ARCHITECTURE NEW YORK STATE
ARCHITECTURE NEW YORK STATE
CONTRIBUTING TO THIS ISSUE: WINTER 2017
// WXY ARCHITECTURE + URBAN PLANNING // // FXFOWLE // WENDEL // DI DOMENICO + PARTNERS STUDIO // // MESICK COHEN WILSON BAKER ARCHITECTS //
A PUBLICATION OF
Foward: Infrastructure by Robert E. Stark, AIA, NCARB, 2017 AIANYS President
as Infrastructure and Transportation 4 Parks by Claire Weisz, FAIA, Founding Principal, WXY Architecture and Urban Planning
Sustainable Growth as Public Policy by Mark E. Strauss, FAIA, AICP/PP, LEED AP, Senior Partner, FXFOWLE
Patience and Perseverance by Donald Gray, AIA, LEED AP, Principal and Christine Giarrizzo, Wendel
Reinvigorating the Old and Innovating the New by John di Domenico, AIA, Principal and Ileana LaFontaine, di Domenico + Partners
AIANYS Cuba Experience by Laurence Wilson, AIA, Partner, Mesick - Cohen - Wilson - Baker- Architects, LLP
AIACNY I-81 Task Force Update on the Planning Process of NYSDOT I-81 by Robert Haley, AIA Emeritus, Chair, AIACNY I-81 Task Force
Legislative Update: Advocacy Punch List - Issues to Watch for 2017
Editorial: Turning Stem into Steam by Randolph J. Collins, AIA
From the Executive Director
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FORWARD: INFRASTRUCTURE By Robert E. Stark, AIA, NCARB 2017 AIANYS President
This issue, themed infrastructure, is a topic of great interest. Infrastructure can mean different things to the listener. When the public hears infrastructure, most people think roads and bridges. Infrastructure as defined is more than that, it is “the fundamental facilities and systems serving a country, city, or area, such as transportation and communication systems, power plants, and schools.
The AIA Central New York Chapters I-81 Task Force, after careful and detailed study of options, recommends a community grid solution that will restore the urban fabric of the city and contribute to future vitality and development of the City of Syracuse. Our AIA New York State Board fully supports the Central NY Chapters conclusions and applaud these citizen architects for their advocacy.
Architects have the knowledge and expertise to influence how our communities will be designed. As citizens, we have a vested interest and obligation to share that expertise in how the implementation of infrastructure effects our cities and towns. We are all familiar with how planning mistakes of the past can negatively affect our communities for generations.
I believe we should be leaders in the conception and planning of infrastructure projects, these large-scale projects and their surrounding communities can greatly benefit from an architect’s perspective. The missteps of the past should not be repeated as we are planning our future, Architects should be heard and be leaders in large scale planning initiatives.
AIA New York State and AIA Central New York (AIACNY) have been heavily involved in the debate of options for the I-81 corridor redevelopment in Syracuse. I-81 is a 1950’s era raised viaduct which runs through the heart of the city of Syracuse creating a dead zone and dividing the city into two parts.
Infrastructure is defined as the fundamental facilities and systems serving a country, city, or area, as transportation and comunication systems, power plants, and schools.
INFRASTRUCTURE BY ROBER STARK
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PARKS AS INFRASTRUCTURE AND TRANSPORTATION By Claire Weisz, FAIA
>> Photos courtesy of WXY with Albert Vecerka/Esto
Today’s parks need to do much more: build infrastructure, provide connectivity and increase resilience—as well as offer urbanites of all ages and abilities the opportunity for exercise.
>> At first blush it would seem incongruous to
present two park projects in a publication focused on infrastructure and transportation. But that is, in fact, how we approached two very different park designs—as opportunities to resolve a host of infrastructure issues and to facilitate resilience and connectivity. The historic purpose—and one might argue the platonic ideal—of a park was to provide respite from urban life. They were envisioned as singular works of art, intentionally designed as islands unto themselves with the primary objective of offering fresh air, green space and serenity to people who were not expected to engage in activities any more strenuous than promenading and picnicking. But the dirty, industrial city in which the historic park movement was born is no longer the context.
It is not enough for parks to exist as single-use islands of tranquility. Today’s parks need to do much more: build infrastructure, provide connectivity and increase resilience—as well as offer urbanites of all ages and abilities the opportunity for exercise. When people were toiling away in factories for twelve hours a day, exercising outdoors was anathema to anyone’s concept of downtime. But by providing non-auto transportation, a park system becomes a place for moderate to rigorous activity—which, given the state of public health, should no longer be considered an amenity any more than transportation and infrastructure are. So, while the Rockaway Boardwalk and Brooklyn Strand look like parks, they are in fact key pieces of infrastructure specifically designed to create economically vibrant places through resilience and connectivity. >> continued on next page
PARKS AS INFRASTRUCTURE AND TRANSPORTATION
The Rockaway Boardwalk In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, NYC Parks and the NYC Economic Development Corporation commissioned WXY to rebuild the Rockaway Boardwalk and to develop a conceptual plan to improve existing parks across the peninsula. Combining both of these efforts into a unified effort speaks to the importance of not just rebuilding, but rebuilding better. The boardwalk and larger conceptual plan uniquely integrate resiliency, recreation and economic development by putting infrastructure and connectivity at the very heart of the design. Because the Rockaways are comprised of distinct neighborhoods which are connected by the peninsula’s shoreline, the new boardwalk design responds to the immediate context of these neighborhoods. The newly designed access points together with a unique wayfinding system clarify and improve the boardwalks’ circulation. This is critical, as the boardwalk is the Rockaways “Main Street,” which provides every function of a typical Main Street by connecting communities while providing neutral space for economic activity and socializing. Unlike most Main Streets, however, the boardwalk also provides another
critical function: a protective barrier between the ocean and the neighborhoods, which were devastated by Hurricane Sandy. The new reinforced concrete boardwalk is elevated above the 100-year floodplain, and is supplemented with over four and a half miles of retaining walls and planted sand dunes. This infrastructure mediates the transition between the ground elevation of the park space and the new elevated boardwalk, conceals the baffle wall underneath the boardwalk and serves as the first line of defense during storms. But let us not forget that it is also a park, and parks fundamentally succeed in their ability to attract human beings with thoughtful design. To that end, the boardwalk is framed by graceful steel railings and contemporary bench seating. The 40-foot sandcolored concrete planks are speckled with colored glass and cast in waves, mirroring the sinuous coastline. In the evening, “glow-in-the dark” aggregate embedded in the blue planks evokes the bioluminescence in the ocean. As the longest and largest resiliency project completed to date by the city of New York, the Rockaway Boardwalk ushers in a new approach to coastal infrastructure in the era of climate change. >> continued on next page
>> Photos courtesy of WXY
The Brooklyn Strand Urban Design Action Plan In July 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a series of initiatives meant to further the successful growth of Downtown Brooklyn into a thriving, 21st century Downtown. The vitality experienced on the streets is the result of new economic opportunities that come from the revitalized areas from Downtown, to DUMBO (short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) where high-tech firms have taken root, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which has home to growing innovative manufacturing companies. But when we asked engaged Brooklynites about their concerns, many people wanted to know why they could not have better connected public space and why Brooklyn Bridge Park was so hard to get to. Moreover, the “gateways” into the center of Brooklyn are hidden under the infrastructure connecting the 1950’s era interchanges to the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. What was originally planned by Robert Moses as a glorious entry for automobiles into Brooklyn’s Civic Center never came to fruition. Fragments of the past stayed and people improvised routes around the underside of elevated structures and off ramps. In studying the kinds of barriers that were created when the expressway and the civic center were initially conceived, it became clear that parts of these grand plans were then changed and compromised. Spaces that are basically mounded earth or fences lie on top of what used to be continuous streets or squares. Rethinking spaces around infrastructure and improving universal access across the city creates design opportunities for the landscape of the city.
We developed strategies, like the Gateway to Brooklyn and Trinity Park concepts, for unlocking what is now large areas of highway buffer space into large, connected and compelling open spaces. The Gateway to Brooklyn action plan, for example, we show how Cadman Plaza East and the level of the concrete pedestrian walkway off the Bridge is almost at the same grade. These could be connected by spanning over part of the road and off-ramp to provide both better access as well as greater safety for pedestrians who today have to dodge traffic at Cadman Plaza West. So what began as a limited scope to take a look at the existing parks quickly expanded into a simple but powerful framework: A series of disparate parks, plazas, and greenways could reconnect downtown (the office sector), DUMBO (the tech hub), the Navy Yard (innovative manufacturing) and the waterfront (recreation) to fulfill Brooklyn’s potential as one of the most dynamic urban innovation centers in the world. That is the power of urban park design when it is thought of as a system rather than a single-use green space. Claire Weisz, FAIA, is an architect and urbanist, and a founding principal of WXY. With her partners, Mark Yoes, Layng Pew, and Adam Lubinsky, Claire focuses on innovative approaches to public space, structures, and cities. WXY has received the League Prize from the Architectural League of New York, as well as being selected as one of the League’s Emerging Voices practices in 2011, in addition to numerous awards from AIA National, AIANY, and the American Planning Association. WXY architecture and urban planning is an award-winning multi-disciplinary practice specializing in the realization of urban design, planning and architectural solutions in challenging contexts. Focused on innovative approaches to public space, structures and urban issues, the firm’s work engages both sitespecific design and planning at multiple scales. The firm’s commissions are in collaboration with community-based, public authority, and private clients.
>> Photos courtesy of WXY PARKS AS INFRASTRUCTURE AND TRANSPORTATION
Our experience in Westbury further supports the view that architects and planners cannot isolate themselves from the political process.
>> Renderings courtesy of FXFOWLE
SUSTAINABLE GROWTH AS PUBLIC POLICY By Mark E. Strauss, FAIA, AICP/PP, LEED AP
downtown neighborhoods across the state into vibrant communities, where the next generation of New Yorkers will want to live, work and raise families. Through the DRI process, as awarded communities determine how stimulus money is spent and plan investments for the future, the program has created new opportunities for planners and architects to participate in the political dialogue.
>> In 2006, as President of the AIA New York Chapter, our theme was “Architecture as Public Policy.” The theme reflected the chapter’s interest in promoting stronger ties between design professionals, public officials and the public. We recognized this was especially important for public buildings and infrastructure projects, and encouraged more interaction with our political leaders so they would become stronger advocates for quality design and planning. We learned to achieve success with public projects, in addition to quality design, political leadership was essential and sought to help make architects more cognizant of engaging with the public.
Westbury, Long Island was selected as one of the ten communities to receive $10 million as part of the DRI program. Westbury is a compact 2.4 square mile community located along the Main Line of the Long Island Railroad, in the center of Nassau County, about 35 miles east of midtown Manhattan. In addition to its accessibility to the region, Westbury was selected because it is one of the most diverse communities on Long Island. Westbury’s prime location, affordable housing options, walkability and arts/culture activities provide a strong basis for the village’s continued growth. Under the DRI, Westbury was seen as being well-positioned to advance its existing smart growth and Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) initiatives while increasing the vibrancy of the downtown area. >> continued on next page
In recent years, there has been renewed interest in promoting design and planning excellence in communities, across New York State. To that aim, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo unveiled a $100 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) program in 2016 to improve the vitality of urban centers and transform ten
SUSTAINABLE GROWTH AS PUBLIC POLICY
>> BJH Real Estate Advisors was selected to lead a multi-disciplinary planning team for this project, which included FXFOWLE Architects, Matthews Nielsen Landscape Architects, WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff Transportation Engineers, VJ Associates, and James Lima Planning and Development. Working with the Mayor of Westbury, Peter Cavallaro and a Local Planning Committee (LPC), the consultant team spent nine months defining the future of Westbury, and in January 2017, unveiled a preliminary vision to the community which identified 12 priority projects, which responded to the following objectives: 1. Create a downtown that supports a vibrant mix of uses near the train station 2. Retain the existing diverse population and attract new residents 3. Increase pedestrian activity throughout the downtown 4. Enhance the arts and cultural profile of Westbury Among Westbury’s projects, FXFOWLE was tasked with the exploration of the redevelopment of an area adjacent to Westbury’s railroad station. The 25-acre area, bounded by Maple Ave, Union Ave and Post Avenue, is primarily zoned industrial and is dominated by auto oriented, construction-related and other light industrial uses. With the exception of a Village-owned parking lot that will soon include a new four-story parking deck as part of a Long Island Railroad Expansion Project, the parcels are owned by multiple private owners. Under a proposed zoning framework that will allow residential, commercial and retail uses, the DRI Team proposed that the area could be transformed into a mixed-use environment which would support community goals that were identified through the DRI process, including additional housing options, an improved pedestrian environment, and better pedestrian connectivity to the LIRR Station. Based on analysis and community engagement throughout the DRI process, key principles for redevelopment were identified: Extend the Downtown Grid. The “Maple/Union” area is comprised of several large ‘super blocks’ which have significantly longer block frontages than most of the village. As development proceeds, the introduction of new streets will have the effect of extending the grid in a way that better connects the area to the downtown and improves pedestrian connectivity between the LIRR Station and nearby residential neighborhoods.
Create open spaces that support community activities, arts and culture. The development of the “Maple/Union” area should include open spaces that provide a focus for community activities. Open space should be distributed throughout the area to support a vibrant retail environment, community gatherings, as well as arts and cultural events. Reduce the visual impact of parking by screening other uses. Parking is an essential component of the plan to revitalize downtown Westbury. As the commercial, residential and cultural environment of Westbury flourish, there will be increased demand for parking that is conveniently located within the downtown district. However, the impact of required parking should be minimized by concealing structured parking with residential or retail uses. Extend the Retail Environment of Westbury by Including Active Ground Floor Uses: Development of the “Maple/Union” area has the potential to extend the existing downtown to this area. In order to maintain an active and human scale streetscape, ground floor uses should be promoted to offer a variety of retail and commercial uses. Encourage Residential Density that Respects the Existing Context of Westbury. While the majority of the “Maple/Union” area is dominated by light industrial and automotive uses, there are several streets that have a distinctively low scale residential character – particularly along Maple Ave and Scally Place. Under a new development framework, the density of residential and commercial uses should relate to the existing context of the village, with the highest density along Union Ave and the railroad corridor and decreasing the density as one moves northward into existing residential neighborhoods. >> continued on next page
>> One of the compelling catalysts for redevelopment area is the Long Island Railroad Expansion Project, which is planned for the Main Line through Westbury and will allow for additional trains to run during peak times. The project is expected to support additional ridership and increased demand for peak and non-peak service. The project will also include station improvements, station beautification, and increased parking capacity to address growing demand. With these improvements, traffic times for commuting will be significantly improved, which will also make Westbury much more desirable as a focus for TOD. TOD is not a new concept in New York City’s metropolitan area. The individual railroad agencies that now make up NJ Transit and the MTA, (Metro North and the Long Island Rail Road), have spurred the initial development of many of the suburban communities that surround the City. Historic photographs reveal rail stations surrounded by stores, hotels, offices, and multi-family housing, which were linked to adjacent downtowns. As populations expanded, local communities placed industrial uses along the railroad corridors and also acquired properties to accommodate commuter parking needs. Over time, a “no-man’s land” evolved that created a chasm between communities and the transit stations. It is the objective of TOD to fill the gaps and to make these communities whole again. Even though these practices are becoming more widely appreciated and understood, in suburban areas, many TOD projects face significant opposition during the local approval process. The problem is mixed-use projects have not been widely appreciated in suburbia, where single family homes predominate, single-use districts are the norm and urbanization is feared. In one community on Long Island, a TOD plan that included mixed-use redevelopment around the station area was turned down because a member of the School Board raised the specter of overcrowding in the schools to rally the community against the proposal. In reality, the fears were more related to demographics associated with the “kinds of people” who might move into apartments. In Westbury, the plan for the Union/Maple area was presented in a public forum without opposition. As architects and planners for the project, we might want to believe that the community appreciated the
quality of the plan’s design or that the sensitivities in suburban areas are changing to reflect more appreciation for walkable communities and greater density near rail stations. However, I maintain good planning and design is not enough and that it is local political leadership that is an equally important ingredient for promoting smart growth and affecting change. Westbury is fortunate that Mayor Cavallaro took an active role in developing the plan and promoting it to the community. As he has expressed: “The DRI process is designed to build community support behind impactful projects that can be transformative for a community. The involvement of community stakeholders (residents, business owners, community groups, etc.) in the planning and visioning process is crucial to that end. The dialogue that results generates ideas, hones concepts, and builds support. I believe that in the end, local leadership is critical in terms of taking all of the ideas and concepts and shaping them into a coherent program that can be moved forward. The role of the mayor and other elected officials is to lead the group to a consensus around community priorities, informed by the community’s needs and to harness the energy and momentum that any large-scale project needs to be a success. So, as mayor, I am excited when I see that kind of consensus forming around an important community initiative.” Our experience in Westbury further supports the view that architects and planners cannot isolate themselves from the political process. We must engage with our political leaders to promote good design and smart growth to create a sustainable future. Mark Strauss, FAIA, AICP/PP, LEED AP, Senior Partner, FXFOWLE- As an architect, planner, urban designer and Past President of AIA New York, Mark Strauss is an advocate of bringing a greater appreciation for architectural and urban design excellence into public policy. Mark leads FXFOWLE’s Planning/Urban Design efforts, and has contributed to the development of design guidelines for Manhattan’s Hudson Yards; the redevelopment plan for Water Street in Lower Manhattan; the master plan for Hunter’s Point South in Long Island City; and numerous large-scale planning and urban design projects in Atlanta, Philadelphia and the Mid-Atlantic region. He has also been involved with downtown planning efforts in Glen Cove, Freeport, Uniondale, and Hempstead on Long Island. FXFOWLE has defined a practice that encompasses architecture, interiors, planning and urban development. Inspired by urbanism, sustainability and technology, the firm’s portfolio ranges from the scale of an individual building to the city as a whole, addressing infrastructure and transportation. FXFOWLE sets and meets high standards of sustainable and energy efficient performance, and strives to go beyond LEED to achieve goals such as net-zero energy, Passivhaus, and tenets of the Living Building Challenge.
SUSTAINABLE GROWTH AS PUBLIC POLICY
By Donald Gray, AIA, LEED AP and Christine Giarrizzo
>> The City of Niagara Falls, which boasts a landmark tourist attraction—the majestic Niagara Falls, relocated the city’s existing Amtrak passenger terminal to a site at the United States–Canadian border. The new multimodal facility accommodates a variety of transportation modes, including passenger rail, bus, trolley, automobile, taxi, bicycle and pedestrians. From the station, there is a direct connection to the scenic Niagara Gorge with new pedestrian trails. The new mixed-use facility also establishes an efficient and secure U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspection facility and international border crossing. You can probably imagine the variety of stakeholders, public and private entities, as well as government agencies that were involved in this project. How did the project team accommodate all of the input and programming requirements, and end up with such a stunning, state-of-the-art transportation center? Don Gray, AIA, LEED AP, Principal at Wendel and business leader of public transit projects, was gracious enough to take some time to chat more in depth about the project. Q: What was special about this project? Don Gray (DG): Besides taking 12 years to accomplish, this project brought together a variety of
>> Photos courtesy of Bill Wippert
trades, disciplines and infrastructure requirements in possibly one of the most unique applications this project team ever experienced. All of these components needed to come together in a cohesive manner. To complicate things more, the project was completed in three phases due to funding and operational constraints. Activities across all three phases were coordinated and unified, all while maintaining the existing rail operations. This project required much more a typical transportation project, it required “archineers.” Q: Twelve years to finish! How did you have the willpower to keep going? DG: It was in large part the people who were on our project team. We wanted to make this happen for the City of Niagara Falls. Susan Sherwood, Project Manager, fiercely carried the torch for the city. She was the ultimate client advocate, totally dedicated to making their project a success. When asked why she showed such persistence in the project’s 12-year development, she said, “Don, this isn’t just a project to me. It’s like one of my children. I can’t give up on one of my children.” During the course of the project Susan led the acquisition transfer of 29 parcels of land, including swapping property between three railroads, a virtually impossible task; and helped implement a project labor agreement through the federal government to drive local economic development. Her tenacity and passion was an inspiration to us all. >> continued on next page
>> Photos courtesy of Bill Wippert
Q: You used the term “Archineer,” can you elaborate on what you mean by that? DG: A good architect understands they need to be involved in all aspects of a project, from the utilities to the infrastructure to site preparation. The Archineer is an architect who can see a project in its entirety and embraces an interwoven architecture and engineering solution. They understand that in order for a project to be successful, they need to be in the trenches with the engineers and contractors, and take an active role in the infrastructure. Archineers do not shy away from this interconnectivity of disciplines. This was especially important for this project. Q: Why was the archineer so important to this project? DG: There are five main elements to the Niagara Falls Intermodal Transportation Center Project – the Customhouse, which controls all of the border operations; the passenger station for Amtrak and passenger ticketing; the central atrium that connects the
aforementioned two; the retail and restaurant space located underneath the passenger station; and the platform. The main architectural focal point and arguably the icing on the cake so to speak, was the new Amtrak station and atrium that connect to the Customhouse. It was also the last project element to be constructed. Prior to building the station, the infrastructure and public transit connectivity had to be addressed and resolved. The true success of the architecture sits on the success of the infrastructure. Roads, streets and bridges had to be built or rehabbed. Utilities had to be re-aligned and restructured. Properties and parcels of land had to be negotiated, and in some cases change hands. The site’s variable grade informed the Amtrak station’s design, as the entrance/exit was on the first floor on the north side and on the second floor on the south side of the building to accommodate the train tracks. These elements drove the architecture. That is why it was imperative for an Archineer
to work alongside the engineers and contractors throughout the duration of the project. The most visually striking piece of this project could not be designed, let alone constructed, until all of the site components were resolved. Q: As a municipal-led project, funding was certainly a factor. How did it steer the project? DG: Federal and state funding was leveraged to cover approximately 88% of the project cost. With a $41M project, the City of Niagara Falls was still responsible to contribute approximately $5M. We used our creativity to collaborate with the city to bring this project to fruition and secure funding through unconventional channels. For example, the project team leveraged the link between the historic preservation of a dilapidated structure and a bridge replacement project in order to secure an additional $2.5M via a transportation enhancement grant, which fueled the first phase of the project: the adaptive reuse of the historic U.S. Customhouse. >> continued on next page
A good architect understands they need to be involved in all aspects of a project... PATIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE
Q: What was so significant about the Customhouse? DG: Preservation and rehabilitation of the site’s existing 1863 U.S. Customhouse was a driving factor throughout the design of the project. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and appeared on the Preservation League of NYS’ Seven to Save in 2005. The Customhouse is a confirmed stop on the Underground Railroad and the newly renovated structure appropriately houses the Harriet Tubman Museum and Interpretive Center on the first floor. Due to its historical significance, it was important to preserve the historic fabric of the Customhouse, while meeting challenges from government agencies and SHPO requirements. And since it also houses DHS offices and personnel, it needed to be upgraded to a high-tech, energy efficient facility that is secure enough for border crossing inspections and operations. Q: How did you balance the requirements for SHPO with the DHS security requirements? DG: The Niagara Falls Intermodal Transportation Center is the first international passenger rail port of entry crossing constructed since 9/11/2001 and the subsequent creation of U.S. Department of Homeland Security and recent border hardening regulations. With that came a lot of responsibility to design a beautiful, functioning, reliable transportation hub while accommodating multiagency security measures required for a secure border crossing. A great example of this balancing act was the Customhouse windows. In order to retain the historic character of the single pane, wood windows and meet energy efficiency requirements, new weather-stripping and hardware was added
>> Photos courtesy of Bill Wippert
to the replicated historic windows. In order to accommodate the national security requirements of the DHS, steel windows with security glazing (level 3 bullet resistance) were added to the window interiors. This not only adds security to the facility, but acts as an interior “storm window” that will help overall energy performance of the facility as well. Essentially, there are two windows in one to meet the requirements of both SHPO and DHS. In closing, this transportation center is part of the urban redevelopment taking place in the City of Niagara Falls. A blighted property in disrepair was transformed, producing a gathering place for the traveling public and local community. It includes elements beyond transportation, equipped with amenities tourists would be inclined to use, such as retail, a museum, outside amphitheater and green spaces. It will be an impetus for future development of the north Main Street commercial district of Niagara Falls, and provide a state-of-the-art portal for tourists and commuters alike. The Niagara Falls Intermodal Transportation Center is now open for business and served its first passengers on December 6, 2016. Donald Gray, AIA, LEED AP - Don is a Principal and business leader of public transit projects at Wendel. He has 30 plus years of experience in complex multidiscipline facility projects, including intermodal transportation and vehicle maintenance projects. Don understands that project success is a balanced combination of giving attention to detail while keeping the big picture clearly in focus. Christine Giarrizzo - Christine is a trained writer with a master’s degree in Journalism from the Newhouse School of Public Communications. Wendel is a nationally recognized design and construction firm providing services to clients across the country, including architecture; interior design; civil, electrical, energy efficiency, environmental, mechanical, municipal, structural, and transportation engineering; construction management; energy management; alternative fuels; commissioning; GIS; landscape architecture; land-use planning; and survey. The firm is headquartered in Buffalo, NY with offices across the country.
REINVIGORATING THE OLD AND INNOVATING THE NEW By John di Domenico, AIA, and Ileana LaFontaine
>> Recent milestones such as the opening of the 7 Line Extension and the Second Avenue Subway in the New York City subway system offer us an opportunity to reflect on the importance of transportation in our cities â€“ as a means of defining places and spaces, and facilitating movement at the scales of neighborhood, community, city, and region. Cities across the state, such as Buffalo and Albany, are also planning transportation upgrades to improve their accessibility and potential for economic growth. Architecture enhances these transportation systems by giving them character and context as well as functionality. In our observation as architects of transportation structures, new approaches are needed to meet planning demands for the future. These fall into two basic areas: (1) Upgrade and reinvigorate existing facilities/infrastructure; (2) Innovate and design new facilities with enhanced technology and interconnectivity. Reinvigorating the Old Reinvigorating, and in many cases rehabilitating, older stations and transit hubs requires a deep sensitivity toward the original era in which the station was built, and the circumstances surrounding its development. Reconstructing the Atlantic Terminal Complex in Brooklyn exemplified these issues. The original Flatbush Terminal building was commissioned in 1834 and opened on July 2, 1877. The terminal building was demolished in 1988 to make way for the new Atlantic Terminal and Retail Complex. Restoring a civic presence on Flatbush Avenue and Hanson Place, where the previous Flatbush Terminal Building once stood, the Pavilion at the Atlantic Terminal Complex is an arced vessel shaped by the site and the paths of circulation to this hub of transit activity. All paths of circulation cross through the Pavilion and a pair of staircases link the street with the concourse space below. From the concourse level, one is able to connect to nine subway lines and six Long Island Railroad (LIRR) tracks. The Pavilion is a key building in the urban landscape of the area. It provides urban connectivity to the BAM Cultural District and the Barclays Center. The extensive use of glass and glass brick within the terminal allows for horizontal transparency and visual connectivity between the railroad and subway. >> continued on next page
Architecture enhances these transportation systems by giving them character and context as well as functionality. REINVIGORATING THE OLD AND INNOVATING THE NEW
interventions in such a way as to remain within the existing context of the station and fabric of the community. We repaired and refurbished the 168th Street and 181st Street Stations on the Broadway line in Manhattan. These stations, which date back to 1905 and are listed on the National Register of Historical Places, are among New York City Transit’s (NYCT) earliest and deepest stations. The extensive masonry restoration program of the high arched vaults included the removal of existing face brick where failure had occurred, anchoring of the remaining historic face brick finish, and overall cleaning and restoration of other damaged or missing finish materials, such as mosaic and ceramic tile work.
>> Integrating architecture and art in a single visual and spatial experience, “Overlook”, a collaboration with artist Allan Wexler, is a seamless part of the terminal, emerging from the street level entry and providing a viewing platform to watch the crowds or admire the majestic tower of the Williamsburgh Savings bank framed by the arc of the building. It quickly became a meeting spot that serves as a destination for travelers and a convenient location to be seen and to watch others passing by. While the station overhaul completely modernized the terminal, the Times Plaza Kiosk, a Flemish Revival style structure, stood as a reminder of the terminal’s earlier history. The Kiosk was originally constructed in 1908–10 and served as the entry to the subway. It was designed by Heins and LaFarge, the architects for this and other similar station houses throughout the transit system, of which only a handful remain. di Domenico + Partners, along with Page Ayres Cowley Architects, received the Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award for the successful preservation and restoration of the kiosk. The small building now acts as a skylight to the subway spaces below, featuring glazed terra cotta and cartouches, swags, fruit and floral garland ornamentation which were restored. Preservation of individual stations rather than major hubs also calls upon many of these same challenges of thoughtful restoration, adaptive approaches, station rehabilitation and renewal, and designing
A complete rehabilitation of the arch for each station was part of the scope and was addressed by new glass-fiber reinforced concrete suspended ceiling panel systems in the colors and pattern of the historic ceiling. Glass-fiber reinforced polymer was used to replace the historic terra cotta medallions that previously hung at the apex of the arched vault. By replicating the form, color and texture of the terra cotta, the new medallions captured the uniqueness of the original installations, while being lighter, quicker to manufacture and more durable. Further improvements consisted of a multi-purpose utility armature to carry and conceal station services such as electrical elements and a gutter for water
diversion. The rebuilding of these historic stations to meet current code requirements while maintaining the historic design was a challenge that guided the development of the project. Other aspects of rehabilitation deal with issues that may not have been anticipated, or even present during the original station design. Part of our challenge is planning for tomorrow, balancing today’s resources with tomorrow’s needs. South Ferry Station, the third on its site, was an elevated station from 1877 to 1950, a balloon loop serving two IRT lines from 1905 to 2009, and then a newer station with connection to Whitehall Street station. In October of 2012, nobody would foresee Hurricane Sandy and the effects that it would have along the Eastern Seaboard. The MTA estimated a $4.75 billion loss in infrastructure damage as well as $246 million lost in revenue and increased operating costs. The mandate to repair the flooded station was augmented by the need for “flood mitigation and resiliency” against a future Category Two Hurricane. The scope of work at South Ferry Station was divided into station rehabilitation and flood resiliency. For station rehabilitation, di Domenico + Partners conducted an architectural assessment that included all concourse, mezzanine and platform levels, employee facilities and back-of-house spaces as well as mechanical and electrical rooms throughout the station complex. For flood protection and resiliency, the assessment focused on street level entrances, ventilation structure, hatches, manholes and critical spaces throughout the station complex. A combination of flood doors and panels, watertight
glazing, and stop log barrier walls will address different station conditions. The highlights of the resiliency design are three new entry pavilions. Designed to welcome customers as light-filled glass enclosures, the pavilions seal with the threat of an impending flood event. When sealed, they are designed to withstand water in excess of the 11-foot design flood elevation with glazing similar to that of an aquarium. Sustainability was also integrated with our design approach, carrying with it many more opportunities for enhanced design than might have been available in the past. The Grand Avenue Bus Depot and Maintenance Facility in Maspeth, Queens was the first “green” bus facility of its kind. It adheres to Environmental Management Systems ISO14001 specifications and includes state-of-the art designs, systems, and materials. The 500,000 SF facility houses storage, fueling, washing, painting, and mechanical operations, accommodating indoor storage for approximately 200 buses and simultaneous repairs for 27. The project also included administrative offices and employee amenities, including a roof-top employee parking lot which ensures minimal impact on the neighborhood. Pollution and noise from idling buses along with chemicals and pollutants from regular cleaning are handled in self-contained units that destroy chemicals before they can return to the atmosphere. Several strategies for renewable energy, maximized daylight, and heat reduction contribute to the reduced environmental impact.
>> South Ferry Station / Courtesy of di Domenico + Partners REINVIGORATING THE OLD AND INNOVATING THE NEW
Innovating the New The subway was in the past utilitarian; it has evolved into a transportation network and, moreover, a social experience, a destination on its own, as with Atlantic Terminal. Transportation hubs are used for recreation and entertainment – they transcend mere waiting rooms. Hence there is a demand for enhanced station experience. The need to innovate going forward means not only acknowledging today’s circumstances and passenger experience, but looking ahead to what future demands will be. The MTA is in the process of launching an enhanced station initiative to make stations current for the 21st Century – this includes station upgrades with reconfigured areas to improve passenger flow and create welcoming environments with increased light and amenities such as real time information, expanded Wi-Fi hotspots, ticketing to replace the Metrocard, and USB ports for charging devices. Even delivering these improvements will be handled with increasingly new and different methods, such as design-build, public-private partnerships, and streamlined procurement. The Silver Line of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail extension is a substantial addition to the Washington Metro’s transit system. di Domenico + Partners provided transit oriented development planning and prototypical station design components as well as alternative design concepts for stations, bridges, and entries, providing a framework for future growth while taking aesthetic cues from the Northern Virginia landscape and the iconic Metro vault. Tyson’s Corner, one of the prototype stations, had long been viewed as an undesirable area for residential life, filled with offices, industrial parks, and more than 160,000 parking spaces. Development had added restaurants, shops, and apartments to the mix, completely converting the suburb into a bustling pedestrian-oriented city. Transportation had to keep up in order to address the new density that occurred and to keep pace with the growing vibrant activity of the area. The parking lots rapidly became obsolete as subways, rail, and buses evolved to eliminate the need for a car and spur intermodal travel. In such instances of rapid growth, transit and community planning must be integrated. Architecture offers a common language for conceiving and executing planned development.
At a regional scale, new transit systems can maximize connectivity and optimize synergies between multi-modal transportation, urban development and transit oriented development. di Domenico + Partners had been selected as part of a team for conceptual planning of a Maglev high-speed rail project connecting Washington, DC, and New York. The first phase of the project connects Washington and Baltimore in 15 minutes. The system will then be expanded north to New York and eventually to Boston, connecting the entire Northeast region. Preliminary phases of the project have focused on evaluating potential station locations, exploring station configuration and layouts, and conceiving prototypical station design. Architecture, urban design, and planning supported the project objective to provide a high-speed transportation option that relieves corridor congestion and targets zones for future economic growth. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhSaGcVh-Mg
Transit architecture is the interface between the community and access to the city. Revitalizing and upgrading transit infrastructure is critical to provide access to opportunities, and improve quality of life. Now that communities value the symbiotic relationship between multi-modal transportation and spatial development, enhancing older systems and planning new ones around smart growth has become essential for sustainable communities and cities of the future. John di Domenico, AIA, LEED AP, is a Principal of di Domenico + Partners based in Long Island City, NY and Washington, DC. Ileana LaFontaine is the firm’s Marketing Director. di Domenico + Partners, LLP, was established in 1981 as an interdisciplinary studio to provide services in Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Design. di Domenico + Partners has extensive expertise in the design and construction of new buildings and the renovation and preservation of historic buildings. The breadth of the firm’s project experience includes transportation, educational, corporate and convention facilities. di Domenico + Partners has successfully completed over 100 public transit projects in the past 30 years related to transit facilities and stations, urban streetscapes, campus plans, public plazas and parks.
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REINVIGORATING THE OLD AND INNOVATING THE NEW
By Laurence Wilson, AIA
>> AIANYS sponsored a weeklong trip to Cuba, with 24 architects and companions from Long Island, New York City and Albany. While normally skeptical of planned group travel, this trip was great fun owing to the good nature of our group and guides. We visited 3 cities, Havana, Cienfuegos and Trinidad. Each being centuries old, these were great choices for an architectural experience. It was a well-organized trip. While we saw only a fraction of this complex country I will attempt to convey some meaningful architectural impressions. Cristobal Colon landed on Cuba (naming it Juana) on October 28, 1492, his first voyage to America, beginning Spain’s rule of Cuba lasting until 1898. One of the oldest cities in the Americas, Havana is replete with great architecture and urban places spanning 500 years. Old Havana (La Habana Vieja) straddles the harbor with rich complex historical overlays. Numerous fortifications safeguarded the city over generations. Castillo de la Real Fuerza, the star fortress is the oldest stone fort in the Americas, first stones laid in 1562, preceding the Mayflower voyage by 58 years. In 1982 this district was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site; Old Havana and its Fortifications. Havana’s architectural evolution, aggregated over centuries was frozen by revolution, virtually halted in 1959 save the effects of economic deprivation, neglect, and various heavy handed Soviet era monuments and banal modern housing blocks, speaking to authoritarianism, central planning, absence of free market capital, and the devastating embargo. Cuba is a country of squatters. People do not own buildings, they occupy them, and with no
incentive for improvements or maintenance, they are everywhere dilapidated and collapsing. These laws are changing and renovations are popping like “popcorn” as one Architect guide described. We stayed at Hotel Nacional de Cuba, McKim, Mead and White c. 1930, on Taganana Hill, site of the Santa Clara Battery c. 1797. This late eclectic work of the firm is mediocre apart from its mass and prominence atop the hill, list of famous guests and notorious mobster Meyer Lansky who was part owner in the 1950’s. Another notable hotel/casino built by Lansky is the Hotel Habana Riviera. While this 1950’s edifice of freewheeling American corruption and excess is otherwise bland, it is untouched by renovators, a time capsule of period architecture, interior design, furniture, fabrics, lighting and art, with works by notable Cuban muralist Rolando Lopez Dirube and sculptor Florencio Gelabert. It is like time travel. Havana’s streetscapes are compelling adventures, from tight, dense meandering streets of old Havana, many impoverished and crumbling, to broad avenues of 19th and 20th century, extravagant outer districts with rich eclectic buildings, also crumbling. Notably, the Paseo de Prado or grand boulevard is a superb urban place conceived during 18th century expansion outside the fortified walls. This broad, tree lined, terrazzo-paved pedestrian way with marble benches, is lined with excellent buildings of classical, baroque, renaissance, Moorish, deco and other styles. At its head is the Great Theater of Havana c. 1908, pure eye candy. The Jose Fuster residence and studio is mind bending. Inspired by the Santeria, Picasso and Gaudi, Fuster has enveloped several city blocks with pure fantasy, dripping with ceramic and mosaic sculpture and art without inhibition or restraint; Park Guell on steroids and lots of fun. The Universidad de las Artes by contrast is serious architecture, rare after the revolution. This complex was conceived in 1961 by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara and was collaboratively designed by Ricardo Porro, Roberto Gottardi, and Vittorio Garatti. The embargo necessitated labor intensive locally manufactured bricks, terracotta, and mortar. The formal concept is highly original and organic, employing traditional Catalan vaulted brick technology and archetypal African village plan and massing. This however ran counter to International
>> Photos courtesy of Laurence Wilson, AIA
Style ideology and was abandoned in 1965. Modern was “revolutionary” despite many obvious symbols of excess capitalism expressed in modernism, such as the Hotel Riviera, contrasted by the thoughtful indigenous quality of the Arts School, “No animal shall wear cloths.” Owing to international recognition, the complex has been resurrected and now being restored. This is a stunningly, beautiful work of original organic Architecture. Cienfuegos on the southern coast dates to the Taino indigenous people, but French settlers in the 19th century established this port for sugar trade. The city was laid out on a unified grid “enlightenment” plan and in 2005 was designated a World Heritage Site; Urban Historic Center of Cienfuegos. Most impressive architecturally is Palacio de Valle c.1913, drawing from Spanish-Moorish, Romanesque, Baroque, Gothic and Mudejar styles. An eclectic wonderland beautifully executed. Again, Meyer Lansky on the scene (no escaping uber rich New York resort developers) builds a large Modern hotel on the property with plans for a casino in the Palacio. Enter the revolution as the Hotel Jagua is completed, ending plans for the casino. Our group stayed at the Hotel Jagua, with spectacular views and an impressive Modern building, inventoried by the DOCOMOMO as one of three significant modern buildings of Cienfuegos. The final leg of the trip was over the Escambray Mountains in Sancti Spiritus to the isolated city of Trinidad, founded in 1514 and designated a World
Heritage Site; Trinidad and the Valle de los Ingenios. Cut off by mountains, the City was historically accessible only by sea. This was the “Valley of the Sugar Mills” and produced tremendous wealth over the centuries. While today an impoverished city, the quality of its Spanish Colonial Architecture is unrivaled. The Plaza Mayor City Center is located at its high point, with a gently sloping garden square, delicate wrought iron fencing, surrounded by the Cathedral and exquisite domestic buildings. Most impressive is the Casa de las Sanchez Iznaga 1738, now the Museum of Colonial Architecture (Museo de Arquitectura). Having traveled to Prague in 2000 this trip to Cuba had remarkable similarities of political, economic and social transition from the malaise of strictly controlled socialism opening to capitalistic optimism. The people were exceptionally kind and we never felt uneasy as tourists. My sense is they are proud of their heritage and indeed their struggle, yet desirous of capitalist American bounty. One only hopes they don’t lose their uniqueness in the inevitable transition. The partnership of Mesick - Cohen - Wilson - Baker- Architects, LLP brings together the expertise and experience of John I Mesick, James A. Cohen(retired), Laurence F. Wilson and M. Jeffrey Baker. The range of projects undertaken include; state capitols, religious structures, office buildings, house museums, courthouses, educational facilities, libraries, sports/recreation facilities and more. Many of these structures are listed in the National Register of Historic Places and several are designated as National Historic Landmarks. The firm has repeatedly demonstrated their leadership in design and preservation of the highest quality with projects such as the New York State Capitol, Vermont State House, Tennessee State Capitol, Maryland State House and Thomas Jefferson’s homes, Monticello and Poplar Forest. The techniques involved in our approach to projects have earned the firm a recognized reputation.
>> Photos courtesy of Laurence Wilson, AIA AIANYS CUBA EXPERIENCE
AIACNY I-81 TASK FORCE UPDATE ON THE PLANNING PROCESS OF NYSDOT I-81 By Robert Haley, AIA Emeritus, Chair, AIACNY I-81 Task Force
>> The Central New York Chapter of the AIA (AIACNY), dating from 1887, and with generations of professional contributions to the architectural character of Syracuse, Watertown, Cortland, Utica, Oswego, Auburn and throughout the CNY region, has seen the impact of changing transportation infrastructures on the nature of our once more peaceful communities. From walkable villages to the early city streets formed by horse drawn carriages and wagons the change from wagon pathways, to roads, canals, rail roads and to the highways and interstates of the past 50-60 years, our cities and neighborhoods have and continue to be impacted and changed significantly. The design criteria, geometry and environmental impact is different for each advance in transportation technology and with transition from one transportation mode to the next, often overlapping, cities struggle to fit these infrastructures into a once vibrant city fabric. The City of Syracuse has been through 4 major transitions in transportation modes over its almost 200-year history, and with the rapid changes in autonomous transportation and the global reality to reduce carbon based vehicles, the task of planning for highways and infrastructure projects is uncertain. Not only do they come with a large price tag, but they affect areas for generations; our planning must account for long term economic vitality and quality for the citizens. Enter the New York State Department of Transportation, or NYSDOT, I-81 Viaduct Project, which is currently entering its 4th year of study. Prior to the start of the NYSDOT project, the Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council (SMTC), the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for CNY, conducted a 2 1/2-year study for the “I-81 Challenge”. Both the 2011 SMTC study and the 2013 DOT study were structured to include a
>> Renderings courtesy of RethinkI81
local community participation process, by inviting local experts representing a broad range of planning objectives. AIACNY’s long standing Urban Design Committee having previously participated and assisted on Syracuse & Onondaga County planning and urban design projects, was asked to provide urban design input over this combined 6-year planning process. The I-81 Task Force was formed as subcommittee being under the Chapter Advocacy Committee umbrella. The Chapter I-81 Task Force mission “to broaden the ‘design program’ of the NYS DOT I-81 Viaduct Project” initiated in August 2013 to add input on urban design, quality of life standards and economic vitality of the city and region. The task force is working to broaden community knowledge of the issues, promote community representation and involvement, establish standards of excellence in urban design, promote visualizations of possible alternatives, and assist implementation through draft legislation. Over the past 4 years, the I-81 Task Force has provided design guidance, technical date, best practices examples, economic land value projections, facilitated neighborhood design work sessions with the DOT and published an urban design analysis of the I-81 project area, entitled Syracuse I-81 Urban Design Study of the I-81 Project Area. We are presently working on “Book 2” with a full evaluation of the best plan for the Syracuse I-81 Project. With the repair, replacement and complete redesign of the I-81 Interstate through the center of Syracuse, including the intersection with I-690 a foregone conclusion, NYSDOT is about to issue the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) report for the I-81 Viaduct Project. Now in its 4th year of planning, the DEIS is to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the “remaining” and “final” options being evaluated for a “Record of Decision,” or the project plan to be advanced for funding. However, the project is still in the design stage. And should be. Some local neighborhoods are not accepting the current plans showing larger and faster highways negatively impacting their residential and commercial neighborhoods. The first 3-years of planning had evaluated 17 possible options, including rebuilding a new viaduct, depressed
>> Renderings courtesy of RethinkI81
highways, 4-7 tunnel options and a reduced highway, community grid option utilizing existing city streets. By December 2016, the NYSDOT evaluation process had reduced the recommended options to two; a wider & higher new viaduct and a community grid option, combining improved city streets with new highways where needed. These two “final” options represented a consensus of the Community Stakeholders recommendations, with the NYSDOT traffic engineering, planning and estimating evaluations completed. In December 2016, however, opponents and representatives advocated to stop the process, explaining their preferred option for a tunnel design, provided by a private source and previously evaluated as not viable, was not fairly evaluated and should be reintroduced in the DEIS. Governor Cuomo announced in State of the State address five new options would be added to the NYSDOT study and included in the DEIS. At this time, there are seven options being finalized for the DEIS, including a tunnel, a viaduct, a depressed highway, the community grid option combining city streets and new highways, and combinations of these. However, the critical criteria for the future vitality of Syracuse and the region remains the same: • Minimize unnecessary disruption to businesses and residents • Improve access choices to downtown, the University Hill area and the Dome • Provide for the least maintenance cost for years to come Plan to support future development by returning current highway land to the tax base • Improve access and safety for CNY commuters Evaluation Criteria must compare each option for: • Long term economic growth • Amount of land in acres, returned to or taken from city tax base • Initial construction cost • Total 50-year maintenance cost • Total construction duration, with appropriate contingency allowance • Annual operation & maintenance cost • Annual energy consumption required • Impact on adjacent neighborhoods • Impact on travel times
The professional planning and design community can be of great assistance in the planning of future infrastructure for complex urban environments. From our experience, the AIACNY I-81 Task Force would recommend changes to improve the NYSDOT planning process for highways and interstate projects serving and impacting cities, community neighborhoods and urban centers. • Establish Urban Design, Land Use & Regional Transportation Plan prior to start of highway project planning. • The lead agency for traffic planning should be a city or county planning entity. This would allow NYSDOT to provide the technical and project management support to achieve the community planning and design goals. • Major traffic and transportation infrastructure planning for cities should be done by urban designers and planners, with traffic and transportation engineers as technical support. • State funding for future NYSDOT projects in urban areas should allocate 5%-10% of the project budget to hire a local planning consultant to manage the community input and participation component of the design programming process. The local community stakeholders would be charged to define the design program for the engineering and technical consultants to address in the design phase. • Challenge and establish appropriate traffic speed for urban areas. Increased traffic speeds adjust design geometrics, resulting in more land takings and decreases traffic safety in city centers. Primary city streets can function safely at 45 MPH maximum speed, reducing damage to adjacent neighborhoods. Challenge the FHWA & DOT design criteria, as being “required”. They may not be appropriate or desirable for your community. • Require the utilization of “roundabouts” in urban areas to improve traffic movement, capacity and travel times, while improving vehicular and pedestrian safety. • Respond to the different needs and visions of each neighborhood impacted by a highway running through urban areas. The highway design may be a constant in the mind of the DOT’s, but the neighborhoods are all different highway improvements can support similar improvements throughout different neighborhoods.
AIACNY I-81 TASK FORCE UPDATE ON THE PLANNING PROCESS OF NYSDOT I-81
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: ADVOCACY PUNCH LISTISSUES TO WATCH FOR 2017 Public Design-Build Expansion The 2017-18 Executive Budget proposal seeks to expand the use of public design-build to all State agencies, authorities, SUNY, CUNY, its subsidiaries, and counties outside the City of New York. To date, the vast majority of design-build projects in the State have been confined to horizontal projects, such as the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement. The governor’s proposal would allow every public entity to use the design-build project delivery method for both horizontal and vertical project types. AIANYS continues to push the State to focus on project delivery flexibility by adopting other alternative project delivery methods, such as construction manager as constructor (CMc), also known as construction manager at-risk, which is better suited for vertical project types. AIANYS does not oppose the concept of design-build, but is actively seeking improvements to the current law to enhance independent oversight of the process. Public Procurement Reform Recent scandals surrounding upstate economic development projects shined a spotlight on the patchwork of public procurement procedures in New York State and the apparent lack of transparency and accountability. The Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) has drafted a program bill in response to these scandals and the bill was recently introduced in the State Senate. “The Public Procurement Integrity Act,” seeks to restore additional layers of OSC oversight authority stripped from the Comptroller in 2012. Beyond the restoration of traditional powers, the bill would establish a “contractor code of conduct” to provide penalties and possible bans on contractors and consultants who fail to disclose or engage in any business, transaction or professional activity which may present a conflict of interest and/or impair his or her independent judgement. Transparency, accountability and ethical conduct in contracting are crucial to maintaining an open and competitive business environment. As licensed design professionals, architects are already prohibited from engaging in business arrangements which present a conflict of interest or facilitate duplicity. However, this bill would create an entirely new and broad standard for all public contractors—expanding prohibitions to any activity which may be “perceived” as an unethical business relationship. Crafting bids or specifications for the benefit of an individual or business is one thing, but casting a broad dragnet which could malign legitimate business relationships is another. AIANYS will be working with its allies in the design and construction industry to
address these concerns and to help the State implement commonsense procurement reforms. Federal Tax Reform and the Historic Tax Credit Tax reform is moving to the forefront of priorities for the 115th Congress and the new presidential administration. If the plan maintains the tenets of Speaker Ryan’s “A Better Way,” reform document, then the federal Historic Tax Credit (HTC) and many other investment incentives will be on the chopping block. While the reform plan seeks to reduce tax rates across the board and target “crony capitalism,” it is important to separate special interest giveaways from tried and tested investment incentives such as the HTC. Over the last thirty-six years, HTC programs have created 2.3 million jobs, leveraged $117 billion in community investment, and rehabilitated more than 41,250 buildings nationwide. With one of the oldest building stocks in the United States, the state of New York is a major beneficiary of HTC programs, and their continuation is crucial to reviving Main Streets across the State. Prior to the opening of the 115th Congress, AIANYS President Robert E. Stark, AIA, penned a letter to each member of the New York State Congressional delegation urging for the continuance of the credit. To reinforce these efforts, AIANYS and other AIA components from around the country will travel to Washington D.C. on March 8th to make the rounds on Capitol Hill to advocate on behalf of the federal HTC. Members are strongly encouraged to contact their member of Congress to express support for the federal HTC. AIANYS Delivers Testimony on 2017-18 Executive Budget On February 1st, AIANYS presented testimony on the governor’s 2017-18 Executive Budget proposal. Represented by Randolph Collins, AIA and Michael Burridge, AIANYS Director of Government Affairs, AIANYS laid out several proposals and recommendations for the Legislature to consider. The testimony focused primarily on the AIANYS response to the design-build provisions in the budget. Specifically, AIANYS called on the Legislature and the governor to discuss the design-build proposal with the State Education Department’s Office of the Professions to gather their input on how design-build project delivery impacts the regulation of the licensed design professions. In addition, AIANYS reiterated its strong support for the inclusion of construction manager as constructor project delivery for vertical public projects. 2017 Legislative Session in Full Swing As the Legislature heads into negotiations for the State Budget, the introduction of bills continues to flow unabated, with about 400 bills introduced per day. Two months into Session, the Assembly has introduced 5,600 bills and the Senate 4,400, of which 2,100 are companion bills—meaning they are viable for full passage of the Legislature. 475 of these bills are being tracked by AIANYS due to their implications, both major and minor, on the profession & practice of architecture and the built environment.
It’s an age-old debate: right brain or left? Science or art? Or today’s version: STEM or the Arts? As architects, we’ve struggled to pick a side because our profession pulls equally from both the sciences and the arts. But, with education funds shifting toward STEM and away from the arts, we need to be honest with ourselves. We need both. And it’s time we stand up for ourselves. From STEM to STEAM Some may say, “With a focus on science, technology, engineering and math we can improve our economy and come out on top in global competition.” Those same people might say that STEM is our gateway to new environmental solutions for our planet, life-changing product development for healthcare, and computing innovations that break down barriers around the world. While these may be correct, there’s more to the story. Truth is (to borrow a phrase), all science and no art make Jack a dull boy. With many fields being commoditized through technology, the only way to compete in a global market is through innovation born of creativity. Engineering is ‘design’ after all. Music brings math to life and dance explores the limits of the human body. Creative or cultural content is often the critical differentiator that makes something marketable. To move us all forward, we need both the arts and sciences. Changing STEM to STEAM (including the arts) is essential to business, our economy, and our profession. STEAM in action — the A/E office Look no further than an A/E office to see why STEAM, an integration of science and art, drives success and innovation. For example, in a single day, the members of our team at CSArch may be practicing and exploring: Earth Science: • Measuring where the sun will rise and set, regional weather and wind patterns and more so we can refine site selection and design lighting and heating systems • Studying geothermal properties to assess opportunities to capitalize on the earth’s heat to optimize energy usage Design: • Conceptualizing the massing and shape of a new building or addition • Drawing, sketching or illustrating a new façade for a historic building • Brainstorming the right combination of materials, textures, color, furniture and more to create a space conducive to evolving human needs
TURNING STEM INTO STEAM SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATH ARE GREAT, AND ADDING ART TO THE MIX CAN ELEVATE ALL OF THEM. By Randolph J. Collins, AIA Originally Published in the Zweig Letter, a publication of the Zweig Group, www.zweiggroup.com
Social Sciences: • Integrating lessons in cultural anthropology, psychology, sociology, and more to make sure doors can be found, stairs can be climbed, and rooms feel comfortable and welcoming Computer/Information Technology: • Using software such as AutoCAD, REVIT and BIM to bring concepts to life for clients and their stakeholders • Implementing an array of digital project management, time management, collaboration tools and more to help the entire team communicate and work together Performance: • Presenting to a school board, advocating for our solutions and demonstrating the value of the project • Speaking on a panel, sharing our expertise to help move our industry forward • Hosting a lunch-and-learn event for our staff, creating an experience to help the team grow personally and professionally Math/Finance: • Calculating the cost of a current project, or helping a client understand what future projects and ongoing development may entail Writing: • Generating reports to communicate concepts, details and specifications for a project. • Composing copy for proposals so prospective clients understand our value and abilities • Developing case studies, articles, or marketing materials to share our work with others What’s architecture without the arts? Music programs can’t maintain their instruments. Theater courses have lost their stage to perform. Drawings and hand-written letters are becoming things of the past. STEM is important and we can’t ignore this. But we’re remiss to think that architecture as we know it can survive without advocacy for the arts. With a simple inclusion of the letter A in the push for STEM, we could make all the difference for the future of our profession. Randolph J. Collins, AIA, President and Founding Principal of CSArch, Albany, NY, has more than 35 years of experience in design and management of educational, corporate and institutional facilities projects. In addition to his project involvement, he is responsible for the firm’s strategic planning, marketing and business development, human resources, and construction management division. The firm provides integrated design and agency CM services for public clients seeking sole-source responsibility. Since 1994, the firm has been responsible for managing more than $500 million worth of construction for public projects for which they were also the architect. He is a licensed architect in New York State and holds a BS degree in construction management from Utica College.
TURNING STEM INTO STEAM
I found Mr. Goldberger’s statement applicable to this issue of New York Architect. This issue focuses on what is beyond the finished project. It explores the impact that infrastructure can have on the building and also the community that surrounds it. Architects take a holistic approach to the design process. So must we at AIA New York State take a broadened approach to the collective diversity that makes up the practice of architecture. In the recent past, we have been asked to broaden our educational capabilities, expand the topics we are advocating for in our legislative agenda and bring architects’ message to the general public. We have just wrapped our first ever interactive online learning course on sustainability and resilience. The stream’s platform was one of scalability, where it could be delivered virtually anywhere regardless of Wi-Fi capability. Architects Illya Azaroff, AIA and Jodi Smits Anderson, AIA paired with Dana French, PE were dynamic, making topics of interest appeal even more, and the ability to ask these presenter questions virtually was a new frontier for us. Legislatively, AIANYS has aligned ourselves with the New York Building Congress, Associated General Contractors (AGC) New York State and American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of New York, among other coalition members, for an Emergency Responder Act (ERA) press event. The coalition advocates for the passage of the legislation, enabling design professionals to be covered in emergency situations.
Publicly, we released the first in a series of informational videos based on an idea derived from the Board. In the form of a discussion, AIANYS hosted top architects from Resilience, Sustainable and Green design to have a discussion on how architects address these issues in design and how they relate to the everyday citizen. The result was a 20-minute pointed interaction with enlightening dialogue on how to build to protect and rebuild to keep a catastrophe from happening again. The first one was recently released and the other two will be released in the upcoming months. Diverse operation fields coming together to make an organization striving to bring our members the best, across the spectrum. This is a reflection on the Board, with diverse backgrounds and practice areas, bringing a wide array of functional areas together, to form a new direction for AIANYS. As we start down the path of evolution, more doors have and will open, giving us more areas of growth in these areas; with the guidance of the AIA New York State Board, we are delivering what our members want across our functional business areas, using Gestalt approach to form AIANYS.
It’s perfectly reasonable to talk about the meaning of literature without talking about Danielle Steel, but can you grapple with the impact of architecture without looking at Main Street? -Paul Goldberger 518.449.3334 | AIANYS@AIANYS.ORG 50 STATE ST, 5TH FLOOR, ALBANY, NY 12207
By Georgi Ann Bailey, CAE, Hon. AIANYS
ARCHITECTURE NEW YORK STATE
FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR