July 3, 2018

A’18 Convention on Architecture Recap

A couple of weeks ago, I had the distinct pleasure to join over 20,000 colleagues at the AIA’s A’18 Conference on Architecture in New York City. This year’s conference, while mostly centered at the Javits Center, was spread through many venues across Manhatten and the larger city. While construction to the Javits Center forced AIA into this model, the institute did an excellent job turning this problem into an opportunity. With many sessions at venues around the city, Conference on Architecture was integrated into its host city in a way I have never experienced in the three prior conferences (Chicago, Atlanta, and Philadelphia) I have attended. While not without its challenges, the star of A’18 undoubtedly was New York City itself.


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A'18 Day Two Keynote: Sheela Søgaard, CEO of BIG, speaking at Radio City Music Hall.

The AIA's Chief Economist Kermit Baker provided an insightful economic outlook for the A/E industry at the AIA+Architect Magazine booth on the expo floor.

Day Two’s Keynote by BIG’s CEO Sheela Sorgaard on the business of architecture. This session also included short talks from Tod Williams and Billie Tsien and James Polshek (who was being honored with the AIA Gold Medal this year). Both days keynotes were at the stunning and famed Radio City Music Hall.

A session on Empathy In Architecture which included Nader Tehrani of NAADAA (design architects of the under construction The Beacon in downtown Cleveland). This session touched on the importance of good contracts; how, when and why to say no; and knowing one’s values as a designer.

The AIA Small Project Practitioner 2018 Small Project design awards

Attending AIA’s national business meeting which included multiple resolutions addressing issues of diversity and equity in the profession. Arch Record has a good summary as well.


Being in NYC, I left ample time in my schedule for self-guided architectural tourism. Highlights include:

Ten Arquitectos excellent project, Mercedes House

BIG’s VIA 57

 

432 Park Avenue Building designed by Rafael Vinoly Architects

Legendary Mid-Century towers along Park & Madison Ave including the Seagram Building (Mies and Philip Johnson), Lever House (SOM), and the AT&T Building/550 Madison Ave (Philip Johnson - which I got to catch before it undergoes controversial renovations designed by Snohetta)

Under construction Hudson Yards. Center of the image is The Vessel designed by Thomas Heatherwick Studio.

The scale of the Hudson Yards project is mindboggling. It includes Heatherwick Studio’s Vessel and The Shed a new cultural center designed by DS+R.

 

Zaha Hadid’s 520 West 28th project.

The last section to open of the High Line, which weaves adjacent to Hudson Yards. The highlight here was seeing Zaha Hadid’s recently completed 520 West 28th project.

ARO’s first built project, the US Armed Forces Recruiting Station, located on the south end of Times Square.

Probably the lowlight of my trip was leaving my cell in a cab, which cost me a good chunk of an afternoon hunting it back down! Never the less, it was a great conference and I look forward to hopefully making it to next year’s A’19 Conference on Architecture in Las Vegas!

February 10, 2017

The American Institute of Architects Elevates Jack Alan Bialosky, Jr. to the College of Fellows

Bialosky Cleveland congratulates Senior and Managing Principal, Jack Alan Bialosky Jr., FAIA, IIDA, LEED AP who has been elevated to the American Institute of Architects’ distinguished College of Fellows, an honor awarded to members who have made significant contributions to the profession and society. Jack will be honored at an investiture ceremony at the AIA Conference on Architecture 2017 in Orlando, FL.

The Fellowship program was developed to elevate those architects who have made a significant contribution to architecture and society and who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession. Election to fellowship not only recognizes the achievements of architects as individuals, but also their significant contribution to architecture and society on a national level. Out of a total AIA membership of over 90,000, approximately 3 percent are distinguished with the honor of fellowship and honorary fellowship. The elevation to fellowship is conferred on architects with at least 10 years of membership in the AIA in one or more nomination categories; Jack was recognized for advancing Practice at a national scale.

After graduating Yale University and working and teaching in Boston, Jack returned to Cleveland in 1986 to begin stewardship of Bialosky Cleveland, who is known for the quality of its designs, the trust of their clients, the longevity of its staff, and the diversity of its portfolio. In 2009, the firm was recognized by the American Institute of Architects as a Gold Medal Firm, the highest honor awarded by its peers, in recognition of great depth and breadth, a collaborative environment, and having a cumulative effect on the profession over a substantial period of time. His leadership of the firm has extended to the planning and design of corporate campuses for Progressive Insurance which established a national architectural brand and helped propel the company’s explosive growth. At Crocker Park, in Westlake, Ohio, Jack has led the efforts to build a downtown heart for a city that challenged the notion of “urban living” being exclusive to metropolises, and serves as a national model of vertically integrated mixed-use.

Throughout his career, Jack has earned widespread respect as a trusted community leader and facilitator, helping to found non-profits, such as The Gathering Place, a cancer support agency, and to save others, such as The Children’s Museum of Cleveland, through strategic planning and design. Jack has served under four successive mayors as a key leader and primary architectural voice on behalf of the city, shaping major development for commercial, institutional and civic projects. Presently, Jack is the Chair of the Downtown Cleveland Design Review.

About The American Institute of Architects

Founded in 1857, members of the American Institute of Architects consistently work to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders, and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world.

May 13, 2015

The Year of the Advocate: Pro Bono and the Genius Loci

Pro bono, civic, and community projects have always been deeply embedded in the culture of our firm. We wholeheartedly believe that as architects, we have a distinct responsibility to serve and strengthen our community. But the value of pro bono work runs deeper than the neighborhoods it touches, it has transformed and elevated our very profession. Pro bono projects are a powerful medium for architectural firms to grow and empower leadership and heighten awareness of local expertise that can often be overshadowed. Too often we hear bemoaning around awarding projects to outside architects.

LeBron said it best, “In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.” In Cleveland, “being of this place” means rolling up your sleeves, and chasing what you want. For Cleveland architects specifically, it means fueling ourselves (and each other) to rise up, advocate for architecture, and serve our city.

Consider the following article I wrote for AIA Cleveland as a call to our local design community - to challenge the notion of pro bono work being categorized as simply “other”, “charity” or “unpaid” projects, but rather as an ingrained part of architectural practice.


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Pro Bono and the Genius Loci

Jack Bialosky, Jr., AIA Cleveland President-Elect

For AIA, this year is intended to be "the year of the advocate". The recent national "I Look Up" ad campaign has engendered comments, both positive and negative, about architecture and advocacy (for more information on the campaign, read AIA Cleveland President Aaron Hill's recent article Why "Looking Up" Is Important). It is good that there are strong feelings about this, especially if you ascribe to the theory that any press is good press. But more importantly, the campaign has empowered dispersed dialogues to surface as one national conversation.

Personally, I believe that every year should be the year of the advocate for architects and architecture. As President-Elect, and a fairly new comer (or late returner) to active duty in AIA Cleveland, I have been educating myself on the issues that our local members prioritize as the most relevant and important to our community. In response to our recent member survey, most of the respondents felt that one of AIA Cleveland's most important roles was to advocate for local architects. Many architects feel they have lost power, voice and position as leaders of the built environment. Furthermore, Cleveland and Northeast Ohio have suffered for years from a low self-image which has fueled a desire for outside experts. Compounded by an economic downturn spanning half a decade, this triple-whammy has left some architects in our community feeling under-appreciated and unable to compete for important commissions in their own market.

There have been past efforts at advocacy for local architects. The Design Forum of Cleveland was founded in 2006 as a multi-disciplinary organization with the goals of improving awareness of area design professional services, increasing the consumption of area design professional services, and enhancing and sustaining the professional careers within the local design community. The forum sought to educate area leaders on the quality of available services and the economic impact of the commissions going out of town. Unfortunately, the efforts foundered when confronted by the Cleveland malaise described above; Corporate cultures that inherently value the corporation over the community at large have failed to see the connection and synergy that strengthens them both, while political authorities focused on feathering their own nests or occupied with surviving the times.

Fast forward to 2015, Cleveland has been rightfully labeled as a "Comeback City", as a new sense of optimism pervades our town. The City of Cleveland has new momentum and the economic cycle appears to be stable and in our favor. Downtown Cleveland, no longer a ghost town at night, is experiencing a resurgence of pride from its residents. Clevelanders are feeling better about the future of their city and architects in Northeast Ohio similarly seem to be doing a bit better than years past. AIA Cleveland has new energy and engaged members in all stages of their careers. We have schools of architecture nearby who are engaged in the community and turning out great students, many of whom are choosing to stay in Northeast Ohio. Now seems like a good time to start the conversation again about local advocacy, and to develop our own virtuous cycle.

To propel the local architectural and design community to the  position of leadership and respect to which it aspires requires a concerted effort by the whole A&D community to work together in a collegial and non-self-serving manner; to strengthen and elevate the design culture of our internal community. If you want to be the best, play with the best; taking pride and ownership in our place calls for addressing challenges facing our community as thought-leaders of the issues we feel passionately about.

We become thought leaders by educating and pushing ourselves, by looking outside our own immediate surroundings, by learning from each other, and reaching out to the community at-large. I believe that local advocacy should not be the focus of our efforts, but rather the byproduct of how we lead our lives, demonstrate our creativity, navigate complex systems, solve problems, give back to and strengthen our own community.

If I look around, I see that this is happening even now in many encouraging ways, although we have never been good at bringing attention to ourselves. Just as it has taken many years for Cleveland to begin to understand its place as a world-class, second tier city, it may take a long time to establish Cleveland architects in the appropriate place in the hearts and minds of our fellow Clevelanders. That's no reason to stop trying.

I recently learned about a Not For Profit group in San Francisco called Public Architecture http://www.publicarchitecture.org/, who propose that firms donate 1% of their firm hours towards pro bono work and track these efforts* . I started thinking about this and wondered what percent of effort Northeast Ohio architectural firms are already donating pro bono to charity, faith-based, community development, or public policy agencies. My guess is it exceeds 1% of firm hours- Let's find out and demonstrate that we are the geniuses loci.

* Bialosky + Partners Architects exceeds this benchmark set by "The 1% Project", donating 2% of their firm hours annually towards pro bono work.

September 17, 2014

A Future Practice: Bialosky + Partners Lead Sessions at the 2014 AIA Ohio Convention!

AIA Ohio Convention 2014 Bialosky + Partners Architects

AIA Ohio Convention 2014 Bialosky + Partners Architects

This week, Bialosky + Partners Architects will lead sessions at the 2014 AIA Ohio Convention, in Kent, OH that tackle the theme of "A Future Practice".  Senior and Managing Principal Jack A. Bialosky, Jr.,  AIA, LEED AP and Principal David W. Craun, AIA, LEED AP are  jointly leading two sessions. Thursday’s Session, Action Planning For Firm Development will be facilitated by Jeffery Carmen, Management Consultant to the AEC industry. On Friday, Jack and David, along with Partner Aaron Hill AIA of Richard Fleischman + Partners Architects, and Principal Mike Schuster, FAIA, LEED AP of MSA Architects will be hosting a discussion titled It Takes A Village to Raise A Partner. Finally, Designer and Business Development Director Theodore Ferringer, Assoc. AIA, LEED Assoc., is leading a session on Thursday with designer Michael Christoff, Assoc. AIA, of Vocon and Project Manager Angela Jayjack Assoc. AIA, LEED AP of the General Services Administration, titled Empowering Emerging Professionals & Non-Traditional Practitioners: Lessons Learned  From AIA Cleveland.

We hope to see you there!

See details regarding the convention and the individual sessions below:

About the 2014 AIA Ohio Convention:

AIA Ohio, in collaboration with host chapters AIA Eastern Ohio and AIA Akron will be hosting the 2014 AIA Ohio convention at Kent State University on September 18 - 20, 2014. Working together with members of the profession from throughout Ohio, this years convention will be the first time that AIA Ohio has worked to bring its annual convention to the site of one of the states architectural programs.

This years theme, "A Future Practice" focuses on careers, business and practice opportunities for those who are just entering the architectural profession as well as long time practitioners looking for ways to change their existing practices.  Centered out of the Kent State Hotel and Conference Center, the convention will focus on the connection of practice to the academy as the profession is redesigned.

Thursday, Sept. 18: 1:00 - 2:15pm at Dix Ballroom, KSU

Action Planning For Firm Development
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Too much time spent working in the business and not enough spent on the business can leave a firm stagnant and unable to compete. Generational changes and new technologies are not only changing how we produce architecture, but the business of architecture itself. This session reflects on how leadership can successfully plan for the changing landscape of practice, creating opportunities for innovation and growth, while still getting the job done. This session is primarily focused on mid to large size firms. Jeffery Carmen, Management Consultant to the AEC industry will lead this session, explaining the trends, hurdles, opportunities to both the business and practice of architecture. With over 35 years of experience, Carmen has helped many define and achieve success on their terms. With a belief that "industry standard metrics" perpetuate mediocrity, Jeffrey will explain how to plan for action without falling into usual solutions. Joining Jeffery will be Bialosky + Partners Architects Managing Principal, Jack Bialosky, Jr., and the firm's youngest Principal, David W. Craun. They will share BPA's recent Action Planning strategy which has transformed such things as work environment, branding and messaging, and young leadership that has pushed the firm to never before seen successes.

Thursday, Sept. 18: 2:30 - 3:45pm at McGilvery Ballroom, KSU

Empowering Emerging Professionals & Non-Traditional Practitioners: Lessons Learned From AIA Cleveland

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Organizations throughout the county are evaluating how they engage the generations they serve. With an average member age of 50 and 40% of members retiring in the next 10 years, AIA is at a particularly sensitive and exciting time as it evaluates its relationship with Emerging Professionals (EP) and those on non-traditional career paths. In response to this context, AIA is proactively responding to evolving membership needs through the Repositioning Initiative. This session will showcase engagement and programming lessons learned by the AIA Cleveland Associates Committee; a committee organized by a series of Associate Directors who recognized the importance of engaging EP's and non-traditional career path professionals in the organization. This panel will engage the audience in discussing: How can EP's and associates become valuable resources for AIA as outreach into the community, positioning components as leaders within the community? How can increased EP and associate participation help address the diversity gap found in most chapters? What value does AIA participation by EP's and associates have for firms? We shall discuss these questions and more in this moderated panel discussion, sharing the replicable model that AIA Cleveland has recently developed to engage and empower EP and associate members.

Friday, Sept. 19: 9:00am - 10:15am at McGilvery Ballroom, KSU 

It Takes A Village To Raise A Partner

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A roundtable discussion will allow participants to examine the road to Partnership as one that requires equal ownership of the process by both older and newer leaders of the firm. This model of shared ownership asks experienced Partners to strategize in growing and harvesting the next generation of leadership together with future firm leaders. A culture of empowerment and self-driven responsibility proves to be the soil for emerging practitioners (EPs) to not only bloom, but to take roots in the firm. From the EP side, the session explores how to emerge as a partner in a fashion that fits him/her personally. Managing Partner of Bialosky + Partners Architects, Jack A. Bialosky, Jr, AIA, LEED AP, will host this roundtable with David W. Craun, AIA, LEED AP, who made history when he earned the first intern-to-partner promotion in the firm. Mike Schuster, FAIA, LEED AP, Founding Principal of MSA Architects and AIA Ohio Immediate Past President and Aaron Hill, AIA, Partner at Richard Fleischman + Partners Architects and AIA Cleveland President-Elect will join other architects at various career milestones from around the state to join the discussion.