All posts in Shft+Alt+Del

Placeholder Alt Text

Vishaan Chakrabarti departs SHoP to begin his own practice, the Partnership for Architecture and Urbanism
Architect and planner Vishaan Chakrabarti has had some crazy ideas over the years. In the past he has worked to convert an old Post Office adjacent to Penn Station into the monumental Moynihan Station and helped shape a loopy scheme to transform the former Domino Sugar Factory on Brooklyn's Williamsburg Waterfront. In 2013, he even spearheaded a proposal to extend Manhattan island to connect it with Governors Island and project a new plot of land into New York Harbor. It's fair to say that Chakrabarti thinks big. Today, Chakrabarti announced his latest big idea: his own architecture firm called the Partnership for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU). "All architects have something in them says they want to start their own firm," Chakrabarti told AN on Thursday. "I certainly thought about it in the past. I realized if I didn’t do this now I wouldn’t do it." He hopes PAU can return relevance to a profession that the public has relegated to "navel gazing." Rather than viewing buildings as shiny objects, PAU will look at how they interact with cities and across disciplines, accounting for the building user's experience and that of passers by. Chakrabarti has assembled a diverse and prestigious resume, working at top posts in the public and private sector. He started his career at SOM. Six years later he was named head at the Manhattan office of the Department of City Planning under Dan Doctoroff where he worked on projects like the High Line. Later he joined development firm the Related Companies, where he was named Executive Vice President of Design and Planning. The list goes on. Chakrabarti served as Director of the Columbia Center for Urban Real Estate in 2009 and is an Associate Professor of Professional Practice at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP). In 2012, he joined up with the skyrocketing firm SHoP Architects in the midst of several mega-projects including a number of skyscrapers and Essex Crossing. He published his book, A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for Urban America, in 2014, expounding a manifesto of urban living. "For me, PAU is really an opportunity to synthesize all of that experience into one direction," Chakrabarti said. "To bring to bear all I have learned—it’s a great chance to bring all that experience together." He plans to draw on both his planning and architecture background to create a more holistic firm. "I think this is a healthy and important thing for the future of architecture, to understand the context in which we practice," he said. "It’s about speaking multiple languages." In his work, teachings, and writing, Chakrabarti has been a staunch supporter of cities and the urban density that makes them tick. PAU, set to be based in New York City, will focus on those cities. "You’ll see a very strong focus on cosmopolitan architecture and strategic urbanism—how we’ll have an impact that’s very directly associated with cities," he said. "That division—architecture and planning—is what makes cities work," he continued. "It used to be that the professions were joined at the hip. You could think of architecture as an outcome of innovative planning. That’s no longer the case." PAU will concentrate on architecture and strategic planning, including master planning, advocacy, and urban design. The firm's first clients include Google's Sidewalk Labs, a new project with Two Trees Management, and a new cultural building in Manhattan. Chakrabarti said he couldn't disclose concrete details about those projects and noted that his firm would begin unveiling them in coming months. Describing his work with Sidewalk Labs, Chakrabarti said his work will prioritize "the future of the city and technology and how technology can create innovation and make our lives better by elevating quality of life. It thinks about everything from changes to the automobile to changes in how we use services in the city." PAU's cultural commission "will talk about the future of how culture interacts with the city and integrates with the urban experience." He added, "It's not just another black box." PAU will initially focus on metropolitan areas in North America. "I’m very interested in the betterment of the American city," he said. "Mayor’s around the country have really caught on to this—that design is a critical piece of attracting human capital and making cities better places." Chakrabarti said the firm may eventually work internationally, but with strong caveats against working in nations that abuse labor or are not transparent and accountable.
Placeholder Alt Text

Maxwell Anderson steps down as Director of Dallas Museum of Art for New Cities Foundation
After serving for almost four years, Maxwell Anderson has resigned from his post as Director at the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) so he can focus on his new venture, New Cities Foundation in New York City. According to Melissa Fetter, chairman of the DMA’s board of trustees, Anderson saw attendances rise to over 700,000 people per year while at the museum, raising a total of $40 million for the museum in the process. As a temporary replacement, Walter Elcock, who is currently president of the board, will be taking the role of interim director. Meanwhile board vice president Catherine Rose will serve as interim president. It has been a great privilege to work alongside the Board and staff of the DMA, and to play a role in helping shape the Dallas Arts District Foundation as its chairman since 2013. My growing interest in how cultural districts can shape cities led me to this new, exciting opportunity in New York City,” Anderson said of leaving the position. Anderson will now become a Director of Grant Programs at the New Cities Foundation, which started in 2010 in New York City. Anderson described the move as "a compelling new opportunity; the New Cities Foundation is among the most innovative, urban-focused enterprises in the world.” New Cities focuses on urban, social, and economic development. "Our mission is to shape a better urban future for all by fostering urban innovation and entrepreneurship. We do this by building and empowering our global network, convening events and conducting pragmatic research," the foundation states on its website.
Placeholder Alt Text

Martha Thorne is the new dean of Madrid’s IE School of Architecture and Design
On September 4th, IE University in Madrid announced Martha Thorne as the new Dean of the IE School of Architecture and Design. School leaders anticipate that her knowledge of the international architecture and design worlds will further IE's mission of training forward-thinking designers and architects. Previously, Thorne served as the Executive Director of the Pritzker Prize. From 1996 to 2005, she acted as the Associate Curator in the Department of Architecture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Thorne has authored and edited numerous books and articles, including The Pritzker Architecture Prize: The First Twenty Years and Skyscrapers: The New MillenniumThorne received her Master of City Planning at the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Urban Affairs from SUNY Buffalo.
Placeholder Alt Text

Two of the biggest names in engineering, Weidlinger and Thornton Tomasetti, have joined forces
Two of the world’s most respected engineering firms, Thornton Tomasetti and Weidlinger Associates, have merged. Operating under the Thornton Tomasetti name, the deal means that the firm will now offer 10 practices offering a "broader range" of service to its clients as well as employing 1,200 staff and operating in 34 cities across the globe. The 10 practices will include:
  • Forensics
  • Renewal
  • Weidlinger Applied Science
  • Property Loss Consulting
  • Structural Engineering
  • Construction Engineering
  • Weidlinger Protective Design
  • Facade Engineering
  • Weidlinger Transportation
  • Sustainability
The Weidlinger name was kept in some services due to industry reputation. The firm will remain headquartered in New York City, with offices at the current 51 Madison Avenue and 40 Wall Street locations.
Placeholder Alt Text

Eavesdrop> What’s your resign? Hilary Jay steps down at the Philadelphia Center for Architecture
After just under two years at the helm, Philadelphia Center for Architecture director Hilary Jay has stepped down. The Center said in a statement that the departure was “mutual and amicable.” But after the recent abrupt, mysterious resignation of Rick Bell from AIA New York for undisclosed reasons, we are left wondering what really is going on behind the scenes. Jay’s legacy is the Design Philadelphia Festival, which she founded but will leave under direction of the Center. “I move forward knowing that the festival is in capable and creative hands with Nova Harris as DP’s program manager,” she said in a statement So the story goes…
Placeholder Alt Text

Breaking> Nader Tehrani named dean of Cooper Union School of Architecture
New York City's Cooper Union finally found a new leader. Nader Tehrani has been appointed dean of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture. He joins the school this month, taking over where Anthony Vidler left off. Tehrani, formerly of Office dA, is now principal of NADAAA. Tehrani is also a professor of architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and served as head of MIT’s Department of Architecture from 2010 to 2014. For over 25 years, Tehrani has developed research around material culture as the basis for speculation—exploring material properties, negotiating materials and their geometric predispositions and challenging the means and methods of building processes. “Nader Tehrani is in tune with the traditions of the Irwin S. Chanin School in terms of our emphasis on exploration and the processes that are at the core of the creation and production of architectural form,” said School of Architecture Professor Diana Agrest, who chaired the dean search committee. “He brings fresh perspectives on architectural discourse that will open new avenues in our teaching and will help create new energy in the school.” At Office dA, Tehrani has been recognized with the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in Architecture (2007). More recently, Tehrani completed three schools of architecture, including the Hinman Research Building at Georgia Tech and the Faculty of Architecture, Building, & Planning at the University of Melbourne. He is currently working on the completion of the new John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, & Design facility at the University of Toronto. Tehrani received a B.F.A. and a B.Arch from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1985 and 1986, respectively. He continued his studies at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, where he attended the post-graduate program in history and theory. Upon his return to the United States, Tehrani received the Masters of Architecture and Urban Design from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in 1991.
Placeholder Alt Text

Eavesdrop> The Bell Rings In Silence: Gossip swirls over changes at AIANY
There was one question on everybody’s mind in New York this spring: What happened to Rick Bell? On March 27, without warning or explanation, the former executive director of AIANY and the Center for Architecture tendered his resignation, effective immediately, which AIANY’s board of directors promptly accepted. The unforthcoming announcement stirred up a steamy fountain of rumor and conjecture—very little of it fit for printing—over what could have precipitated Bell’s speedy departure, and AIANY’s continued reticence on the matter (there seems to be a gag order in place among its staff) hasn’t done anything to lessen the sheer salacious heights to which the gossip has climbed. Bell, for his part, doesn’t seem to be very phased by the upheaval. Eavesdrop spotted him at the Storefront for Art and Architecture’s annual benefit party—held this year in the unfinished lobby of the Rafael Viñoly–designed 432 Park Avenue—wearing a T-shirt that read “I Am Still Alive” and smiling like the cat that ate the canary. Also like a cat, Bell has landed on his feet. On May 8, New York City Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora announced that the agency had hired him as its executive director of design and construction excellence. Meanwhile, in an interesting game of musical chairs, the AIANY appointed David Burney, who recently left his post as commissioner of the DDC, as its interim executive director.
Placeholder Alt Text

Friends of the High Line President selected to lead World Monuments Fund
Joshua David, the co-founder and former president of Friends of the High Line, has been named as the new president of the World Monuments Fund (WMF). He will succeed retiring president Bonnie Burnham who has been in the role since 1985. The change is effective November 2nd. For the last half century, the WMF has been working with its partners around the globe to protect and preserve architectural monuments from threats natural and manmade.  “Josh’s ability to marry collaborative restoration with community engagement makes him an excellent choice to lead World Monuments Fund into the 21st century,” Burnham said in a statement. “Based on his experience of working with preservationists and architects for the last 16 years, the Board unanimously agreed that he was the right leader to steward World Monuments Fund as we begin our next 50 years.” For his own part, David said: “It’s critical that we continue World Monuments Fund’s vital work to preserve and steward sites of architectural, artistic, and cultural significance around the world. These sites connect us to our past and inspire us to build a better future. I’m honored to succeed Bonnie in leading World Monuments Fund’s talented team to carry out this essential mission.”
Placeholder Alt Text

Constantin Boym named Industrial Design Chair at Pratt Institute
Designer Constantin Boym has been named as the Industrial Design Chair within the School of Design at the Pratt Institute. Boym founded the award-winning design studio, Boym Partners, which he runs alongside Laurene Leon Boym, and was a professor and director of graduate design studies at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar from 2010–2012.
“Professor Boym has an impressive history as a designer in the industry and within academia, and I look forward to him bringing his wealth of experience to Pratt,” said Pratt Institute Design Dean Anita Cooney in a statement. “I am confident that his critical, experimental approach to design will build upon the Department’s history of excellence and innovation.” Boym will assume his new role on July 13.  
Placeholder Alt Text

Monica Ponce de Leon named next dean of Princeton University’s School of Architecture
Monica Ponce de Leon has been tapped as the next dean of Princeton University's School of Architecture. She will assume the prestigious role on January 1, 2016. "I am deeply honored by the trust that Princeton is placing upon me and I look forward to working with students and faculty in writing the next chapter in the history of the school," said Ponce de Leon in a statement. "Given that architecture plays a unique role in the construction of culture, at the intersection of the humanities, the sciences and the arts, the opportunities are enormous. I am excited to work with the School of Architecture and the leadership at Princeton to expand and deepen architecture's role in understanding and speculating on the challenges of our time." Ponce de Leon will be coming to her new gig from the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor where she has been dean since 2008. Before that, she served on the faculty at the Harvard GSD for 12 years.
Placeholder Alt Text

Diane Davis to head Harvard GSD’s Department of Urban Planning
Just days after the Harvard Graduate School of Design announced that Anita Berrizbeitia would be the new chair of its Department of Landscape Architecture, the school has announced another big appointment: Professor Diane Davis will be head its Department of Urban Planning. "Davis teaches courses and options studios that examine the role of politics in planning and design, relations between urbanization and development, and socio-spatial practice at the scale of the city," the school said in a statement. "Her research focuses on urban transformations in the global south, particularly the urban social, spatial, and political conflicts that have emerged in response to globalization, informality, and political and economic violence. In her capacity as co-director of the Risk and Resilience track in the Master in Design Studies (MDes) program, Davis explores overlapping vulnerabilities in the built and natural environment and assesses their significance for planning theory and design practice." Both Davis and Berrizbeitia will assume their new roles on July 1.  
Placeholder Alt Text

Paul Gunther appointed executive director of Gracie Mansion Conservancy by New York Mayor De Blasio
Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray have appointed Paul Gunther the executive director of the Gracie Mansion Conservancy. Gunther will ensure that "not only are the historic fabric and contents of the great 1799 landmark well preserved, but that it thrives in today’s modern society," according to a statement from the mayor's office. In addition to his role as a frequent contributor to AN, Mr. Gunther has served as Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Director of Development at The New York Historical Society, Director of Development and American Liaison at The American Center in Paris, and the Director of Development and Public Affairs at The Municipal Art Society, and President of the Institute for Classical Art and Architecture.