Monthly Archives: July 2011

New Jersey Embraces Urban Development

reprint from ARCHITECT Newswire

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) signed a new law that makes more mixed-use projects located near mass transit eligible for $1.5 billion in state tax credits. “Our goal is to revitalize New Jersey’s cities and to do it through private economic development that is incentivized and encouraged through common sense incentives from government and reductions of tax rates and regulation from government as well, in order to attract current business to expand and new business to come to our urban centers, where we already have infrastructure,” Christie says. Michael Symons reports that the projects may include the Haddon Avenue Transit Village in Camden, the Transit Village Associates Gateway project in New Brunswick and the American Dream Meadowlands project in East Rutherford.

Read full article ASBURY PARK PRESS:

Read article in ARCHITECT magazine:

Missouri School District Architect Decision

Wentzville School Board hires architect to design high school
Some members wanted to seek bids for contract

Even though the Wentzville School District’s third high school will be different, the architect will remain the same.

The Board of Education on Thursday voted to hire Hoener Associates Inc. to design the school. The firm has been the district’s primary architect since 2002.
But the hiring passed by only one vote. Some board members believed the district should have looked at putting the contract out to bid to see if other firms would offer a cheaper price and save the district some money.

Voting to hire Hoener were board President Terry Ratcliff and members Sherry Cox, Heather Reiter and Pat Hacker. Voting against were Dale Schaper, David Hurst and Courtney Tieman.

Design work will now begin on the high school, with construction expected to begin after the first of next year. The school is scheduled to open in fall 2013 on a 79.6-acre site on Sommers Road between highways N and DD in O’Fallon. The district announced the $5.971 million land purchase earlier this month.

The purchase is primarily funded from a 2008 bond issue, but construction will be paid for with revenues from a 30-cent property tax increase approved by voters in April. The construction is estimated to cost between $36 million and $40 million
As far back as last December, some board members had asked if the district could save up to $1 million by using the same design as Timberland High School, which opened in 2002. But Kari Monsees, the district’s chief financial officer, wrote in a memorandum to the board last week that using old plans “is not a feasible approach for the school.”

Timberland was designed in different phases using three different architectural firms, and plans are more than a decade old, Monsees said. The new site features different topology, making the older design impractical, Monsees said.

Matt Deichmann, director of community relations, said there are flaws in the old design that could be improved. Soliciting bids for the design work would have delayed the building’s construction, he said.

Deichmann said a high school is a more complex building than the six elementary schools that have been designed by Hoener and have used similar design elements.

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AIANJ members have been contacting the Legislative and Government Affairs Committee lately regarding illegal or unlicensed practice, including the offering or providing architectural services by unlicensed practitioners and the practice of “plan stamping” i.e. licensed architects signing and sealing drawings produced by those without a license with little or no direct supervisory control over their production. They often ask, “What is the AIA doing about this?”

As a professional organization, it is AIANJ’s role to inform its members about our successful lobbying effort on behalf of its members as well as for non-members for the ability of the State Board of Architects to investigate the illegal and unlicensed practice of architecture.

Members are the eyes and ears of the AIA. It is every architect’s legal responsibility to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of the public by reporting potential instances of illegal and unlicensed practice to the State Board. The State Board cannot proactively investigate alleged cases of misconduct, but rather must rely on members of the public (and especially the licensed professionals it regulates) to file complaints when they become aware of a violation of the regulations.

Therefore, it is important that we all understand how to properly file a complaint with the State Board of Architects against someone who may be illegally practicing architecture.  The first step is to understand what constitutes the illegal practice of architecture by reviewing the New Jersey State Board of Architects Law and Regulations, which can be found at  The description of the practice of architecture may be found under Article 45:3-10 of the Architects Law, “Practice of Architecture; what constitutes; exceptions”.

The next step is to download the complaint form, which can be found at  Once you download the form, read it carefully and follow the instructions.  Provide as much information as possible including any evidence that you may have that supports your complaint.  Include any written documentation you come across including letterhead, business cards, mailers, magazine ads, print outs from a violator’s website, or any statement they make that uses the term “architect”, “architecture” or “architectural” without including a bona fide license number of a registered architect.

You may submit a claim anonymously but it must be in writing.  However, if additional information is required by the Board to process the complaint, an anonymous complainant will not be able to respond to the request.  Therefore, if you want the complaint to have the best possible chance of being enforced it is recommended that you include your contact information on the complaint.  Please be aware that the investigation process may take several months before the Board renders a decision, since the Board needs to follow certain guidelines in making notifications to the alleged violator in accordance with state laws.

Once a decision is rendered, it will be posted on the State Board’s website under “Board Actions”. We ask that you follow through with each complaint and notify our committee of any actions taken by the Board so that we may publish the results of your efforts. If the Board does in fact find that someone is practicing illegally or without a license, the actions may be a warning, suspension, fines, or removal of license.

AIA New Jersey is the only credible voice speaking on behalf of the architectural profession here in our state.  But we need your help filing these complaints. Architects are the only people who can really police this industry and ensure that the public receives the best possible services and protection. Rest assured that members of the L&GA committee do actually file complaints as individuals on a regular basis.  But as a volunteer organization, we simply do not have the time and resources to proactively search out all the instances of illegal practice across the state.

The only way to deter those who practice illegally is by hitting them where it hurts the most, in their wallets!  So please, protect your livelihood while protecting New Jersey’s citizens by filing a complaint if you suspect that someone is practicing illegally!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Legislative and Government Affairs Committee at [email protected].

Justin A. Mihalik, AIA,  Licensure Subcommittee Chairperson

David DelVecchio, AIA,  Legislative & Government Affairs Committee, Chairperson


By Jerome Leslie Eben, AIA

AIA NJ Regional Director ’11-‘13

The above title of this month’s article relates to the national AIA position statement #15.  As stated, it supports the strict enforcement of architectural licensing laws by the jurisdictions [so in-trusted to do so] and recommends that penalties be assessed for incompetent or improper practice by licensees.  It also recommends that the unlicensed practice of our profession must be vigorously prosecuted [in a timely manner] with assessed penalties and injunctions.

As your Regional Director and a Stakeholder of the Board Advocacy Committee, I have been asked to either agree or disagree with this position statement along with others in a few short weeks.  This is so these position statements can be voted on at the December 2011 AIA Board Meeting.  I have been invited to make additional comments and/or suggestions, and those that know me well, know that I do not pass up an opportunity to speak my mind on any number of issues and will submit the following:

I am not sure that we (AIA) as a national organization can get more involved (as much as I would want us too) in the enforcement of individual State licensing laws.  However, this being said I would like to see the following added to the above policy statement:

AIA encourages its members to file complaints, especially in regard to those who they believe are practicing architecture illegally. They can do so by submitting their local complaint form to the State Licensing Board having the jurisdiction where the violation has taken place.

Within this E-newsletter this month is an article from Justin Mihalik, AIA, outlining how the members can help, by filing complaints about the illegal practice of our profession.  PLEASE do not hesitate to take the time (less than 5 minutes) to file the complaint form with the State Board of Architects.

In regard to my comments placed in brackets in the original policy statement above,  but in particular to “in a timely manner,” is a direct response to what I have found absolutely lacking here in New Jersey, hence the added (?) at the end of the title of this article.   This is especially true since the retirement of Dr. James Hsu, who served as the Board’s Executive Director for over a decade.

I filed a complaint (No. 72609) against a so called drafting and design firm for advertising and unlicensed practice in August of 2010.  On September 9, 2010, I received a letter from the Board’s acting Executive Director acknowledging receipt of the complaint and telling me that I would be notified in writing of the outcome in this matter.  The next paragraph  (which I found to be odd) went on to explain that the Board only meets once a month and that the process may take some time  and that I should not expect an immediate response to the complaint.  I did not understand why that statement would be made up front. It seemed as if he was providing an excuse for a delay right after I filed the complaint!  After a visit to a Board meeting and four months passed, I put a call in to the Assistant Attorney General who monitors the State Board and who I have only the highest regard for.  Unfortunately all she could tell me was that the investigation was on going.

With the passing of the ninth month and no word of the status of this case, I thought I would take it up a notch and send a message to the Acting Director of Consumer Affairs.  I did so, for after all besides being an architect, I am also one of NJ’s nearly eight million consumers and I wanted the individual in charge to know that I thought that nine months was much too long to wait for a reply for an agency under his jurisdiction.  My message prompted a second letter dated June 14, 2011 from the Acting Executive Director for the Board, that Consumer Affairs had forwarded him my concern.  I can only imagine what that telephone conversation sounded like.

No matter, apparently the best that he could write was that the matter remains under investigation and that no further information could be provided at this time.  Of course not being satisfied with that reply I called the Division of Consumer Affairs for 10 consecutive days leaving messages for the Acting Director or his assistant, who apparently is not acting.  Before receiving a call back from the assistant, I received a call from the Chief of Staff of Community Affairs, who must be over Consumer Affairs.  She provided no more information than Acting Executive Director for the Board did in his two letters.

I explained to her that I represent nearly 2,000 AIA members here in New Jersey on the National Board of AIA and that architects in general are hurting, with firms that are or have closed along with many that have downsized, or are working a four-day work week.  I went on to state that many of my colleagues including myself have taken second jobs to continue to provide for their families and for the State to allow the illegal practice of architecture to continue is outrageous!

The above resulted in the call from the Assistant Director of Consumer Affairs (within 10 minutes) who could not offer any other solution for me except to continue to wait for the Board’s action.  I explained to him that I am tired of waiting, so I have kicked upstairs to the Governor’s office.  As a former prosecutor, maybe he will see the urgency of bringing to justice those who would practice our profession illegally and do so quickly, before there is a disaster and a NJ consumer gets hurt or worse.

In regard to my very first article on communicating, please do not hesitate to call or better still send me an E-mail regarding this topic. My intent is to print these out and send a second letter to the Governor, if I do not hear from him by the end of this month.

Thank you,


[email protected]





East Coast Green 2011Event

Brookdale Community College was the site of AIA New Jersey’s East Coast Green 2011 conference. The sold out event offered attendees the choice of 2 days of courses ranging from technical design elements of high performance design, case studies and building tours.

Day one was offered in partnership with CMHC International to highlight sustainable design practices of building construction. Day two was a range of courses by tracks in all aspects of building design.

Keynote Scott Kelly with ECG committee members. c. 2011 Dee Portera, Photojournalist Photographer

Keynote speaker Scott Kelly, AIA, LEEDap, of ReVision Architecture stressed that architects “can’t design in a vacumn anymore.” Mr. Kelly showed how the 2030 Challenge is not only possible, but attainable today and explained that the main components to reach this are both design changes and people. The people who design buildings and the people who use them.

In his talk, Mr. Kelly encouraged architects to find the balance and “understand how the built environment and the natural environment can work together.” He ended the keynote by urging architects to Join the Conversation.

c. 2011 Dee Portera, Photojournalist Photographer

Other courses throughout the day highlighted Net-Zero Energy Homes, the Passive House, Green Tax Incentives, Insurance, and more. A green expo featured a number of regional products.

The event ended with an awards reception to announce the AIA-NJ COTE Top 10 Design Award winners. Thanks to all of the presenters and sponsors who made this event a success.

c. 2011 Dee Portera, Photojournalist Photographer

c. 2011 Dee Portera, Photojournalist Photographer

Review Courses for the Architect Registration Examination

The College of Architecture & Design at New Jersey Institute of Technology is offering two review courses for the Architect Registration Exam (ARE 4.0) this fall semester in Structural Systems and Building Systems.

These courses are scheduled in the evening hours (6 to 9 pm) and will be held on the NJIT campus in Newark, NJ.

Structural Systems is scheduled on Thursday, and will run for 15 sessions, starting on Thursday, September 1st, 2011.

Building Systems is scheduled on Monday, and will run for 13 sessions, starting on Monday, September 12, 2011.

These courses will cover the exam material in a lecture format, including the related graphic vignettes. Some mock exams will also be solved.

For further information and for registration, please contact the instructor, Rima Taher, by e-mail at: [email protected]

AIA-WJ Volunteers Help Rebuild Playground

On Saturday, April 30, members of AIA West Jersey assisted in a community service project of rebuilding a playground at Fullerton Park in Moorestown, NJ.

Fullerton Park is located in the heart of Moorestown and has been a community based park for decades. The original play set and surrounding fixtures were installed in 1992 by local residents in memory of Frank Fullerton, a Moorestown police officer, who was tragically killed in the line of duty in 1979. Time had taken its toll on the playground, and the Township recently identified significant safety and health issues with the playground. It was time for the playground to be replaced.

Leathers & Associates, who specialize in community-built playgrounds, designed the Fullerton Park playground, and provided supervision for the project. AIA West Jersey members were divided into several teams, each working on a section of the playground with other community volunteers.

The playground was completed on the following day and children immediately enjoyed the result of the volunteer’s efforts. Thank you to everyone who volunteered their Saturday for this worthwhile effort.

2011 AIA NJ Design Competition Winners Announced

AIA New Jersey announced the winners of the 2011 Design Awards. Congratulations to all the winners.

Centra Iselin c. 2011 Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates

Architectural – Non‐Residential

Centra – Iselin, NJ
Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, PC

The Aspen Institute c. 2011 Farewell Mills Gatsch Architects

Architectural – Non‐Residential

The Aspen Institute – Walter Paepcke Memorial
Farewell Mills Gatsch Architects, LLC

Architectural – Non‐Residential

Ikon.5 architects
Campus Commons, State University of New York at New Paltz

Architectural – Non‐Residential

KSS Architects
Warch Campus Center, Lawrence University

Architectural – Non‐Residential

Payette Architects*, (Project Team Executive Architect)
Princeton University Frick Chemistry Laboratory

*Updated 8/4/2011: Payette Architects in collaboration with Hopkins Architects, Design Architect for project

Residential – Built

Minivernini Vandermark Architecture
33 Willow Terrace


Royal Medical Services –Jordan

Interior Architecture

Clarke Caton Hintz Architecture Firm
Offices for Clarke Caton Hintz

Historic Preservation

Farewell Mills Gatsch Architects, LLC
Kahn Bath House & Day Camp Pavilions

Kahn Bath House c. 2011 Farewell Mills Gatsch Architects

More information on each of the winners to follow.

CanStruction 2011 – Call for Entries

One Can Make A Difference

Download Team Entry form here

Each fall, AIA New Jersey members have the opportunity to donate food and money to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. This Food Bank fights hunger and poverty by distributing food and groceries, providing education and training, and making new programs to help people with low incomes meet their basic needs. As a non-profit organization, they act as the central food and aid distribution center for other non-profits that serve individuals, soup kitchens, food pantries and shelters.

Canstruction combines a unique design/build competition with a great way to help feed the hungry. Competing teams, lead by architects and engineers, showcase their talents by designing giant sculptures made out of canned foods. Visit the national level website at

Last year, thanks to our sponsors, AIA-NJ and AIA Newark and Suburban, Goya, and Skanska USA Building, we were able to donate $1,791 and 45,000 pounds of food to the Community Food Bank.

Questions? For further information or to donate, please contact the Canstruction Committee Chair, Christy DiBartolo, at 973-290-8544 or [email protected]