2023 AIANY President Matthew Bremer, AIA and 2024 AIANY President Gregory T. Switzer, AIA, NOMA, NCARB
2023 AIANY President Matthew Bremer, AIA and 2024 AIANY President Gregory T. Switzer, AIA, NOMA, NCARB. Photo: Samuel Lahoz.

Happy winter and welcome to 2024!

Over the past year, we embarked on a journey of self-reflection guided by the presidential theme, Our City, Ourselves. This theme prompted a shift in the scale of our thinking, from the grand symphony of cityscapes to the intimate and personal notes of our lives as New Yorkers, community members, architects, and activists. As we write this, we hope we can bring the energy of the new year to improve our city further, in a way that will also help our changing planet. It’s significant that this issue, themed Urban Ecologies, looks at how we are taking up these challenges. As we pursue stability and equilibrium, we engage in a delicate balancing act, in which environmental resilience and sustainability commingle with human equity, justice, and joy. It may seem like a daunting endeavor but, for New York architects, this routine is part of our daily professional lives.

In 2023, we were also proud to witness the emergence of the LGBTQIA+ Alliance within the AIA New York Chapter. A new committee, pulsating with fresh energy, contributes vibrant hues to our collective palette. This group will advocate for LGBTQIA+ colleagues by creating space to build community, host events and discussions, and foster diversity and inclusion within our profession.

We also launched the roundtable group Small Firms, Big City, which convened to discuss the challenges faced by smaller firms. As the largest AIA chapter in the nation, we must ensure that our rich tapestry of resources and networking opportunities is accessible to all members, regardless of scale or longevity. This new group aspires to nurture collaboration among small firms, creating a symbiotic environment for resource-sharing and knowledge exchange.

Expanding on the issue of equity, we asked ourselves, why do borough chapters tend to operate as completely siloed organizations? And how can we and the Center for Architecture (CFA) be more actively engaged with these other chapters? For the first time, AIA borough chapter presidents met throughout the year to discuss how we can collaborate better and more often. To be continued in 2024 and beyond…

Finally, Our City, Ourselves culminated with the first CFA Lab: Seeking Refuge and Making Home in NYC, an exhibition currently on view in the Center’s KPF Gallery outside Tafel Hall. Three residents were selected from more than 50 applicants to ponder the meaning of “home” in New York City through the lens of groups that have been marginalized in different ways in the city. (See “At the Center” on page 10 for a more detailed look at the exhibition’s themes.) The show is up through March 23, and we encourage anyone who has not seen it to stop in.

The exhibition is a great segue into the 2024 presidential theme, Belonging and Beyond, a clarion call for architects to dive deep into intentional listening, engagement, and interaction with traditionally marginalized groups. The theme underscores the importance of connecting, being attentive to, and immersing ourselves in the challenges faced by those touched by our architectural endeavors. It asks architects to play an active role in the metamorphosis of urban spaces, so that affordability, accessibility, and inclusion take center stage.

Standing before us as an enticing canvas, 2024 holds the potential to be a year to rebalance, reinvigorate, and reimagine the architects’ role as public advocates and allies. Let us know about your challenges and wins as you embark on this work.


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