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May 16, 2018
by AIA New York
New York University Abu Dhabi, Arts Center, Red Theater. Photo: Tom Rossiter.
New York University Abu Dhabi, Arts Center, Red Theater. Photo: Tom Rossiter.
Jay Bargmann, FAIA. Photo: Lucas Michael.
Jay Bargmann, FAIA. Photo: Lucas Michael.
New York University Abu Dhabi. Photo: Silvia Razgova.
New York University Abu Dhabi. Photo: Silvia Razgova.
New York University Abu Dhabi, Experimental Research Building. Photo: Will Pryce.
New York University Abu Dhabi, Experimental Research Building. Photo: Will Pryce.
The Rockefeller University Stavros Niarchos Foundation-David Rockefeller River Campus. Photo: Tobias Everke.
The Rockefeller University Stavros Niarchos Foundation-David Rockefeller River Campus. Photo: Tobias Everke.
The Rockefeller University Stavros Niarchos Foundation-David Rockefeller River Campus. Photo: Tobias Everke.
The Rockefeller University Stavros Niarchos Foundation-David Rockefeller River Campus. Photo: Tobias Everke.

Jay Bargmann, FAIA, Vice President and Managing Partner of Viñoly, has pioneered the integration of the practical and the visionary, employing innovative management processes to achieve the highest standards of design, function, and construction, and realize award-winning architecture that serves the public realm.

Bargmann has consistently and successfully focused his efforts on the advancement of the practice of architecture and on the elevation of the role of the architect. To these ends, he developed, implemented, and shared an innovative, architect-led project delivery system; demonstrated the compatibility of efficiency and design excellence in projects of unprecedented complexity; and established outreach efforts to enable and support innovations in architectural practice. Bargmann’s commitment to the advancement of the profession led him to create and direct Rafael Viñoly Architects Training and Research (RVATR), programs that explore the intersection of ideas and practical application. Thus far, six grants have been awarded to Research Fellows from outside the firm, whose research results have been disseminated through symposia and publications.

This year, the Jury of Fellows of the AIA elevated Bargmann to its prestigious 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 organizations’s definition. Now among the AIA membership’s three percent distinguished with Fellowship and honorary Fellowship, Bargmann was recognized at the New Fellows Reception hosted by AIA New York and will be honored further at an investiture ceremony at the AIA Conference on Architecture in New York City from June 20-23, 2018.

Q: What is your proudest achievement as an architect?

A: I am proud of my contributions to the design of research laboratories. These include the development of laboratory planning principles, a planning methodology and the development of a patented, integrated system of casework, partitions and utility distribution. The system has been implemented in projects over the last 20 years and its refinement is ongoing. This work is motivated in part by my desire to reestablish the continuity of architecture with construction so that each informs the other in continuous dialogue. I am also proud to be providing pro-bono architectural design services for a kindergarten through 8th grade school in Harlem for high-achieving, underserved students, and for my role in guiding the institution’s curriculum and academic plan as a founding board member.

Q: What is your earliest memory of experiencing architecture?

A: In 1958 I travelled to the Brussels World’s Fair and visited André Waterkeyn’s Atomium and Le Corbusier’s and Iannis Xenakis’ Philips Pavilion. These two buildings form my earliest memory and initial understanding of the significance and impact of architecture, engineering, and music.

Q: What is influencing your work the most right now?

A: I am most interested in integrating the professions of architecture and construction. I believe that, among other things, the artificial segregation of architects from builders has resulted in overwrought and irrational buildings that do not reflect our tools, our time, or our potential.

Q: What are you working on right now, or what is your next big project?

A: I am managing the completion of a new research building for The Rockefeller University in Manhattan. Working closely with the engineers and builders, we prefabricated the 160,000-square-foot building’s 19 structural modules, which were delivered by barge to be erected above the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Drive over 19 nights. I am preparing a presentation on the design of both the structural frame and the interior fit-out which has also been prefabricated. The presentation will be at the AIA Conference on Architecture ‘18 and will also include my most recent research focused on the use of benchmarks and computational algorithms to predict and optimize laboratory space plans.

Q: What does being a Fellow mean to you?

A: The recognition of one’s peers is always most satisfying in any profession. As Fellows, we must promote the American Institute of Architects as a nexus for the exchange of information and as the guardian of professional ethics.

Editors’ Note: This feature is part of a series celebrating the 28 members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) New York Chapter that have been 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.

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