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.

Highlights from the conference itself include:

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!

January 29, 2013

Is There a Pony in There?: A Week With Architecture Research Office

“Is there a pony in there?” were the first words I heard at the Airline ticket counter on what should have been an uneventful flight back to Northeast Ohio.

I remember during my undergraduate at Kent State hearing rumors of how soon it might be till we would get a new College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) building, and somehow I always placed it being in the far-off future. I was wrong. It has been a very busy last few months in preparation and design for the CAED Competition- and here’s a few highlights of working in NYC with Architecture Research Office during the last week of the competition. Bialosky + Partners Architects and Architecture Research Office Needless to say the scene was fantastic, who wouldn't love working in NYC? My commute to work consisted of walking through the historic Soho District of cast iron facades felt like a step back in time. And working in such an iconic city was pretty surreal. The whole crew at ARO was great, I love going to new places and meeting new people and this was a perfect combination of both. The hardest part of adjusting to the new environment was learning everyone’s name. Thankfully on the fridge in their kitchenette there was a clever celebrity doppelgänger for most everyone in the office - it was pretty accurate and it served as a  great cheat sheet for learning everyone’s name. 1-wm 2-wm I knew from the moment I walked into the office that the physical model I was going to help construct was going to be killer.   The entire office was surrounded by great presentation and diagrammatic models. The first day or so were getting the laser files ready, and over the next few days I became best friends with the laser cutter in the fabrication space. I went from hardly knowing anything about the settings for a laser cutter to knowing it possibly better than the back of my hand. A few things I learned that are important while using a laser cutter are: always tape down the basswood, stay hydrated, avoid wearing warm clothing like a  sweater, and most importantly put on copious amounts of deodorant! Over the week it seemed like there wasn't a moment that something wasn't being built.  Not only did the site and the architectural model need to be created, but since we were flying from NYC back to Ohio, a case to safely transport the site model needed to be created. As we worked on different portions of the model doing trials for roof materiality, façade articulations, and site patterns it was cool to see these isolated pieces of model began to piece together. 3-wm The last few hours before we left were definitely all hands on deck as all the finishing touches and last-minute tweaks were done to the models. Kai from ARO was helping me transport the model and as we got to the airport and I've never seen so many inquisitive faces.  As we approached the counter I heard in a semi-joking voice, "Is there a pony in there!?" As we placed the "pony" box on the scale we thought for sure it was going to weigh less than 100 lbs. As the numbers went up and down on the scale it settled on 108.  We talked with Margaret at the airline ticket counter and discussed our options. Although a large box, the dimensions were not a problem - it was those eight pounds over 100. Margaret started calling supervisors to see if there was any way we could get this on the plane, and after a few phone calls the unanimous answer was still no. I even asked if the box could take my seat on the plane. Realizing that getting on this plane was not going to happen, Kai and I both shook our heads realizing it was time to initiate plan B. Needing to keep the offices in the loop we  started calling our co-workers at ARO + BPA letting them know that our plan B was in effect and a road trip to Kent, Ohio was about to commence. We rented a car and Ethan from ARO and I got ready for the 7 hour trip to Ohio (no worries, both of us had gotten sleep the night before) with an ETA of 3:30am! We passed by many scenic overlooks through the mountains of Pennsylvania ( none of which we could actually see) and were thankful there wasn't a  blizzard or hurricane coming our way, unlike ARO's last two trips to Ohio. Arriving in Kent right on time we dropped off the model, and Ethan and I drove to the Canton Airport to drop him off and to pick up my car. He flew directly back about an hour later only getting to see the great interstates of Ohio, and I went to catch some zzz's. That evening at the public presentation in Kent it was really rewarding to see the results of the collaborative effort of both Bialosky + Partners Architects and Architecture Research Office and to have experienced the collaboration in Cleveland, New York City, and that night in Kent. I have no doubt this will be a lasting memory and will continue to be a highlight of my early career in architecture.

Bialosky Announces Transition Plan