June 25, 2018
by: AIA New York
AIANY hosted the AIA Conference on Architecture in 2018, taking place at the Javits Center. Photo: Courtesy of Pentagram.
AIANY hosted the AIA Conference on Architecture in 2018, taking place at the Javits Center. Photo: Courtesy of Pentagram.

Last week, the AIA Conference on Architecture (A’18) brought no fewer than 26,000 architects to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, the Center for Architecture, the New School, the Hilton, and countless tour locations throughout New York City! AIA New York was at the center of the action, with a Pentagram-designed Welcome Area distributing AIANY City Guides at the South Concourse entrance to Javits and several exhibitions on view at the Center for Architecture: James Stewart Polshek, an exhibition organized by Ennead Architects to honor the 2018 AIA Gold Medal winner; Designing Waste: Strategies for a Zero Waste City; New Practices New York 2018; and 2018 AIANY Design Awards. AIANY also organized dozens of Open Studios, which offered conference attendees and the general public a rare look inside the offices of local firms, while many local AIA members led tours by bike, boat, and foot—there was even a running tour around Central Park.

“A’18 was an unprecedented and remarkable experience for AIA New York and served as a unique opportunity for our community of architects and New Yorkers to show off our city,” says Benjamin Prosky, Assoc. AIA, Executive Director, AIANY and Center for Architecture. “We welcomed 26,000 attendees to New York City who together formed the largest gathering of architects in U.S. history—and will likely remain so for many decades to come. Thank you to everyone—members, peers, friends, and attendees—who made history with us!”

Here’s a look at a few of the conference highlights—we’ll see you next year in Las Vegas.

1. The city! As soon as Javits Center attendees got off the subway at Hudson Yards, fresh construction for the Vessel by Thomas Heatherwick was centerstage, making it one of the most Instagrammed sites featured in several sold-out tours of Hudson Yards.


2. The Day 1 keynote headlined by Sir David Adjaye drew over 6,000 people to Radio City! Adjaye also sat down for a book signing, attended by Danei Cesario, AIA NCARB NOMA, AIANY Diversity and Inclusion Committee Co-Chair.


3. The renovation of the omnipresent Javits Center itself was featured in several tours, as well as an educational session titled A Case Study in Urban & Environmental Revitalization.


4. The 90-year-old Beverley Willis, FAIA, of the Beverley Willis Architecture Foundation was among the ringleaders of Voices of Plurality flash mob, which raised awareness for diversity and inclusion in the practice of architecture.


5. AIA New York’s Welcome Area, City Guide, and tote bags were designed by Pentagram! We brought some bold color—and hopefully good advice—to all entering the Javits Center via the South Concourse.


6. “If you’re good at something, never do it for free.” Words of wisdom echoed by Sheela Maini Søgaard, CEO of Bjarke Ingels Group, at the Day 2 Keynote at Radio City.


7. Have your feet recovered yet? A’18 brought dozens of walking tours, including this one led by Stephen Zacks on The New Bowery.


8. Robert Eisenstat, FAIA, PANYNJ Chief Architect and AIANY Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Co-Chair, led multiple talks and tours surrounding Transit in Post-9/11 Lower Manhattan!


9. The College of Fellows Investiture Ceremony took place at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. No less than 28 local AIA New York members were elevated to Fellowship. Congratulations!


10. AIANY organized dozens of Open Studios taking you inside the offices of local architecture firms. Situ Studio’s was one of the first to sell out!


11. James Corner Field Operations showed visiting architects around some of their major projects, icluding Fresh Kills Park in Staten Island and Domino Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn!


12. AIA 2018 Gold Medal Award winner James Stewart Polshek was the subject of an exhibiton by Ennead Architects, held the Center for Architecture, and spoke in front of thousands at the Day 2 Keynote!


13. The 2018 City of Dreams Pavilion opened on Governor’s Island on Saturday! The playful, circular canopy, titled Oculi, is designed by Austin+Mergold with Maria Park (Cornell) and consulting engineers Chris Earls (Cornell) and Scott Hughes (Silman).


14. Morphosis brought Ithaca’s gorges to the Cornell Tech campus, the site of several sold-out educational tours!


15. Activism was on everyone’s minds! AIA National launched its Architect Action Alerts, making it that much easier for architects to stay informed.


16. Included in the AIA convention tote bag, BWAF’s new Built by Women map features 77 sites from Beverly Willis’s Unknown NY film!


17. Speaking of films, over the weekend the Architecture and Design Film Festival brought BIG TIME to the big screen, offering a rare look into the life of Bjarke Ingels as he relocatd to NYC to create 2 World Trade Center.


18. Community Service Day was a huge success! On Saturday, local firms and brands partnered with 6 non-profits throughout 3 boroughs to work on special projects benefiting those in need.


19. Congratulations AIA New York’s own Jessica Sheridan, AIA, elected as 2019-2021 At-Large Director! Sheridan garnered more votes than candidates Rob Walker IV, AIA, and James Wright, FAIA.

Congrats Jes! AIA Director atLarge on the Executive Board! #aiany #aianyenya

A post shared by Alex Alaimo (@archiprenuer) on


20. “The Party” brought attendees inside the historic Hammerstein Ballroom for a performance by En Vogue!


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