Posts tagged with "AIANY":

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Figment 2013 Brings a Cloud of 50,000 Plastic Bottles to Governors Island

Each year, the AIANY's Emerging New York Architect (ENYA) committee and the Structural Engineers Association of New York bring a whimsical, wondrous, and often absurd pavilion to New York's Governors Island as part of the FIGMENT Festival. This year, FIGMENT held a design competition and 200 designers submitted proposals. The newly announced City of Dreams Competition winner for 2013 is Brooklyn-based Studio Klimoski Chang Architects and their sustainably-minded Head in the Clouds pavilion, comprised of metal rods, and thousands of plastic milk jugs and water bottles. Head in the Clouds is really a collection of 120 "pillows" joined together to create a bumpy cloud filtering light into an occupiable space below. Designers Jason Klimoski and Lesley Chang will partner with local schools and organizations to collect the 53,780 needed milk jugs and water bottles. From outside the pavilion, the array of plastic bottles will appear sparkling white, but inside with the help of a little water and blue-tinted water coloring, light shining through the pavilion will radiate in a variety of shades of blue. The pavilion will be built and displayed on Governors Island during the summer of 2013 pending necessary permitting and fundraising. At the end o the summer, the pavilion will be recycled to help offset its carbon footprint. You can donate to the pavilion-building effort at the FIGMENT website. Four other finalists were named in the competition and their proposals can be seen below: A cloud, in a tree by SAMPLES, Julien Boitard and Richard Nguyen, the Enneper Pavilion by Maria Mingallon, Fodder Form Pavilion by HuycKurlanDowling, Teddy Huyck, Alexis Kurland and Conner Dowling, and For Rent by MTWTHFSS, Ed Blumer and Pete Storey.
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Architects and Scientists Debate How to Prepare a Post-Sandy New York Region

Barriers or freshwater wetlands? New building codes? What about porous pavements or floating city blocks? These were just a few of the ideas batted around at AIANY’s discussion and fundraiser, “Designing the City after Superstorm Sandy,” at the Center for Architecture last Thursday evening. The panel, moderated by Michael Kimmelman, architecture critic for The New York Times, consisted of the city’s leading designers, architects, scientists, and government officials. While each panelist came to the conversation with a different approach and set of strategies, all agreed that change is necessary and new solutions urgent. “There’s a certain consensus about taking steps in the long-run,” said Kimmelman. The participants on the panel included Cynthia Barton, Housing Recovery Plan Manager at the NYC Office of Emergency Management; Howard Slatkin, Director of Sustainability and Deputy Director of Strategic Planning for the city; Dr. Klaus Jacob, a geophysicist and Special Research Scientist at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory; Stephen Cassell, principal architect at ARO; Donna Walcavage, landscape architect and urban designer; and Robert M. Rogers, partner of Rogers Marvel Architects. The design solutions are part of a larger and more complex issue that call for us to “re-frame the ways we engage with the water,” said Cassell whose ideas helped to spearhead the Rising Currents exhibit at MoMA in 2010.  And as Kimmelman pointed out in his introduction, will force us to decide, “what parts of the city are necessary to change, salvage and develop and what parts we cannot.” Cassell and Walcavage advocate for what they term “soft solutions” such as freshwater wetlands and upland parks that won’t disrupt the balance of the ecosystem as oppose to the much talked about barriers. Dr. Jacob referred to himself as a “barrier skeptic.” He hasn’t completely ruled them out, but believes that other preventive measures should be considered, including regulations and large-scale regional planning with New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York. The solutions were at once specific and lofty, and Kimmelman challenged the panelists during the Q&A session when he asked: “Who will legislate and have authority? Why will something change now?” Many of the participants argued that Hurricane Sandy is a turning point, and there’s simply too much at stake. Rogers pointed out that New York City is a “grid of real estate” and the significant investment in waterfront property will prompt developers and the city to be pro-active whether that means implementing new codes and regulations or altering the landscape by creating saltwater marshes to act as buffers against rising sea levels and storms. A few panelists suggested that an improved version of Robert Moses would lead the way or joked that perhaps a benevolent god would appear. Even though Kimmelman remained ambivalent and questioned why strong and cohesive leadership would emerge now to help facilitate change, it looks like the city is already taking action. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has asked the Urban Green Council to launch a Building Resiliency Task Force, which will consist of leading professionals in New York City real estate. In an announcement last week, Urban Green said that the Task Force’s main objective is “to take an in-depth look at how to better prepare our buildings for future storms and infrastructure failures.” A list of recommendations will be released in summer of 2013.
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Meet the New Practices

We let you know about the exhibition, and now this year’s AIANY New Practices New York lecture series is kicking into gear following formlessfinder’s presentation late last month and a winner’s roundtable Monday night. The discussion was moderated by Dan Wood and Troy Therrien and included New Practices honorees Christian Wassmann, Amanda Schachter of SLO Architecture, Emily Abruzzo of ABRUZZO BODZIAK ARCHITECTS, Julian Rose of formlessfinder, and David Benjamin of The Living. The lecture series, featuring a presentation and discussion of each firm’s work, is held at the Axor/Hansgrohe showroom in the Meatpacking District and will continue through January. First up was formlessfinder, the team of Garrett Ricciardi and Julian Rose. Ricciardi earned his BFA from Cooper Union and Rose received a BA from Harvard in Art and Architectural History before both receiving Masters of Architecture from Princeton. The team has a critical approach to architecture that reflects their academic backgrounds, exploring the fundamental relationships between form and material. The name, since you’re wondering, derives from the philosopher Georges Bataille’s notion of the formless and his critique of the limiting and imposing nature of form. Formlessness describes a conception of architecture that is not limited by the historical and symbolic weight of materials; put simply, says Ricciardi, “architecture shouldn’t have to look like architecture.” The team investigates the physical limitations and possibilities of raw matter as architectural tool, using feedback from material tests to explore and inform structure. formlessfinder exploits building material with an understanding of sustainability that approaches building as inherently environmental. Rose explains, “sustainability leaves no surface safe,” and the symbolic appeal of a “green” material like bamboo is outweighed by the environmental cost of shipping it across the globe. Their short-listed PS1 pavilion proposed arches made from an inexpensive erosion-control geotextile that are filled with gravel at the bases and foam cubes curving above, an intentionally inefficient use of material, but can be almost entirely sourced close to the site. Monday’s roundtable discussion, held at the Center for Architecture, involved a short introduction from each of the firms followed by group discussion about the firms’ multidisciplinary outlooks, manipulation of technology, and metrics of success. Many of the works presented were speculative investigations of material and form, such as formlessfinder’s aforementioned material tests and ABRUZZO BODZIAK’s Peaks & Valleys shading system. Of the built works presented, most were small-scale and more research-oriented than purely architectural, such as The Living’s Living Light canopy in Seoul that displays real-time information about the city’s air quality. SLO researched environmental and social impacts of development along the Bronx River, creating a model of the watershed from reclaimed material that includes historical ecology and infrastructure, then ferrying it up the river with kayaks. While the lack of larger-scale commissioned work is an effect of the commercial climate, all firms have high ambitions; in defining success, Christian Wassman said, "I don't want to be a big architect, I want to be an influential one." AIANY will continue New Practices New York programs with several guided exhibition tours in July and August, while the lecture series will return September 27 with SLO Architecture and run through January. Below is the complete lecture schedule. We’ll see you there! Presentation and Conversation with SLO Architecture Thursday September 27th, 2012, 6-8 PM, Axor NYC Presentation and Conversation with HOLLER architecture Tuesday October 16th, 2012, 6-8 PM, Axor NYC Presentation and Conversation with ABRUZZO BODZIAK ARCHITECTS Thursday November 15th, 2012, 6-8 PM, Axor NYC Presentation and Conversation with Christian Wassmann  Thursday December 13th, 2012, 6-8 PM, Axor NYC Presentation and Conversation with The Living January TBA, 2013, 6-8 PM,  Axor NYC
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AIANY Honors 2012 Design Award Winners: Urban Design

[Editor's Note: This the final in a four-part series documenting the winners of the AIANY's 2012 Design Awards, which are broken down into four categories: architecture, interiorsunbuilt work, and urban design. This list covers urban design awards.] The AIANY has released its annual list of Design Awards noting projects that demonstrate exemplary originality and quality. Urban Design Honor and Merit Award winners were selected by a jury consisting of Bernardo Fort-Brescia of Arquitectonica, Michael Lehrer of Lehrer Architects, and Donlyn Lyndon of the University of California Berkeley. Two urban design projects were distinguished with the top Honor Award including the Santa Fe Railyard Park and Plaza by Frederic Schwartz Architects with Ken Smith Landscape Architect and the Master Plan for the Central Delaware by Cooper, Robertson & Partners and Kieran Timberlake with OLIN. Winning work in all four categories will be on display ay the Center for Architecture at 536 LaGuardia Place beginning April 19 through May 31.

Urban Design Honor Award Winners:

  Santa Fe Railyard Park and Plaza, Frederic SCHWARTZ Architects with Ken Smith Landscape Architect Santa Fe, NM Master Plan for the Central Delaware, Cooper, Robertson & Partners and Kieran Timberlake with OLIN Partnership Philadelphia, PA

Urban Design Merit Award Winners:

Water Proving Grounds: Rising Currents, LTL Architects New York, NY Holding Pattern, Interboro Partners Queens, NY Click on a thumbnail to launch the slideshow. All photos courtesy respective firms unless noted otherwise.
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AIANY Honors 2012 Design Award Winners: Unbuilt Work

[Editor's Note: This the third in a four-part series documenting the winners of the AIANY's 2012 Design Awards, which are broken down into four categories: architecture, interiorsunbuilt work, and urban design. This list covers awards for unbuilt work.] The AIANY has released its annual list of Design Awards noting projects that demonstrate exemplary originality and quality, and the category covering unbuilt work tends to be among the most creative. This year's Honor and Merit Award winners for unbuilt work were selected by a jury consisting of Scott Erdy of Erdy McHenry Architecture, Thomas Hacker of THA, and Bruce Lindsey, dean of the College of Architecture at Washington University. Three unbuilt projects were distinguished with the top Honor Award including the Hirshhorn Museum Seasonal Inflatable Pavilion by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Kling Stubbins, Dortoir Familial by NADAAA, Bidard & Raissi, and Agence François Vieillecroze, and the USAFA/Center for Character & Leadership Development by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Winning work in all four categories will be on display ay the Center for Architecture at 536 LaGuardia Place beginning April 19 through May 31.

Un-Built Work Honor Award Winners:

Hirshhorn Museum Seasonal Inflatable Pavilion, Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Kling Stubbins Washington, DC Dortoir Familial, NADAAA, Bidard & Raissi, and Agence François Vieillecroze Ramatuelle, France USAFA/Center for Character & Leadership Development, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Colorado Springs, CO

Un-Built Work Merit Award Winners:

West 57th, SLCE with BIG Bjarke Ingels Group New York, NY Brooklyn Detention Center, 1100 Architect and RicciGreene Associates Brooklyn, NY Magok Waterfront : INTER-CITY, UnitedLAB Seoul, South Korea Sabah Al-Salem University College of Education, Perkins+Will Shadadiyah, Kuwait University City, Kuwait The House on Chicken Feet: Fairy Tale Architecture, Bernheimer Architecture and LevenBetts with Guy Nordenson Associates Various Center for Architecture Science and Ecology, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in collaboration with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute New York, NY Click on a thumbnail to launch the slideshow. All photos courtesy respective firms unless noted otherwise.
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AIANY Honors 2012 Design Award Winners: Interiors

[Editor's Note: This the second in a four-part series documenting the winners of the AIANY's 2012 Design Awards, which are broken down into four categories: architecture, interiors, unbuilt work, and urban design. This list covers the interior awards.] The AIANY has released its annual list of Design Awards noting projects that demonstrate exemplary originality and quality. Interior Honor and Merit Award winners were selected by a jury consisting of Rand L. Elliott of Elliott+Associates Architects, Alice Y. Kimm of John Friedman and Alice Kimm Architects, and Gary L. Lee of Gary Lee Partners. Three interior projects were distinguished with the top Honor Award including Nam June Paik Library by N H D M / Nahyun Hwang + David Eugin Moon, Logan by Formactiv with SO-IL, and the Hinman Research Building by Lord, Aeck & Sargent with Office dA. Winning work in all four categories will be on display ay the Center for Architecture at 536 LaGuardia Place beginning April 19 through May 31.

Interiors Honor Award Winners:

Nam June Paik Library, N H D M / Nahyun Hwang + David Eugin Moon Yongin, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea Logan, Formactiv with SO-IL New York, NY Hinman Research Building, Georgia Institute of Technology, Lord, Aeck & Sargent with Office dA Atlanta, GA

Interiors Merit Award Winners:

Greenwich Village Townhouse, Ryall Porter Sheridan Architects New York, NY Manhattan Triplex, 1100 Architect New York, NY Barbie Shanghai, Slade Architecture Shanghai, China Nicola’s, Gage / Clemenceau Architects New York, NY Xocolatti, Brian Gillen with de-spec inc. New York, NY Ohne Titel Concept Store, EASTON + COMBS New York, NY Click on a thumbnail to launch the slideshow. All photos courtesy respective firms unless noted otherwise.
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AIANY Honors 2012 Design Award Winners: Architecture

[Editor's Note: This the first in a four-part series documenting the winners of the AIANY's 2012 Design Awards, which are broken down into four categories: architecture, interiors, unbuilt work, and urban design. This list covers the architecture awards, but additional segments spotlight winners in interiors, unbuilt work, and urban design.] On March 5, the AIA New York released its list of 2012 Design Award winners, honoring the best design by New York-based architects and built work in New York City. The awards in the architecture category cover a wide spectrum of scales and locations from a portico gallery at New York's Frick Collection to a pedestrian bridge in France to a hospital in Boston. A jury consisting of Thomas H. Beeby, Anne Fougeron, and Carme Pinós selected the winners, awarding the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver by Allied Works and the National September 11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan by Handel Architects and Davis Brody Bond with Peter Walker Partners top prize, the Architecture Honor Award. An official awards luncheon will take place on April 18 at Cipriani Wall Street to honor all the winners.

Architecture Honor Award Winners:

Clyfford Still Museum, Allied Works Architecture Denver, CO National September 11 Memorial, Handel Architects and Davis Brody Bond with Peter Walker Partners New York, NY

Architecture Merit Award Winners:

Mizuta Museum of Art, Studio SUMO and Obayashi Design Department Sakado, Japan The Frick Collection Portico Gallery, Davis Brody Bond New York, NY Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, Ennead Architects Queens, NY Pedestrian Bridge, Bernard Tschumi Architects and Hugh Dutton Associates La Roche-sur-Yon, France Structure for Long Dock Park, Architecture Research Office Beacon, NY 219 West / Subcat Studios, Fiedler Marciano Architecture Syracuse, NY MoMA PS1 Entrance Building, Andrew Berman Architect Queens, NY TWA Flight Center, JFK International Airport, The Port Authority of NY & NJ and Beyer Blinder Belle Queens, NY A Simple Factory Building, Pencil Office and ARYA Architects Singapore Massachusetts General Hospital, Lunder Building, NBBJ Boston, MA High Line 23, Neil M. Denari Architects New York, NY Marine Company 1, Firehouse, CR Studio New York, NY Click on a thumbnail to launch the slideshow. All photos courtesy respective firms unless noted otherwise.
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Aliotta Takes Helm at AIANY

Joseph Aliotta, a principal at Swanke Hayden Connell, took over the chapter presidency of the AIANY last month, ushering in the Center for Architecture’s 2012 theme: “Future Now.” Aliotta plans a two-prong approach that will focus on the future of the profession and of the future of the built environment. A first generation New Yorker, Aliotta said his blue-collar Brooklyn roots partly informed his efforts to bring fresh faces to the profession. A City College education yielded his family’s second college degree (an older cousin got the first), inspiring him to volunteer at the ACE Mentor Program, which lends a hand to high school students aspiring to be architects and engineers. “They may not look like me, but they are just like me,” he said of today’s first generation New Yorkers. Aliotta doesn’t plan on reinventing the wheel to bring newcomers to the Center. Instead, he plans to capitalize on existing career development programs, like Emerging New York Architects (ENYA) and New Practices New York competition. Rather than dreaming up new exhibition themes, the ENYA and New Practices competitions will act as flagships to the year’s programming. The thinking is that over the summer months when students are out of school, they’ll populate the Center and drive the programming effort. A one-day conference where students and young professionals set the agenda is planned for September. Regarding the built environment, Aliotta has requested that all 27 committees at AIANY focus on future needs to answer the question, “Where are we going to grow?” He added that even committees that may seem to go against the grain of a future-focused theme, like the Historic Buildings committee, fit quite nicely into the program when it comes to greening and maintaining older buildings. Even though the new president isn't not planning marquee moments, changes are already taking place. “It’s not about how many events we have, it’s about a change of culture,” he said. He noted that with the year’s theme announced, several of the existing committees have reached out to the ENYA members to coordinate with them, creating a casual interaction between established and new members. “That collaboration and that energy results in a mentorship that’s natural and not forced," said Aliotta.
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AIANY Names Seven Young Firms among 2012 New Practices

Seven young and creative architecture firms were named as recipients of AIANY's New Practices New York awards for 2012. Now in its fourth iteration, the biennial award established in 2006 and sponsored by Hansgrohe "honors firms that have utilized unique and innovative strategies, both for the projects they undertake and for the practices they have established." This year's New Practices honorees are SLO Architecture, Holler Architecture, Abruzzo Bodziak Architects, Marc Fornes and the Very Many, Formless, The Living, and Christian Wassmann. Winners will be featured in an exhibition opening June 14 at the Center for Architecture, participation in the AIA national convention, and, of course, a free subscription to The Architect's Newspaper (the competion's media sponsor). Abruzzo Bodziak Architects From the jury: "An inspiring—and very consistent—portfolio; a serious and mature practice for its relatively young age. Good dialogue between ideas, practice, architecture, client, builder, and consultants." Firm web site. Holler Architecture From the jury: "It was refreshing to see the 'systems approach' to sustainability that was evident in their work. The architects were careful to treat the complex processes with rigor and to leverage them to inform their innovative design propositions. Firm web site. formlessfinder (Garret Ricciardi and Julian Rose) From the jury: "John Cage once said that an experimental act is one where the outcome is not known in advance. For Garret and Julian, matter and ideas are one. The perform material experiments not with a specific outcome in mid, but in an authentic spirit of exploration—sometimes ugly, often surprising, the results are materially rich and experientially suggestive." Firm web site. Marc Fornes & The Very Many From the jury: "Marc Fornes designs and builds meticulous constructions that are formally intricate, tactile, and experientially complex. The one and the many have never been so many. He is a highly sophisticated scripter and user of complex software but he is also a canny, hand’s on maker of things, and it is this interplay between the virtual and the real that makes his work so compelling." Firm web site. The Living From the jury: "We loved the blend of invention, humor, and the deep conviction that the work done should make the world a better place. The communication of their research is done in ways that are elegant and absolutely visceral." Firm web site. SLO Architecture From the jury: "The 3 projects presented in this portfolio—Bronx River Crossing, Bushkill Overflow, and Harvest Dome—display a compelling and unified vision of architectural research. In their selection of what to focus on, who to work for and how to bring an architectural perspective to regional concerns they take seriously their claim to "explore how nature can transcend preconceived boundaries to trace new trajectories of urban life." Their formal creations-developed in dialog with users and the public- all bring a light, sensitive touch to their sites and show promise that SLO can themselves transcend preconceived boundaries of community architecture." Firm web site. Christian Wassmann From the jury: "Although we all had difficulty in navigating through the folding portfolio, when we did we found a coherent sense of exploration. Ideas were pursued at various scales and through various media and techniques—there is a clear sense that a true and thoughtful practice is in formation." Firm web site.   Click on a thumbnail to launch slideshow:
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Umbrella Shed Makes Broadway Debut

Its not everyday that construction and office workers stop to photograph a sidewalk scaffolding shed, but that's just what they were doing today on Broadway in Lower Manhattan. Yesterday, the mayor unveiled the new Urban Umbrella shed designed by Angencie Group. The new design, the result of a competition sponsored by the AIANY and the Department of Buildings, was fabricated by the Brooklyn based Caliper Studio. For the new sheds, multiple arcs of steel swoop up from the individual posts, fluting out at the top to hold translucent semicircle panels. The design allows day light to pore onto the sidewalk, lessening the need for electric lighting, and permitting views up toward the building's facade. The new shed allows pedestrians to dodge between the posts instead of being corralled together in narrow walkways bound by crossbars. The design might look familiar, but references to mid century paraboloids or gothic cathedral ceilings are incidental said Angencie Group's Andrés Cortés. "We didn’t really work by analogy," Cortés said. "There are a lot of similarities  you can draw from a hundred years ago, but what drove it formally was the quarter umbrellas that oppose each other."  The architect developed the project with partners Young-Hwan Choi and Sarrah Khan. He noted that the tectonics and performance requirements of the material drove the design formally.  Nevertheless, he did allow, "There is something familiar, and that’s what’s comforting about it."
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Archtober Building of the Day: Morgan Library and Museum

Superlatives swirled in every account of the 2006 opening of the expansion of the Morgan Library and Museum, designed by Renzo Piano with Beyer Blinder Belle. Nicolai Ouroussoff teed up: “dazzling,” “sublime,” “triumph,” and “mesmerizing” (New York Times, April 10, 2006). The AIANY jury feted it with its Architecture Honor Award in 2006, calling it “a masterpiece” (Oculus, Fall 2006). The critics adopted Piano’s romantic metaphor “piazza” to describe the new atrium space. Maybe I’m a traditionalist, but I think that buildings face onto piazzas, showing their fronts—not their back-sides. Don’t get me wrong—the McKim library has a very pleasant blank Tennessee marble back side, and you can barely see the hind quarters of the Annex building for all the overhead extravaganzas of shading grids, light fixtures, and flying elevator platforms. The brownstone of the former residence is also obscured behind the deep cherry paneling and new pavilion that houses offices and the loading dock on the 37th Street side. When I think piazza, I think figural space—space that has defined shape and volume. The Gilbert Court space, as it is named, is vaporous and soft—it flows between the masses of the three buildings that pin its corners. It is an indeterminate medium into which the other buildings have been embedded, incidentally, not creating its own new separate order, but rather seeping in and around tiny points of entry on the behinds of the cardinal structures. -Cynthia Kracauer/Center for Architecture
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Architects Leading Charge for Disaster Preparedness

After going through 9/11,  the importance of disaster preparedness and relief hit home with New Yorkers. "Everyone was focusing on the fact that New York had been damaged," said Lance Jay Brown, AIANY board member and co-chair of the recently formed Design for Risk and Reconstruction committee of the AIANY. "The architectural community was galvanized to respond." Just coming off a jolt from a rare, if small, earthquake and with Hurricane Irene on its doorstep, New York is once again focused on planning for disaster. In 2004, Brown convened an ad hoc committee comprised of members of the design and planning community including the AIA, APA, and ALSA to form the Disaster Preparedness Task Force. With global disasters from Katrina to quakes in Haiti and Chile making news more and more frequently, the group sought to organize architects as first responders to help not only with the aftermath of a disaster but also to prepare for future events. "We thought it would be reasonable for the architectural community to look at these problems to figure out what we could do before, during, and after," Brown explained. This year, the AIANY further sought to establish a permanent standing committee to explore the array of issues surrounding disasters and design. In May, a committee was formed and by June, after some debate over the name, was christened Design for Risk and Reconstruction. The group had its first meeting this Wednesday attended by about 20 people, coincidentally timed between an earthquake and a hurricane. Brown said the group couldn't anticipate these events when the meeting was scheduled months ago, but noted, "When there's a crisis, everyone jumps up and gets interested but then quickly forgets." The momentum of current events could be a boon toward realizing goals of better design for disasters. "The goal of the committee is to foster an attitude of good design to anticipate risk and find opportunities to improve design," he said. Among the ideas of the committee are to host a series of events ranging from rebuilding tornado-ravaged Greenburg, Kansas to applying lessons from 9/11 toward rebuilding Haiti. The group's first event will feature Klaus Jacob of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University who has researched disaster preparedness in New York. He and his colleagues recently published "Vulnerability of the New York City Metropolitan Area to Coastal Hazards, Including Sea-Level Rise: Inferences for Urban Coastal Risk Management and Adaptation Policies." No date has been set for the event. Brown compared the group's efforts to the advent of fire egress regulations over the past 150 years. After a devastating fire in the 1830s that destroyed Manhattan's Wall Street district, a series of design improvements were made to ensure better safety in buildings. Fire escapes first appeared to offer a second means of egress and then dual utilitarian fireproof stairs. Today, architects are celebrating fire stair design in the city's newest buildings. "We have gone from a time of no egress to egress as a design attribute 150 years later," Brown said. Designing for other disasters could have the same effect. As Irene moves closer to New York and bottles of water begin disappearing off bodega shelves, Brown said the best approach is to hunker down and ride out the storm in safety. "We don't tend to have buildings that blow away," he noted. "What seems most dangerous is damage caused by flying objects." A few of his recommendations: move indoors all objects that can catch the wind, from awnings to deck chairs, or securely tie them down; residents of tall buildings should move to a lower level—below the tenth floor—to ride out the storm, due to increased winds at higher elevations and greater building sway. While scaffolding might seem particularly vulnerable, after the city shuts down all construction sites across the city on Saturday at 2:00 p.m., the scaffolds should remain strong. "If things have been done to code and correctly anchored to buildings, there's little to fear," Brown said. Scaffolding could actually increase safety, providing shelter for those trapped outside during the storm. "The city is getting better at being prepared," Brown noted. "It's a good time to remind people to get informed."