February 1, 2012
by Benedict Clouette

Location: Center for Architecture, 01.17.12
Speakers: Joseph J. Aliotta, AIA, LEED AP — 2012 AIANY President; Michael Strauss — President, Center for Architecture Foundation; Jaime Endreny — Executive Director, Center for Architecture Foundation; Rick Bell, FAIA — Executive Director, AIANY
Organizers: AIANY; Center for Architecture Foundation


A view of LaGuardia Place looking toward the expanded Center for Architecture.

Sam Lahoz

AIANY and the Center for Architecture Foundation welcomed more than 200 guests for the debut of the expanded Center for Architecture. The event, BREAKTHROUGH, celebrated the joining of the original Center with the adjacent storefront at 532 LaGuardia Place.

The new space, designed by Rogers Marvel Architects, will provide an additional 1,200 square feet of ground-floor area for the Center’s activities, including events and receptions, as well as AIANY committee meetings and programs run by the Foundation. Like the Center’s other meeting rooms it will also be available for rent, offering supplementary revenue to support the Center.

At the breakthrough, AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA, quoted The Doors’ classic “Break on Through” to kick off the party. AIANY President Joseph J. Aliotta, AIA, LEED AP, said that the Center, which hosts more than 1,000 events annually, has outgrown its current home, and that the expansion is an important step for the future of the Chapter and the Foundation. Foundation President Michael Strauss agreed, saying that an expanded Center would help bring together the Foundation and AIANY, and allow them to better serve their constituents and the public.

Author Tony Hiss commented on the significance of the expansion for the Center’s mission. In the guest book he wrote, “Breakthrough — to me — means a permanent increase in understanding — the kind of insights the Center and the Expanded Center have brought and will bring to New York.”

For some of the party’s guests, the extension offers a new quality of space. Noushin Ehsan, AIA, remarked, “It’s a different kind of room, more intimate. It gathers people together, and is a good complement to the original building.”

Since opening, the extension has accommodated several committee meetings and two workshops for schoolchildren run by the Foundation, with more planned in the coming weeks.

Benedict Clouette is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in Domus, Volume Magazine, and DAMn. He is the incoming editor of e-Oculus.