NEW YORK STATE
REFLECTION INFLECTION PIVOT TRANSFORMATION
Cover Image: Often considered a weed, Dandelions start off as yellow flowers and end up as feather-like flowers. The close-up of a Dandelion in it’s second stage represents this issues theme—reflection, inflection, pivot and transformation—and symbolizes the challenges we’ve faced over the past year. Dandelions can persevere through difficult conditions. Because of this, they are considered as symbols of survival and overcoming difficult challenges. Dandelions are a symbol of emotional intelligence and being able to understand things without struggling to accept it. Dandelions are a symbol of emotional healing. Since they can endure almost any living condition, they represent overcoming hardship by standing strong. A reminder for all of us to continue our emotional healing, apply our emotional intelligence and continue perseverance as we survive, understand, and overcome the challenges we have faced this past year.
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Contents President’s Letter
1 2 3 4 5
Success Coaching 2021: Debrief and Renewal 6 Embracing Our Collective Community SWBR & 3t’s Quest to be One, While Positively Impacting Many 8 A New Focus for Healthcare Facilities
Architects, Stop Calling It “Managed Retreat.” 16
Why Architecture? A Call to Action 20 AIANYS Board Quotes
AIANYS Portfolio Updates
28 MARCH 2021 | PAGE 3
PAGE 4 | MARCH 2021
Standing Up! Standing up!
This last year has shown us that we are ultimately stronger together than apart. The COVID-19 crisis has challenged us and fundamentally changed everything— we recognize that we cannot go back to the way it was. Early on, when the pandemic erupted across the state, the AIA Formed the Unified Task Force aimed at responding to the advancing crisis. Architects and leaders from across the state stood up to respond swiftly and thanks to many of their contributions, we are still standing. As architects, we have the ability to realize a new future—we do it on a daily basis with our clients and communities. Now is the time for all of us to stand up and imagine the future we have in a post COVID-19 world and bring that vision and story to reality. Communities need us to craft those stories that create a narrative rooted in humanity and equity. As impactful as the virus has been on our systems, it has revealed, as in many disasters, the inadequacies and weaknesses within our communities. As we begin 2021, I challenge all of you to recognize the power you possess to tell those stories and ask you to stand up with me and your colleagues to help our collective communities. We will be calling on you as Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), offering a platform to explore the future of schools and education, to train our body of professionals as leaders in disaster response and in advancing equity within our profession. As a professional organization, the strength and value of the AIA lies within its collective membership, providing us with the ability to craft a future together. I witness it in the marvelous, extraordinary work, you all do each and every day. With over 9,000 members across the state, I am confident that we can make the lift towards a better future, together. Sincerely,
Illya Azaroff, FAIA 2021 President | AIA New York State
LETTER MARCH 2021 | PAGE 5
SUCCESS COACHING 2021: DEBRIEF AND RENEWAL by Kimberly PA. Perone, MA, CLC
s you begin pandemic year two, it is time to debrief the last 12 months and open to the possibilities this year will bring. 2021 will be the year of clarity and self-care to ensure sustainability. It is time to work as smart as you do hard. After so much uncertainty, pivoting, and patience, begin this second year with a debrief and renewal exercise.
• Does exhaustion show in your face or a slumping posture? • Does anger appear in a clenched jaw or pounding heart?
Debrief: Breathe, Feel, Write, Reflect and Release
• • • •
The last 12 months were filled with stress on top of our usual stress. Regular work, additional rescheduling, and an abundance of uncertainty made up most of 2020. There is a time to “plow through” as we often say in times of crisis, and you did it. Now it is a time to tend the field by clearing. Start by taking a few cleansing breaths. Inhale and exhale 3 times. When we are stressed, our breathing becomes more shallow. You may now have a chance to breathe deeper than you have in nearly a year. Congratulate yourself on getting through difficult months. Now, recognize the emotions you have pushed down for months. It is okay to feel exhausted if you feel exhausted...or angry.... or sad...or disappointed...or afraid. Recognize your emotions. Notice where they may still linger.
• Where do those feelings reside in your body? • Is fear in the pit of your stomach? PAGE 6 | MARCH 2021
Inhale fresh air sending it to those parts of you holding onto last year’s stress. Exhale stress. Next, spend at least a few moments writing about the experience of last year. What happened? What was accomplished? What is new and what remains? How do you want to feel in 2021?
After some time breathing, feeling, writing and reflecting, you can release the crisis stage of the pandemic and prepare for the ongoing uncertainty with renewed energy. With this coaching exercise, you can transform the energy for the next several months into hope and ability for new growth. You are ready to plant. A field of potential exists in front of you. Thank you for taking care of you. Life, Self, and the Renewal of Spirit Now that you have debriefed the last 12 months, let’s focus on the next several. By doing the important work above, you are ready to renew. As we know, some challenges remain. The calendar changed but some things are the same. You have expended an enormous amount of energy adapting, addressing, and administering different ways of moving about the world and navigating time, space, and emotions at home.
assurances rather than fears. Your negative thoughts drain your energy. Empower yourself with what you can do above what you fear you cannot do. Finding Balance Everything is competing for your attention. Everyone in your life is important. Your workplace is counting on you for production, your family for love and care. To get clear on your priorities, answer the following questions.
• • • • • It is certainly a good time for a pause to reflect on a few big picture questions.
• Where are you in your life? • Who are you in your life? • How are you living your life? Answer these questions and it will reveal the big picture, the inner journey, and the energy you share with others. Next,
• What do you need to do to ensure you have the energy to serve in all the ways required of you?
• How do you rest and recharge? Now that you answered these questions, truly hear your answers. Make an intentional plan for activities that recharge you. Honor your needs. Demonstrate your authentic self on a regular basis. If you struggle answering these questions, you may need some time and resources to develop more clarity. You are probably not caring enough for yourself, maybe not getting enough sleep, or deprived of hope for a less stressful time. Perhaps you are just plain overloaded. Perhaps there are things you need to let go. You could also be feeling empathic distress for others in your life.
• Are you authentically yourself? • What is weighing down your spirit? • What will renew your spirit (or keep it sustained)? When you take the time to listen to your own needs, you can begin the process of rest and recharging. Emotionally strong individuals take a step back and reflect when overloaded. Give yourself the clarity that comes from rest. Your Thoughts are Causing You Extra Stress Our thoughts cause a great deal of our stress. This year, develop an awareness for your thoughts. For example, “There is not enough time to do everything I need to do today.” This is a thought we may have when we stand up from bed in the morning. While you might be right, the thought is defeating right out of the gate! Start by supporting yourself. “I will be able to get done what is most important today. “ Give yourself
What are the areas of your life? What competes for your time? What do you need to do to feel successful at work? What do you need to do to feel successful at home? What can you eliminate to create new capacity and allow for rest?
Guilt, unhealthy stress levels, and overwork result in an exhaustion that can lead to burnout. As you get clear on your priorities you can reduce the noise, drop the guilt, live and work with intention, and rest when needed. You serve your career better by working as effectively as possible, not working in a burnt-out, disengaged state. Your family is better served when you are not building resentments due to serving everyone else but yourself. It takes courage to answer these questions. Your answers give you a framework to guide you the rest of the year. Unpack the baggage of 2020 and gain clarity to navigate the path ahead. The view is beautiful. Life is a landscape. While we are all trying to get by these unusual times, we also want to enjoy the journey. These moments are your life and you want to feel good about your life. For more information on how to live a life of intention, reduce stress, improve productivity, avoid burnout, and find balance and joy, feel free to contact me to continue the conversation. l
Kim Perone, M.A., C.L.C. is a Success, Bereavement & Resilience Coach and Mindfulness Trainer at the Center for Clarity, Compassion & Contentment (CENTER4C). Kim works with business professionals as a coach and also conducts workshops and webinars now offered virtually. Kim is a personal strategist, philosopher, and champion for her clients, specializing in stress reduction, mindfulness, work-life balance, bereavement, resilience, and authentic success, also providing organizations Coach on Call, an employer paid coaching program for employee assistance. She is a Certified Life Coach, with an MA in Organizational Communication and author of “Finding Your Center: The Case for Clarity, Compassion & Contentment” (available on Amazon). It is Kim’s belief that when clarity, compassion, and contentment are present, an inspired life is possible. For more information, feel free to contact Kim at Kperone@center4c.com, 518.301.3593, www.Center4c.com.
MARCH 2021 | PAGE 7
EMBRACING OUR COLLECTIVE COMMUNITY SWBR & 3t’s Quest to be One, While Positively Impacting Many by Scott Townsend, AIA
SWBR—specifically, Dave Beinetti, this year’s AIANYS’s Frederic Schwartz Community Development Award winner - approached my partner, Geoff MacDonald, and I in the summer of 2019 and broached the intriguing idea of our firms joining forces via an acquisition of our firm, 3tarchitects.
Bearing that in mind, our analysis began. The initial discussions quickly revealed—
Geoff and I were flattered. SWBR is a rock-solid firm with a stellar reputation and portfolio of work. Yet 3t had just come off its best financial year to date, and was winning awards and garnering attention. 3t’s trajectory was on the upswing. Why would we sell since, on paper at least, we did not need them? The question “why?” was at the root of most discussions and our thoughts over the months ahead. The answer of why to merge probably varied, but each team member answering it for themselves became paramount to considering a deal. From where I sat, any reason to merge must be sincerely offered and resonate deeply. We all knew the concept could possibly work, so we quickly began sharing data and providing answers to see if it would elevate into the realm of it probably will work.
SWBR & 3t’s market sectors overlapped one another. 3tarchitects was known for creating quality historic adaptive re-use, urban infill mixed use, market rate and affordable/ supportive housing buildings and communities. Upon the merging of Geoff’s firm (MMA - McKinney MacDonald Architects) in 2016, 3t gained expertise in college and university work. We had also completed office, retail/hospitality, and manufacturing projects. SWBR mirrored 3t’s markets but at a larger scale. Our professional services paralleled one another. SWBR is an architect led firm also offering interior design, landscape architecture & planning, structural engineering, sustainability, and graphic design services. Likewise, 3t is an architect led firm that offers interior design services and had previously offered landscape architecture & planning as well as graphic design services, neither being financially sustainable at 3t’s scale. Our geographic aspirations complemented one another. Yes, SWBR approached us because our work complemented theirs but, just as important, we were an established firm in a
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market they wanted to expand to. Ironically, Geoff and I also realized that to deepen our practice’s impact, we needed to invest in communities beyond the Capital Region. Both firms were looking to invest in new communities, though unbeknownst to SWBR initially. If any had not worked, the talks would have ceased. But they did align. So far, so good.
The Quandary The analysis proved that, yes, rationally speaking, it probably will work. Though initially compelling, the analysis was quite rational, very left-brained, while 3t’s heart and soul, the firm’s reason for being, per se, was mostly driven by the right brain; intuitive, heartfelt. Going from it probably will work, to something that must be done, which I wanted to feel, was the widest gorge presented during the journey. What would blending the firms mean to us at 3t? Would it lead us to better opportunities, propel us forward, lead us down a path to better fulfill our mission or hold us back from doing so? Like any living, breathing relationship, it had to be fair and balanced with the ability to retain that equilibrium in the long run. My premonition was it could, yet it was just that—a premonition. SWBR’s pursuit and creation of high-quality, impactful work was of paramount importance to them, that was never in doubt. It was evident in their work, and their Mission Statement - Positively Impacting lives through Meaningful Design. Essentially that is 3t’s mission, only using different words. This helped a lot, but I was not yet convinced, and the dilemma remained.
The Origins To understand 3tarchitects’ origins is to understand the depth of the dilemma. Because we are humanists, regionalists, and contextualists, the firm is deeply devoted to our community. We chose to stay local, go deep, to make meaningful, lasting impacts. Focusing on your community through the lens of caring is timeless, never trendy. Heartfelt, never insincere. Focusing our efforts on easing suffering by serving those who otherwise do not have a voice, while uplifting a community, came into focus early in my career, when I had the great fortune to work for Samuel Mockbee (pre–Rural Studio) and Coleman Coker, at Mockbee/Coker. To do so, 3t minimized overhead to be light on its feet, be progressive and open-minded, while still buying the best tools available for the sophisticated design staff to perform the services offered. This approach activated 3t’s underlying passions and beliefs. 3t’s accumulated impacts through the years exemplifies these beliefs and approach. The depth and level of care, not reach, is
Ribbon Cutting on a Community Project, Created & Led by Scott
the firm’s strength. Therein lies the intrinsic value SWBR sought. Spreading us out (geographically) made me, and several of us, hesitant. Nonetheless, as mentioned earlier, Geoff and I were at a crossroads.
The Epiphany The Epiphany
If you have a euphoric desire that something must be done, do it; if not, do not, has always been my mantra. Positive premonitions existed but the yearning had yet to appear. Then it did. The undeniable and unforgettable euphoria and clarity sought appeared out of nowhere, catching me off guard. It occurred on a blustery, snowy day, while in the stands at my son’s volleyball tournament that, ironically, was in Rochester, SWBR’s home. Why then, why there? The answer seems so simple now. Tournaments provide a lot of down time, so I brought a book, my journal and SWBR’s Employee Handbook, which I had yet to read. The moment struck while reading the handbook. The language oozed kindness and caring for everyone that made up and contributed to SWBR’s community. If they carried such deep concern for one another’s well-being, they must care deeply for their clients and their communities. How could they not? This realization solidified when I considered how many folks worked at SWBR for such a long time and then how considerate, respectful, and egoless our on-going conversations had been with Tom Gears, SWBR’s CEO, and Mike Picard, their CFO. I realized then that SWBR was the community that 3t aspired to be. I wanted in for me, and all of us, knowing it was not only going to be OK, but it was also going to be bigger and better for all. To me, the deal had to be done. Fortunately, Geoff agreed, and the deal was settled shortly thereafter. MARCH 2021 | PAGE 9
“End of day, this really is all about all of our people — who they are as individuals, what they care most about, their commitment to a higher purpose in our profession as architects, and our collective willingness to blend our talents together.” David J. Beinetti AIA, LEED AP, Chief Marketing Officer, SWBR
The Outcome The Outcome
Albany Roundtable Talk | Reimagining the Waterfront
As separate entities, our outlook, aspirations, and missions paralleled one another, just at different scales and at opposites ends of Upstate New York. SWBR & 3t are now one entity. Together, and with even more depth, we are now able to serve and care for many more communities. The African Proverb, ‘if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together,’ is prominently displayed in our office. Previously, the term ‘together’ in the proverb referred to 3t personnel—10 or so. It still does refer to our personnel—now over 100. We had all gone far, but to go even further, we realized we had to go together. l
Scott Townsend, AIA is a Principal of 3t, an SWBR Company. Previously, he founded and was the Design Partner of 3tarchitects, a Troy, NY firm focusing on creating positive community impacts by design. 3t was recently acquired and has merged with SWBR, a firm that was similarly focused with a deep talent pool and a reservoir of goodwill in the community, with their clients and amongst themselves. Throughout Scott’s career, he has created and led firms acting on his belief that healthy places emerge from the heart and are sustained from within by its occupants, irrespective of outside policy. Scott’s approach is to engage with folks in their own communities, encouraging designs to emerge through collaborative efforts. Not designing for, from afar; designing with, from within. Beyond creating several social cause focused organizations, several of his firm’s projects began with Scott. He holds that addressing a community’s needs through collaborative problem solving will always find partners, and eventually funding.
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MARCH 2021 | PAGE 11
A NEW FOCUS FOR HEALTHCARE FACILITIES by Shannon Mastro, AIA & Jeff Pawlowski, AIA
he COVID-19 Pandemic is changing Healthcare as we know it. It was business as usual until a global health crisis developed at what seemed like overnight. This caused a shift in healthcare operations, facility needs, and patients’ restrictions, so facilities would be prepared to handle surge capacities at the same time as caring for the daily patient population. Being able to provide care was critical and doing so in a manner that was safe for all patients and staff at the same time. Construction halted immediately in order to make way for temporary facilities and “COVID Wards” within the hospital. Architects shifted focus on emergency projects to get the hospitals ready for this new critical population that was starting to build. At the same time, maintaining all patient needs for the institutions, from outpatient care to Intensive care and everything in between. A year later, and a decreasing number of hospitalizations for the first time in months, Architects and designers are still helping healthcare facilities shift in how their facilities are designed. Strategies including infection prevention, additional storage and distribution of PPE, flexibility of room capacity for overflow situations, increased isolation requirements, a shift in waiting and public space design, and increased telemedicine are just a few of the methods being employed throughout designs.
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The temporary facilities that were established overnight can finally be considered as to whether they remain a permanent solution or be removed to go back to pre-pandemic configurations. In some cases, they would need to still create small changes to make permanent features. Permanent solutions for PPE storage, which has expanded exponentially is the last year need to be considered at the source of distribution so there aren’t large quantities of boxes stacked in the lobby and large scale storage as part of material management department. Phrases like “Social Distancing” seem to be here to stay. Installation of barriers at formerly open reception areas are shifting the hospitality model of yesterday back to a more institutional model of the future. Temperature checks are a new norm that looks like it’s going to stick around for a while. How individuals handle germs are back in the forefront on design considerations. All these items drive the designer’s conversation when planning for renovations to any medical facility, whether outpatient or inpatient. One of the major features appearing in medical design is a new use of technology that was already available, the pandemic is causing these to be rolled out and embraced by patients and staff alike. Telemedicine, for one, is now a normal attribute of healthcare treatment planning. Keeping the patients at home and triaging over the Internet keeps the germs at home with
them. Facilities need to consider spaces ability to provide this function. From lighting quality to color of the space, to what is on the walls are all important aspects in creating a successful telemedicine visit with your physician. The entrance and waiting room of facilities is back at the forefront of consideration for efficient and safe design. Architects now need to consider the entry sequence of patients at all facilities. When entering, temporary stations have been established to check temperatures, provide new clean masks, and appointment confirmation, all before reaching the reception desk to formally sign in. While some facilities feel they need to add space to accommodate “social distancing” requirements, others are using this as an opportunity to get efficient. Technology and checking-in virtually while still in your car is becoming widespread. The use of the car as waiting room, is allowing more space to be allocated to diagnostic and treatment space while still providing a safe atmosphere for all.
air velocity readouts to take the space form neutral pressure to negative pressure can help spread the germs. Where these are located is also important. Having them close to the entrance in case a patient is presenting symptoms, allows them to proceed directly into one of these rooms without stopping will make others feel safer. Thinking creatively to maximize space restrictions/ requirements with the new normal has helped shaped the conversation with healthcare clients. Making sure that proper planning around the current and potential pandemics needs to occur at the onset of any project in order to successfully create spaces that still enhance the patient experience. Flexibility, Functionality, aesthetic, and experience all need to be established and considered at the project kick-off meetings to ensure a successful design that will prepare these institutions for the future. l
Flexibility of space is also very important. Designing spaces to accommodate sick patients and well patients interchangeably is important. In outpatient care, exam rooms being able to become isolation rooms is important. Installing switches and
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Shannon Mastro, AIA, is an Associate Principal at King + King Architects. Having worked exclusively in Healthcare since starting her professional career, Shannon’s drive for design has certainly fed her passion for this specific market. She sees potential in all spaces, and is always looking for new opportunities when solving functional and aesthetic challenges, both on the interior and exterior of the building. Shannon enjoys working through these options with the client and her King + King colleagues—through a combination of hand sketches, drafting, and 3D modeling—to ensure the finished design meets the needs of the end users. Jeffrey Pawlowski, AIA, is a Project Manager at King + King Architects and brings almost 10 years of professional experience in the Architectural field. At King + King, he has worked on several projects with highly technical spaces including Intensive Care Units, Psychiatric Emergency Departments, and Central Kitchen Facilities. In addition to designing Healthcare Facilities, Jeff is a Past-President of American Institute of Architects Central New York Chapter, an alumnus of the Class of 2015 for Leadership Greater Syracuse and participates in several other community organizations. When Jeff is not managing projects, he is the President and CEO of his Event Planning company, Clink it Design. Jeff is a certified event planner with six years professional experience working on weddings, community organization galas and themed holiday decorating. He has served on the planning committee for the Onondaga Historical Association’s, “Our Glorious Workplaces” gala for three years and the American Institute’s annual Celebration of Architecture for five. Jeff is dedicated to his clients’ needs and works with them to achieve success at every level. During his spare time, he likes to spend the weekends at his family’s house on Lake Ontario. Jeff enjoys reading, running and relaxing. He is excited to see where the next adventure will take him.
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MARCH 2021 | PAGE 15
ARCHITECTS, STOP CALLING IT “MANAGED RETREAT.” by Daniel Horn, AIA
The majority of U.S. coastlines are being threatened by sea level rise at an alarming rate. Architects are now more engaged in a discussion about managing the “retreat” of entire communities from vulnerable coastlines. But the language they continue to use is perpetuating a top-down approach.
ea level rise and the compounding risks of climate change will bring the greatest risk to front-line and environmental justice communities in modern times. The overwhelming science shows that the current and future increase in sea levels, projected through 2100, will be detrimental to low-lying areas. One thing is certain: These communities will bear the brunt of the impacts if nothing is done about it. Moving is financially, psychologically, and politically difficult, but it will need to be seriously considered to protect the communities that reside there. And while it may be easier to talk about elevating homes, building large and expensive infrastructure to protect the areas with interventions like sea walls and offshore wave attenuation structures, these are simply costly temporary fixes, putting off the inevitable.
Nuisance flooding in Lindenhurst, NY, 2018. Image credit: Daniel Horn
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Communities face an ever-increasing risk of large-scale governmental initiatives tearing generations of rich culture, character, and livelihoods apart. “Managed retreat” is to blame, the “official” policy terminology for the relocation of entire neighborhoods out of high-hazard, repetitive-loss areas. The verbiage depicts the destructive approach taken by nationwide programs to change the way people reside near coastlines.
Buyouts vs. Managed Retreat Built environment professionals have talked about relocating entire communities away from vulnerable coastlines for decades as the science behind climate change evolved. The discussion of relocating coastal communities rose out of necessity after
Buyout properties that have been abandoned in South Lindenhurst, NY, 2018. Image credit: Dan Horn Superstorm Sandy ravaged the East Coast of the US in 2012. In its aftermath, the federal government, through state-sponsored programs, provided affected homeowners financing to rebuild, and in the most severely damaged areas offered to “buy-out” these high-risk properties in the floodplain. Several hundred homes in the communities of Fox Beach, Ocean Breeze and Oakwood Beach in Staten Island, New York, were a few in particular where a majority of the residents collectively chose to leave for good. According to Next City, “Under the program, properties that were purchased should have been maintained as open space or transformed into coastal buffer zones, parks and other non-residential uses that will help protect nearby communities from the impact of extreme weather.” 1 The term “buyout” has been around for decades. It is the policy term FEMA and other governmental authorities use to describe areas where individual residential properties within a state run recovery & resiliency program voluntarily opt to be purchased by the state. Where the terms “buyout” and “managed retreat” differ is in their scale. Buyout can mean as little as one property or as many as a few hundred. Managed retreat, on the other hand, talks about entire coastal towns having to leave because it becomes impractical to remain. This could involve thousands of properties and families. As the climate has evolved in its grim predictions, so has the language to describe interventions to combat it. Managed retreat has become the seemingly official policy and architectural lexicon. As called out in POLITICO, “Experts agree that “managed retreat” is a terrible term that gets in the way of selling the idea to coastal communities and their elected representatives. After
all, who wants to give up and “retreat”? Terminology may seem silly, but given that political decisions are driven by public sentiment, finding a less defeatist alternative for managed retreat may be key to making it viable.” 2 Experts in the field of climate change science and members of the Architecture/Engineering/Construction (AEC) community seem to have adopted “managed retreat” without fully comprehending the current and future implications of doing so. It implies a top-down, government directed approach. Front-line and environmental justice communities who are the most at risk from sea level rise and other hazards deserve a more inclusive and thoughtful title for something that may upend their lives forever. The time is now to begin to realize the impact language can have on these conversations with communities moving forward. There are current precedent communities leading the change with regard to terminology in their own indigenous language. One example in particular is the village of Shishmaref, Alaska. Annauk Denise Olin is a graduate student in linguistics in the MIT Indigenous Language Initiative (MITILI), a program for members of communities whose languages are being threatened. Her family’s community is threatened by constant erosion, flooding, and permafrost thaw due to increased sea level rise. In response to this they have been attempting to relocate for the past decade. The program could use indigenous languages and knowledge as a means to shape policy, making it work within the context of local social, ecological, and spatial conditions. One of the new words that Annauk helped created lies at the intersection of three main threats: coastal flooding, erosion, and permafrost degradation, which combined have been contributing to land loss for Shishmaref. This is just one of many examples happening around the country where communities can take charge of changing and modifying language to benefit their future.
Bergen Beach was severely damaged during Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and remains vulnerable to future storms. Image credit: Dan Horn
MARCH 2021 | PAGE 17
Enacting Change Now To understand the impetus for changing this term and why it matters, there are a series of critical questions to ask: Who is managing the retreat? What are they "managing?" What is the level of community involvement and how is it sustained? How will the local/state government gain the trust of those slated to “retreat?” Who decides who stays and who goes? Communities, local leaders and advocates, and design professionals must come together now to begin forming more empowering and empathetic terms of engagement. This will all stem from earning the community's trust. Unfortunately, architects overall have a poor history of connecting with the communities that they serve. Community engagement is usually granted only a small part of large projects. It requires much more than that. A thoughtful and sustained campaign to hear the community’s concerns and ideas can bring alternative solutions to the table. The issue ahead is twofold: Residents that will be affected by coastal flooding need the information and tools necessary to make their own informed decisions, and architects need to be more attuned to what community priorities actually are, instead of driving their own prerogative. A top-down approach does not fully recognize the priorities and needs of the community. Professionals involved in outreach typically only scratch the surface, cost more time and money, something that proper outreach and engagement is never afforded. Trust is earned when the outsiders can understand both the positive and negative impacts of the proposal. They hear stories, gather data, hold meetings, and synthesize all of the information given to them by the community. This can take years, sometimes decades in some situations. It can never be rushed to simply fulfill artificial project requirements.
Architects, Step Up A realistic guide for starting a conversation. Architects have both an ethical and moral responsibility to protect the public's health, safety, and welfare. They can be uniquely positioned to earn the community’s trust if they approach it the right way. Envisioning all the opportunities within a project is exactly what is needed at this critical juncture and must be done with communities lighting the path ahead. By encouraging ground up conversations within the community, they can help members navigate tough decisions. Everything that architects do, or don’t, will affect these conversations moving forward. So how can architects be involved? Architects work in the built environment and must go through many regulatory hoops to get projects approved. Every interaction with a plan examiner, inspector, client, community advocate, and contractor is a means by which architects can begin a small conversation about the impact to the adjacent community. The best time to have this conversation is at the beginning of the design process because that's when the community’s vision can be the most realized. However, advocacy is impactful at any stage of a project. Architects must recognize that the people most
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impacted by decisions around this so-called “retreat” play a pivotal role in these conversations moving forward. First, the profession must revisit how it serves communities. Architects must put them at the center of decision-making, realizing a holistic and equitable approach to addressing sea level rise and other consequences of climate change. Then, through working together, the community should inform a new term to replace “managed retreat.” l Footnotes 1
Graham T. Beck, “This Staten Island Neighborhood Is About to Become a Wetland,” (Nextcity.org, 2013)
Yuliya Panfil, “The Case for ‘Managed Retreat’,” (Politico, 2020)
Daniel Horn, AIA, LEED GA, SEED, is a New York-based architect at ESKW/Architects who focuses on sustainability and long-term community resilience. He is also co-founder of ORLI+, an emerging design collective working at the intersection of community empowerment, advocacy, and resilience.
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MARCH 2021 | PAGE 19
WHY ARCHITECTURE? A CALL TO ACTION by Christopher Fagan, AIA, LEED AP
low wages. I speak with people regularly who are lured away from the profession by alterative paths that offer a better life. In some cases, they feel driven away, their earnest work and passion rejected by a notoriously unforgiving industry.
After the tide receded, public servants including New York State chapter president Illya Azaroff, FAIA were on the scene to assess the damage and absorb the lessons the storm taught us. Their long-term mission was to ensure that the next hurricane would be less deadly and less costly than the last. The damage followed a familiar pattern.1 [Just like Hurricane Andrew in Florida 20 years before,] [LINK 1] it was easy to spot the homes and businesses which had a skilled architect involved in their design. They were standing amid the rubble.
A career in architecture is not for everyone. But for those who are called, it is imperative that their path to licensure and a fulfilling career is within reach. [By developing a better profession] [LINK 2], we can ensure that future generations of architects will be more diverse and better utilized for their talents. Indeed, the topic of practice innovation has ignited many spirited debates this year. The disruption of our lifestyles throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed this important issue to the fore, and we should embrace this pressure for change. What does practice innovation look like?
n late October of 2012, for 48 hours New York City was underwater. Superstorm Sandy wrought physical damage that the city had not seen in generations, but made a deeper psychological imprint. It challenged New York’s sense of invincibility. It showed that hurricanes are a threat for temperate latitudes as well as the tropics, for reasons entangled with our modern way of life.
Architects are relentless, highly trained innovators. Many are called to the profession from a desire to be of service. We are simply one part of a collaboration of professions developing our built world, each with an important role to play. Critically, architects advocate for the health, safety, and welfare of the public, and the interests of their clients. The world needs more architects, and more architects as leaders. But our profession is in trouble. As a mentor to emerging professionals across our state, I often find myself in a difficult position: advising young people to commit to a career that rewards high investment in education and skills with long hours, high risk, and disproportionately PAGE 20 | MARCH 2021
We have to turn our incredible problem-solving minds inward and do some soul searching.
Practice innovation means letting go of traditional models that no longer serve us. It means stripping away those age-old complaints that do not bring value to our clients, employees, or the public. It means not submitting to ever-increasing competition from adjacent professions, but standing firm in our critical value to society. We have to make the case, strong and clear, of why our work benefits our clients and stakeholders in ways that other professionals offering cheaper, quicker service cannot replace. We must learn from those who are outcompeting us for clients and talent by leading in innovation, like design-build companies, cutting-edge firms, software designers, data scientists, even those who have [nothing to do with
• Support architecture students in developing skills and
knowledge applicable to their professional life to follow.
• Expand viable, affordable paths to education and licensure in architecture.
• Support foreign architects in their path to attaining reciprocal licensure in the United States.
• Encourage leadership for architects of diverse backgrounds, identities and perspectives.
• Cultivate our natural alliances with the [International
Code Council] [LINK 8] and [skilled building trades.] [LINK 9]
architecture] [LINK 3] but have simply cracked the code of running an excellent company. Why do we need to change? What’s wrong with architecture remaining what it has represented for ages, a rich white man’s profession? Activism has been a driving force in the vast improvement of our built environment, which has lifted our common standard of living through history. Each petition, rally, [fire,] [LINK 4] natural disaster, and appeal to empathy has catalyzed groundbreaking, often controversial standards for development that we now accept as essential. The heroes are numerous. Albert Raby and Martin Luther King Jr. [joined forces in 1966] [LINK 5] to champion racial equity in planning, housing and education as leaders of the Chicago Freedom Movement. Ten years prior, Jane Jacobs stood up against a powerful alliance of development interests and government authority to [protect her beloved Washington Square Park,] [LINK 6] and planted the seed of historic preservation in America. Through the 1980s, [Patrisha Wright] [LINK 7] championed the rights of people of all abilities, culminating in the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Universal Design movement. None of these heroes were architects. In fact, their work often brought them into direct conflict with the profession of architecture. What they offered was a breath of fresh air, a point of view that had not been considered important by those in power and the people who served the powerful. And their stubborn refusal to yield made a better future for us all. Imagine what our world could become if more and more architects look, live, and think like they did. Diversity in the profession of architecture is not about claiming a moral high ground. It’s about truly understanding how to serve the billions of people who interact with architecture each day. That means fostering a profession that welcomes people of all races, ethnicities, genders, religions, ages, abilities, and yes, philosophical and political opinions. The challenges that humanity faces today are diverse, and we can all benefit from trusting architects as our advocates who have faced and overcome these challenges personally. When I speak with a young designer and recognize their creative spark, burning to make our world better, I want to tell them with full confidence, “You should become an architect, and we can support you. Here is how.”
• Embrace emerging technology and innovative practice so that architects can provide better client service, remain competitive, and better provide for their staff and themselves.
These are only a few ideas drawn from the invigorating conversations that have sprung up within the architecture community. If a more sustainable, kind world is our goal, then a more diverse and equitable profession is the means to realize it. Architects must maintain their stance as leaders as our country undertakes vast, important campaigns of development and improvement. To all of the emerging professionals, students, and advocates across New York - we want to hear your voice! l LINKS LINK 1: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/21/opinion/homes-climatechange-building-codes-biden.html LINK 2: https://www.architecturalrecord.com/articles/13462-why-thefield-of-architecture-needs-a-new-business-model LINK 3: https://hbr.org/2008/09/how-pixar-fosters-collective-creativity LINK 4: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/feb/09/former-arconic-executive-grenfell-inquiry-cladding-burn-debbie-french LINK 5: https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/chicago-campaign LINK 6: https://washingtonsqpark.org/news/2017/03/07/jane-jacobsand-the-fight-for-washington-square-park/ LINK 7: https://acl.gov/ada/the-senate-and-bush-administration LINK 8: https://grist.org/politics/minneapolis-building-codes-industry-backlash/ LINK 9: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/despite-rising-salariesthe-skilled-labor-shortage-is-getting-worse
Christopher Fagan, AIA is Owner and Principal Architect at Christopher Fagan Studio Architecture, PLLC. He currently serves as the Young Architect Regional Director of New York State and chair of AIA Queens chapter’s Emerging Professional’s Committee. Christopher’s practice blends innovative design and collaboration tools with an affinity for traditional architecture.
• Help educate the public about the value and importance of architecture.
MARCH 2021 | PAGE 21
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In keeping with the theme of Reflection, Inflection, Pivot, and Transformation, we asked our AIANYS Board Members to submit a quote, or a sentence or two, that reflects on something they’ve learned, something they’ve had to approach differently in practice or in life, or something positive that has come out of the adversity they’ve faced over the past year. Here’s what they had to say...
“Leading an association via Zoom during a pandemic is hard! However, it brought out the resolve to work more closely, communicate more clearly and support one another more than ever before. We will carry this resolve with us as we emerge from this pandemic to better serve our members in the years to come.”
Refle “When facing a hard “yes,” I remind myself—Follow your heart and go for it only if you truly believe in it!” Tannia Chavez, Int’l Assoc. AIA Associate Director – New York Region Representative to the National Associates Committee (NAC)
Joseph J. Aliotta, FAIA 2021 AIANYS Past President
“2020 exposed the vast social and racial inequities that exist in our culture. I’ve vowed to use it as a guiding light on the projects we pursue, hoping we can do our share to make a difference and help close these horrific gaps.” Scott Townsend, AIA AIANYS Director
PAGE 24 | MARCH 2021
“You don’t have to sink or swim— you can learn to sail. Don’t accept the limitations and boundaries others may impose on your career. Look ahead and take risks, since change is constant and success comes to those who anticipate and lead future trends.” Christopher Fagan, AIA New York Region Representative to the Young Architects Forum (YARD)
“The past year has been all about priorities for me. Prioritizing family, work, and of course, health. This pandemic has forced us all to examine our core values and lessons learned and will impact our way of living and working going forward, for the better.” Nell Taranto, AIA AIANYS Director
“The past year, Architects were finally listening—the three greatest words...”Please mute yourself.” Victor K. Han, RA, AIA New York Region Representative to the AIA Strategic Council
MARCH 2021 | PAGE 25
“Over the past 365 days I was reminded that at any given second, life can be transformed. I received an epiphany when I realized that our momentary existence is unpredictable, therefore I had to modify my thought process to engender adaptability and acceptance of change in the uncertainty that is life. To that end, I am eternally grateful for all I was able to think, plan, execute and accomplish during my time of chrysalis.” Ofe’ J. Clarke, AIA Vice President, Emerging Professionals
“I’m an architect…perfectionist… you know I’m going to give it to you at the last minute…just save me a spot.” Jeff Pawlowski, AIA Vice President, Communications & Public Awareness
“Out of darkness comes light. And during those darker days, it was in the perseverance and compassion to look out for each other while learning to slow down, that I was able to reflect and have a new outlook on what our lives could be. I watched the decisions of myself and others unfold this past year as people made the choice to move, change jobs, start families, and Facetime their distanced loved ones. Many new beginnings and routines resulted from those dark days—we are now building the foundation to really appreciate the brighter days ahead.” Jenna Wandishin, AIA AIANYS Director
PAGE 26 | MARCH 2021
“Every person is the ARCHITECT of their own character...day by day, what you choose, what you think, and what you do, is who you become.” Kirk Narburgh, FAIA, ASLA New York Region Representative to the AIA Strategic Council
“The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.” Vince Lombardi Rick Torres, AIA AIANYS Director
Pivot “2020 induced deep thinking on what matters most for each of us—whether it was health, mental, financial stability or just survival. Having lived through economic downturns, terrorist attacks and a super storm it was easy to shift, be resilient, change the business strategy and learn new ways of delivery. BUT, how do you deal with mental depression, anguish or having suicidal thoughts and being helpless to someone you care for? How does anyone pivot from that!? They are tough to deal with, even with the help and support of therapy. I have never been much of a spiritual person, however, if there is one thing this pandemic did for me, it was to get closer to knowing God and the holy scriptures— he has a plan for each of us and created the blueprints of our life.” Willy Zambrano, AIA New York Region Representative to the AIA Strategic Council
MARCH 2021 | PAGE 27
Portfolio Updates Ga
The AIANYS Grassroots Advocacy Task Force had just begun its work to transform and elevate the organization’s advocacy efforts when businesses shutdown and the State Capitol was shuttered to the public. One year later, AIANYS is on a course to launch a series of Local Advocacy Days in coordination with local components. The concept of Local Advocacy Days emerged from the work of the Task Force and became the keystone initiative to build advocacy capacity and maintain a perennial presence among our elected representatives. While Architects in Albany Advocacy Day will continue to be a vital annual event, gone are the days of the one-and-done advocacy event. The sheer breadth of issues facing state government requires a steady chorus of voices from well-informed and engaged members willing to deliver the message across the state.
The Iron is Hot—So is the Planet
The stakes have never been higher, and opportunities abound for the profession to make a lasting impression on policymakers seeking information and resources they can trust. The top priority listed consistently by AIA members across the country, and most recently in the AIANYS Siena Poll, is the need to address the climate crisis by reducing the carbon footprint of buildings. The state of New York shares these concerns and planted a lofty green flag for the country to see when it passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) in 2019. The primary progeny of the CLCPA was the creation of the Climate Action Council and several policy panels tasked with crafting recommendations to aggressively reduce carbon emissions over the next thirty years: 40 percent by 2030 and 85 percent by 2050 over 1990 carbon levels. When these recommendations are ready for primetime they will be released to the public for review and commentary. The involvement of AIANYS members in this process will be crucial to the future of the built environment and the profession. More information and preliminary planning documents can be found at: https:// climate.ny.gov/Climate-Action-Council.
AIANYS Priorities: Investing in the Future In February, the American Institute of Architects unveiled a $300 billion plan to invest in green buildings over a period of PAGE 28 | MARCH 2021
five years as part of a potential federal infrastructure package. In similar fashion, AIANYS has joined a coalition of groups led by Rebuild by Design to push for a $3 billion Environmental Bond Act for New York state. A recent study by AECOM shows the Bond Act could leverage an additional $3.7 billion and create up to 65,000 jobs. At least $350 million would be set aside to retrofit state-owned buildings and up to $700 million if properly leveraged to attract federal investment. AIANYS is also moving forward with a campaign to pass the Safe Schools by Design Act, which aims to reassert the role of design as an integral component to providing a safe and healthy learning environment. While schools are using more of their capital expenditures and funds from the Smart Schools Bond Act to purchase high-tech security devices, the State legislature is growing increasingly leery of intrusive technology, prison-like school environments, and the presence of armed police officers. Recalibrating the conversation back to where all things begin—design—offers a balanced strategy to deliver safer schools and provide a response to the concerns raised by parents, communities, and elected leaders.
Communications & Public Awareness
The Communications & Public Awareness (C&Pa) Portfolio identified several projects this year that align with the 2021-2023 Strategic Plan:
AIANYS Website Redesign | Positive member and
non-member journeys are critical components to ensure website success. We are in the early stages of creating our website strategy, develop an RFP and explore potential firms to invite to submit a response.
Social Media | We are working hard to increase our social media presence on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, creating original content, sharing fun, relevant posts from our regional components and more. We are also looking into adding other platforms throughout the year. If you haven’t already, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook - AIA New York State and Twitter @AIANewYorkState. Improve Communication Vehicles | AIANYS issues
an e-newsletter on the second and fourth Thursdays of every month where we share timely articles, upcoming events and education programs, a calendar of events. We also publish the digital publication, “Architecture New York State” at the end of each quarter. This issue, the first of the year, includes diverse articles and information shared under the theme of reflection, inflection, pivot and transformation. We’ve introduced portfolio updates to keep you informed about initiatives and progress made throughout the year. Working with the Emerging Professionals, we’ve decided to sunset the EPZine, the EP newsletter, and incorporate their content into this publication in order to streamline our communication vehicles and expand their audience. The Emerging Professionals have created a successful podcast series—you can learn more about that in the EP portfolio update on the next page.
Disaster Assistance Handbook | The Disaster Assistance
Handbook will serve as a resource for chapters and members to better understand their role in preparing for and responding to disasters throughout New York State. The Disaster Assistance Handbook Work Group, led by Tim Boyland, AIA and comprised of volunteer members who have a passion or experience in disaster assistance, have been working together to develop a draft of the handbook. Work is ongoing and an update will be shared during the April 28 Board meeting.
Honor Awards Program Review | We are establishing
a Task Force to review our current nomination process, submittal guidelines and awards and propose revisions in order to enhance and improve the program.
Subject Matter Expert Campaign | A cross portfolio
initiative, the Subject Matter Expert Campaign seeks to identify and engage thought leaders who are willing to use their knowledge and expertise for the betterment of their communities and the elevation of the profession in the eyes of all New Yorkers. Sign-up to be a Subject Matter Expert and help write the next chapter of our profession - https://conta.cc/3tu2Orh
Much has changed over the past 12 months, but one thing has remained consistent—the ability of emerging professionals to adapt and find ways to take advantage of the “new normal.” Just three months into the new year, the EP Committee has been very busy! Three new episodes of EP Architalk, the EP Podcast have been released, highlighting architects who have taken their circumstances and transformed them into businesses. All three episodes are available to download at https:// www.buzzsprout.com/1494238 or wherever you get your Podcasts. The annual EP Forum is also getting a makeover. On April 9th, in addition to EP leaders from each Chapter convening, we are able to include the general EP membership in this new virtual format. The Forum is designed to create an effective virtual gathering to discuss important issues affecting AIANYS EP’s and develop collaborative leadership amongst the local components. Close to $5,000 in scholarships have been distributed to architecture students and Associate members. Two extremely well deserving and qualified individuals, Peter His, Assoc. AIA and Chitra Mamidela, Assoc. AIA, were each awarded $1,410 to cover the full cost of the ARE Exams through the Burton L. Roslyn, FAIA Memorial Scholarship. The John A. Notaro Memorial Scholarship, which in partnership with the AIA Component Matching Scholarship Program, sponsors the annual awards encouraging the participation of New York State’s Schools of Architecture to recognize our future leaders in architecture. Three projects were selected to receive awards and each student will receive $500 to use towards their tuition— Seung
Hyo Chang, for the project CORE - THE CENTER OF DIVISION; Violet Wen for The Space Capsule; and Ryo Ishioka & Shiori Green for Community Circuit. As we move deeper into 2021, we look forward to continuing our momentum and delivering AIANYS EP’s the content and tools they need to develop into the future leaders of AIA New York State.
The education team is pleased to continue offering a plethora of virtual education opportunities for members in 2021. We currently have 32 programs scheduled, of these, 17 are offered as a member benefit with no charge through OldCastle. It’s never been easier to earn credit through AIA New York State. We are excited to present our new series Reimagining School Design. This four-part series addresses key areas of adapting and transforming school design by examining past and present design best practices and explore ways to leverage existing or new buildings to create healthy learning environments. Speakers will include architects, engineers, school administrators, facilities directors, academia, law enforcement and policymakers. Register now - Part 1 is on April 9! (http://www.cvent. com/events/re-imagining-school-design/event-summary-b94afeaf992d4693bdd70c8cbdef451e.aspx). In addition, we’ve brought back favorite programs from last year including the Safety Assessment Program with Illya Azaroff, FAIA and Tim Boyland, AIA happening this spring and Basic Design by the 2020 Building Codes New York State presented by Laura M Cooney, AIA coming to your computer screens this fall. All programs and registration links can be found on the AIANYS website here. (https://www.aianys.org/ calendar/).
Governance & Administration
The COVID pandemic has created significant challenges for businesses across the country. In anticipating potential reduced memberships from financial hardship, AIANYS has reduced its budget for 2021 with no increase in membership dues. At the same time, the state component is providing more education programs than in the prior year to provide more value to membership. Member dues collections are going well, and the membership has increased from the end of 2020 through March of 2021. AIANYS maintains a solid financial position to allow member benefits to continue during periods of economic stress. The Budget & Finance Committee regularly receives detailed financial reports on performance of the organization and its investments. The committee has met three times so far this year and revenues and expenses are in line with budget expectations. MARCH 2021 | PAGE 29
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MARCH ’21 ARCHITECTURE NEW YORK STATE is a quarterly publication developed by AIA New York State, 50 State Street, Albany, NY 12207
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