Oculus - Summer 2014 - (Page 51)

last words LETTER FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Award of the State ©Lillian Ultson A Bell and ball at Brooklyn Bridge Park What we term virtues are often but a mass of various actions and diverse interests, which fortune or our own industry manage to arrange... -François VI, duc de La Rouchefoucauld, Reflections; or Sentences and Moral Maxims, 1665-1678 Just bear in mind that we are Wards in Chancery... -Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance; or, The Slave of Duty, Gilbert & Sullivan, 1880 Now people are starting to see, based on a measurement not of poll numbers, but of actions. We believe in grassroots action and we judge success on results, on making a difference in the lives of people in all five boroughs. -Mayor Bill de Blasio, 100 Days Speech at Cooper Union's Great Hall, April 2014 2014 AIANY Design Awards rchitecture done for governmental clients has a special obligation to engage the public and create new civic context. The expenditure of funds generated by tax levy or bond issue is categorically different from private-sector disbursement of corporate or institutional monies. Issues of public oversight, project longevity, and user value speak to qualitative imperatives. Public realm clients, mindful of political pressures, community participation, and local priorities, find the expression of quality is based on the satisfaction of social needs. A progressive approach to the design of public structures and sites involves inclusiveness, transparency, and avoidance of displacement and gentrification. In municipalities with few buildable sites, locations on the city's edge often come with environmental problems that need to be mitigated before shovel hits ground. When everything comes together - funding, community participation, design team, site availability, and political will - the results can be exemplary. The highest award for a public project comes from people using the space, voting with their feet to be there. In addition, there is the recognition that comes from organizationally-sanctioned award programs. In New York City, the local chapters of the American Institute of Architects confer design awards, as do other professional societies, including the American Society of Landscape Architects and the American Council of Engineering Companies. The City of New York, through the design excellence program of the Public Design Commission, recognizes stellar projects in all five boroughs. Internationally, associations such as the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona bring together other groups, including the Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine, to praise superb public work in award programs like the European Prize for Public Urban Space (POLIS). What, then, are three extraordinary award-winning projects that have been exhibited recently at the Center for Architecture? The South Brooklyn Marine Terminal at Sunset Park, by Selldorf Architects, won one of the 35 awards conferred by the four AIA New York design juries this year. Elegant in its formal simplicity, functional and tough in its materials and expression, the project has garnered the praise of architectural critics and community residents alike. Michael Kimmelman in the New York Times called it "an architectural keeper," saying it was "a well-designed plant - welcoming to the public, beckoning from the waterfront." With an education and visitors' center, trees, bioswales, a cafeteria, and classrooms, this isn't the traditional municipal recycling facility. Pier 5, an ASLA-NY award winner at Brooklyn Bridge Park by landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, welcomes borough residents and visitors from elsewhere in the city and the world. Implementing ideas suggested by the NYC Active Design Guidelines, the pier provides opportunities for physical activity in everyday life - strolling, dog-walking, bicycling, jogging, and, most importantly, kicking a soccer ball with the pleasures of the harbor in the background. On the Atlantic coast of France, in Nantes, a POLIS award-winning project along the water's edge recalls the sordid history of slave-trading between Western Europe and former colonies in Africa and the Caribbean. Coming to terms with the partially-forgotten stories of indenture, diaspora, and racism was not easy for the municipality or community. The POLIS text describes the transformation of the Quai de la Fosse: "A wharf on the Loire River where slave ships once docked has been renovated with a new riverside walk that replaces a car park, while a memorial space commemorates the slave trade." Nantes Mayor Jean Marc Ayrault said: "This memorial is a place for remembering, understanding, and reflecting on the struggle against human exploitation and discrimination, which is still taking place today." What do all these new public works have in common? Superb sites. Public involvement. Amazing design. The purpose of design awards is to recognize and spotlight extraordinary architecture. The validation of the jury process helps do so. Rick Bell, FAIA Executive Director, AIA New York Chapter Summer 2014 Oculus 51

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Summer 2014

First Words Letter From the President:
Center for Architecture
Urban Design
Last Words
Index to Advertisers

Oculus - Summer 2014