Oculus - Summer 2015 - (Page 17)
Letter from tHe President
ubtly, but in meaningful ways, AIANY and the
Center for Architecture have initiated a joint
and mutually beneficial repositioning strategy to be
implemented in 2015. You may walk into the Center and not notice anything different, but organizational changes are already underway to increase
the impact and effectiveness of our collective
research, outreach, advocacy, and programming.
Be an armchair Don Draper and criticize AIA
National's "Look Up" ad campaign, but cheer
loudly for the change in public outreach it represents. Our competitors are not other architects,
but entities that choose to build without engaging
design professionals. National's campaign seeks to
raise the design intelligence of the average citizen,
for the better educated our population is about the
value of architecture, the more business opportunities for architects. And the more we are involved,
the better our environment, society, and culture
The Center for Architecture is also changing
its outreach mission. Under a forward-thinking
board, the Center is retooling its exhibitions
program to focus on public education and present
exhibitions of both serious scholarship and popular
appeal. The cultural space between MoMA and
the Storefront for Architecture is vast, and we
intend to fill it boldly in the coming years. Change
has already started: our "Prague Functionalism"
exhibition was the first ever to be reviewed in the
New Yorker's "Goings On About Town," and we are
committed to anchoring the South Street Seaport
Cultural District with exhibitions, programming,
and Archtober Hall.
Change has come to the way our committees
impact the physical city and the lives of its citizens.
Operating as think tanks and partnering with city
agencies, legislators, and the mayor's office, committees have helped shape new policies and legislation that will affect zoning and land use, sustainability and resiliency, housing and infrastructure.
The age of the activist architect is upon us, and we
will spread the message that AIANY is a resource
for all who seek to renew and improve our city.
A change is evident in the collaboration, communication, and common cause shared among the
five NYC AIA chapters. We are working together as
2015 AIANY Design Awards
never before, speaking with a single voice, sharing
resources, yet still catering to the specific needs of
each borough chapter's members. United we stand,
with respect for our differences.
Dramatic change has come with the resignation of Rick Bell, FAIA, as executive director. Rick
has moved on to lend to others his spectacular
mind, inexhaustible energy, and stalwart dedication to the profession. We owe him a great debt
of gratitude for his service. Fortunately, we were
able to land David Burney, FAIA, to act as interim
executive director to ensure that our mission
continues without interruption. We thank David
and welcome his remarks in this issue of Oculus.
A national executive search is underway, and we
expect to announce a new executive director by the
end of the year. We hope to find someone bold and
brash, a thoughtful public intellectual, a resourceful fundraiser, and a cunning strategist. Stay tuned!
Lastly, change is evident in the AIANY Design
Awards program - the focus of this issue of Oculus.
Under the leadership of Co-chairs Alexander Lamis, AIA, and Kai-Uwe Bergmann, AIA, RIBA, the
awards jury format and focus were reworked. Heralding the "generalist" mind of the architect, Lamis
and Bergmann called for a single jury to review
all typologies and categories of design. And a Best
in Competition designation was added to sum up
this particular moment in time. Honored to listen
in on the jury deliberations (but not participate), I
witnessed a shocking but delightful development:
many works by "starchitects" were quickly passed
over if they did not wed formal invention to a positive social or environmental impact. Change we
can all believe in!
Special thanks to our jurors and Chapter staff
for their efforts, and to Oculus Editor-in-Chief
Kristen Richards, Hon. AIA, Hon. ASLA, and
Contributing Editors Linda G. Miller and Richard
Staub for creating this special issue.
Enjoy it and take stock of the change around us.
See you at the Center!
Tomas J. Rossant, AIA
AIA New York Chapter
Summer 2015 Oculus
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Summer 2015
First Words: Letter From the President: Collecting Change
Center for Architecture: Center Highlights
Introduction: Going Beyond the Program
Last Words: Letter From the Interim Executive Director: Design Matters - to Everyone
Index to Advertisers
Oculus - Summer 2015