegation of AIANY members and staff joined more than 600 colleagues from all 50 states to engage in over 400 meetings with federal representatives and members of Congress. AIA members advocated for two nationally relevant issues: energy efficiency and school safety. Noting that buildings contribute more than 40% of carbon emissions nationally, AIA members requested an amendment to the federal tax code to incentivize the use of energy-efficient technologies for building components (such as HVAC, lighting, windows, and roofs) and building management systems by expanding the definition of Quality Improvement Property to encourage sustainable design. In the area of school safety—an issue that generally receives bipartisan support—AIA is advocating that design can play a role in helping to improve our schools holistically. However, current federal grants that promote school safety efforts do not cover design services. AIA members asked lawmakers to establish a federal clearinghouse of resources and school design best practices for school officials to access.
Advocacy for design excellence remains at the core of AIA’s mission. I encourage members to get involved in these important efforts at the local, state, and federal levels. These efforts not only raise the public’s awareness about the importance of design, but also inform the passage of laws that can greatly restrict or enhance an architect’s ability to improve the built environment.