Oculus - Summer 2013 - (Page 15)
©Mary Beth Edelman Photography
LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
Aspiring to Great Design
e had a packed house as we celebrated
design excellence at AIANY’s annual Design
Awards Luncheon in April. I was grateful to see
such an outpouring of support for the profession
and for the Center for Architecture. Nine hundred
people were there for the honorees, the work itself,
and the numerous professionals engaged in the
business, art, and craft of creating great buildings.
Guests included important government representatives, policymakers with whom we share both
the legacy and the future of the built environment.
The AIANY Design Awards competition is
the toughest in the country, vying with the AIA
National awards process. We received more than
400 submissions, from which 42 amazing projects
were recognized. And in keeping with the theme
for the year, Global City/Global Practice, more
than 25% of the projects were international. This
issue of Oculus, deftly put together by Editor-inChief Kristen Richards, Hon. AIA, Hon ASLA, and
Contributing Editors Linda G. Miller and Richard
Staub, is dedicated to the presentation of these
Why are these awards so important, so desirable?
Awards serve many purposes. No one designs a
building specifically to win an award, but it is very
gratifying to win one and be recognized by one’s
peers. Acknowledging these achievements focuses
the discussion on design and the importance of
design excellence. Great design challenges us to
think out of the box, solve problems with innovative ideas, achieve great technical advances, and
contribute to the environment with beauty and distinction. To firms both large and small, the AIANY
Design Awards represent a chance to be widely
recognized for an outstanding accomplishment
– for fledgling firms to “get on the map,” and for
established firms to burnish their reputations for
innovation, quality, and relevance. And clients love
to see their projects win awards, to receive a public
affirmation of buildings that represent their own
aspirations, judgment, and hard work. Signature
design undeniably adds value.
2013 AIANY Design Awards
Awards are also important in representing our
profession’s body of work in a given year – a snapshot in time. They are part of a distinct legacy of
buildings that mark our society and its aspirations:
The Woolworth Building, Seagram Building, and
MoMA, for example.
With design awards, we recognize a society
that values longevity – the expectation that these
buildings will be here for many years, their quality
setting the bar for future generations. We hope the
projects will be a source of pride and pleasure for
those who use and encounter them on a daily basis.
As we ponder the fate of the American Folk Art
Museum, completed in 2001 and winning the top
honors of our profession, one can only hope that
MoMA and other building owners will not be
quick to discard important achievements for expedient solutions. We cannot keep everything; many
notable architects have had buildings demolished
in their lifetimes. But one must consider: What is
being lost? Is it of irreplaceable value? Can it be integrated and repurposed in a new way? Why is its
destruction necessary to the future of the institution or client at hand?
The AIA can play a role in fostering that
dialogue. Often we take a stand on an issue,
advancing a controversial project that represents
a larger, important principle; sometimes we
participate in determining what should be saved.
Recently we offered testimony regarding Louis
Kahn’s FDR Memorial and CookFox’s proposal for
a site at the edge of SoHo; we will also do so for
the proposed East Midtown Zoning and for other
issues yet unknown.
As with our awards program, we will continue
to focus on quality design. As I present the views
of our Chapter, I see more and more that our
opinion matters, that our voice is sought out and
respected by others in the community. Architecture
and design excellence are at the heart of our global
competitiveness and of a resilient New York.
Jill N. Lerner, FAIA
2013 President, AIA New York Chapter
Summer 2013 Oculus
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Summer 2013
First Words Letter from the President
Center for Architecture
Index to Advertisers
Oculus - Summer 2013
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