Event: 2012 AIA New York Board Inaugural
Location: Center for Architecture, 12.06.11
Speakers: Margaret O’Donoghue Castillo, AIA, LEED AP — 2011 AIANY President; Joseph J. Aliotta, AIA, LEED AP — 2012 AIANY President
Remarks: Rick Bell, FAIA — AIANY Executive Director
Looking back over the past year, I am proud and humbled by all that our Board and volunteer activists have done to enhance our advocacy profile, increase our membership, and expand the professional services offered at the Center for Architecture. Tonight, I’ll only have time to review highlights from the many new initiatives and ongoing projects we undertook this year, but I genuinely appreciate all of your efforts.
The 2011 theme – Design for a Change – provided the opportunity to demonstrate that architects are thought leaders crafting the environmental and design agenda of the 21st Century. Never has it been more important for architects, engineers, landscape architects, and urban planners to collaborate and address the issues of urban infrastructure and the built environment. Whether cities are in the industrialized world or in developing countries, it is critical that we look at our natural resources and buildings in terms of economic, performance and social criteria.
During my presidency, the Chapter presented a number of programs that addressed these priorities, including our ongoing sustainable urbanization collaboration with the United Nations.
The theme culminated in October with a major exhibition, “Buildings = Energy,” which educates and inspires the public and design professionals about measures that improve building performance and the environment. The Presidential theme has given us an opportunity to focus particular attention on the benefits of reducing the energy consumed by buildings through more efficient design. We have started delivering training sessions in collaboration with NYSERDA and Urban Green to architects, engineers, and others in the real estate, construction, and design industries on the new energy code through 80 course sessions over a 30-month period. These sessions are offered at the Center for Architecture and other locations around the City and State.
With the guidance of Director for Legislative Affairs Margery Perlmutter, AIA, Esq., our advocacy initiatives are having an impact. Our testimony at the NYC Charter Revision Commission encouraging better collaboration between approval agencies and streamlining the approval process led to the Department of Buildings creating the HUB – a state-of-the-art plan review center where construction plans can be approved faster, easier and without paper for the first time in New York City history. We will continue to work with DOB for further improvements.
We have organized numerous programs with a focus on policy outreach. We continue our work on Fit City, a partnership with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), Department of Design + Construction, and other city agencies to develop and promote changes in the design of buildings and communities to increase walking, biking, and stair use – all of which are strategies for addressing the problem of obesity and other chronic diseases. For this first time, AIANY and DOHMH convened Fit Nation conferences in Washington, DC, and New Orleans during the Convention.
We’ve also gotten a prestigious National Endowment for the Arts grant to bring the Fit Nation initiatives to the general public through an exhibition and related programming.
I’m happy to report that despite the rugged economy, the Chapter ended the year in a strong financial position thanks in large part to the fundraising efforts of Board members and committees. This year’s Heritage Ball welcomed 1,200 guests to Chelsea Piers, and grossed $1.3 million to support the programs, exhibitions, and events of the Chapter and our Center for Architecture.
To accommodate even more exhibitions and activities, we’ve expanded our facility into the adjacent storefront at 532 LaGuardia Place. The New York Times and Washington Post have both published articles highlighting our growth.
One of our major achievements was the kick-off of Archtober, the inaugural month-long festival of architecture activities, programs, and exhibitions in New York City. Anchored by AIANY, the project ultimately included 38 collaborating institutions involved in architecture and design.
As the Center has grown in stature, so have our exhibitions. This year’s exhibitions explored global architectural communities, from India to the Netherlands, presenting visions of design and change from around the world. Jugaad Urbanism: Resourceful Strategies for Indian Cities garnered the Center our first-ever PBS spotlight. Glimpses of New York and Amsterdam in 2040 presented an exchange program between the Center for Architecture in New York and the Amsterdam Centre for Architecture (ARCAM).
I would like to thank the 457 new members who joined AIANY in 2011. I would also like to acknowledge the 139 members who became newly registered architects this year. We expect many more Associates to attain licensure as the fifth edition of our Architectural Registration Exam Boot Camp begins in January 2012.
We thank all our active committee members for their incredible hard work and devotion to the Chapter’s programming!