December 8, 2009
by: Emily Nemens

In this issue:
· Helfand dedication tomorrow
· urbanSHED Update
· AIA Inaugural Round-Up
· Interior Architects Donate Outerwear
· States Go Greener
· Passing: Daniel Rowen, FAIA

Helfand Gallery dedication tomorrow
On Wednesday, 12.09.09, at 5 pm the Center for Architecture will honor Margaret Helfand’s, memory, unveil the new plaque that hangs in the Margaret Helfand Gallery, and celebrate the inaugural year of the Margaret Helfand Spotlight Series, which was made possible by the generous supporters of the Margaret Helfand Fund. Margaret Helfand, FAIA, passed away in 2007 after a battle with cancer. An immensely talented architect and leader, she was instrumental in the creation of the Center for Architecture, and served as AIANY’s president in 2001. (Read more about Helfand’s life and work here.) Please RSVP to or 212-358-6118.

urbanSHED Update

The three finalist teams, KNE Studios, Young Hwan Choi, and Xchange Architects, have been hard at work to further develop their designs, which were selected from more than 150 submissions at the 10.07.09 Stage I Jury for urbanSHED. The designers have paired up with Arup, Agencie Group, and Weidlinger Associates, respectively, and the teams have met with the urbanSHED Technical Advisory Group to promote the structural integrity and constructability of their designs in advance of the Stage II jury. (Listen to urbanSHED jurors/commissioners Robert Limandri, Amanda Burden, FAICP, Hon. AIA, and Janette Sadik-Khan, Hon. AIANY, discuss the three finalist designs — urban Cloud, Urban Umbrella, and Tripod(MOD)ule — in a podcast posted here.) The final jury will meet on 12.17.09; the three finalists will be featured in the Helfand Gallery showcase at the Center for Architecture in late December. Stay tuned for details about the exhibition, designer presentations at the Center for Architecture in January, and, of course, the announcement of the grand prize winner!

AIA Inaugural Round-Up

Tonight is the inauguration of AIANY’s 2010 Board of Directors. Sherida Paulsen, FAIA, 2009 AIANY President, will be passing the gavel to Anthony “Tony” Schirripa, AIA, IIDA. The two leaders will talk about their presidential themes, with Paulsen giving a recap of “Design Literacy for All,” and Schirripa previewing his theme “Architect as Leader.” The AIANY board will welcome seven new members, including two new positions: Public Member and Student Director. The inaugural will also celebrate the changing of the Center for Architecture Foundation’s Board, with leadership passing from Roberta Washington, FAIA, to Jean Parker Phifer, FAIA.

AIA National also recently inaugurated its new leadership. On 12.04.09, George Miller, FAIA, and AIANY presidential alumnus (2003) became president of the AIA. Miller, who was president of the AIA New York Chapter in 2003 when the Center for Architecture opened, also served on the AIANYS Board, and served on the AIA National Board. He is the first NYC-based architect to head the AIA since 1971.

Interior Architects Donate Outerwear

With winter upon us, it’s a perfect time for Ted Moudis Associates to launch its annual coat drive, in association with New York Cares, an NYC nonprofit dedicated to mobilizing community leaders to become volunteers. New York Cares has set up sites around the city — NYPD precincts, and during morning rush hours at Grand Central Terminal, Penn Station, and the Port Authority Bus terminal, among other locations — to gather coats, jackets, hats gloves, scarves, and other outerwear. Moudis is making it even easier, and will collect winterwear in their offices at 79 Madison Avenue as well. Contact Brittany McGann (212-561-2036) or Lauren Ackerman (212-561-2039) with any questions.

States Go Greener
The National Governors Association convened 07.17-20, 2009 in Gulfport, MI. Washington State’s Governor Christine Gregoire had recently signed carbon neutrality legislation into law, which, forwarded by AIA WA, was based on the AIA National model for carbon neutrality in buildings by 2030. She encouraged her peers to adopt similar measures, and by the end of the conference, the NGA had accepted the 2030 goal as part of their 2010 Energy policy.

Since then, states have passed another hurdle: the Council of State Governments recently approved the Energy Efficiency/Zero Greenhouse Gas Emission Buildings bill as the new model legislations for states. Based on AIA’s 2030 Carbon Neutrality goals, this bill came out of the Energy and Environment Task Force, which voted to use AIA’s recommendations on both new and renovated buildings as a means of reaching carbon neutrality by 2030. To learn more, visit

Passing: Daniel Rowen, FAIA


The White Apartment.

Courtesy Frank Lupo

Daniel Rowen, FAIA, principal of Daniel Rowen Architect, passed away after a battle with neuroendocrine cancer on 11.17.09 at the age of 56. After graduating from the Yale School of Architecture, he worked for Gwathmey Siegel & Associates, where he met Frank Lupo, FAIA. In 1985, Rowen and Lupo formed New York Architects, which later became Lupo Rowen Architects in the early 1990s. In 1995, they formed separate sole proprietorships, Frank Lupo Architects and Daniel Rowen Architects. Lupo went on to become an associate principal at FXFOWLE Architects, and Rowen moved his practice from NYC to East Hampton in 2003.

e-Oculus spoke with Lupo about his relationship with Rowen and the legacy he leaves behind.

e-Oculus: What was Rowen like both as a colleague and as a friend? Can you share an anecdote?
Frank Lupo, FAIA: Dan Rowen was a confident, self-assured, and logical individual who was guided by a very disciplined and sophisticated design aesthetic. He enthusiastically collected beautiful things. He collected the cards in seat pockets from various airlines that detail evacuation instructions. He collected (in order of scale) post cards, art books, fine art photography, vintage furniture, vintage racing cars, art, and real estate.

The other thing he most assuredly collected were great friends, in East Hampton, here in New York, and around the country.There was no separating his exacting and sophisticated aesthetic sense as an architect from that of a friend. He brought his uncompromising “Design Police” eye to all aspects of his life right up to the end.

e-O: What was his favorite project and why?
FL: Of the work we produced together I would have to say it was the White Apartment because it was the most radical departure for us at the time. It took our design sense to its extreme limit. Dan and I also enjoyed being pushed by the client to reach a Zen minimalist extreme. He enjoyed dealing with the clients because they, too, embodied the minimal aesthetic we achieved. You can see the influence of that project on subsequent projects in his own practice — Martha Stewart Omnimedia and the Gagosian Galleries.

e-O: Rowen was a disciple of Charles Gwathmey, FAIA, who passed away earlier this year. How did he respond to the news?
FL:Dan and Charles were extremely close during the time that he worked for Charles in the early 1980s. When we established our own practice in 1985 we were literally around the corner from Charles’s office on 10th Avenue. Dan would keep in touch with Charles, but over time schedules diverged. In the end it was a shock to Dan and a solemn reminder of his own mortality since Dan was undergoing chemotherapy. Ultimately, he was physically unable to attend Charles’ memorial to say farewell.

e-O: Rowen is known for his Modern designs. What Modernist ideas do you think were closest to him?
FL:Many of the underlying tenets of Modernism were the principles that Dan learned and absorbed at Charles’s side: Functionlism; plan logic; purity of form; complexity of space; and the interplay of light. Charles also imparted an appreciation for a Modernism punctuated by a sophisticated palette of color and materials.

e-O: As a NY-based architect with many works in NYC, what role did the city play in his designs?
FL:Dan’s work was in many was a reaction against the city that was out of his control. Dan was able to bring a rigorous order to achieve perfection in interior living and work environments, in contrast to the chaos and the scale of the city.

e-O: How do you think Rowen would like to be remembered?
FL:I think he would want to be remembered for the clarity, vision, and simplicity of his architecture. Dan stuck to an aesthetic that was not about chasing the latest trend. He meant for his work to be timeless and enduring, and I believe he achieved that.

For more information, see “Daniel Rowen, an Architect Who Favored Modernism, Dies at 56,” by Fred Bernstein, The New York Times, 11.23.09.


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