NEW YORK STATE
Q3 | SEPTEMBER â€™18
A P U B L I C AT I O N O F
Architects Giving Back in a Civic Capacity
The Role of Citizen Architect In the June Quarterly, we highlighted our Excelsior Award recipients, showcasing the best in publicly funded buildings, landscapes, and public art within our communities across New York State. In this issue, we’re stepping away from the direct aspects related to the built environment and the spaces that we design as architects— highlighting instead the unique attributes an architect has, refines, and applies to a non-traditional role serving our communities— the role of Citizen Architect. The AIA defines a Citizen Architect as someone who uses his/her insights, talents, training, and experience to contribute meaningfully, beyond self, to the improvement of the community and human condition. Someone who stays informed on local, state, and federal issues, and makes time for service to the community. A person who advocates for higher living standards, the creation of a sustainable environment, quality of life, and the greater good. Lastly, an advocate for the broader purposes of architecture through civic activism, writing and publishing, by gaining appointment to boards and commissions, and through elective office at all levels of government. Many consider Thomas Jefferson to be our first Citizen Architect. As a Founding Father and U.S. President, Jefferson helped shape the new nation, but his unwavering interest as a Citizen Architect gave the United States some of its most iconic buildings. While Jefferson’s apprenticeship was in law, he was considered a “gentleman architect”—developing an understanding of design through books, travel, and observation— a common practice before architecture became a licensed profession. Therefore, while we pay homage to the first Citizen Architect on our cover, inside this issue you’ll read about a member who holds a unique position as both an architect and an owner, a member that has a passion to represent their community and be a leader of change, and a member who leads teams that design public facilities that have a sense of place and meaning. In addition to our many seasoned professionals who have chosen to share their knowledge and expertise in a civic capacity, we have an interview with the Co-Founder and Inaugural Alum of the successful Civic Leadership Program, a new program for Emerging Professionals that embraces the spirit of Citizen Architects. As you are enjoying the authentic stories that are told in the pages that follow, my hope is that as emerging and professional architects, members of the AIA, and natural problem solvers, we are inspired to take on the responsibility to pursue public service in order to make our communities better places to live, work, and learn.
Kirk Narburgh, AIA 2018 President | AIA New York State
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LETTER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S
Architect = Citizen Architect To follow Kirk Narburgh’s letter in this issue, the 2018 edition of the Citizen Architect Handbook states that, “Citizen Architect has been used to describe architects who have given back in a civic capacity.” When we think of “Citizen Architects,” what usually comes to mind are those individuals who have served as an elected official. In reading the handbook further, there are two additional applications of the term “Citizen Architect.” One, is an appointed position at the local, state or national level. It could be your local planning commission or community committee that “enhances the life and future of the communities they serve.” The third, is a volunteer who is active via “civic or community engagement,” and through those activities enhances the built environment.” In thinking about the profession, who are better to serve in this capacity but architects. It is truly inherent to what you do as part of your chosen career. Just think about the community givebacks through activities done directly by members or via a local chapter program. Admittedly my own definition of a Citizen Architect goes beyond the official word. But when I think of the many ways that architects enhance their community, the list includes those that develop and define K-12 Programs and teach in Schools of Architecture. It includes those architects who go into disaster declared areas to determine building safety. It includes those who are involved in local leadership programs or organizations like the American Red Cross or your local hospitals. In some way, each and every one of you are a Citizen Architect. But isn’t that why you became an architect? To give back to your community in some way? We know you will appreciate the programs and architects highlighted in this issue. Be sure to let us know of a program or initiative you are involved in so we can celebrate your achievements in the future.
Georgi Ann Bailey, CAE, Hon. AIANYS Executive Director | AIA New York State | firstname.lastname@example.org | 518.449.3334
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LETTERS AIANYS President’s Letter....................................................................................2 AIANYS Executive Director’s Letter....................................................................... 3
CITIZEN ARCHITECTS Serving as a Steward for the Buffalo Public Schools...............................................................................6-7 Cultivating Emerging Architectural Professionals into Civic Leaders................................................... 8-10 Volunteering to Serve on the Board of Education........................................................................... 12-13 Contributing Architecture to Art .....................................................................................14-15 Shaping Civic Relationships Between City & Community .........................................................................16-18
Q3 | SEPTEMBER 2018 | PAGE 5
Paul McDonnell, AIA, NCARB Director of Facilities Planning, Design & Construction for the Buffalo Public Schools A lifelong Buffalonian, Paul is President of the Campaign for Greater Buffalo History and Architecture, Buffalo’s most significant preservation advocacy group. He is former Chair of the Buffalo Preservation Board, where he served for 11 years. He is Past President of the Buffalo/WNY Chapter of the AIA, a former director of AIANYS, and currently serves as the Vice President for Public Advocacy with AIANYS.
A Unique Role as Architect and Owner
Serving as a Steward for the Buffalo Public Schools By Paul McDonnell, AIA, NCARB
y architectural adventure started at Cannon Design, a global design firm where I was fortunate enough to be exposed to great projects with a wide variety of responsibilities and tasks that would fulfill all of the requirements of an emerging professional just out of school. Within a few years, I was afforded the opportunity to join the public sector as an architect for the City of Buffalo, and then, as an architect for the Buffalo Public Schools, where I would act as a steward for the district’s 60 schools and upwards of 40,000 students and staff. I was in the unique position of not only serving as an architect for the district, but as the owner as well, an important role that exists in only five public school districts within New York State—Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Yonkers and NYC. In the traditional role as an architect, I have managed an office that designed classrooms, additions, roofs, and other projects. As an owner, I have hired and managed architecture and engineering firms to design complex projects, and on a day-to-day basis, ensure that our facilities are meeting the needs of teachers, staff and students. In the political realm, I have had to present and market our projects to Board of Education members, parent groups, administrators and the State Education Department. Nontraditional PAGE 6 | Q3 | SEPTEMBER 2018
responsibilities, but responsibilities I was well prepared for with my architecture education—communication and problem solving. I come from a family of teachers. Both my parents were teachers, as well as my paternal grandparents, my sister and various aunts, uncles and cousins. The library at Kensington High School is named in honor of my grandfather, Thomas J. McDonnell, the first Principal of that school. I always envisioned my path to becoming an architect to be a distant one from the teaching profession my family had chosen, yet my destination ended up as an architect in New York State’s second largest school district, advocating for, and working with thousands of teachers and students. Upon starting work in the District in 1995, I was presented with schools that had an average age of 70 years. They had the obvious deficiencies of older buildings such as inadequate power for computers and electronics, old plumbing, drafty windows, inefficient heating and ventilation, poor handicapped accessibility and worn finishes. What was apparent however, was the inherent quality of the schools. Constructed entirely of masonry, with large windows, terrazzo floors, rich woodwork and elaborate auditoriums, these buildings could not be duplicated and would surely last decades more. The New York State Historic Preservation
James Lai and Paul McDonnell at the Discovery School under construction.
Office determined that most of Buffalo’s schools were eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and wrote that they are “significant examples of early twentieth century urban architecture found in Western New York.” They added, “these buildings possess additional significance for representing the response of the City to expanding school age population in the booming community and they stand as a reminder of the importance of public education in the history of Buffalo.” This became our charge, to restore and preserve our existing schools, protect Buffalo’s legacy, and prove that “old” buildings could become 21st century learning environments. Unfortunately, district projects at this time simply maintained the status quo with the installation of new roofs,
to form the Joint Schools Construction Board, (JSCB). This board had the authority to sell bonds through the Erie County Industrial Agency (ECIDA) to fund what would become a $1.3 billion endeavor that would completely renovate 48 of our schools, a project that I would spend my next 15 years on, and would become the largest historic preservation project Buffalo has ever seen.
A visit by the New York State Education Department resulted in the determination that our schools were old and worn but worthy of reconstruction rather than replacement. Buffalo would not build new schools, but renovate their existing ones. We were fortunate to have been eligible for a significant amount of New York State building aid, receiving 93.7 cents for every dollar spent, but the challenge was that this was only available as reimbursement. The City of Buffalo, whom the district is dependent on, would have to front the money, an impossibility for a poor city with a declining population and tax base that must also fund parks, the police and fire departments, cultural institutions and numerous other items. Realizing this, progressive thinkers from the city, county, school district, state and private sector came together
The Campaign has become the leading advocacy group protecting Buffalo’s Architecture and leading the effort to protect Prospect Hill from encroachment by the Peace Bridge, the preservation of Trico Plant #1, the restoration of the Richardson/Olmsted Complex on Forest Avenue and the fight to ensure that “Canalside,” the terminus of the Erie Canal develops into a project that stresses authenticity and reflects the history and culture of this important site.
“Nontraditional responsibilities, but responsibilities I was well prepared for with my architecture education— communication and problem solving.“
PS 204 Lafayette International High School and Newcomers Academy. A stone, brick and terra-cotta structure in the French Renaissance Revival style, by architects August Esenwein and James A. Johnson. Completed in 1903, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
replacement of windows, improving finishes and addressing life safety concerns. Buffalo was a poor district and it was falling behind, as there were not enough resources to make a real difference. That changed in 2000.
School System, and he made the city’s past and present come to vibrant life. Tickets are $20 and well worth it.”
The public exposure and hands on experience I received working on Buffalo’s historic schools opened doors into other preservation realms. I helped found and eventually became president of the Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture and Culture whose mission is to preserve Buffalo’s architectural legacy. The Campaign developed the most respected architecture tour program in western New York and in 2007 we began tours on the “Open Air Autobus” a groundbreaking endeavor that whisks visitors around Buffalo on a converted school bus “sans roof.” The tours attract not only Buffalonians, but visitors from around the world. In August 2011, Toronto Star writer Jim Byers described his experience as: “One of the best architectural tours of a city I’ve ever had, comes with the Whirlwind Tour from a company called Open-Air Autobus of Buffalo. On an intimate bus open to the sun and sky, you get a two-hour tour of the city from real experts. Our guide was Paul McDonnell, the architect for the Buffalo
Soon I would join the Buffalo Preservation Board, whose responsibility is to review work performed on all locally designated landmarks or structures located in local historic districts. I served as chair of the board for nine years and was part of the 2010 initiative to add Buffalo’s University Park neighborhood to the National Register of Historic Places, a district of 429 structures, including my craftsman bungalow. It was Buffalo’s first new historic district in almost 25 years and an example of a very successful collaboration between the City, neighborhood residents, NYS Historic Preservation Office and the University at Buffalo, whose students surveyed every structure and prepared the nomination. I have been fortunate to witness an ongoing renaissance in Buffalo, fueled in no small measure by the recognition of its wonderful architecture. My career in the public sector has given me the opportunity contribute toward that rebirth and make a real impact on my city by helping to protect it and showcase it to residents and visitors from all over the world. Q3 | SEPTEMBER 2018 | PAGE 7
Esteban Reichberg, Assoc. AIA Founder of EAR, a NYC-based design firm, and co-founder of the AIANY Civic Leadership Program As co-founder of the AIANY Civic Leadership Program (CLP), Esteban is committed to enhancing architects’ role in government. As a 2018 Forefront Fellow at the Urban Design Forum, he is working with the NYC Department of Homeless Services to improve shelter design. During his Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellowship, Esteban worked on Brooklyn’s largest supportive housing development to date. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Not-for-Profit Management and Public Policy Analysis from Cornell University, and his Master of Architecture from Columbia University. Jenna Wandishin, Assoc. AIA Project Manager at Matiz Architecture & Design and Advisor to the 2018 Civic Leadership Program While earning her Bachelor’s at Temple University, Jenna created volunteer opportunities for architecture students to utilize their design-thinking in neighboring Philadelphia communities. She also led design/build efforts of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) architectural interventions in several North Philadelphia vacant lots. Jenna is currently working towards licensure and aims to practice in the public realm. She believes that architecture is a pursuit of civic service, which has fueled her passion for inclusive planning and public interest design.
The AIANY Civic Leadership Program
Cultivating Emerging Architectural Professionals into Civic Leaders By Esteban Reichberg, Assoc. AIA & Jenna Wandishin, Assoc. AIA
conversation between AIANY Civic Leadership Program (CLP) Co-Founder Esteban Reichberg, Assoc. AIA, and Inaugural Alum Jenna Wandishin, Assoc. AIA.
JW | Perhaps this was amplified by presidential candidates who frequently talked about infrastructure projects without ever mentioning design? A topic that we should be spearheading?
Jenna | The Civic Leadership Program (CLP), a new program at AIA New York, embraces the spirit of Citizen Architect. Can you describe the context from which the CLP emerged?
ER | Right. I mean, if a luxury real-estate developer can become president, why not an architect (again)? It makes me wonder what we, as members of the construction industry, can offer society beyond code compliance or aesthetics. I believe that meaningful architectural practice and education require the same qualities as does civic leadership. These universal qualities, at their highest level, are akin to the Cardinal Virtues: Prudence, Fortitude, Temperance and Justice. We typically refer to them as judgment, courage, restraint and fairness.
Esteban | Immediately following the 2016 presidential election, I was approached by Alex Alaimo, former co-chair with Brynnemarie Lanciotti of ENYA (Emerging NY Architects).He also invited Ross Weiner, Brynnemarie’s co-worker, to a meeting where the four of us agreed that architects’ contributions to policy conversations seemed understated, undervalued, and sometimes absent altogether.
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JW | Can you explain how these qualities are relevant to civic leaders and how architects in particular embody them?
ER | I think we can all agree that good judgment (prudence) is essential to good leadership, as is being moral and fair (justice). To achieve this, leaders must confront adversity without fear (fortitude), yet also know when to hold back (temperance). Architects are constantly exercising their judgment, balancing aesthetics with life safety, while they abide by a code of ethics to discern what is fair for the client, the project, and the greater welfare. Those vocational forms of prudence and justice are developed by the requirements of the job: overcoming challenges that contain adverse risk, embracing project constraints, and prioritizing the client’s needs above our own. JW | So you believe that architects are well-suited for civic leadership, because of the judgment, courage, restraint and fairness needed to practice successfully? That is, to design the built environment well?
of the ten total participants. Do you feel this also holds true for the current year? JW | Well, the program’s framework remains largely unchanged in its second year, but the self-led development sessions have shifted topics. The 2017 cohort shared a vision of further grassroots engagement, work within communities, and “plugging in” to the general public. The 10 current leaders, however, express more frustration at the “echo chamber” that architecture can be, and are seeking a more multilateral dialogue. As current advisor to the 2018 cohort, I’m seeing similar topics re-surface, yet through a new lens.
ER | Exactly. In fact, these virtues manifest in the built environment too. There’s a reason that buildings are often described as ‘appropriate’ or ‘well-balanced’ as well as ‘courageous’ or ‘restrained.’ Our physical surroundings exhibit the qualities that not only create great leaders and designers, but also great cities and countries. We should embrace the relationship between architecture and the universal truths which improve places, people, and the environment. This is why the four co-founders created a program to increase emerging architects’ engagement with community, advocacy, and public policy. JW | The program’s founders are not alone in believing that architects have the capability and responsibility to pursue public service. This program was the first opportunity I came across in my search to leverage architectural education and professional experience into civic leadership. Did other programs with similar missions serve as models for the Civic Leadership Program? ER | The Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program, also an AIA initiative, served as an example to the CLP. The Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellowship also informed what components were critical to a program’s
sustained success, like interpersonal connections for instance. Having been a Rose Fellow, then co-founder of the CLP, and now as a Forefront Fellow at the Urban Design Forum, I recognize the enduring value of fellowships; they’re opportunities for emerging professionals to operate at the intersection of design and policy-making, which are rare outside of academia. JW | Something I appreciated about being a part of the inaugural class was the participants’ diversity, both in terms of ethnicity, race, and religion, as well as economic and geo-social origin. ER | We made a concerted effort to ensure that all genders were equally represented, including those who may not identify with the male/female binary. We also wanted to ensure that traditionally underrepresented minorities in our field had a seat at the table, as we predict (and hope) that the landscape is shifting towards a more equally distributed demographic of practitioners. This also benefited each Development Session (five monthly private sessions, each hosted by a pair of leaders). The pairs seemed to offer a more comprehensive perspective, in part due to their inherent differences. Same goes for the two public sessions, which were each planned by a team of five leaders—half
ER | Can you expand on how the 2018 cohort differs from the 2017 cohort? How does this year’s class composition impact the Development Sessions and Public Events?
“I believe that meaningful architectural practice and education require the same qualities as does civic leadership.“ JW | The 2018 application process saw a surge of woman applicants, perhaps a reflection of local politics. Now halfway through the program, the second class has focused on formal and direct engagement: their first two development sessions discussed serving on community boards, non-profit boards, and pursuing grant funding. This group is generally younger than the previous one, and more geographically and educationally diverse. They seem to perceive their career trajectories as less prescribed by the traditional paths past architects have taken. ER | The traditional career path does not mandate volunteer work, or political activism for that matter, but it ought to. I believe it would foster a more holistic vision of who we can serve (quality design is not only for the wealthy) and what we can create Q3 | SEPTEMBER 2018 | PAGE 9
continued from page 10
(a more inclusive built environment). Can you describe how burgeoning atypical career paths are becoming more common and how they’re influencing the future of our profession? JW | It’s clear that this group’s volunteer work has transformed their outlook on architectural practice. They’re curating their own professional experience. The range of volunteer work that these leaders pursued covers homelessness and housing, rights of the disabled, and immigration reform, to name a few. I suspect that their proactive responses to our profession’s shortcomings will increasingly be reflected in architectural education as well. ER | It seems that this proactive approach is already producing results. Last November’s CLP Public Event “...And Justice for All” brought the conversation about closing Rikers Island to the Center for Architecture. Adding another voice to the chorus of pressure for shutting down Rikers was productive—the city announced the first jail closure in January 2018, sooner than initially planned. It’s satisfying to see that our actions as Citizen Architects can help influence public policy. JW | That’s when good timing and good intentions meet. It’s worth mentioning that the CLP’s session and event topics, including closing Rikers, generated sustained participant engagement beyond the program. Members of the 2017 CLP class joined, and remain active members of, the AIANY Justice Committee, the Architecture Lobby, and volunteer organizations for Building Resiliency and Healthy Building Materials. As a co-founder of the Civic
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Leadership Program, how did you envision the program’s future, and the future of its alumni? ER | I believe the future of the program is rooted in our profession’s past. Architects have a long history of activism and political engagement that has subsided in recent decades, but is now resurfacing. In fact, our first architect president (www.ArchitectPresident. com), Thomas Jefferson, was elected as part of the ‘Revolution of 1800’ by defeating an incumbent in a realigning election. More recently, Richard Swett, the only architect to serve in Congress in the 20th century, showcases how we might blaze a trail to Capital Hill in his book Leadership by Design: Creating an Architecture of Trust (which is required CLP reading).
“It’s satisfying to see that our actions as Citizen Architects can help influence public policy.“ JW | Yes, Richard’s book provides a timeline of architects working in the government, the military, and the founding of the AIA. His conclusion mirrors yours, that as architects we exercise civic virtue by the nature of our work. In order to champion the resurgence of political activism among architects, we must remember why we chose this profession, which for me parallels why I applied to the CLP. ER | Why did you apply? JW | Frankly, I always wanted to double major in architecture and political science. So when I read about the CLP I immediately applied. My intention was to create opportunities that leverage my skills as an architect for public service. Although the program’s priorities may shift as current events and political climates change, the CLP’s mission will always remain. We must balance the multitude of lawyers and businessmen designing the policies that shape our cities, suburbs, and countryside with design professionals who are trained to actually design them. ER | Amen.
To read about the AIANY Civic Leadership Program with biographies of the founders, past and present cohort, and summaries of all development sessions and public events please visit www.aiany.org/clp. Full author Bios Esteban Reichberg, Assoc. AIA
As co-founder of the AIANY Civic Leadership Program (CLP), Esteban is committed to enhancing architects’ role in government. As a 2018 Forefront Fellow at the Urban Design Forum, Esteban is working with the NYC Department of Homeless Services to improve shelter design. During his Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellowship, Esteban worked on Brooklyn’s largest supportive housing development to date. He has also worked for private clients as well as city agencies including the FDNY, SUNY, NYCHA, DCAS, EDC, Port Authority of NY/NJ, and others. Esteban’s projects reflect his passion for beautiful and inclusive spaces and buildings. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Not-for-Profit Management and Public Policy Analysis from Cornell University, and his Master of Architecture from Columbia University. Esteban is the recipient of the Latino Leaders of Tomorrow award from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the EPFL ThinkSwiss Scholars Grant from the U.S. Swiss Embassy, and the Building Technology Honors Award from Columbia University’s GSAPP, where he served as Teaching Assistant for Studio, History and Technology courses. Esteban also served as the GSAPP University Senator from 2009-2011.
Jenna Wandishin, Assoc. AIA Jenna.email@example.com
Jenna is a project manager at Matiz Architecture & Design, designing for a range of higher education clients, non-profit organizations, and single-family residences. While earning her Bachelor’s at Temple University, she created volunteer opportunities for architecture students to utilize their design-thinking in neighboring Philadelphia communities. She also led design/build efforts of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) architectural interventions in several North Philadelphia vacant lots. Jenna previously created cross-disciplinary programming for students in Temple’s business, liberal arts, art, and architecture schools in an effort to emphasize the value of inclusivity and diversity during design challenges. Jenna is working towards licensure and aims to practice in the public realm. She believes that architecture is a pursuit of civic service, which has fueled her passion for inclusive planning and public interest design. Her experience as a member of the inaugural Civic Leadership Program class of 2017 informs her approach to practice and design. Jenna continues to volunteer as co-adviser to the 2018 Civic Leadership Program, where she helps a new cohort of leaders engage with agencies, officials, and community programs throughout New York City.
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Q3 | SEPTEMBER 2018 | PAGE 11
Craig J. Dailey, AIA, ALEP Project Manager and Educational Facility Planner with King + King Architects, Syracuse, New York Craig has been practicing Educational Architecture for over 23 years and is an Accredited Learning Environment Planner from the Association for Learning Environments – A4LE (formally Council of Educational Facility Planners International). He has a Master of Science degree in Environmental Resource Engineering from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry with a focus on Construction Management and Civil Engineering. He currently serves on the Liverpool Central School District Board of Education as President, is husband to a supportive and patient wife Tiffany, and father to four energetic and socially active boys—CJ, Nicholas, Griffin, and Ben. When not commiserating with his black Labrador Harry, Craig can be found woodworking, playing FORTNITE (awfully), or sleeping standing up.
The Desire to be an Agent for Change
Volunteering to Serve on the Board of Education By Craig Dailey, AIA, ALEP
hy? I don’t know. Maybe the desire to serve. Working in the Education Studio at King + King for over 21 years yields a unique perspective on public education, its’ challenges, successes, and future. Having four sons entrenched in our school community at various levels, academic needs, and activity involvement may have played into the decision. But I think it really comes down to wanting to be an agent for change where it might have the biggest impact.
Craig and his family. PAGE 12 | Q3 | SEPTEMBER 2018
I professionally preach from the pulpit of educational reform, progressive approaches to whole student development, and the extinction of “cells & bells” that served the industrial revolution well but falls short in preparing our youth for the careers of the future. Serving on the Board of Education for a public-school district afforded me the opportunity to put actions behind the words I profess as an Educational Architect. As a school board member, it’s not what I originally thought it would be like, but it has become something so much more. Let me explain. On the outside, a school board looks, and is typically perceived, as the decision-making all-powerful group guiding the future of a school district and our children. On the inside, we are a collective of community members with little-to-no experience with the educational machine and even
“As Architects, we are natural problem solvers and, even more valuable, we are good listeners. We create environments, emotions, and experiences out of the ideas and dreams of our clients. We thrive on a challenge. It’s not until we enter into the world of those we serve that we gain a perspective on how rare and valuable our skillset is. We are a special breed.” less understanding of what it takes to run that machine on a daily basis. I am one of nine publicly elected volunteers serving on the Board of Education for Liverpool Central School District in Upstate New York. The other
eight members are made up of professionals (lawyers), retired educators, business owners, and parents. We are considered a large sub-urban school district with approximately 7,000 students grades K-12, 40% economically disadvantaged, and a growing English-Language-Learner population. We strive to work as a unified group navigating the policies, procedures, and protocols that entail public education. Imagine: regulations, mandates, funding sources (and their limitations), accountability to the community, responsibility for the achievement of the students, student discipline, union contract negotiations, parent grievances, staff relationships, professional development, and myriads of more responsibilities placed on the laps of lay community members, each with diverse perspectives and possible agendas, but all united in the vision of helping produce young adults prepared to actively participate in society and achieve their dreams. Steering the proverbial oil tanker. Did I mention it was a volunteer position? Speaking of agendas, I had one. I wanted to take my experience working with dozens of school districts across the state, my passion for educational reform, and my special skillset as an Architect and push change in the District my children attend. That agenda was small in comparison to the role of a Board Member. As Architects, we are natural problem solvers and, even more valuable, we are good listeners. We create environments, emotions, and experiences out of the ideas and dreams of our clients. We thrive on a challenge. It’s not until we enter into the world of those we serve that we gain a perspective on how rare and valuable our skillset is. We are a special breed. As you may have guessed, I became a resource to fellow members on all-things facility related. We have nine elementary schools, three middle schools, a 9th grade annex, and a high school (as well as several support facilities) in our District. I live schools—it was a no brainer. But where I found my skills
as an Architect flourish was with the non-facility related content of serving. Working collaboratively with the community, administration, and staff in determining if a later school start time would benefit the student body; Creatively contributing to the budget process and looking for opportunities to expand student programs through grants; Effectively communicating and interpreting the views of other Board members to develop greater understanding and build consensus.
A recent example of where my skills contributed outside the facility realm was in facilitating a discussion on the creation of Board Goals for the current school year. The Superintendent and I structured the Goal-Setting Process similar to how we, as architects, structure the design process; determine the problem, collect relevant data, and develop solutions. In a school setting, it is to determine the challenges that hold back our students from performing at their maximum potential (the problem), what do we know (collect the data), and what can we do to address the challenges (develop solutions) in an actionable and achievable metric (SMART goals). Through a brainstorming session with the Board, we experienced great collaboration of all the members, everyone contributed, and the subsequent discussions have been
energizing. We took the product of that session and turned the Administration loose to provide the “data”—the narrative of where we are as a District on all these high-level challenges, and where we can make the biggest impact to the student population. I mention this as I attribute my skills as an architect to being able to collaborate with the Administration in establishing a shared goal-setting direction for the Board, facilitating the identification of challenges as seen from the eyes of the Board through leading them through the brainstorming process, and subsequent synthesis of the Administration’s narrative into achievable goals for the year. There’s also been some collateral benefit to my role on the Board. My efforts in business development have received a different response from potential clients. Often, we present our story in the interview process to try to connect personally with administrators and board members we are marketing to. When I tell of my experience on the board of my own District, there is a noticeable reaction on the part of the audience. It’s like a barrier goes down, a connection is made, and the follow-up discussions are more relational than “what is in your portfolio.” I cannot say if our win percentage has improved, but I am confident there was a “click” and a feeling of “they get it” when we walk out of the interview. Honestly, it’s not for everyone. We work hard as a profession. We dread timesheets because who can track all the time we put into all the different parts of our work. Being on any board in addition to our own workload, family commitments, recreation (yea-right), is no small feat, but I want to stress that we, as a profession, are gifted and have a lot to offer our communities and society as a whole. So, I hope you will take up the challenge of engaging your community as a citizen-participant in whatever capacity that looks like—and share your story with your colleagues. Your gifts will shine, and it will energize your spirit—you won’t regret it. Q3 | SEPTEMBER 2018 | PAGE 13
Orlando T. Maione, FAIA, FACHA, NCARB Maione Associates Healthcare Consultants, Stony Brook, NY A native New Yorker, Orlando is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame. During college, he worked summers as a draftsman at Eggers and Higgins, the legacy firm of John Russell Pope (Jefferson Memorial, et al), and the seventh largest architectural firm in the country at the time. After graduation and serving in the military, Orlando returned to Eggers and Higgins, and prior to the 1964-1965 New York Worlds Fair, the firm received the contract for the official Press Building. Holding an internal design competition among all 350 draftspersons, architects and partners, Orlando’s design was selected and the building was built for the Worlds Fair. Orlando moved to California in the 1960s, working for firms that varied in size and expertise. He began to develop his healthcare expertise while with Kaiser Permanente, eventually becoming the first Chief Architect at Stanford University Medical Center where he created its first in-house comprehensive architectural design department. Eventually, he was recruited back to New York to become the first Chief Architect for the State University of New York Hospital at Stony Brook, where he retired from in 2006.
A “Dead End” Leads to an Opportunity to Give Back
Contributing Architecture to Art
By Orlando T. Maione, FAIA, FACHA, NCARB
rchitects are very knowledgeable about how to participate and “to give back” to the profession. We mentor emerging young professionals, we eagerly serve on AIA local, state and national committees, juries, make presentations, and even run for office within our professional associations. However, when it comes to giving back to the communities we live and work in as “Citizen Architects,” our participation seems to drop dramatically. I currently serve as President of my local public library board of directors, I’m a member of the local Historical Society, and a Bishop appointee to a Diocesan Real Estate and Facility Advisory Board. My local Alma Mater chapter is working on recruiting me to serve on their Board of Directors as well. Over forty years ago, when I was already very active in the AIA and felt
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“Individual contributions depend on your education, training and experience but we all bring to the table our organizational abilities, our problem solving techniques, our abilities to clarify ideas, our ability to make presentations, and our experience in preparing and reviewing budgets...” established enough in my community, I decided it was time “to give back and serve the public.” I sought the advice of a local councilwoman, whose campaign I actively supported (and ultimately helped win), and who was also a local high school teacher. I initially thought
the best place for me to start my public service was with the local Planning Board, and I would need council support for the appointed position. To my surprise, she discouraged me by stating that architects were not looked upon favorably on Planning Commissions in general since many of them could not view a presented project on its own merits, but always insisted on redesigning it better, and “their way.” She also mentioned that the Planning Commission had become a political body filled with varied residents who really were seeking higher elected office within the city and used that commission as a stepping stone towards that individualized interest. Unless I had the desire to enter local politics, the Councilwoman recommended that I apply for a
Commissioner appointment on a newly forming, Public Arts Commission. At that time, the city had a modest public arts collection and the public expressed increased interest in expanding and displaying the artwork throughout the community. There was considerable interest in applicants who were artists, art dealers, collectors, patrons of the arts, etc., but not one architect, who in her opinion, led in the “visual arts.” I wasn’t sure of how I could contribute, even though as an architect, I was also proficient in the fine arts—painting, sculpture, etc. Eager to give back, I decided to apply and was one of the first five commissioners selected. I’ve been asked numerous times since then “what does an architect bring to the table other than his professional ability?” Using the experience of being on that Public Arts Commission for fifteen years, (five consecutive three year council appointments, three non-consecutive terms as Chairman), made it very clear. Individual contributions depend on your education, training and experience but we all bring to the table our organizational abilities, our problem solving techniques, our abilities to clarify ideas, our ability to make presentations, and our experience in preparing and reviewing budgets that will be scrutinized by local governments and the public. Others on the commission may have their own personal or financial agendas but the architect could be impartial and assist in arbitration. Ethically and legally you cannot benefit from serving the public good, but the ability to share your architectural expertise is always present. I was amazed at how many artists knew their medium well, but few had any idea on how to install a piece of art or sculpture publicly and safely on public land. With a little design assistance and contributions from colleagues in the engineering professions, we solved many structural challenges and enhanced many successful artistic installations.
All this leads to what I see as the ultimate goal of the Citizen Architect— we become public educators by default. By serving the community, we are presented with the opportunity to also educate the community on the benefits of working wth an Architect. The biggest challenge our profession has is that the general public rarely knows exactly what we do, and what value we bring to the table. Serving as a citizen architect provides a unique opportunity to immerse and understand ones community. You are offered the opportunity to actually see “the movers and shakers” as they operate and control the municipality and because of your direct volunteer appointment or selection you become one of them. Your “municipal savvy” expands, social circle expands, your business contacts expand and most importantly your name recognition expands.
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It’s not just municipal commissions that architects can serve on but Boards of Trustees/Directors of Historic Associations, Libraries, religious administrative groups, educational associations, civic associations, the opportunities are endless depending on your interest, location and community size and makeup. Although “conflict of interest” laws would prevent you from direct monetary gain from your public service, you will meet potential clients through your networking opportunities, get you or your firm’s name in front of the public by charitable sponsorship of youth teams, charity function sponsorships, chairing civic committees and appearing at public meetings. While the secondary benefits may provide potential business gains; the ultimate purpose of giving back to your community is to serve.
Anna Wesolowska-Hedman Photography
AWARD OF MERIT THE ROTUNDA AT THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA JOHN G. WAITE ASSOCIATES, ARCHITECTS PLLC Join us for the 2018 AIANYS Design Awards Luncheon on November 8 in White Plains, NY. Purchase Your Ticket Here Q3 | SEPTEMBER 2018 | PAGE 15
Eric Boorstyn, AIA, LEED AP Associate Commissioner at NYC Department of Design and Construction Eric Boorstyn holds a Master of Science, Environmental Policy & Sustainability from Pratt Institute (2012), a Master of Architecture from University of Virginia (1991) and a Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University (1985). As the Associate Commissioner for Architecture, Engineering and Technical Services at the NYC Department of Design and Construction (NYC DDC) he is responsible for and provides oversight to the design, technical, and administrative units within the Structures Division, including architecture, engineering, constructability, sustainable design, estimating, budget, contracts, and permits. Grete Grubelich, Assoc. AIA Architectural Professional at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, LLP Grete Grubelich has a Master’s of Architecture from Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation (2016) and a BA in Visual Arts from The University of Chicago (2013). She is currently an Architectural Professional at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in New York City, where she works primarily on large-scale North American projects. Grete is the Co-founder of the SOMWI Volunteering and Philanthropy Committee, a leader in the ACE Mentor Program of America, and a frequent volunteer at the Center for Architecture. She is a problem solver and a multitasker, and what keeps her up at night is how public and private entities can create more than the sum of their parts.
A Whole New World
Shaping Civic Relationships Between City & Community By Grete Grubelich, Assoc. AIA
t is a very rare and special breed of architects who migrate from the private to the public sector. I had the fortune of finding one of them, the current Associate Commissioner of Architecture and Engineering at New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYC DDC), Eric Boorstyn, AIA, LEED AP. We discussed what career experiences prepared him for this position, how the work one does as an architect defines them, and what the DDC Department of Public Buildings strives to deliver for the public.
“Nevertheless, it’s the architects who feel there’s an alignment between their professional lives and their civic lives. We’re motivated to do these projects because we are skilled, optimistic, and able to plan in multiple dimensions to make something work. “
Grete Grubelich | Prior to joining the NYC DDC Department of Public Buildings you worked as an architect and project manager at Perkins Eastman Architects and subsequently a project manager and studio lead at Cooper Robertson. After fifteen years of work in the private sector, what made you want to join the NYC DDC?
Eric Boorstyn | I had many good years working in the private sector. While at Perkins Eastman, I managed several public institutional projects, including the Kings County Criminal and Family Courthouse and Old Foley Square Courthouse - so I was already in the world of thinking about public architecture. So from early on I found this type of work to be very professionally satisfying and
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appealing to me. Then at Cooper, Robertson & Partners I was responsible for overseeing the Studio’s business matters, including developing and coordinating staff assignments, project budgets and schedules, prime and sub-consultant contracts, fee negotiations, code compliance, and quality control reviews. I had built up a lot of experience working on public projects and managing teams, and the opportunity to come to the DDC was extraordinary. It was a whole new world. GG | It sounds like a lot of rich experiences came together to prepare you for this position. Can you say more about it being “a whole new world?” EB | Well, it was not only my first time working for a government entity, but I was also shifting from producing projects into a managerial role where I deliver a series of services in support of design and construction from the client side. That’s been very interesting
and a different way to look at practicing architecture. GG | That’s a very crucial side of architecture though. How many people do you work with? And how many projects are you overseeing? EB | The agency has approximately 1,200 people overall, and we work with dozens of private-sector design consultants. I have over 100 design professionals on my staff to develop project scopes, review drawings, specifications, and cost estimates, and make sure the sets are well prepared, on budget, and complete. Of course, at times checking for code compliance and other legal requirements can seem tedious, but we’re really focused on overall constructability. As far as my own projects go, I don’t necessarily work directly on any particular one or two. I actually oversee a portfolio of many projects. I sometimes joke that if a project gets all the way to me it probably has some big problems. GG | Hopefully that doesn’t happen too often! So the Public Buildings Division manages the design and construction of quite a range of civic buildings, including facilities for public safety, libraries, cultural institutions, and health and human services. Given your wide oversight of so many of these completed projects, is it possible to identify common motivations, constraints, or rewards for an architect working on a public building? EB | Architects tend to feel compelled to address problems of civic and social need. We’re a funny breed, you know. I’ve often said to my friends that there are no bankers working on competitions for free on the weekends, and no lawyers have trouble justifying their fees. The pedigree of the architectural profession is equal to bankers, lawyers, and doctors, while the status is somehow far lower. Nevertheless, it’s the architects who feel there’s an alignment between their professional lives and their civic lives. We’re motivated to do these projects because we are skilled, optimistic, and able to plan in multiple dimensions to make something work.
Glen Oaks Library, Glen Oaks, New York | Photo Credit: Eduard Hueber
GG | Able to plan in multiple dimensions - that’s a nice idea. I’ve always liked the architect analogy to describe other types of planning. EB | Exactly, such as someone being referred to as the architect of a political campaign. We’re very good at negotiating compromises, seeing competing demands and coming up with a solution. So when faced with multidimensional public problems - the question isn’t just what do you do as an architect but also, who are you as an architect? Who are you solving
the problems for? If your job is to create a better place with meaning, that is, to create lasting value to the people who use it, then your true clients are your public not whoever is paying your bill. When it comes to the projects we do here at the DDC, whether you as the architect are designing for the librarian or the one visiting the library, it’s the quality of the experience and value of the service that people are engaging in through these buildings that you’ve got to think about in order to avoid making these mundane. Q3 | SEPTEMBER 2018 | PAGE 17
continued from page 15 And it is incredibly rewarding to see public buildings go above and beyond the mundane, to be well-designed, well-built, and well-funded by the city. GG | What’s a completed DDC project of that you’re excited about, one that achieves these goals? EB | One of my absolute favorite buildings is Glen Oaks Library in Queens (Marble Fairbanks, 2013). If you look at it urbanistically, it’s sitting on corner site, with nothing but low residential houses around it; and it truly works in scale. Then it turns the corner onto Union Turnpike and the massing pops up to present a public face. It creates an outdoor space where the neighborhood can approach and gather. There’s plenty of planting and benches to create a clear public entrance. Other great design considerations are how it takes the bulk of the collection below grade but still provides beautiful natural light using clerestories and lightwells. There’s a wonderful integration of artwork into the fabric of the building. First you have the word ‘SEARCH’ backlit through a glass parapet and projected onto the street-facing curtain wall, not only projecting an encouraging beacon to the public but also speaking to the time of day and the seasons. At a smaller scale, the word ‘Search’ is fritted onto the glass in the thirty different languages spoken in Glen Oaks. This is a very specific nod to Queens: the most diverse borough in the city. I love how the metaphorical aspect of what a library can be is embedded in the fabric of the building. It, in my mind, goes as far as possible to make the message clear that these buildings have a very high purpose and achieve that by being designed well and built well. GG | I agree it’s a very special project, and I particularly like how it expresses the value and richness of its diverse community. It achieves, as you said earlier, a sense of place with meaning. EB | A lot of our buildings represent the value of community, as well as the vitality of the area. I think the wellbeing of a community can be read in its public buildings. A firehouse, for example, is a
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symbol to the community that the city there to serve them. GG | So do you think the quantity or quality of public buildings represent how much New York City values its various communities? EB | No, I wouldn’t necessarily frame it that way. We recognize that public buildings are required for quality of life, and that public services are fundamental to a thriving city and to making city life livable. So, the investments in the buildings communicates that the city recognizes how valuable these services are to the community, and we want to make sure they’re as high quality as possible. We’re also very committed to an idea that there’s a civic relationship between the city and the communities. The communities engage with the buildings to partake in the civil services they offer. Being able to provide public services, and access to them in quality architecture, is a civic relationship that I’m interested in.
Cast Your Vote for Your Favorite Film! The public voting period for the AIA Film Challenge is now open! Watch the films and vote for your favorite. You can vote once every hour. The film that receives the most votes wins the People's Choice Award. Watch the videos and cast your vote here.
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Call for Articles | Women in Architecture Are you an AIA New York State member or Associate member that is a Woman in Architecture? Are you interested in telling us how your experience as a woman in the industry and how you’ve positively impacted the profession for our “Women in Architecture” issue of Architect New York State?
If so, contact Robin Styles-Lopez, Director of Communications at AIA New York State by October 31 to share your ideas about an article. email@example.com or 518.449.3334
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Q3 | SEPTEMBER â€™18 A rchitecture new yor k state is a quarterly publication developed by AIA New York State, 50 State Street, Albany, NY 12207. For questions, comments and editorial content ideas, contact Robin Styles-Lopez, Director of Communications at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518.449.3334.