by AIA New York
David West, FAIA, Founding Partner, Hill West Architects, is an industry veteran with over 30 years of experience. West has played a seminal role in the advancement of housing design and the high-rise apartment building typology in New York City, establishing national and international models for urban housing. West continues to lead design projects that have included Sky, 363 and 365 Bond Street, 101 Lincoln Avenue, 71 Reade Street and Apthorp Penthouses. He is a firm believer that New York City’s greatest strength as a metropolis is the zoning framework that has enabled rapid development on a grand scale. As a zoning authority, West has conducted thousands of feasibility studies and has been involved with nearly 100 completed projects. Additionally, through his extensive background in land-use approvals including the ULURP process, Variances and Landmarks Commission Approvals, he is frequently involved in projects from the earliest stages of land assembly, giving him a unique perspective into the practical aspect of various development solutions.
In 2018, the Jury of Fellows of the AIA elevated West to the College of Fellows in the second category of Fellowship, which recognizes architects who have made efforts “To advance the science and art of planning and building by advancing the standards of architectural education, training, and practice,” according to the organization’s definition. Now among the AIA membership’s three percent distinguished with Fellowship and honorary Fellowship, West was recognized at the New Fellows Reception hosted by AIA New York and at an investiture ceremony at the AIA Conference on Architecture in New York City.
Q: What is your proudest achievement as an architect?
A: Founding Hill West Architects is by far my proudest achievement. Since founding the firm in conjunction with my partners in 2009, Hill West has become a comprehensive workshop committed to the design of all types of multi-family housing. Hill West is made up of the brightest and most creative talent in the industry. We truly have the best team in the city.
Q: What is your earliest memory of experiencing architecture?
A: Living in Europe for a year as a young boy opened my eyes to what architecture could be. After growing up in Los Angeles, that experience abroad led me to the conclusion that buildings can be so much more creative than what I saw growing up.
Q: What is influencing your work the most right now?
A: Participating in the life and culture of New York City is the biggest inspiration. New York’s urban fabric, architecture, art, culture, and social issues serves as an influence on my work.
Q: What are you working on right now, or what is your next big project?
A: I am currently working on 3514 Surf Avenue, a 400 unit residential development in Coney Island and am also excited to be working on a 1200 unit mega-project along the South Bronx Waterfront.
Q: What does being a Fellow mean to you?
A: To me, being elevated to Fellow is a gratifying acceptance into a community of esteemed peers.
Editors’ Note: This feature is part of a series celebrating the 28 members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) New York Chapter that were elevated to the AIA College of Fellows in 2018, an honor awarded to members who have made significant contributions to both the profession and society. Learn more about Fellowship here.