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October 6th, 2003, 12:10 AM
October 6, 2003

Architecture Center


The Center for Architecture in Greenwich Village has its formal opening on Tuesday with events planned by the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

In a public ceremony at 9 a.m. tomorrow, the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects will formally open the Center for Architecture. The grand opening ushers in Architecture Week, six days of activities that include the center's inaugural exhibition, "Going Public," an overview of the major initiatives of the New York City Department of Planning for all five boroughs, as well as "Design In," a 16-hour, 80-speaker marathon on current thinking in the building professions; openhousenewyork, two days of tours of significant buildings usually closed to the public, and more. Designed by Andrew Berman Architect and renovated at a cost of $2.5 million, the 12,000-square-foot Center for Architecture is in a former industrial space at 536 La Guardia Place, between Bleecker and West Third Streets, in Greenwich Village. It houses galleries, a lecture hall, a public resource center, a library, meeting rooms and the offices of the chapter and its charitable affiliate, the New York Foundation for Architecture.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

TLOZ Link5
October 8th, 2003, 02:38 PM
That's right near me! There's no reason for me not to go.

October 8th, 2003, 03:10 PM
Then go, foo'. Bring us back juicy pictures.

TLOZ Link5
October 8th, 2003, 04:48 PM
No camera :cry:

December 10th, 2008, 04:55 PM
Public Good: Architect clubhouse introduces everyday citizens to good design

Friday, November 21st 2008, 6:27 PM

http://assets.nydailynews.com/img/2008/11/22/amd_paulsen.jpg Smith for News
Sherida E. Paulsen discussing the AIA.

The American Institute of Architecture (AIA), New York Chapter, announces Sherida E. Paulsen will be the 2009 President.

If you want your kid to become an architect rather than an astronaut, or you just want to know more about your physical surroundings, the Center for Architecture (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Center+for+Architecture) should be a constant on your to-do list.

So much educational design activity surrounds the center at 536 LaGuardia Place that it’s hard to believe a resource like this exists without everyone in the city knowing about it.

Established by the American Institute of Architects (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/American+Institute+of+Architects)’ (AIA) New York (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/New+York) chapter, the storefront center, open to the public, is an underused cultural resource that can help every New Yorker understand the buildings surrounding us and the neighborhoods we call home.

“I look at this place as a community center for architecture,” says Frederic Bell (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Frederic+Bell) (who goes by Rick), executive director of the New York AIA, the founding chapter in the United States (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/United+States) with roots dating back to 1867.

“The center acts as a public soapbox where people can have the chance to talk about the future of our city,” says Bell. “Architects are community organizers at heart. Our job is to be on the street to impact neighborhoods for the better. This place is an extension of that responsibility.”

No one knows that better than incoming AIA New York Chapter president Sherida E. Paulsen (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Sherida+Paulsen). A partner in PKSB Architects, a firm that designs city schools, community centers and religious institutions, as well as hotels and historic residences, Paulsen understands the importance of the architect as public servant.

“People think architects come up with ideas by going to some back room and drawing something,” says Paulsen, whose theme for her year-long presidency is “Elevating Architecture.” “It doesn’t work that way. We still draw, but we engage in our community, we study its history, its present, and we want what is good for the people who live there. Design is such a part of our lives, we want to bring it to the public and really enlighten.”

While the Center for Architecture Foundation (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Center+for+Architecture+Foundation) already works with children, Paulsen’s push aims to make the center a household name for families and schools that have not had contact or personal connections with the world of architecture.

With design school applications up, in some cases 25% from five years ago, the center is seeing a renewed interest in architecture among the entire population. It’s addressing those needs with more than 20 events a week. The monthly calendar of lectures, exhibits and educational offerings gives citizens and members more architectural education opportunities than are found at most colleges.

Daniel Libeskind (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Daniel+Libeskind), architect for the Freedom Tower (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Freedom+Tower) downtown, lectured at the center last month. So did Forest City Ratner (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Forest+City+Ratner+Companies)’s MaryAnne Gilmartin (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/MaryAnne+Gilmartin).

Current exhibits in the 15,000-square-foot, green-design LaGuardia Place home include a series on “hybrid” or mixed-use buildings, such as the Beekman Tower, by Forest City Ratner and architect Frank Gehry (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Frank+Gehry), and Harlem (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Harlem)’s Renaissance Theatre

The Center for Architecture holds Family Days once a month on Saturdays, for children to work on design projects firsthand. An exhibit introducing the top local architecture schools takes up the whole basement floor and shows current examples of work from each program.

“We know kids and people are interested in this,” says Bell, who notes that the center is open to the public until 8 p.m. “We try to get them more excited about it.”

Paulsen, who dedicated her career to promoting architecture and good design to the public, chaired the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/York+City+Landmarks+Preservation+Commission) from 2001 to 2003. She’s also a judge of the Governors Island (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Governors+Island) design competition. Mainly, though, she wants to teach people how to look at architecture.

“Good architecture says we’re here,” Paulsen states firmly. “People should learn to look at the scale of a building, the materials used on the building, how the windows meet the building wall and how the building meets the sky.

“We all know that people will spend the most money over the course of their lives on their homes, where they work, their chairs, tables, bathrooms and kitchens, yet we teach them nothing about how to make those decisions.”

Why Paulsen, a mother of two and a partner at her firm, spends most of her off time working with nonprofit architecture organizations goes back to a love of cities, a dinner party in Switzerland (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Switzerland), and working closely with renowned architect Philip Johnson (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Philip+Johnson), who designed New York’s AT&T (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/AT%26T+Inc.) Building and his Glass House residence in New Canaan (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/New+Canaan), Conn. (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Connecticut)

“Mr. Johnson understood how to talk to people about buildings and how important it is for an architect to do that,” says Paulsen, who worked on the AT&T Building’s executive floors and public plaza, which is now the Sony Store at Madison Ave. and 55th St. “People deserve to participate in the process of what’s designed around them. The connection between the architect and community is sacred.”

So is the union between architecture and politics.

“I learned that firsthand in Switzerland,” says Paulsen, whose most recent project is 20 Henry St., a residential conversion with a new building annex in Brooklyn Heights (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Brooklyn+Heights), where units just went on sale. “I was at a dinner party, and all of a sudden, all the architects got up and ran to the television to watch the returns on the local elections for their town. It was that important to them.”

To engage everyday citizens, Bell and Center for Architecture staff set up three Apple (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Apple+Inc.) computers in the main exhibit hallway. The screens direct users to an online Public Information Exchange where they can read about and post comments on major city projects and new buildings. (You can access the Web page online at www.pieaia.org (http://www.pieaia.org/).)

The section on the Ground Zero Memorial and Towers gives one of the more complete glimpses of the project renderings I’ve seen thus far, showing details on the lobby and the building’s base. The Governors Island design page drew 423 comments online.

Other projects up for review include the Fulton Street Transit Center (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Fulton+Street+Transit+Center), the High Line and the West Side Rail Yards and Hudson Park. The selections for the park are displayed in the center’s library, so users can go from the project review boards to the Public Information Exchange voting area.

“This center allows us an opportunity to make the case to the public that design matters,” says Paulsen, who begins her role as president Dec. 11.
“Ultimately, we’re selling something here,” says Paulsen. “We want people to buy into good design and do what they can as architects and everyday citizens to make sure it gets built. If architects are not involved in their community, they are not doing their job.”

For more information on the Center for ¬Architecture, go to www.aiany.org/centerforarchitecture (http://www.aiany.org/centerforarchitecture).

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