Oculus - Fall 2013 - (Page 15)

first words ©Mary Beth Edelman Photography LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT Architecture & Politics n July I attended the Bloomberg Administration’s Decade of Design 2002–2012 Awards, given for built and unbuilt projects on city property. In his introductory letter, Mayor Michael Bloomberg noted that investing in “first-rate design” has been a priority in public projects to create a more “dynamic and beautiful New York.” We’ve been fortunate to have had a mayor who was both cognizant and supportive of the critical link between quality-of-life issues and the quality of our built environment. In this month’s “Opener,” AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA, recounts the many accomplishments of this administration that have helped fill our city with wonderful places to live, work, study, and visit. The interdependence of architecture and politics has been paramount throughout history and remains a constant today in our city, region, and world. Building a great city always requires a blend of key players, with both public and private initiatives working in tandem. There is a timelessness to the process. By their words and actions, politicians give voice to the civic problems and priorities that engage us as architects. It is up to us, however, to devise creative solutions. Often our architectural visions inspire new ways for civic leaders to implement their own goals and aspirations. This issue of Oculus highlights some of the best public architecture – projects that improve the city in meaningful ways. Parks, waterfront, infrastructure, civic buildings – all illustrate the fundamental principle that investing in our built environment adds value. There are also numerous examples of architecture in emerging cities around the globe that demonstrate their own political aspirations. In their building forms, public spaces, and investment in I Politics = Architecture infrastructure, these cities illustrate the priorities set by their leaders. As in the U.S., these new developments may be driven by public or private initiatives, sometimes years in the making, and are clearly tied to politics, economics, and culture. At the Center for Architecture, now in its 10th anniversary year, many of these examples are currently on view in the exhibition titled “Practical Utopias: Asia’s Global Urbanism.” The Center provides a forum for dialogue about issues that are at the intersection of architecture and politics, both global and local. By inviting the local community and private organizations as well as design professionals to our exhibitions and programs, we are reaching not just our architectural audience, but the general public as well. And with the Center as a backdrop, we have developed an excellent partnership with key city leaders to add our professional expertise in zoning and codes, to improve and streamline the approvals process, and to assist in defining appropriate resiliency standards, for example. Recently I was given a T-shirt with the words, “What if architecture could change the world?” Maybe it can. But can it support change? Most definitely. As we think about New York’s future, we hope the next mayor will continue to focus on design and the built environment and will dedicate appropriate resources, foster dialogue, and engage our profession. With the right political, economic, and cultural context – and the will to construct buildings of excellence – the architectural community can contribute its best work. Jill N. Lerner, FAIA 2013 President, AIA New York Chapter Fall 2013 Oculus 15

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Fall 2013

Letter from the President
A Word from the Editor
Center for Architecture
One Block Over
Opener: The City More Beautiful
Affordable Housing in 2013: Communities, Not Containers
Riverfront Redesigned
The Future of Prefab
From Ports to Parks: New York’s Waterfront Wager
East River Magic
Shoring Up for the Future
FAR ROC Rocks!
Yard Work
In Print
132-Year Watch
Last Words
Index to Advertisers

Oculus - Fall 2013