Oculus - Summer 2015 - (Page 55)

©Inbal Newman/Center for Architecture last words Letter from tHe interim eXeCUtiVe direCtor T David Burney, FAIA Design Matters - to Everyone hese "Last Words" are my first words in my new position as interim executive director of the Center for Architecture and the AIA New York Chapter. Until a permanent director is appointed, I hope to reflect on issues that are front and center in the building and design community today. The creation of the Center for Architecture as a 501(c)(3) organization and its own board of directors (with its current president, Joseph F. Tortorella, PE), along with AIANY Chapter continuing as a 501(c)(6), (with its current president, Tomas J. Rossant, AIA), provides an opportunity for growth in both institutions. The Center will continue its excellent work in programming events and exhibitions, fed largely by the energy of the AIANY Committees, but will also be free to grow as a cultural venue and become an even bigger window to the public on what architects do and the value they bring to the city (which I'll discuss in future issues of Oculus). The service of its members will continue to be the top priority for the AIANY, with a large part of its function being advocacy on behalf of the profession. Among the current advocacy issues on our agenda is the need to convince the current NYC mayoral administration of the value of good design - not just for the betterment of the city's urban environment, but as a tool in the administration's stated goal of social equity. One feature of what Mayor Bill de Blasio has called the "tale of two cities" is the disparity not only in income, housing, education, and social services, but also in good urban design, access to good parks and open space, and the general design quality of the urban realm. The power of GIS mapping reveals all too clearly that low-income areas and communities of color are lacking quality urban environments. And, too often, improvement comes only when those neighborhoods are "gentrified" by an influx of wealthier residents, displacing the poorer inhabitants to another neighborhood. It does not have to be so. We should be able to improve our city without displacing the very citizens we are trying to serve. An effective housing policy that does not cause speculation and displacement is important; so, too, is good urban design. Understanding the extent of the city's influence on the urban environment (streets, sidewalks, parks, plazas, schools, firehouses, post offices, health centers, libraries, etc.) makes the need for good public sector design clear and paramount. This issue of Oculus features the 2015 AIANY Design Awards. One aim of any awards program, of course, is to recognize and encourage excellence. The winners also provide a showcase to the public of what good architecture is and how it can benefit the community as a whole. Too often, architecture is associated in the public mind with luxury real estate and design in the service of the 1%. But among this year's awardees, you will find three low-cost housing projects, four schools, a museum, a theater, and even a study of refugee communities. This is the work that needs to be seen by the general public and our government. The Design Awards exhibition at the Center epitomized how the AIANY and the Center for Architecture work together to get across the message that design matters and is not just a service for the wealthy. It makes a difference in all our lives. David Burney, FAIA Interim Executive Director AIA New York Chapter and Center for Architecture 2015 AIANY Design Awards Summer 2015 Oculus 55

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
Urban Design
Last Words: Letter From the Interim Executive Director: Design Matters - to Everyone
Index to Advertisers

Oculus - Summer 2015