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cover image:

Orange County Government Center, Goshen, NY Photograph by: Bruce Cunningham Werdnigg, 1970 Courtesy of the Library of Congress LC-DIG-ppmsca-03519

VOLUME 1 | NO. 2 | SPRING 2014

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Working alongside KG&D Architects, OLA Consulting Engineers designed the MEP systems for the LEED NC Gold Jacob Burns Media Arts Lab in Pleasantville that won an High Honor Award from AIA Westchester + Hudson Valley. OLA Consulting Engineers 50 Broadway Hawthorne NY 10532 (914) 747-2800

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ArchPLUS: A publication of the AIA Westchester + Hudson Valley Chapter

Spring 2014 Vol. 1, No. 2

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Editor-in-Chief Peter F Gaito Jr., AIA Art Director Ken Baviello, Assoc. AIA Photo Editor Jason Taylor, AIA Advertising Jaclyn Tyler, AIA Valerie Brown, Hon. AIANYS, LEED AP

American Institute of Architects Westchester + Hudson Valley Chapter

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The AIA is a visionary member organization providing advocacy, leadership, and resources for architects to design a better world.

Contributing Editors John Fry, AIA LEED AP bd+c, Gregg DeAngelis, AIA LEED AP, Manuel Andrade, AIA, LEED AP


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is a benefit of the AIA Westchester + Hudson Valley Chapter as a quarterly publication. For information on professional or allied membership, please call 914-2327240 or email The opinions expressed hererin or the representations made by advertisers, including copyrights and warranties, are not those of the AIA Westchester + Hudson Valley Chapter or the Editor of ArchPLUS, unless expressly stated otherwise. ©2014 The American Institute of Architects Westchester + Hudson Valley Chapter. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without expressed written permission is strictly prohibited.


6 A Word from the Editor

In the Public Eye By Peter Gaito Jr., AIA

7 Sustainable Design


Spring 2014 Vol. 1, No. 2


8 State President’s Message

Current AIA NY State President Ray Beeler reflects on the success of Grassroots 2014, and his thoughts for another great year for architects. By Raymond Beeler, AIA, LEED AP

Haus/House: German Engineering Meets American Ingenuity By Christina Griffin, AIA LEED AP

13 EP Event Recap: Bowling Gras

10 President’s Perspective

16 Solar Roofpod Reaches New Heights

12 Emerging Professionals

22 Advocate For The Profession As If Your Life Depended On It

14 Code Corner

24 Active Design: Promoting Activity With Architecture

Advocacy and the Architecture Profession By John Fry, AIA, LEED AP bd+c News and Events By Jaclyn Tyler, AIA and Ken Baviello, Assoc. AIA

New Codes Interpretations

15 Legal Corner

Architect’s Contract: More than Words By David Kassakoff, Esq., LEED AP

20 AIA Updates

A Song to Sing: Rediscovering ‘Purpose’ at 2014 Grassroots By Mike Burridge

26 Structural Solutions

Chapter Emerging Professionals are bringing back Big Fun. By Jaclyn Tyler, AIA

A house designed and built by City College architecture students for the 2011 Solar Decathlon, now sits atop the Architecture Building of City College. By Farah Ahmad, LEED AP Current AIA National Vice President Russ Davidson explains why advocacy is so important to our profession, and how we can all do our part to help. By Russ Davidson, FAIA The importance of good design decisions and how it relates to the common goal of healthy living. By Manuel Andrade, AIA, LEED AP bd+c

28 Architect As Inventor

The who, what, when, where, and why guide to go from architector to inventor. By Robert W. Pollack, RA

32 Advocacy in the Form of Preservation - or Not

The latest on the controversial Paul Rudolph Orange Government Center; who wants to save it and who wants to demolish it. By John Fry, AIA, LEED AP bd+c

Demystifying Soils and Deep Foundations By Ciri Cuono, PE & James DeAngelis

30 Chapter Events Calendar Upcoming, don’t miss events

42 Interview

Anthony Giaccio, Sleepy Hollow Administrator By Peter Gaito Jr., AIA

35 Event Highlights: A New Generation of Architects

Highlights from a 2013 Annual Summer Architecture Enrichment Program

A Word From The Editor

In the Public Eye Advocacy

ArchPLUS reaches 1,000 people in 7 counties

Peter and John at AIA Grassroots in Februray

6 ArchPLUS Spring 2014

is a very important aspect to our architectural prosperity. It is, at times, difficult to explain and a struggle to achieve (and sometimes pronounce). As we work hard every day trying to create a better built environment for loved ones and total strangers, there is another group hard at work behind the scenes, helping the rest of us focus on creating that better world. This issue is dedicated to them. Advocacy comes in many forms and has proven to be very successful, but not without effort, dedication and support. Whether speaking to politicians on relevant legislation in the nation’s or state capitol, voicing an opinion that may help shape an upcoming local development, supporting the American Institute of Architect’s initiatives, organizing a group to save a building from demolition, or explaining to a client exactly what an architect can do for them and why we are a value, we can all be advocates for our profession. We kick off the 2nd Issue of ArchPLUS exploring messages from both our AIAWHV Chapter and AIANY State President. Each offer an engaging, strategic plan for public advocacy initiatives and lessons learned from our recent participation in AIA Grassroots in Washington DC. Following soon after is an article from the AIA National Vice President explaining why Advocacy is so important to him and why we should take it much more seriously than most of us likely do. The continued support of our profession and the AIA enables us to design, dream and invent. This issue also features the rise of active design and its increasing importance in the global health, read about legal and structural advice and the literal rise of a rooftop house project by City College Architecture students. This CCNY project is their 2011 Solar Decathlon house entry, which was thankfully saved from being part of a college storage room akin to where the Ark of the Covenant is finally stored in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

We as architects are essentially problem solvers and a natural evolution of that process is the occasional invention. Some inventions are for a specific project, some are for all projects. Read about an interesting perspective that explores and explains what do to with that wonderful invention, should you choose to act on it. Other regular features include emerging professionals updates: the fun, the success and the enthusiasm. The Interview speaks to the Village administrator of Sleepy Hollow who knows about advocacy first hand, taking care of a village with a culturally rich (and scary) past and a very promising future. Read this before he leaves us to costar in the Fox TV show of the same name. Finally, the cover story is an engaging story which takes place right in our own back yard. It is one that embodies so many facets of why we became architects, our challenge to improve lives and be positive contributors to society, tasked with providing solutions for the future while preserving the essential character of the past. In the latest chapter of the Paul Rudolph designed Orange County Government Center saga, you can read about the multifaceted arguments to save it and of those who wish to demolish it. As the passionate debate is still continuing, it seems that there is no sideline, one must choose a side. There is much more about this and I encourage you to read more of it beyond this magazine. A final thought involves a great story that I recently encountered (and also posted on the home page of our website:, which reflected on a 1962 protest in NYC led by architects that included, Jordan Gruzen, Peter Samton, Ulrich Franzen, Jane Jacobs, Philip Johnson, IM Pei, and Paul Rudolph- to name a few. They were protesting the rumored demolition of a small transportation building on 34th street designed by McKim, Mead and White... Talk soon Peter Gaito Jr, AIA

Sustainable Design

Haus/House: German Engineering Meets American Ingenuity by Christina griffin, aia, LEED AP BD+C CPHC Passive House architects from Germany and New York describe how buildings can be designed to meet the high performance Passive House standard and reduce energy costs by 80-90%.

On March 8, 2014, the Center for Sustainable Development, with USGBC Urban Green Council and AIA Westchester + Hudson Valley, co-sponsored an event entitled; Haus/House: German Engineering meets American Ingenuity. The event featured presentations and lively discussion from two renowned Passive House architects. The program took place at the Riverfront Branch of the Yonkers Public Library. German architect Kay Kunzel, a lecturer and accomplished designer of Passive House communities in Germany, and American architect, Ken Levenson, founding board member of the National Passive House Alliance and of New York Passive House, described their experiences and perspectives on this emerging standard for conserving energy in their respective geographies. Kay Künzel is the conceptual and formative head of the architecture office, Raum Für Architektur, (space for architecture) in Wachtberg, Germany. He is dedicated to green and energy efficient architecture. During his university studies he planned the highly respected project St. Gereons – Estate, the first Passive House settlement in the Rhineland; a completely sustainable and ecological project fully provisioned by renewable energy. Ken Levenson is a Certified Passive House Designer, and founding board member of the National Passive House Alliance and of New York Passive House. Ken regularly lectures on building science and the Passive House standard. Prior to the event, I met both speakers at the NESEA (Northeast Sustainability and Energy Association) Conference held in Boston last February. As a fellow Certified Passive House Consultant, I asked them to demonstrate how the Passive House standard can be achievable and affordable in Westchester County, rather than to simply dazzle the audience with outstanding Passive House projects. After listening to the speakers on March 8th, a fellow architect made the comment “I arrived a skeptic, and left a believer.” Another attendee of the event, Pam Washington of Washington Restoration, said she was registering for the Passive House courses, announced by Ken Levenson, held this May at the AEA (Association of Energy Affordability) in the Bronx, funded by NYSERDA. We had approximately 59 attendees, many of

whom expressed enthusiasm for learning about the Passive House standard. The theme of Passive House was chosen for the Center for Sustainable Development’s inaugural event due to the importance of energy conservation in raising the level of sustainability in buildings. The program was an opportunity for architects, building professionals, and the general public, to become familiar with the Center for Sustainable Development, a nonprofit corporation providing a forum for the exchange of innovative ideas for green building technologies. The CSD is planning future events throughout Westchester County, bringing together people with a common interest in sustainability. Christina Griffin AIA LEED AP BD+C CPHC is the Co-founder and President of the Center for Sustainable Development.

Spring 2014 ArchPLUS 7


A Message from the NY State AIA President by Raymond Beeler, aia

We are launching a campaign to communicate the value of our profession to the public

After serving as our Chapter’s President in 2009 and then being on the AIA New York State Board for four years, I’m pleased to be continuing my AIA service as 2014 AIANYS President. The past two years have been a time of significant change for AIANYS and our ambitious agenda for 2014 promises to continue that pattern. We are providing member value via a Strategic Plan developed in 2012, and made a good start at its implementation over the past year. Former AIANYS Director of Programming & Operations, Georgi Ann Bailey, CAE is our new Executive Director. We also have a new Government Advocacy Coordinator, Michael Burridge and new Director of Finance, David Hodgkinson. The move into new office space in Albany rounds out an extraordinary two years of change for our AIANYS staff. This year, we are focusing our efforts on aspects of the Strategic Plan that involve the idea of, Outreach: outreach to our 13 Chapters and their members; outreach public agencies and affiliated organizations; outreach to our colleagues in New York State’s Schools of Architecture, associates and emerging professionals; outreach to consumers and beneficiaries of architectural services which include potential clients and the general public; and continued outreach to elected and appointed officials.

Our first area of outreach is to the Chapters. The Membership Committee is in the process of developing a list of new services that we can offer to both staffed and unstaffed Chapters to help them serve members more effectively. Specific elements of this in development are member recruitment and retention efforts, web-based programming/continuing education offerings and the 8 ArchPLUS Spring 2014

development of resources to enable our staff to assist chapters. We are also actively assisting Chapters who seek our help with issues of local importance in which they are involved. Our second area of outreach is to NYS’s public agencies and affiliated organizations. We are having broad ranging discussions with the State Board for Architecture, DASNY, SUCF and OGS about a variety of issues that affect our membership. And we are engaging affiliated organizations such as ACEC, AGC and the NY Building Congress in discussions about areas of mutual interest. Our brand new Excelsior Awards Program, showcasing the best in NYS’s public building architecture and the professionals and agencies who support and advocate for these buildings, is underway with the inaugural winners to be announced in April. Developed jointly by AIANYS and several of NYS’s public agencies, this program demonstrates the potential of partnering with our colleagues in the agencies and affiliated organizations to benefit our members. Our third area of outreach to associates, emerging professionals and the Schools of Architecture in NYS relates to the re-branding of our annual AIANYS Convention as a Design Conference. To be held in Saratoga Springs October 9-11 with the theme of “New Practice New Design,” this exploration of new practice methodologies and the innovative design work that results is intended to facilitate a meaningful convergence of Practice and Theory, Practitioners and Academics. We already have 6 of the Schools of Architecture interested in participating and look forward to forging new connections with our colleagues in the academic community, as well as offering both our established and younger members a stimulating and thought provoking immersion in new ways to practice architecture. Our fourth area of outreach is a new Public Advocacy initiative. Working with a Strategic Communications Plan that was developed last year, we are launching a campaign to communicate the value of our profession to the public and to establish AIANYS

as a leading voice in statewide policy issues, major building projects and real estate related matters that affect our members. A few areas of planned advocacy include promoting our 2014 legislative agenda, a Coastal Community Regional Recovery Training initiative, public relations for small firms and residential architects, as well as local issues brought to us by components. Finally, our traditionally most active area of outreach, Government Advocacy, has been in full gear this year promoting legislation that provides protection for our members who volunteer their services during times of natural disasters (Good Samaritan Act) and for the repeal of 2007 legislation that gives the NYC Department of Buildings Commissioner the authority to revoke or suspend an architect or engineers filing privileges based on allegations of making a false statement (Due Process for Design Professionals Act). In addition to our AIANYS Lobby Day in Albany on April 29th to advocate for these and other pending issues of significance to our profession, the GA Committee’s other outreach initiatives this year include a series of webinars for chapter leadership on NYS government issues, creation of new Legislative Bulletins and advocacy regarding the 2014 NYS elections. This promises to be a year of continued growth and change at all levels of the AIA. I invite you to get the most out of your AIA membership by participating in the excellent programs and networking opportunities offered by our AIA Westchester + Hudson Valley Chapter, as well as at the State and National levels. Raymond Beeler, AIA is the 2014 NY State President and was the 2009 President of Westchester + Hudson Valley Chapter.

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More at Spring 2014 ArchPLUS 9

President’s Perspective

Advocacy and the Architectural Profession by john fry, AIA, LEED AP bd+c

As architects, we are a primary cultural force towards stewardship of the environment Advocacy and the architectural profession is a phrase filled with irony at best. Our creative genome trends towards a forward thinking demeanor of advocating the syntheses of art and science into a design discipline. The traditional components influencing design incorporate physics (structure & envelope performance) and environmental sciences which are now challenged by a changing environment fueled by climate change. In an effort to circumvent contributing to climate change by reducing energy consumption and carbon footprint, advanced building technology is now an equal consideration to those traditional sciences which influence the design of buildings. Architects are leaders in the advancement, recognition and integration of this science. We are advocates of smart buildings and good design, but how far do our advocacy efforts go? As a profession we are legendary speakers to the choir. We like to ‘arch-speak’. We are perhaps the best profession among all professions at recognizing our efforts in annual awards programs. We generally see this as a form of advocacy, which of course it is, but I also believe the architectural profession is awakening to a broader concept of advocacy. I believe the AIA is leading us towards this new personality. Consider the speakers recruited for the past three annual AIA national conventions beginning with Tom Friedman and Al Gore in 2011 whose message to our profession was we are the leading advocates for a global reset of design initiatives as it relates to reducing our carbon footprint. In 2012, David McCullough’s message was: as architects, we are a primary cultural force towards stewardship of the environment and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan (himself an architect) expressed his vision that architects more than any other profession can lead the cause of affordable and well designed housing. In 2013, a diverse and dynamic group of speakers including Blake Mycoskie (founder of Tom’s Shoes), Cameron Sinclair (founder of Architecture for Humanity) and General Colin Powell spoke to the unique position our profession is in to provide advocacy and leadership in the most pressing worldwide issues of climate change, housing and new global business models. I advocate to you that participating in the AIA National Convention provides an opportunity to hear and see the pulse of

10 ArchPLUS Spring 2014

the profession. The annual experience goes far beyond logging in CEU’s, it is an opportunity to reset, refresh and recommit. It is an opportunity to process a new emphasis of broad advocacy avenues which our profession can contribute like no other. Finally AIA has long provided a platform for advocating in the political and governmental arena. I suspect all of you would agree this arena is where the architectural profession is the least effective. Not because we can’t be as engaging and eloquent as we are when we address architecture to ourselves, clients or the general public, but because we choose not to engage in the broader advocacy arena. The reasons why I suspect we are not an effective advocacy force are too lengthy and complicated to discuss in this venue, but I think it remains a fact that our profession trends towards isolationism as it relates to engaging in political action. There is however significant examples of our efforts towards political action and public service both locally and nationally. We are a growing and engaging resource on volunteer zoning, planning and architectural review boards. We are beginning to see more architects in elected positions. We are a growing voice in regional planning and transportation issues, but we struggle to muster significant political influence both in action and financial contributions. It is important to note that your local, state and national AIA components are hard at work advocating in the political and governmental arenas. We all have the opportunity to advocate (lobby, influence, participate and or otherwise speak to issues) virtually every week at your local level. Annually, AIA NY State sponsors a lobby day in April which coordinates visits to your state elected officials to speak on behalf of issues before our profession. This effort is also implemented nationally at the annual ‘Grass Roots’ conference in Washington, DC where your chapter president, president elect and Executive Director along with AIANYS directors and officers canvas the hill on the profession’s behalf. It is an enlightening experience to say the least and one I encourage all of you to experience. Expanding our advocacy efforts beyond our comfort zone may be the single most important initiative for the future of our profession. This initiative is a priority on AIA Westchester + Hudson Valley’s agenda. As AIA members we invite you to take a closer look at your leadership and advocacy potential. We encourage you to become more active in these advocacy opportunities through your local chapter!

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Spring 2014 ArchPLUS 11

Emerging Professionals Emerging Professionals

Emerging Professionals Emerging Professionals Corner News and Events QUARTERLY FEATURE

The for Associate AIA chapter The resource resource for members Emerging Professional AIA chapter members

News News •

An exciting announcement was made at Soiree 77 on December 16. Starting in 2014 our chapter will begin awarding a scholarship to reimburse associates for the ARE exam fees. See the article in the Winter issue of ArchPlus for more information.

Kudos Kudos •

ARE 2014 Kaplan Study guides should be arriving soon and will be loaned to all Associate members. Contact Jaclyn @ for more information.

Photo Credit:

1 ArchPLUS Spring 2014 12 ArchPLUS Spring 2014

Congratulations to Tom Harberson, Associate AIA, employed by The Helmes Group in Katonah, NY, on passing the Site Planning and Design section of the ARE.

Milestones Milestones • •

Congratulations to Rochelle Rusinko, Associate AIA, employed by Design Development, pllc in White Plains, NY, on passing the Structural Systems section of the ARE. Congratulations to Nick Viazzo, Associate AIA, emplyed by J Taylor Design Group in New Rochelle, NY, on passing the Programming, Planning and Practice and Building Design and Construction Systems sections of the ARE.

Congratulations to Michael Lohr, Associate AIA, on his new position with Sullivan Architecture Congratulations to Herman Gratz, Associate AIA, and his wife on the birth of their son in the early fall of 2013 Congratulations to recently licensed Architect Jamie Corts, AIA, and her husband Jamie Brigagliano on the birth of their son, Keller Corts Brigagliano born on April 15, 2014.

Became employed recently? Received a promotion? Passed an exam recently? Please email the information to so we can share your accomplishment with the rest of the chapter.

Emerging Professionals

Mardi Gras Bowling Extravaganza by Jaclyn tyler, aia

EP's are bringing back big fun to the Chapter On March 4, the Emerging Professionals Committee hosted their second annual

Mardi Gras Celebration. This year the event was held at Spins Bowl located at Grand Prix New York in Mount Kisco. In addition to two hours of open bowling and networking, the event included a tour of the facility, including the Pin Cloud space designed by local Architect, Michael Gallin, AIA, LEED AP of Gallin Beeler Design Studio. The Pin Cloud at Spins Bowl received a Citation Award in the Interior Architecture category of AIA Westchester + Hudson Valley’s 2013 Design Awards. All those in attendance also received a tour of the adjacent Cosentino Center and showroom, featuring a stimulating variety of material. If you missed the event, you will have multiple opportunities to visit the showroom in the near future as Cosentino will be hosting our annual Summer School CES events for 2014. Following the tours, the attendees returned to the private room in Spins Bowl to enjoy bowling, appetizers, spirits, and plenty of laughs and networking. Valuable connections were made and innovative ideas were flowing. The Emerging Professionals Committee is now pursuing opportunities to create an AIA Westchester + Hudson Valley co-ed softball team. All too often, as professionals, we have a tendency to become wrapped up in our projects or in the everyday business ventures of our profession. The Emerging Professionals Committee has made it a goal of theirs to gather fellow colleagues and peers in a fun and relaxing social atmosphere. The best networking is done when individuals are able to be themselves, and this can best be accomplished in such a setting. The Mardi Gras Bowling Extravaganza once again proved our Emerging Professionals are bringing “Big Fun” back to our chapter.

The Emerging Professionals Committee would like to thank their sponsors for the event, Carol Kurth Architecture + Interiors and CW Brown, Inc. Without their continued generous contributions, the event would not have been the success that it was.

Spring 2014 ArchPLUS 13

Code Corner

New Code Interpretations Code Interpretations by the Secretary of State

Code Interpretations by the Secretary of State

All information is taken from the New York State Office of Planning and Development Building Standards and Codes. All answers to the questions below can be found on the NY State Code website with links to downloadable pdfs of answers to these questions and access to many additional aspects of code information, training and personnel contacts. Go to:

Q: Does Section 903.2.10 of the 2010 Fire Code of New York

State, entitled “Windowless stories in all occupancies,” apply to the specific areas and buildings identified in Sections 903.2.10.1 through 903.10.3, only if the story in which the area is located is windowless?

Residential Code of New York State (RCNYS)

Q: Is the attic access opening required to have clear floor space below? (Source Document: Residential Code of New York State)

Recent Code Interpretations

Existing Building Code of New York State (EBNYS)

establishment with a limited number of tables and chairs and what is the occupant load for the various spaces therein? Q: Does the BCNYS Chapter 34, entitled Existing Structures, section 3410.2.3, entitled “Additions,” require the addition to comply with the provisions of BCNYS section 903.2.1, and require the entire building to be provided with an automatic sprinkler system? Q: Does the Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code allow these platforms to be accessible by the use of the portable ramps? Q: If a second bathroom is provided, is it required to be “Type B” accessible? (Background: A “Type B” accessible dwelling unit in an R-2 occupancy is provided with one “Type A” accessible bathroom in accordance with BCNYS section 1107. and provided with maneuvering clearances at the bathroom door in accordance with BCNYS 1107. Q: Can the lavatory be placed within the required clear floor space for the water closet? (Background: An accessible single user toilet room is designed in accordance with BCNYS Chapter 11 and ICC ANSI A117.1 section 604.)

State apply to all work areas that (1) include exits or corridors shared by more than one tenant OR (2) serve an occupant load greater than 30?

Building Code of New York State (BCNYS)

Q: A code enforcement official has asked the question: Does Q: What is the occupancy classification of a take-out food service Section 704.2.2 of the 2010 Existing Building Code of New York

Fire Code of New York State (FCNYS)

Q: Is the occupant load of a room or space within a legally existing building constructed prior to January 1, 1984 limited by Section 1028.3 of the 2007 FCNYS?

14 ArchPLUS Spring 2014

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Legal Corner

The Architect’s Contract: More than Words by david B. kosakoff, esq.

There is no benefit to a principal of a firm having a detailed understanding of a contract without sharing critical information

Architects are becoming increasingly savvy to the need for a detailed agreement with their clients.

Defining the scope of services, the fee schedule and the rights and obligations of the parties tends to avoid confusion and misunderstanding - not to mention visits to your attorney’s office. Unfortunately, the mere existence of a contract is not enough. All too often, after signing the agreement, parties place it in a file folder and never look to it again. Invariably, the first time that the contract is referred to is when an issue arises on a project. It is very common for architects and their clients to behave in an expedient manner, which may not be in strict compliance with the agreement. Spending the entirety of the project without following the terms of the contract will make it difficult for either side to seek enforcement at a later date. Notwithstanding the clear terms of the contract, Arbitrators and Judges will often assess the manner in which the parties related to each other, and determine that their intention was to abrogate the strict meaning of each provision. Moreover, be sure to inform your office staff of those provisions of the agreement that relate to their participation in the project. There is no benefit to a principal of a firm having a detailed understanding of a contract without sharing critical information with the people who are in the trenches performing the services defined in the agreement. Informing the project staff of important aspects of the project can avoid confusion, lack of compliance and client conflicts which invariably end up in your lawyer’s office. It may be that the preservation of client relations warrants a softer approach to dealing with disputes. There is merit to maintaining a peaceful co-existence during the most stressful periods of a project. However, the prudent architect must be cognizant of the risks of not complying with the agreement, or even allowing the client leeway. The contracts are generally specific about documenting issues, detailing change orders including time impacts, identifying

services beyond the basic scope of work and providing documented notice of problems on the project. The best way to confirm an event is in writing. You can rest assured that whether things go south, memories will fade and establishing a clear and concise history of an event or problem will be problematic. It is not the good times but the bad times that require vigilance. The failure to document various side agreements or alternative arrangements will create a difficulty in interpretation at a later date should the parties be forced to engage in a dispute resolution process. Accordingly, an architect is well advised to consider the ramifications of the failure of one party or another to comply with the terms of a contract. Often times, there is ample justification to simply ignore the plain meaning of the agreement. Before doing so, consider the consequences. David B. Kosakoff, Esq., LEED, AP is the General Counsel to the Chapter and a Partner with the law firm of Sinnreich Kosakoff & Messina, LLP and devotes his practice primarily to the representation of architects. He can be reached at

Spring 2014 ArchPLUS 15


Solar Roofpod Reaches New Heights

by farah ahmad, leed ap

The Solar Roofpod returns to its home on the roof of The City College of NY The Architecture community and its friends and sponsors, of the Solar Roofpod at the City College of New York, (CCNY) have produced a remarkably brilliant outreach campaign. Thanks to the generous supporting network of students, alumni, building industry professionals and believers in the two year educational experience sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Solar Roofpod will make its return to The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture at CCNY. Reassembly began in April and will continue throughout the Spring. The Solar Roofpod, led by faculty advisor Professor Christian Volkmann, was the school’s 2011 entry for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. The collegiate competition challenges students to design, build and operate a solar home. As a modular structure that could be assembled atop the roofs of apartment buildings, it was the only one of 20 finalists designed for high-density urban centers like New York. The 100 student team from the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture and Grove School of Engineering designed and produced the structure. What began as a concept in 2010 and evolved into a nation-wide wonder in Washington D.C. in 2011, has now become a personal treasure for the members of Team New York- A treasure that must be preserved for generations of students to come. To jump-start the process, Team New York utilized a crowd-funding platform, Indiegogo, to create a campaign spearheaded by the CCNY Architecture Alumni Group and raise funds on behalf of The City College 21st Century Foundation. With an initial goal of $15,000, the Indiegogo campaign raised over $21,500 in just two months, with nearly 200 funders alone. Thanks to additional grants, such as the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation (a generous value of $22,500), the pod’s successful installation is nearly complete. The grant assisted in electrical system installations and net-zero energy gain of the photo-voltaic implementation. Westchester+Hudson Valley chapter member Kimberly A. Miller, AIA, LEED AP, Director of Operations for the Pocantico Center of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, served as staff architect and coordinated the grant delivery. [Kim was the feature Interview in ArchPLUS Winter 2014]. The overall fundraising campaign, coordinated by the Development Office and The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, has brought in over $200,000 to date. 16 ArchPLUS Spring 2014

As part of the educational campaign, members of Team New York attended the AIAWHV’s, The Architects Show, in the Spring of 2011 with long-time Team New York supporter, Carol Kurth, FAIA. Carol, who serves as the President of the City College of New York’s Architecture Alumni Group, has helped spread Team New York’s message on sustainability in urban design, and has spearheaded volunteering and fundraising efforts. As part of the awareness and fundraising efforts, Team New York ran an exhibition on the Solar Roofpod. Students also networked and received the opportunity to educate attending professionals on their project and gained valuable insight into the building industry. Carol Kurth introduced the team of students to manufacturers of energy efficient products and other helpful design professionals. AIA Westchester+Hudson Valley chapter member Albert Vecerka, of Esto Photographics, also assisted Team New York in the documentation of its Solar Roofpod through photography. Vecerka traveled with the team to Washington D.C. where he brilliantly captured the team’s construction efforts. Thanks to Vecerka’s time and talent, those who missed the pod at the Solar Decathlon, will have the opportunity to view the process of student collaboration on the Roofpod. The Roofpod will now serve as a living lab, a pedagogical inspiration for future students and forum for intellectual exchange on urban sustainability and technology, and its potential for our city. Revived from storage, the Pod’s return to its rooftop environment holds vast promise for the future of our school. The competition was an invaluable experience in which, during two years of commitment, students learned the importance of interdisciplinary work. Through consistent interaction with professionals of different trades including; architects, construction workers, sustainability specialists, engineers, interior designers, project managers, marketers and contractors, CCNY students gained valuable insight into the building industry and professional platforms beyond architecture school. For more on the Solar Roofpod journey, see the team on Facebook and Twitter: You can also speak to AIAWHV’s Carol Kurth, FAIA and CCNY Professor Christian Volkmann at: cvolkmann@ . Public viewing of the Solar Roofpod begins this Summer. Photo credits: Albert Vecerkoa, ESTO Photographics

Spring 2014 ArchPLUS 17

photo credit: Albert Vecerka, Esto Photographics

18 ArchPLUS Spring 2014

AIA Westchester + Hudson Valley

Welcome New Members

As new members join the AIA Westchester + Hudson Valley chapter, one of the top three largest chapters in New York State, our members gain more opportunites to network. Nilton Arias, Assoc. AIA Peter F. Gaito Architects, Engineers, Planners 333 Westchester Ave., South Bldg Suite S303 White Plains, New York 10604

Edward J. Mauro, AIA Tomorrow’s Architecture, Pllc 156 Diddell Road Wappingers Falls, New York 12590

Michael C. Anderson, Assoc. AIA Papp Architects, P. C. 188 East Post Road White Plains, New York 10601-4911

Darren P. Mercer, AIA Ralph R Mackin Jr Architects PLLC AIA 112 Titicus Road North Salem, New York 10560-2700

Katie Chevalier, Assoc. AIA CSArch Architecture/Construction Management 19 Front Street Directions Newburgh, New York, 12550

Thomas V. Milano, AIA Ralph R Mackin Jr Architects PLLC AIA 112 Titicus Road North Salem, New York 10560-2700

Daniel J. Forlenza, AIA Columbia University Facilities 410 West 118th Street New York, New York 10027

Therese Noonan, Assoc. AIA Daniel Contelmo Architects 30 Croft Road Poughkeepsie, New York 12603

Thomas R. Harberson, Assoc. AIA The Helmes Group, LLP 184 Katonah Avenue Katonah, New York 10536

David L. Rooth, Assoc. AIA Roger Ferris and Partners, LLC 11 Wilton Road Westport, Connecticut 06880

Russell Higgins, AIA Roughdesigns

Mr. Werner R. Saravia, AIA RSC Architects 3 University Plaza Drive, Suite 600 Hackensack, New Jersey 07601

Stephen T. Lynch, Assoc. AIA Roger Ferris and Partners, LLC 11 Wilton Road Westport, Connecticut 06880

Matthew A. Seiff, AIA MAS Architecture LLC New City, New York

Teresa M. Marboe, Assoc. AIA Gallin Beeler Design Studio 828 South Broadway Tarrytown, New York 10591

Francis Thomas Spataro III, AIA Anna K. Spataro, Assoc. AIA Robert M. Texiera, Assoc. AIA Gallin Beeler Design Studio 828 South Broadway Tarrytown, New York 10591

Spring 2014 ArchPLUS 19

AIA Updates

A Song to Sing: Re-discovering ‘Purpose’ at 2014 Grassroots by mike burridge

Connect-Engage-Lead-Innovate Cornerstones of a plan designed to transform the American Institute of Architects (AIA) into a 21st-century member organization, representing a more valued, relevant profession. Over the course of three days this message was delivered, discussed, and taken to the halls of our nation’s capital by hundreds of architects, component executives, and professional staff gathered at this year’s AIA Leadership and Legislative Conference in Washington D.C. The conference kicked-off on March 19th with a keynote address by Judy Woodruff, Co-Anchor and Senior Correspondent for PBS NewsHour. Woodruff provided a critique of Washington’s tense partisan climate, which has paralyzed action on matters of significant importance. After the address the conference shifted toward AIA’s Federal agenda. Partisan paralysis aside, AIA’s priorities are non-partisan, manageable and socially responsible, making it far more likely for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to get on board. AIA’s federal agenda advocates for commonsense initiatives which resonate with the general public. On all accounts, whether it is tax incentives to design energy-efficient buildings, saving tax dollars through public procurement reform, or providing relief to debt-laden students in exchange for public service, the AIA’s priorities align with the public interest. The second day of the conference was dedicated to delivering the AIA agenda to Congress. AIANYS leadership met with the offices of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Senator Charles Schumer, before splitting up to help chapters cover meetings with various members of the House. The meetings were fruitful and rewarding, providing an opportunity to connect with staff and build stronger relationships. Offers were extended to members of Congress to tour facilities that have benefited from energy-efficient tax incentives, an offer which drew genuine interest. Attendees were treated to some collegian internal politicking during the latter half of the second day, listening to a round of speeches from candidates running for AIA national office. The evening proved to be particularly special for AIANYS, as we have two candidates running for national office. Former 20 ArchPLUS Spring 2014

Regional Director and Past President Francis Pitts, FAIA (AIA Eastern NY), gave an insightful and passionate pitch for the 201516 Vice President position. Russell Davidson, FAIA, AIANYS Past President (AIA Westchester+Hudson Valley), delivered a light-hearted and inspirational speech that wove his experiences and passion for architecture together into a platform committed to moving the AIA forward with positive change. Mr. Davidson is running for the 2015 First Vice President/2016 President position. Elections will take place at the AIA national convention in Chicago, June 26th-28th. Conference attendees immersed themselves in leadership and management training during the third and final day, attending classes structured to improve component well-being and enhance member services. An awards luncheon provided a pleasant change of pace in the early afternoon and provided an opportunity to recognize component excellence. After a third round of classes, attendees made their way back to the Hyatt Regency Ball Room to listen to the closing keynote address presented by Austin, Texas native, advertising guru and entrepreneur, Roy Spence. Roy captured attendees with his dynamic speech on Purpose-Based branding and its ability to establish meaningful connections with consumers based upon a genuine desire to play a positive part in their lives. Roy said that architects are the “builders of dreams” and became emotional while reminiscing about the architectural firm that turned the building of his dreams into a reality. With a warm Texan accent and contagious smile, Mr. Spence turned to the audience and said, “You have a good song to sing. The work of architects serves a noble purpose in the everyday lives of so many people, and that purpose is a song that must be sung every day.”

AIA Grassroots provided the opportunity to harmonize our voices, be heard, and sing our song... See you all in Chicago. Mike Burridge is the AIANY State Government Advocacy Coordinator.

AIA Updates

Advocate for the Profession as if Your Life Depended on it by russ Davidson, faia

Every member needs to get more involved in some issue at some level to improve or even simply to maintain the profession and the practice of architecture. Maybe your life doesn’t, but as an Architect, your living does. We all stand on the shoulders of generations of Architects who advocated for things we all now take for granted including:

• Professional • • • • • • • •

Licensing based on Education, Examination and Experience Accreditation for Architectural Schools Model Building Codes Qualifications Based Selection for Architects Standard forms of Architect / Owner Contracts Tax Incentives for Historic Preservation and Sustainable Design Improved Diversity within the Profession Professional Liability Reform Fair Pay for Interns

Just imagine the state of architectural practice if none of these things existed. It is quite possible that there would be no architectural profession as it is defined today. What would exist would be chaotic, unfair and impossible to navigate which would result in many of us choosing to not engage in the profession at all. All of these things that are critical to our profession were initiatives led or supported by our AIA and some took generations to put in place and many still need to be sustained and improved today. All AIA members participate in advocacy to some extent; through paying dues which fund the many initiatives that are primarily executed by capable staff at the local, state and national levels. While this is critical and needs to continue, I have found over my twenty years of AIA involvement that this is not enough

22 ArchPLUS Spring 2014

and that it is only with volunteer leadership and guidance that true progress is made. Every member needs to get more involved in some issue at some level to improve or even simply to maintain the profession and the practice of architecture. I know this sounds burdensome and we all sometimes simply struggle to keep our heads above water and make a living, but it has been my experience that active advocacy for issues that are important to the profession not only makes you a better Architect it also adds meaning to your everyday practice of the profession. When these issues are important to you, the efforts expended towards advocacy no longer feel like a burden. The opportunity to participate and or lead feels very much like a privilege. In the category of “life happens to you while you are making other plans”, I fell into an issue that I became very passionate about and worked on within the AIA framework for over ten years. It was satisfying that it did eventually result in State legislative changes that improved the condition but disappointing that the result was far short of the desired goal. I had recently completed my licensing exam when I was informed that the principal in charge of construction administration was retiring and that I would be given the responsibility to lead this phase of our services for the largest project in our office. It was a controversial project that was mandated by a Federal Court as part of a desegregation plan for the Yonkers Public schools. If that wasn’t enough, I also soon found out that our general construction contractor was notorious for filing legal claims and lawsuits related to his construction activities. He even had a delay claim calculation named after his firm which the New York City Courts had deemed to be the standard method for awarding delay claims to contractors. I had a dreadful feeling that this project was not going to go well. But I was fine with that because it was my first large project and I was young and optimistic. What could possibly go wrong?

Everything, I soon learned could go wrong and on this project, and most things did. The contractor for general construction clearly took advantage of New York State’s multiple prime contracting procedure, aka the “Wicks” law, to create discord, delay and alleged cause for additional costs. The contractor filed numerous delay claims, and this project had many safety issues and quality problems that were all blamed on the other prime contractors. It was clearly a game to shed responsibility and generate confusion which would result in a legal claim for significant amounts of additional money for the general construction contractor. The height of this ludicrous behavior resulted in a work stoppage because a large pile of construction debris was in precisely the area of the building where the partition layout was to originate. After hours of argument at a project meeting, the prime contractors only agreed to clean up the debris if the Architect evaluated whose garbage belonged to which prime contractor. For a couple of hours, I stood in the freezing cold pointing out the obvious to the tradesman responsible for getting rid of the debris. This project grinded on for a couple of years eventually getting finished and winning an AIA design award. The contractor for general construction entered into a lengthy litigation with the Owner that was eventually settled primarily in the Owner’s favor. While this outcome was better than some alternatives, it is clear that lengthy litigation is a “lose-lose” scenario and in this case, it was the presence of the “Wicks” law that allowed the conditions that lead to a nightmare of a project and lawsuits. This story was my personal motivation to join in and work to reform the Wicks law. The way the project unfolded was

outrageous and one bad contractor made it impossible for others to work effectively resulting in an enormous waste of time and money (including the Architect’s!). I told and re-told the story about sorting garbage to legislators in Albany and to my surprise they remembered the story and it did lead to a better understanding of how arcane and ridiculous the Wick’s Law is. After years of working within the AIA’s Advocacy initiatives we still did not have much impact until we joined with other allied groups. We then collectively spent years working with a coalition that shared our concerns that Wick’s Law wasted money and time and was essentially an additional tax burden to all New Yorkers. This robust coalition finally made some headway and built consensus around a Wicks reform proposal. This proposal did become part of New York State law in 2008 although the dollar limits were greatly reduced prior to passage. This was a partial victory at best, but still, it was the first significant reform of this antiquated law in many years. The motivator to get involved and keep at it is a personal connection to the issue. We are all passionate about our profession. Whether it is the power of design, the importance of sustainability, the difficulty in navigating codes, the social impact of welldesigned public buildings or simply the involvement of Architects in residential design - find that passion and tell the story of why it matters to you. This will result in effective advocacy and the betterment of our profession. We owe this to those that did it before us and to the emerging professionals that will follow you and I. Russell A. Davidson, FAIA - Candidate for AIA National President 2016

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Spring 2014 ArchPLUS 23


Active Design: Promoting Activity with Architecture by manuel andrade, aia leed ap BD+C

Colors within playground areas instead of a single colored material can be more inviting From the invention of the TV remote, cell

phones, on-line shopping and even a way to control your home’s thermostat right from the comfort of your bed, our lives have been made easier and easier with the development of new technology. Unfortunately with technology making everyday chores easier, our lives have become filled with physical inactivity. Along with this physical inactivity and our nation’s unhealthy diet we are all facing the biggest public health epidemics of our time: OBESITY. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of obese people in the U.S. has increased from less than 10% in 1985 to a disturbing 35% in 2012. All studies indicate that this will unfortunately continue to increase. This growing epidemic is a call to Architects and Designers to promote activity in their designs.

Activity can be promoted in different ways within a design: 1. Active Transportation 2. Active Buildings 3. Active Recreation Incorporating wider sidewalks, safer crosswalks, storefront windows, bikeways, and sidewalk amenities can promote pedestrian movement through a site. Elements of a building can also promote activity. Attractive and prominent stairs and circulation spaces within a building will encourage occupants of a building to use them, instead of elevators. Incorporating exercise rooms within a facility will also promote activity. Elements on the exterior of a building can also be used. Creating walking paths and inviting gathering areas around a 24 ArchPLUS Spring 2014

building can encourage activity by providing people a way and place to meet and possibly have lunch outside instead of eating at their desks or driving to a restaurant. Convenient access to public transportation can also be incorporated to promote their use. Recreational areas can also be improved to encourage their use. Using colors within playground areas instead of a single colored material can be more inviting to people to use, and in turn, increase their daily activity. Children need motivation in order to put down the game controller and enjoy the great outdoors. Plazas and playgrounds can be designed to incorporate natural elements and fun elements such as lighting and water fountains to promote longer use. Education is another important weapon to fight obesity and inactivity. Some schools have developed programs to educate children about eating a healthy diet and the importance of exercise. Classes are held in kitchen classrooms to help students to learn to make wiser choices in what they eat and how it affects their bodies and mood. Signage throughout the school encourages students to be active by educating them on the healthy advantages of using the stairs within the schools and the importance of exercise. There are many resources on active design available to architects. Numerous New York City departments and agencies with the help of the American of Institute of Architects New York Chapter have developed one such guideline. The Active Design Guidelines, Promoting Physical Activity and Health in Design can help identify opportunities within projects to help promote activity in architecture. This guideline along with many others guidelines, case studies and pro-active blogs can be found on the Center For Active Design website: ddc/html/design/ active_design.shtml.

Spring 2014 ArchPLUS 25

Structural Solutions

Demystifying Soils and Deep Foundations by ciro cuono, PE and james deangelis

Timber piles work very well and are generally cost effective along the sound shore of eastern Westchester The foundations on which we build our structures are perhaps the most critical elements in the structural system and also the most

quickly forgotten. Buried below and not usually photographed for architectural publication, these elements cannot be taken for granted whether for a high rise building or a single family house, because careful thought and planning is needed in the design. Foundations are completely reliant on the underlying soil, the study of which is a relatively new field in engineering. The father of geotechnical engineering was Karl Terzaghi, a Czech engineer who pioneered many of the soil tests done today as well as the some of the theoretical mechanics of soils. In today’s world, we generally classify foundations as either Shallow or Deep. Shallow foundations are generally spread footings and piers founded on virgin soil or controlled compacted soils to the local frost line (generally 42” in this part of the country) or deeper for full basements. Deep foundations are generally in the form of piles. Either driven or augured, the piles serve the purpose of transferring the load of our structures to a suitable depth comprised of a more suitable soil or rock layer. Piles can come in many varieties, such as driven timber piles (usually 8 to 12” in diameter), steel H piles, concrete mini-piles and augured piles and even Helical piles (steel shafts with helices that are “screwed” into a suitable substrate with small machinery.) The basic mechanics for support of piles are end bearing or friction. That is, our buildings are supported by concrete foundations, which in turn are supported by piles (when appropriate) and in turn the piles must then be supported by the underlying soil or rock. This is either accomplished by end bearing – literally bearing on a deeper rock layer or by skin friction – a frictional force developed around the diameter of the pile in a suitable layer of soil. Essentially acting as a vertical column, the pile needs lateral support – just like the building columns. This is developed by the surrounding soil and dependent on the soils’ properties. Determining the soil conditions and appropriate pile type is best left to a geotechnical engineer and soil testing company-

26 ArchPLUS Spring 2014

as with most professions today everyone has a specialty. The real question for an architect and structural engineer embarking on a new project is, When do you call in the soils engineer? The NYS residential code and IRC have some guidance on conservative bearing capacities for different soil and rock types. For a small house and additions, this is generally adequate. Certainly for commercial building and larger buildings, a geotechnical study with borings is warranted and is also a code requirement. Westchester County and the Hudson Valley have a varying geology and local differences can be great. Our area was greatly affected by the subsidence of the glaciers in the last ice age leaving behind glacial tills and deep rock undulations. Most areas have sands with some amount of silt and clays usually capable of 1.5 to 2 tons per square foot (perfect for low rise buildings and houses). Rock outcropping are frequent with schist, gneiss and inwood marble quite common in the lower Hudson valley. These rock formations, when not too weathered, can support tremendous loads and in fact are one of the reasons for the development of Manhattan’s skyscrapers. Rock can be a double edged sword however, because it traps water and can cause basements to floor via perched water and water running through veins.

The old adage is, where there is rock, there is water.

The other downside of course is the high cost of rock removal. This is generally done through line drilling and chipping, which is loud and expensive. Where permitted, dynamite blasting can speed up the process as can the use of expansive chemicals deposited in line drilled holes. These expand and create such tremendous forces that the rock will split making chipping and removal easier. Though expensive, it can speed the process and mitigate some of the noise associated with rock removal. Piles are generally needed where the underlying layers consist of fills (debris from previous construction) and organics (peats and loose weak soils). The typical places to look out for

these conditions are areas near bodies of water. The area along the Hudson River, for example, can have layers 50’ deep or more with loose organics and other unsuitable soils. Mamaroneck’s Orienta has deep layers of organics with pockets of suitable soil for those who are lucky to be over them. Building on these organic layers without appropriate deep foundations is not only, not code compliant, but worse yet could result in differential settlement. An effect that can crack finishes, create tripping hazards, and put uncalculated stresses on a building’s structural frame. One example of this I encountered, was a for a residence which needed a chimney replacement. The residence, which was at least 50 years old, appeared generally level, however, the chimney was leaning out more than 3 inches and was removed and scheduled to be rebuilt. Upon excavation the contractor realized that the soil was simply “muck”, and he was not sure what to do. The problem was clear after scanning the site and neighborhood we found a brook that a few hundred feet of the house. The Solution: Borings showed a layer of organics and good soils within 25’. Three helical piles were installed and a pile cap poured over, creating a sound base for the chimney. Without this, the same problem would have eventually developed. The heavy concentrated load of the chimney created a differential settlement condition next to the relatively light house. Other areas that are not so obvious are over underground or in filled streams and lakes. This is a common encounter in NYC where many streams and swamps have been filled in leaving pockets of unsuitable soil. The Viele Map from the 1860’s is used as a first check to see if the site in question happens to fall over the stream or swamp. This map has NY’s grid line superimposed making it quite easy to read and make a first pass quick determination.

A scan of the terrain and neighboring buildings can go a long way in spotting if problem soils could be lurking below. Timber piles work very well and are generally cost effective along the Long Island Sound shore of Eastern Westchester where shallow layers of organics sit on solid bedrock. Preservation treatment should not be overlooked. Although Creosote is no longer allowed, there are other modern alternates. When working on a renovation of a building supported by timber piles, one should be aware of the potential for dry rot. There are Roman piles supporting bridges and other structures today, over 2,000 years old functioning well. These timber piles are full saturated in water, protecting it from oxygen. In some areas, where the water table has been lowered (for a variety of reasons including nearby construction), the top portion of the piles may be exposed to oxygen, creating a perfect environment for “dry rot”. We were involved on one such project where the rot was severe, necessitating the use of piles with brackets around the building to provide for a new means of support. One last important point to keep in mind for both architects and structural engineers is to understand the general topography and geology and anticipated foundation systems in the beginning phases of a job so that time and money can be allocated for borings and a geotechnical study, when appropriate. A little research or a simple phone call to a local geotechnical engineer can be enough information for schematic level planning of deep foundations, thus making for a safe and accurate final design. Ciro Cuono, P.E., LEED AP, is a structural engineer and principal at Cuono Engineering PLLC, Port Chester, NY. He can be reached at ccuono@ James DeAngelis is president of Soil Testing Inc. in Oxford, CT. He can be reached at Spring 2014 ArchPLUS 27


Architect as Inventor by Robert W. PollAck, RA

If a person believes he has a novel concept that may improve civilization or at least his finances, he must put it on paper.

Architecture and invention are similar in nature. A good architect should innovate in forms and function. An inventor is mainly concerned with function, but may also dabble in form. We are problem solvers. Architects and Inventors occasionally solve problems “outside the box” and the results can be groundbreaking. Once in a while, an architect may see a problem that may develop into an invention. Perhaps it is a new kind of structural connector, a tool, or an architectural element or fixture. If it is determined that a patent is advantageous, a visit to the USPTO website (, would be worthwhile. There is useful information to assist an inventor beginning his or her patenting experience. Then, a cursory patent search may be performed. However, searches are keyed to inventor’s names, Patent Attorney’s names, or the names of Licensees which is of no help at this juncture, or by patent titles, which may or may not relate to the subject area or category that is entered into the search engine. You may get lucky and use a word combination that results in lists of patents in the same ballpark as your idea, but patent attorneys or agents are better experienced in patent searching. A patent professional should do a detailed search. As part of the patent examination, the Patent Office also does a thorough search. If it finds patents that are too similar, the patent application is rejected. If the inventor reads the rejection letter and does not agree, an argument can be filed detailing the differences. If successful, a patent may be issued. Types of Protections Offered by the US Patent Office Patents come in various types: Most patents are Utility Patents, such as to protect the invention or improvement of machinery, medical and electrical devices, processes, and most useful objects. Design Patents, protect aspects that are more involved with appearance, rather than function. Plant Patents are for the 28 ArchPLUS Spring 2014

protection of botanical innovations. Copyrights protect written, drawn and composed material such as music. Architects are protected by the Copyright Laws. Architectural drawings are protected by a proclamation applied to the plans which make it illegal to make copies without permission. The designs are not protected. If an architect wishes to protect his design, he may attempt to get a Design Patent. Trademarks protect brand names, etc. Inventions; the Procedure If a person believes they have a novel concept that may improve civilization or at least their finances, they must put it down on paper. A text must be written which adequately describes it, together with drawings that are numerically keyed to the text. For a modest filing fee, a Provisional Patent application is made. It is almost always granted as there is no examination of the material. This gives the inventor a filing date which may be claimed when the actual Patent Application is made and it also gives the inventor a limited time to in which to make the actual application. However, during this time, the inventor can safely approach a potential manufacturer without fear of having their idea stolen. The identical substance of the invention should be represented in the Provisional Application as in the final Patent Application which merely contains the proper form and other refinements, but no new concepts. The Patent Application also includes the Claims, which ARE the patent. It is the items listed by the Claims that are protected by the Patent. In order for an invention to be patentable, it must be “Novel, Useful, and not Obvious”. Novel: There is no prior art (other patents or patent applications having an earlier filing dates than yours) that is also too similar to yours. Useful: The invention can perform a useful function. Obviousness, however, is highly subjective. It may be determined that the nature of a device is so unremarkable and likely that an observer might say “that’s it? For example, trying to patent a pre-bent nail for hanging up coats.

Filing for a Patent Once a Patent is applied for, hopefully with the help of a Patent Professional, it is assigned to an Examiner. The Examiners are individuals trained and qualified to evaluate patent applications for specific categories, such as construction products, decorative items, electrical and electronics, mechanical systems. Eighteen months after filing for a patent, the Patent Application is published in the USPTO Gazette ( This puts it before the world so that others may examine the application and object if they find it is too similar to their own Patent or Application prior to any approval by the Patent Office. The Examiner will take several months to several years to search for Prior Art using sophisticated Search Engines and considering the criteria of novel, usefulness obviousness, prior to patent approval. Once a patent is approved, the PTO issues a “Notice of Allowance” notifying the inventor that a patent will be issued on a certain date as long as the required fees are paid. A standard Utility Patent lasts 20 years after the earliest filing date whereas a Design Patent lasts 14 years from its issue date. The inventor receiving a Utility Patent, must pay Maintenance Payments every 4 years to maintain the patent until the end of the Patent. After that period, it is public domain and anyone may use the invention. If the Patent Office takes excessive time, it might issue the Patent with a slightly longer life. If there is interest in applying for Patents in other countries, filing with the WPO or other individual nations are time sensitive and based on the filing date of the U.S. Provisional Patent. TIP: The selection of a patent attorney should be done after a thorough investigation. Just as some architects are experienced with hospital design, you wouldn’t go to him for an addition to a house. The recommendations of other inventors may be useful. A patent attorney’s location should reasonably close, as personal communication may be frequent.

Of All Professions, Architects Should Make the Best Inventors Most professionals such as doctors, engineers and lawyers generally specialize into very focused areas of their professions, such as Neurology, Electrical Engineering, or Disability Law, respectively. While some architects also have specialized practices, such as in Multi-Family Residential or Institutional projects, they also must be familiar with, and responsible for, all phases of construction of a building. He or she must know about Site Work, Foundations, Structure, materials of construction, Plumbing and Electrical, Glazing, sealants, etc… and coordinate all phases of the construction. This broad experience enables the architect to see possibilities for innovation in many areas of construction even involving more than one division of the construction trade. For example, an improvement in technology involving mechanical systems and structural systems, where a person involved in just a single aspect might never see the opportunity This foresight and vision just might result in a patent. While I could concentrate this article on the negative aspects of inventing, such as dealing with manufacturers who don’t even bother to respond to letters, phone calls and e-mails, I choose to encourage any architect willing to jump off the cliff with a hangglider and enter the precarious and challenging realm of inventing. It really is a lot of fun! Good luck! The author is an architect, practicing in Westchester County for over forty years and has 9 utility patents issued and many architecture and energy focused patents pending.

My Involvement as Inventor My issued patents are primarily involved with architectural products and devices that will reduce pollution, energy waste and transportation. I have about 20 pending with another 330 or so that have not been initiated as of yet. Despite my patent successes, there are also some disappointments that I have had. Several inventions that were going “full steam” with manufacturers suddenly ‘died’. At present, one of my inventions for which I have 3 patents, that will ventilate building insulation is about to be produced. One patent will assist our economy to change from a petroleum based energy system to a hydrogen based system using hydrogen to store created energy as a fuel and used “on-demand” just as natural gas is delivered and stored. It is my thinking that at some point, the earth may run out of petroleum and we will need to have a hydrogen-based energy system in place. Another patent involves a totally new structural joint for concrete products that interlocks permeable pavers at their edges for vehicular use. It also creates a mortar-less concrete block that interlocks on all sides. Another patent pending could revolutionize mass transportation.

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Event Calendar

April Events

May Events Lobby Day April 29

A Day at Pocantico Hills May 16

Travel to Albany with the AIA WHV president and officers to meet with the legislators who determine the future of our profession.



Past President’s Council



NYS Lobby Day Albany, NY 8:30 am


Join us for a half day of tours, lunch, reception and Q&A at Pocantico Hills and earn 4 ces learning units.



Small Practitioners Symposium How to Gain Exposure for the Small Pracitioner Westchester Magazine Rye, NY 6:00-9:00 pm



Scholarship Grant applications due



Breuer House & Stone Barnes Tour Stones Barns Center Pocantico Hills, NY 12:00-4:00 pm

Interested in serving on the Events Committee? Contact Valerie Brown at 914.232.7240 or

For more information on our events, please visit our website at

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June Events

July Events Annual AIA WHV Golf Outing & Scholarship Fundraiser June 9

Design Awards Registration July 1 Don’t miss out on a chance to be part of this year’s Design Awards. Get your registration in before July 1.

Join us for our annual education scholarship fundraiser.





Corporate Aviation Tour Westchester County Airport Hangar E-1 - Tower Road 6:00-7:30 pm Annual AIA WHV Golf Outing & Scholarship Fundraiser Hollow Brook Golf Club Cortlandt Manor, NY 11:00 am Golf 5:00 pm Scholarship Dinner



AIA National Convention Chicago, IL



2015 Board of Directors Nominations Open



Design Award Registration Deadline



Summer School Session 1 Cosentino Center Westchester Mt. Kisco, NY 5:30-7:30 pm



Summer School Session 2 Cosentino Center Westchester Mt. Kisco, NY 5:30-7:30 pm



ExCom Planning Retreat



Summer School Session 3 Cosentino Center Westchester Mt. Kisco, NY 5:30-7:30 pm



Summer School Session 4 Cosentino Center Westchester Mt. Kisco, NY 5:30-7:30 pm

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Advocacy in the Form of Preservation or Not by john fry AIA, LEED AP bd+c

An ongoing story has and continues to unfold in our chapter area regarding Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center in Goshen, NY. This multifaceted story now spans some five years and has taken several significant directions from the disposition to demolish the structure to ongoing analysis that preserves all or a portion of the structure. Depending on the selected alternate, the design may include a significant addition. Our AIA chapter explored those circumstances in April 2012 at an engaging chapter program entitled: Boiling Point … Preservation in our Chapter … or not. The program title expressed the tension surrounding the Government Center story which yielded two very divided and passionate groups. Both sides included diverse voices but what surprised the program team and panelists was the fact that the advocates for demolition included a few

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architects and community leaders who would otherwise fit the profile of preservationists. The issue was not simply about preserving a historic structure but included heated dialog regarding whether the structure had any architectural merit warranting preservation. Thus the notion of ‘boiling point’ … heat and evaporation manifesting itself in passion, emotion and drama. Since our 2012 program the notion of preservation as an element of sustainability has gained significant traction. Apparently the idea that no matter where you sided with the design, both sides came together to recognize the existing structure had intrinsic economic value as opposed to having no re-purposing or upgrading potential. At a minimum, the trend of ‘disposability’ was averted. [Early on one of the arguments for not preserving the structure was that it would cost too much to repair and rehabilitate the structure which many argued as a cloaking excuse for not liking the building]. In the overview discussion of the ‘Boiling Point’ program as it relates to the ‘Historic Preservation’ movement, a discussion

ensued suggesting preservationists find themselves at an important crossroad. The movement was born from a fairly unified base of opinion shared by public, private, municipal and professional entities. In the first 50 years of the preservation movement, efforts towards preserving ‘historic’ buildings and places have been guided by a relatively narrow band width of subject matter, definitions and site candidates, especially in regards to aesthetic romanticism. As early as the mid-1980’s, a more contemporary menu of buildings and places began to surface as candidates. Examining and embracing early signatures of a country and culture on the move as defined by futuristic gas stations, road side eating establishments and the launch tower for the first moon landing seem to fit in to that romantic view and definition of ‘historic’ structures. This continuity of historic preservation thought and process, rightly or wrongly, appears to have entered a challenging period of re-examination, particularly regarding various examples of modern or contemporary architecture. Several examples of this trend are occurring (or have occurred) in our chapter area. Our friends at DOCOMOMO have long recognized this challenge and have created a worldwide

organization and network to advocate for the preservation of our modern heritage. John Arbuckle and Sean Khorsandi were gracious representatives for DOCOMOMO and the Rudolph Foundation in 2012 sharing the organizations aggressive agendas. DOCOMOMO’s website is a wealth of resource information and window to the global effort of preserving mid-century modern architecture and beyond. The Orange County Government Center story remains a work in progress and that work can be viewed on Orange County’s government website. This story will ultimately not be unique in our chapter area. The wealth of mid-century architectural structures in our seven county footprint is one of the most diverse and complete inventory in the country. At some point another significant structure will face a similar debate and perhaps the lessons from the OCGC will provide a case study resource to avoid a similar circumstance repeating itself. This article, as was the 2012 chapter program, is intended to promote dialog regarding the collective thought of our chapter towards interest and action. Or in a word common to this month’s ArchPLUS issue, ‘Advocacy’ towards elements in our built environment.

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Event Highlights

A New Generation of Architects Held at Purchase College, SUNY Summer 2013 Photography by Amy Miller and Jaclyn Tyler

Once again, during the summer of 2013, a new generation of Architects was hard at work in their studio space at Purchase College, SUNY. The Continuing Ed program at the college launched its Young Architects program in the summer of 2012. The initial program was geared for fourth to eighth grade students with an interest in the profession, due to the success of the initial Young Architects program, it soon expanded to include an Architecture Intensive for High School students. Both two week programs were part of the annual Youth and Precollege programs in the Arts at Purchase College, SUNY, offered in the summer. A diverse group of students arrived on the first day, all with only a brief knowledge about what an Architect does. However, they all left the program with an extensive understanding of what an Architect’s daily schedule involves thanks to Instructors Amy Miller and one of our Chapter’s Associate Directors, Jaclyn Tyler. The programs began with students arriving to Purchase College, SUNY to have their first glimpse of the studio space which they would call home for the next two weeks. The mornings included a brief History of Architecture lecture and an on-site drawing session. Each day throughout the two-week program, students focused on learning different media, including graphite and charcoal, as well as different techniques, including freehand sketching and hard line perspective drawings. During sessions on AutoCAD, the students learned the basics needed in order to design. By the end of the program, each student produced a 3-D drawing of their existing bedrooms using the data and measurements they had gathered from documenting their homes. Students also came together during the CAD lessons and were able to assist one another, just as employees in a typical Architectural office tend to do. After a lunch break, the students were presented with the challenge of creating a completely unique design of their own. To begin this exciting task, the instructors presented a site plan to the students as they gathered in the studio space for their afternoon work session. Most of the students utilized the site in their design, whether in whole or part, and manipulated it to their liking. Each student was encouraged to decide which type of building they wanted to create. Some chose to focus on small residential buildings while others designed “Mansions” as they called them. Retail, business centers and entertainment spaces were also found among the designs. Their mind was their limit, but nothing else was restrictive in the two-week program. During the initial program in 2012, many students had excitedly asked “Are we going to have a crit?!” During the summer sessions of 2013, the instructors granted the student’s request. At the completion of each two week session, outside critics, John Fry, AIA, of Sullivan Architecture, and Peter Gaito, Jr, AIA, of Peter F. Gaito and Associates, attended a session to provide the next generation of Architects with positive feedback on their designs. Each student presented their project in five minutes or less and then received feedback on their designs, similar to the crits all those in the architecture field are familiar with and experienced during their own college education. The critics were not as harsh as some of our professors/critics were on all of us, but in reality the instructors did not need

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to recommend the outside critics provide a positive spin on their comments. Both critics were blown away by the imaginations of these new Architects, but more importantly by the quantity and quality of the work that was on display. Peter Gaito Jr, AIA said the following about the program “It was great to see eager, creative young minds at work. I was very impressed with the level of creativity, thought and fun each student demonstrated in creating and presenting their projects. They seemed to take their tasks seriously but obviously had fun in the process. I’m sure that because of their engaging teachers and final presentation experience, they all walked away one step closer to becoming my colleague one day. Great program.” John Fry, AIA was equally impressed with the program. “Wow was my initial impression as well as my lasting impression. Their work was fun and refreshing and many displayed remarkable insight in conceptualizing and design resolution. I suspected I would see common elements among the group but the diversity of ideas and independent thinking was the dominant collective theme. What a great opportunity for youth and elders to unite in a fairly heady exercise!” By the end of the program, the students had a range of final projects; from cottages to mansions, low story commercial spaces to skyscrapers, and everything in between. The projects were 36 ArchPLUS Spring 2014

then displayed at an exhibition open to all parents, family members and friends of the Young Architects. Most final presentations included: a 1/16” rendered site plan; 1/8” floor plans, 1/8” building section, two 1/8” elevations, and a 1/8” chipboard model. Students also gathered magazine photos to include in their presentations of textures, colors, and design details that they envisioned in their building. A number of students were able to produce additional drawings which demonstrated to both instructors the dedication and heart possessed by this new generation of Architects. Registration for the 2014 summer courses is now open. Instructors Amy Miller and Jaclyn Tyler are again returning this year to provide the knowledge needed to encourage and advance the minds of inspiring young architects. The Young Architects program is for grades 5-8, and running from July 28-August 8 from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. The Architecture Intensive, open to all High School students, grades 9-12, has expanded to a four week program, running from June 30-July 25 from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. The daily schedule for both programs will involve discussion of Architectural styles, on-site sketching, an introduction to AutoCAD and studio time developing a project over the duration of each course. For more information on both of these programs, please contact Kelly Jackson in the Continuing Education office of Purchase College, SUNY at, or visit the pages for each of the programs available at AcademicPrograms/CE/Youth.

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Sponsors Sign up Today and Reserve Your Booth


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As the summer finally comes upon us, we start the planning for this year’s CES summer school sessions. There will be a few changes this year annual summer school sessions. The location has changed this year, it will be held at Cosentino Center 333 North Bedford Road, Suite 220 Mt. Kisco, NY 10549. Also, an additional week has been added to the schedule for a total of 7 available classes, starting on Tuesday July 8th. We are still finalizing the courses, they will be along the following topics; Legal - LED Lighting - Solar - Water Infiltration - Green Technology - Energy Code Check the chapter website and look for a flyer in your email inbox soon with this year’s schedule and all other information.

We look forward to seeing everyone this year.


Anthony Giaccio, Sleepy Hollow Administrator by peter gaito jr, aia

Peter spoke with Anthony about the new waterfront development, the new Tappan Zee Bridge, revitalization of Beekman Street, and working for a Village with it’s own tv show

PG: The former 100 acre GM site on the Hudson River is now

approved for development which includes 1,200 housing units, stores, restaurants, office space and a 45 acre park along the riverfront. How did that project evolve?


In 2011 Village Board approved the special Permit, they were Lead Agency. They approved the number of units, building heights, amenity package, buffer zone and parkland. Unfortunately, right after the special permit was approved, Sleepy Hollow was sued by Tarrytown. The lawsuit wasn’t resolved until September of 2013. In 2014, GM announced the developer would be with SunCal and Diversity Realtors. We expect Sun Cal to get to the Planning Board by the end of the year, and work could start by the end of 2015.

During the GM site review process, were the building types, proposed heights and view sheds studied?

Yes, there was a very detailed 5 year SEQR Process done prior to the approval in 2011. The buildings closer to the train are higher and decrease in height as they get closer to the waterfront. How extensive was the environmental clean up? Is it done?

The DEC remediation went well. There was a big site cleanup on the land portion and they also cleaned a portion of the river. The DEC has signed off on everything. Now all of the major hurdles are out of the way. Will the new GM site development encourage future redevelopment of Beekman Street?

Yes, there is a plan being developed now for the inner village. We think that there will be a need for more parking and that the formula for a developer does not work, they can’t get the density that they want, the old buildings are costly to renovate and the prices of buildings to purchase is high. The market doesn’t drive the revitalization right now.

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What is the strategy to maintain the Village Character and also encourage new development?

Getting a planner in and changing some of the zoning and try to fast track projects through the planning and zoning boards. Also encourage as-of-right projects to move through quicker without the need to obtain variances. Parking is the real sticking point so we would prefer not to penalize applicants for lack of parking. There are a lot of moving parts but I think we will get there. How has the new Tappan Zee Bridge affected the current and upcoming planned developments?

We have seen some business from it by workers, although most of the impact is in Tarrytown, but they are transporting the workers daily from River’s Edge Pier, which is in Sleepy Hollow. Mostly noise impacts, but no real negative impact. We are hoping that soon it will turn into extra business for the merchants. In 5 years, when the first phase of the bridge is done, the GM development is well underway, and the Village sees a downtown revitalization, Sleepy Hollow should benefit tremendously.

It does feel like the perfect storm because everything is hitting all at once. You already can see it now, there is a lot going on along the waterfront right now; construction in Tarrytown, Tappan Zee Bridge construction, boating activity, GM site work and river’s edge work. I have noticed a lot of riverfront activity. The new waterfront park linking Tarrytown will be certainly welcomed.

Something also of note regarding the new Tappan Zee Bridge development, is that we applied for a Community Benefits Grant, and one of our requests was to re-energize the light for the lighthouse. This would make it a working lighthouse again. We need a Fresnel light, which is a prism that spins the light across the river. The Community Benefits Grant is for $25,000, we received another grant of $10,000 and other donations of $5,000, so that will be done soon.

Will the grant money cover the lighthouse restoration?

No, just the light- the lighthouse restoration estimate is $1.2 million. The County went out to bid this past fall, The county owns the lighthouse. The Village received $250,000 in grant money, and the county has agreed to match it up to $850,000 so the County hasn’t agreed to pay the $1.2 million yet. So right now its on hold, which has been discouraging. You may need some help from your new developer friend, or someone to save the lighthouse.

True, but we are hoping the county will eventually fund the project. Are there any affordable housing component in the GM development? If so, is that from your own guidelines or based on HUD requests?

60 units- that was our own request. We are way over the required amount of HUD housing. We struggle with our taxes, and unfortunately, a small portion of the community is paying the brunt of the taxes. Currently over 60% of the Village’s properties are tax exempt. This includes parts of the Rockefeller preserve, the cemetery, the hospital [Phelps] and even GM is tax exempt right now - and has been since 1985. We also have low income housing developments, and a lot of churches and schools. We are way above our share of affordable housing. Any other items that would you wish would improve?

We have been hurt most by the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), we had been getting millions of dollars over the years because of our demographics. I heard that the County may be looking to fund it- sounds like a great idea so we’ll see. We also used to receive free design support from the County Planning Department - which is no longer. Even if we get the grants back, I don’t think that we will get the Planning services again- which was extensive and helpful. How is the Village’s relationship with your resident, the Rockefeller Brother’s Fund?

We have another project, a 1.6 million gallon water tank. The GM project can’t happen unless we built that. We worked with the Rockefeller Brother’s Fund, and they agreed to let us build the tank on their property. So the answer to your question is, very good. We don’t have too much interaction from the family, but this was a case where we needed their help and support and they were supportive so we thank them for that.

filming for the show- which is cool, it’s fun to see the village on TV. I know its less expensive to film down there, and maybe easier logistically since we have more density here. However, since they were renewed for a second season, we did hear that they want to film more scenes in the real Sleepy Hollow. That would be cool.

It really was awesome last year for the amount of attention we got nationally, because of the show. I was interviewed a lot, lots of places, FOX, but Reuters was the best one because it goes out everywhere. My step-daughter in Tucson, Arizona read an interview with me in her local paper- that was fun. I hope we can match the success this year. I bet you can. There are a lot of great places where they could film here that would fit right into the storyline.

One of our police offices is female and she connected with the show’s star. During Comic Con, the show’s characters were on a panel, and our officer was invited to go and meet the entire cast. Exciting, you should get on one of the show’s episodes.

I’m waiting- they have the officers, the Mayor, the Police Chief. Where is the Administrator? – I’m not sure they know what that is. But it’s all good, we have a lot of fun with it. The Mayor is an architect – does he have a special interest with the buildings and balancing the old village, the historic mansions and the upcoming new developments?

No question, he is very much involved. Although he is not a practicing architect, he works for a non-profit in the city and formerly with Westhab. He has great experience with developments and the potential impact the GM development could have on the inner village and gentrification. He is a great Mayor to have at this time. Do you see a lot of people moving into Sleepy Hollow or anticipate more movement in the near future?

We are hoping to get young professionals into the Village both from the City and Westchester. Both living here and working here or living here and working in the City. We are thinking they will live downtown since it has a lot to offer and it’s so close to the train. They would bring discretionary income to the village. Of course we don’t know for sure, but we do think there is a lot happening now and there will be a lot more to come in the next two to three years.

Regarding the TV Show (Sleepy Hollow), there are a lot of overhead shots but most of it is filmed Wilmington, North Carolina. Did FOX ever approach you to film here?

No, FOX never spoke to us, but we remember that people started noticing a lot of helicopters flying overhead, and we were asking ourselves, what is going on? Then we found it out later they were

The SUMMER ArchPLUS issue will arrive in July Theme: Emerging Professionals contributors welcome Spring 2014 ArchPLUS 43


photo credit: Albert Vecerka, Esto Photographics

ArchPLUS Spring 2014 Vol.1 No.2