June 23, 2009
by Emily Nemens

In this issue:
· NYC Turns Old Into Green
· Transportation Reform Rolls Into Washington
· Proposed Energy Code Sets New Standards for Clean Energy
· ARE Prices Increase
· Tribute: Bernard Rothzeid, FAIA, Architect, 83

NYC Turns Old Into Green
By Emily Nemens

AIANY Committee on the Environment (COTE) co-chairs Patricia Sapinsley, AIA, and Charlie Griffith, AIA, with AIANY Policy Director Marian Imperatore, AIA, have been busy gathering support for four green building bills coming before the City Council Friday, June 26. The NYCC Buildings Energy Legislation (# 476A Benchmarking, #973 Lighting Upgrades, #564 NYC Energy Code, and #967 Audits and Retrofits) — prepared by the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability — will extend the reach of the city’s energy rules. The bills will ensure that, for the first time, New York State’s Energy Code will apply energy standards to the city’s existing building stock. It requires, among other things, that building owners audit their energy use and upgrade their buildings’ energy profile when they renovate (previously, that energy upgrade had only applied to major renovations). The legislation will cut down on NYC’s carbon footprint and improve the city’s building stock. AIANY and the USGBC are supportive, but there will be significant opposition from some NYC property owners. To contact your councilmember, click here. More on the vote in the next edition of e-Oculus.

Transportation Reform Rolls Into Washington
By Emily Nemens

Last week the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee released the summary of their Surface Transportation Authorization Act of 2009. Drafted by Committee Chairman Jim Oberstar (D-MN) and Ranking Republican John Mica (R-FL), the six-year, $450-billion bill brings 75 different programs under one, sustainability-minded umbrella. For the design community, the most important component of the act is the new Office of Livable Communities. The U.S. Department of Transportation-based office would bring transportation and community planning together as never before. However, the Senate still has to respond, and Congress members aren’t sure where the budget will come from. President Obama suggested the bill wait 18 months for more funds, as the current transportation financing, in The Highway Trust Fund, is running close to empty.

Proposed Energy Code Sets New Standards for Clean Energy
By Emily Nemens

The New Buildings Institute and AIA announced their plan for a new International Energy Conservation Code. They are proposing that the International Code Council adopt the new standards — which would improve energy performance, reduce emissions, and improve efficiency in new commercial buildings by up to 30% — for their next update, which is due out in 2012. Read more about the proposal here.

ARE Prices Increase
By Emily Nemens

You have until October 1 to schedule Architect Registration Exam (ARE) appointments at the $170-per-division price. On that day, prices for each division will increase by $40. The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) explains that this security and development fee is due to recent content disclosure incidents. The upshot of a few candidates posting ARE questions on the Internet created new content development, administrative, and legal fees. The cost to NCARB: $1.1 million. Click here for the full story.

Tribute: Bernard Rothzeid, FAIA, Architect, 83
By Peter Samton, FAIA

Bernard Rothzeid, FAIA, a leading New York architect and founder of RKT&B Architects, died of leukemia on May 25, 2009. He was 83 and lived in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Although Bernie Rothzeid was 10 years my senior, we had much in common (we both attended Stuyvesant High School and MIT, followed by a Fulbright Traveling Grant). It was natural for me to look to him as a leader in our profession, and a most serious and dedicated architect.

After his Fulbright to Italy and on his return to New York, Bernie became a project architect at I.M. Pei and Partners, supervising the design and construction of such large-scale projects as the Place Ville Marie in Montreal. Bernie became a pioneer in the adaptive re-use of existing structures. Turtle Bay Towers, a former commercial building, received a First Honor Award from the AIA and was, at the time, the largest residential conversion in the city. In 1963, he founded his own architectural firm and rapidly acquired major clients. By 1974, as Bernard Rothzeid & Partners, the firm continued to prosper, and in 1981 became Rothzeid Kaiserman Thomson & Bee, converting and renovating buildings of all types, many of which received city, state, and/or national awards for innovative design. Historic preservation became an RKT&B specialty.

Bernie was elected to the College of Fellows of the AIA in 1979, and in 1986 he received the Augustus Saint Gaudens Award from The Cooper Union from which he graduated before getting his Master’s at MIT. (Prior to Cooper Union, he served in the U.S. Army in the Philippines during World War II from 1944-1946.) He served on the boards of The Cooper Union, New York Methodist Hospital, and the Citizen’s Housing and Planning Council, and was active in numerous other organizations. He also taught at The Cooper Union and at the School of Architecture and Environmental Studies at City College in New York. The National Endowment for the Arts awarded him a grant in 1980 to study the chattel houses in Barbados.

He was highly esteemed by students, clients, and associates alike as a devoted mentor, exemplary colleague, and loyal friend. I often sought him out for advice, especially in the area of preservation, mixing old and new. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Madge, his daughter Mitzie and his son Alexander. In addition to his lifelong commitment to his family and to architecture, he was an avid theatergoer, reader, gardener, and New York Giants fan. But among his preoccupations in recent years, none took hold with greater passion than his return to drawing and painting, which he had first learned as an art student at Cooper Union. “There’s something very beautiful about a well-crafted drawing,” he recently remarked. “You don’t get it with a machine drawing.”


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