August 28, 2023
by Center for Architecture
Common Bond gala 2023 graphic

Coinciding with its 20th anniversary, the Center for Architecture is preparing for a momentous occasion: Common Bond: The Center for Architecture Gala. This extraordinary event serves as the organization’s primary source of funding, playing a pivotal role in empowering the organization and its partner, AIA New York, to fulfill the shared mission of enlightening the public about the significance of architecture and design. On Thursday, October 26, professionals from the architecture, engineering, construction, and real estate industries will gather at Chelsea Piers, Pier 60, to honor those who continue the city’s rich legacy of design excellence.

Besides being an unparalleled opportunity for forging professional connections, the event provides critical funding for the Center for Architecture’s exhibitions, programs, scholarships and other activities, including our popular education programs. We invite you to consider supporting the event by purchasing a sponsorship, ticket, or ad by October 13. Please join us in celebrating this year’s distinguished honorees, each embodying the values that define our community: collaboration, sustainability, inclusivity, civic engagement, and a commitment to design excellence:



Rohit T. “Rit” Aggarwala

Rohit T. “Rit” Aggarwala
New York City Chief Climate Officer
Commissioner, New York City Department of Environmental Protection

Rohit T. “Rit” Aggarwala was appointed Commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the City’s Chief Climate Officer in February 2022. Under his leadership, DEP has embraced a leadership role on both stormwater and coastal resilience, streamlined its procurement processes to be able to invest more money in infrastructure each year, and improved DEP’s water revenues by reducing accounts receivable and delivering revenues $250 million above budget in his first year. As Chief Climate Officer, he also led the development of New York City’s most recent sustainability plan, PlaNYC.

Prior to the Adams administration, Aggarwala served as the first Director of the New York City Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, where he led the creation of the first PlaNYC. He later founded the environmental grantmaking program at Bloomberg Philanthropies and served as president of the Board of Directors of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. He was part of the founding team at Sidewalk Labs—Google’s urban technology startup—and more recently was a senior urban tech fellow at the Jacobs Cornell-Technion Institute. He has co-chaired the Regional Plan Association’s Fourth Regional Plan for the New York metropolitan area and is an adjunct professor at Columbia University. Aggarwala holds a PhD, MBA, and BA from Columbia University and an MA from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.


Jeanne Gang headshot

Photo: Marc Olivier Le Blanc.

Jeanne Gang, FAIA
Founding Principal and Partner
Studio Gang

Jeanne Gang, FAIA, is the founding principal and partner of Studio Gang, an international architecture and urban design practice headquartered in Chicago. Known for an inquisitive, forward-looking approach to design that unfolds new technical and material possibilities and expands the active role of designers in society, she creates striking places that connect people with each other, their communities, and the environment.

Her diverse, award-winning portfolio includes cultural centers that convene diverse audiences, public projects that connect citizens with ecology, and high-rise towers that foster community—notably the Solar Carve Tower, the Fire Rescue 2 Facility in Brooklyn, and the recently completed Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation at the American Museum of Natural History, which the New York Times called “a poetic, joyful, theatrical work of public architecture.” Ongoing projects throughout the Americas and Europe include the new United States Embassy in Brasília; the University of Chicago’s European hub for study and research in Paris; Stanford University’s Sustainability Commons in Palo Alto; and the new O’Hare Global Terminal in Chicago.

Intertwined with built work, Gang and the Studio also develop research, publications, and exhibitions that push design’s ability to create public awareness and give rise to change—a practice Gang calls “actionable idealism.” The most recent monograph of her Studio’s work, Studio Gang: Architecture, was published by Phaidon in both English and French.

A MacArthur Fellow and a Professor in Practice at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Gang has been honored with the ULI Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development and been named one of the most influential people in the world by TIME magazine.


Jolie Andler Milstein

Jolie Andler Milstein
President & CEO
New York State Association for Affordable Housing

Jolie Milstein is president and CEO of the New York State Association for Affordable Housing, the largest affordable housing trade group in the country, and serves as a housing expert and leading advocate for policies on matters that advance the industry. Through partnerships with agency, elected and corporate leaders, Milstein has helped transform NYSAFAH into the foremost voice on housing issues in both New York City and State.

Milstein is a strong proponent of supply-side solutions to solve the housing crisis and has helped drive successful public policy efforts and long-term financing efforts, like New York’s five-year housing plan. Her advocacy work was critical to maintaining funding levels for city and state housing programs and the establishment of the Council for Independent State Housing Associations (CISHA) in Washington, D.C.

Prior to her work at NYSAFAH, Milstein developed permanent supportive housing at Praxis Housing Initiatives, served as executive director of the Ulster County Development Corporation, and as senior director for economic development at the New York City Partnership. Milstein has vast corporate experience as a commercial and residential investment banker at First Boston Corporation and as project architect at the architecture firm of Moore Ruble Yudell Architects.

Milstein is a licensed architect with a bachelor’s degree in architecture from University of California Berkeley, a master’s degree in architecture from the University of California Los Angeles, and a master’s degree of public and private management from Yale University.


Joan K Davidson

The Legacy of Joan K. Davidson and the J.M. Kaplan Fund

Joan K. Davidson (1927–2023), a native of New York City and State, long worked for, supported, and guided non-profit and government programs to save buildings, support cultural institutions, and restore landmarks in New York. She made a lasting mark as President of the J.M. Kaplan Fund, an instrumental organization for those seeking grants for the betterment of the natural and built environment, the arts, and civil liberties.

Davidson received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University and a postgraduate degree from Bank Street College of Education. From 1977–1993, she steered the J.M. Kaplan Fund, a multigenerational philanthropic organization which addressed issues related to architecture and historic preservation, design, and quality of life. She managed the creation of Westbeth Artist’s Community as its first President, and laid the groundwork for the Gracie Mansion Conservancy, among other ventures.

In 1995, Davidson founded Furthermore grants in publishing as a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund. Furthermore supports publication of nonfiction books pertaining to art, history, and the natural and built environment. In addition to her leadership here, she established the Alice Award, an annual prize for illustrated books, in 2013. In 2022 she instituted the Carriage House events program at Midwood, her property in the Hudson River Valley.

Davidson had also served as Chair at the New York State Council on the Arts, Commissioner at the New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation, and Chair at the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Commission. She lived in Manhattan and the Hudson Valley.