March 9, 2010
by Emily Nemens

In this issue:
· Historic Districts of Columbia, Meet the Old Neighborhoods of New York
· Get Ready for 2010 AIA Convention
· Membership Reminder
· AIA Adds New Resources
· Go Green Expo Returns to NYC

Historic Districts of Columbia, Meet the Old Neighborhoods of New York
By Emily Nemens

Event: ContextContrast — Panel Discussion on New Architecture in Historic Neighborhoods
Location: AIA National Headquarters, 03.03.10
Speakers: Tersh Boasberg — Chair, Historic Preservation Review Board, Washington, DC; Anne McCutcheon Lewis, FAIA — Architect, Washington, DC; Sherida E. Paulsen, FAIA — Principal, PKSB architects, NYC; Robert Tierney — Chair, NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission; Introduction by Anthony Schirripa, FAIA, IIDA — 2010 AIANY President
Moderator: Rick Bell, FAIA — Executive Director, AIANY
Organizers: AIANY; AIA National; AIA DC

To celebrate the opening of “ContextContrast: New Architecture in Historic Districts, 1967-2009” in the new gallery at the AIA National Headquarters building, heads of New York’s and DC’s historic district commissions spoke about their cities’ regulatory processes in a program organized by AIANY, with the support of AIA National and AIA DC. Paired with two practitioners from New York and DC, the conversation illuminated the similarities and differences of fitting new architecture into historic neighborhoods in these two cities.

Robert Tierney, who has chaired the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission since 2003, spoke of the Greenwich Village Historic District, Hugh Hardy’s, FAIA, answer for the hole on 11th Street (a townhouse was destroyed in the March 1970 Weathermen explosion). The proposed infill, with its pivoted two-story element, sparked eight months of debate, but was ultimately approved. Sherida Paulsen, FAIA, a former LPC Chair and commissioner, added the perspective of someone attempting to get plans approved by the commission — a process that often takes months, if not years.

From Washington, Tersh Boasberg, the chair of the Historic Preservation Review Board, contributed his city’s perspective. There are a few clear differences between NYC and DC. In DC, they preserve façades and have a semi-formulaic strategy for heights, setbacks, and cornice lines on many of L’Enfant’s historic streets. The District’s height requirements — more contingent on street width than on the commonly held belief that nothing can top the height of the Capitol Dome — have built a largely horizontal city, with new architecture often vying to push the skyline up, even if just a few stories. The approval process — called “compatibility” in DC, as opposed to New York’s “appropriateness” — is one of trial and error. He spoke of a modern home in Cleveland Park that came to the board three times. The third time, Boasberg recalled, they decided, “if we were serious about Modern architecture, we better approve it.” Before long, it was picked up by HPRB detractors as an example of how historic district designation was “no protection for your properties.” He shrugged at the loss and smiled to the audience, as if to say, “You win some, you lose some.” But with thousands of historic buildings in both cities, finding the proper balance between new and old is a fight worth fighting.

“ContextContrast” is on view at AIA National Headquarters, 1735 New York Avenue, through 04.28.10. The exhibition, which originated at New York’s Center for Architecture last fall (developed jointly by AIANY and the Landmarks Preservation Commission, with the support of the New York Landmark Preservation Foundation), looks at “appropriateness” in historic districts, and how new architecture can insert itself into historically hallowed ground.

Get Ready for 2010 AIA Convention
Registration for the 2010 AIA National Convention, “Design for a New Decade,” 06.10-12.10 in Miami, FL, is now open! Register by 03.29.10 to get the early bird pricing. First-time members who joined AIA between 05.03.09 and 06.12.10 are eligible for a complimentary convention registration. AIA is also accepting applications to volunteer as a door and session monitors in return for complimentary registration. Click here download the application

The deadline to submit a resolution for consideration at the convention is this Friday, 03.12.10 at 5:00pm. Read the submission package here, and contact Pam Day, Hon. AIA, at or 202.626.7305 with any questions. For more 2010 Convention details, visit the convention website.

Membership Reminder
Haven’t had time to renew for 2010? You have until 03.31.10 to renew your AIA membership without penalty. Visit to start the process today, and come to programs at the Center for Architecture to make the most of your membership. Members receive free or discounted admission to AIANY/Center for Architecture programming — much of which offers AIA Continuing Education Credits — and access to partnership programs with other New York cultural institutions. AIA also gives members access to resources that can help you compete in today’s market and that will keep you informed of critical professional issues in the field.

AIA Adds New Resources
Last week, AIA announced that it will hire two new resource architects who will focus on accessing sustainability resources and assisting young architects. William Worthen, AIA, will serve as Director, Resource Architect, for Sustainability. Worthen, a vice president of Simon & Associates, Inc., Green Building Consultants, San Francisco, sits on the USGBC’s Implementation Advisory Committee (National LEED Advisory Board) and the Mayor’s Green Building Task Force in San Francisco. He will help members gain access to information on sustainable design and construction, and will help AIA reach its long-term goals of carbon neutrality by 2030.

Kevin Fitzgerald, AIA, PMP, a former associate at Robert A.M. Stern Architects in New York, will work with AIA’s resources for young architects and architecture students: the Young Architects Forum, the National Associates Committee, American Institute of Architects Students, and work on growing a new national resource, the AIA Center for Emerging Professionals.

Go Green Expo Returns to NYC
AIANY is a sponsor of New York’s eco-friendly event, Go Green Expo, coming to Pier 92, 03.19-21.10. Eco-friendly companies, services, and products will be on display with more than 200 exhibits. Speaker session topics range from greening your business, eco-entrepreneurs, and living eco-logically, to discussions on the state of our environment, green jobs, eco-fashion, and living a healthy, natural lifestyle. Sponsored by CBS Television, The Home Depot, and co-located with the Architectural Digest Home Design Show, you can purchase tickets in advance at and pay $10 for the entire weekend (normally $25) with promo code AIANYC. This also gets you complimentary access to the Architectural Digest Home Design Show located next door.


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