Monthly Archives: March 2012

AIA-NJ Offers IRC Code Seminar

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 OR Thursday, May 31, 2012

Two locations, one great course – based on requests from the membership AIA-NJ is hosting an IRC Code Seminar.

The seminar will familiarize attendees with many of the important changes in the 2009 IRC and those changes made by the State of New Jersey to the IRC; and explain the reasons behind the change.

This all day seminar will feature Jack Boekhout.  Mr.  Boekhout’s primary business is to provide consultation on Building Codes and Accessibility Codes for Architects, Engineer’s, Contractors, Code Officials and Attorneys. From April 1989 to June 2006, he was the Building Subcode Official for Township of South Brunswick NJ.
From 1989 to present, he also has served as an instructor of various seminars for the re-licensing of code officials through Rutgers University and the NJ Department of Community Affairs. He has also presented several seminars to PFS Corporation for in-plant certification as well as to staff of largebuilding contractors and design firms for in-service training.
Join us in either Secaucus (May 31)  or Jamesburg/Monroe Township (May 30).
For more information and cost visit

In Memoriam – Richard Finch, AIA

Richard J. Finch, 63, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, March 21, at his home, with his loving wife by his side.  Born in Hazleton, PA, Rich grew up in Cherry Hill, NJ, and moved to Bordentown City over 20 years ago.

He was a graduate of Cherry Hill High School, John J. Pershing College in Nebraska and Glassboro State College in New Jersey, where he received his degree in architecture. Rich was the owner of R.J. Finch and Associates AIA, located in Bordentown City.  He was a member of the AIA (The American Institute of Architects), Ducks Unlimited, and the Mercedes Car Club. As a competitive shooter, Rich received numerous awards in skeet shooting. He was an avid golfer and bowler.

The son of the late Joseph S. Finch, Rich is survived by his loving wife, Kathleen A. Finch; his daughter, Erika Sherek; his grandson, Erik Kippling; his mother, Helen S. Finch; his brother, David S. Finch, and many nieces, nephews, and friends. At the request of the family, services will be private. Arrangements are under the direct care and supervision of Robert L. Pecht, Bordentown Home for Funerals, 40 Crosswicks St., Bordentown, NJ 08505. Please go to Rich’s book of memories page at to light a candle or offer condolences to the Finch family.


Jerome Eben, AIA

By Jerome Leslie Eben, AIA
AIANJ Regional Director, ’11-‘13

Nearly thirty (30) of your AIANJ leaders have just recently returned from the 2012 AIA Grassroots  Leadership Conference in Washington, DC. . Every year; and this was my 22nd time.   I return from this event each and every time recharged, ready to serve the our Sections, the Chapter/Region and of course the Institute.

Jeff Potter, FAIA as Institute President, stated in his remarks, “that we are the credible voice and authoritative source of the profession.”  The more of us that so state this back in New Jersey, the more success we will have.   OUR members enjoy the benefits of the value they receive through knowledge, which begins every year with Grassroots.

I believe those who were present will agree with me that under Mickey Jacob, FAIA, as Chairman, 1st VP and President-Elect of the Institute, this latest Grassroots was an extremely successful with nearly 800 of colleagues in attendance. Mickey’s theme was LEADERSHIP, ADVOCACY, and COMMUNICATION, with the goal for growing public awareness of architecture and how we live in partnership with our neighbors, so we can make a greater impact on the quality of life in our communities, the built environment, and the sustainable lifestyle that everyone deserves!

I am extremely proud of Justin Mihalik, AIA, Joyce Scatuccio, Associate AIA and Jayson Peats, Associate AIA for speaking up during the limited time we had for the open forum part of the meeting. If nothing else the upper leadership of AIA knows that AIANJ has a voice and will be using it once again at the Convention in May.

Along with Ashley Clark, Associate AIA, (from North Carolina), I had the opportunity to participate in a session that outlined what our advocacy approach should be when meeting with members of Congress or their staff.  All of AIANJ delegates did go to Capitol Hill and present our issues to members of Congress on Thursday.

We had some fantastic keynote speakers this year, which included, Dr. Richard Joseph Jackson, MD, MPH, FAAP, and the very engaging “Fly Girl” Vernice Armour. Advocacy and Luncheon Speakers included Thaddeus L. Cohen, AIA, Hon. Bob Buckhorn, Polly Trottenberg, and Hon. Francisco J. Sanchez.

For those of you who were not able to attend this leadership event, I would strongly suggest that you start thinking about next year’s conference.  I would like to see a larger contingent of Section representatives and even some more of our Emerging Professionals partake in the various leadership classes and Peer Breakfasts with our colleagues from around the country.  So put March 20-23, 2013 on your calendar for next year’s AIA Grassroots Leadership and Legislative Conference and plan to get excited about being an architect an supporting OUR profession.

Thank you,

In Memoriam – Louis Edward Barbieri

Louis Edward Barbieri, 62, passed away on March 21, 2012. He was born in Jersey City on June 17, 1949 and has lived in Denville since 1977. Louis graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1973 and has practiced Architecture and Planning ever since. He started his own Architecture firm in 1984. Louis has served his community and profession for many years and in many ways. He was a member of Big Brothers and their Board for many years, a 20-year member of Mensa of Northern New Jersey, Past President of AIA of The Newark-Suburban Chapter, and a Board Member of AIA New Jersey. He is a Past President of the Denville Chamber of Commerce as well as a 23-year member of their Board of Directors. He was very proud of his 25 years of service to the Denville Rotary Club, as Past President and 5- time Paul Harris Award recipient, as well as his designing of the Rotary Clock Tower Park in downtown Denville.

He is survived by his wonderful wife Susan, his daughters Rebecca Campbell of Hoboken, NJ and Elizabeth Panageotou and her husband Michael of Ellicott City, MD; granddaughters Sophia and Maia Panageotou of Ellicott City, MD. He is also survived by his sisters Donna Cochran of Wesley Chapel, NC and Joanne Montgomery of Little Silver, NJ; his nieces and nephews, and his best friend John Caldwell.

Friends may visit with the family on Friday, Mar. 23, 2012 at the Norman Dean Home for Services, 16 Righter Ave., Denville, NJ, from 3 to 7 PM. Please share a memory of Lou by lighting a candle on our web site. A celebration of Lou’s life will be held on Saturday at the Zeris Inn on Rt. 46 East in Mt. Lakes, NJ from 11:00 AM until 2:00 PM. In lieu of flowers donations in Louis’s memory are being accepted to his favorite charity, The Denville Rotary Foundation, P.O. box 35, Denville, NJ 07834.


by Laurence E. Parisi, AIA

The 2012 Grassroots Leadership Conference was held in Washington D.C.  March 7, 2012 through Friday March 9, 2012. If you did attended this conference I’m sure you left well rewarded with extraordinary leadership skills. This year we lobbied on Capital Hill for four issues and bills that were in the Senate and the House.  They were:

  1. We asked our representatives to support legislation to remove Barriers to Private Sector Lending. This is to get funding for stalled construction projects that were still on the drawing boards or even completed and shelved, “construction ready projects”.
  2. The second issue is to “Save Energy, Create Jobs”:  In order to get American Building again, Congress should incentives energy efficient new construction and renovations of existing buildings.
  3. The third issue is to” Help Small Businesses Thrive”, the ask was for H.R. 3978 in the House and any possible companion bill in the Senate to ensure that small  architecture firms in new Jersey have access to SBA programs.
  4. Pass a Transportation Bill to Get our Communities Moving Again: The allocation of our federal transportation dollars has a major impact on the economic development of local communities.

The excitement of going to Capital Hill to lobby with your congressmen and senators for proactive bills that develop the prospect of work to our profession is a real thrill. Additionally there are numerous leadership courses were offered and fun evening events that make this conference an exceptional learning experience. Some of the valued sessions I attended were:

  1. Association Law and Ethics made Easy given by Jay Stephens, Esq.
  2. How to Create and operate a Center for Architecture.
  3. The AIA and the IgCC. Paneled by our own executive director Joe Simonetta.
  4. Working with the Media.
  5. Grant Funding.

The highlight of this years conference was to see Jerry Eben, AIA on the Big Stage doing a mock scenario on how to present to the Representatives on Capital Hill and how to field difficult questions.  A Very cool and collected Jerry Eben performed like a pro in front of some 700 architects. All of the New Jersey AIA contingents were very proud.


Dear Colleagues,

I recall when I was growing up I loved the perception of the architect and everything an architect stood for.  In my mind there was no other profession better. There was a certain mystique and seductive romance about the elusive architect.  Perhaps it was the passion for design in conjunction with the rhythm of the tall columns and the balance of the fenestration. Or maybe it was the creative flair of the architect who always seemed despondent in a charmed self-induced poetic trance. What was not to like?

My older brother Joe was an architect, in the early 1960’s he was considered a senior draftsman.  Looking back and knowing what I know today, I would say he was a Master Draftsman.  Things were different back then, there was such a thing as draftsmen later on it became draftsperson but for the sake of this story we’ll call them draftsmen.  I was 12 years old and enamored with the draftsmanship of my brother.

I loved everything from the horsehair brush he used to clean the residue of the scum-x pad that would leave bits of eraser that resembled grated cheese.  The paper was not paper but vellum and sometimes he would work on cloth, coated Irish linen. Most often draftsmen produced India ink drawings on cloth.  If you have never seen inked cloth drawings, you really should make it a point to see one before they all disappear.

Joe worked on a drawing board he had at home. He worked after hours to help get projects done. Back in the late 1950’s early ‘60’s there was lots of architectural and construction work.  I would admire his drafting not knowing anything about it.  Detail drawings so crisp and finely delineated that they seemed to stand off the sheet. Every once in a while he would call me over and proudly tell me about the job he was working on. There were churches, rectories, schools and residential projects to name a few. The One that stands out in my mind was the Seven-up Pavilion at the New York Worlds Fair.  What captivated me was how proud Joe was to be producing drawings that were to become a pavilion at the Worlds Fair. He actually did a lot of the design also.  When my brother removed his work from the board, I would seize the opportunity and lay a small sheet of drawing paper and use the t-square, triangles and compass to make drawings of “hot rods”.

Now, I’m getting away from the intent of my story. Draftsmen or the lowly draftsman described the grunts in the drafting room were considered the worker bees, individuals who would produce construction drawings from the architect’s sketches.  Nothing could be further from the truth, there was nothing lowly about them, and in fact they were the backbone and major force of the architectural firm. For it was the draftsmen who crafted the buildings from scratched out design sketches handed to them from the front office. These men gave Value to the Architect by virtue of their skill, craft and knowledge of construction means, methods and materials. Draftsmen were the impetus for the creation of cityscapes of traditional and non-traditional buildings all across this country that we all are familiar with.  So, why am I telling you all this? It is all about the Value of the Architect and how we are craving to establish public awareness of the Value of the Architect. Years ago inspired draftsmen could with enough years experience and architectural education could sit for the licensing exam and become architects. A title and privileged dream that was attainable. When that was removed from the laws of our profession, a lot of draftsmen sought other ways to earn a living. Our profession is losing the draftsman by nature of attrition and computer technology. Colleges and schools of architecture are not teaching drafting or architectural detailing.  Do we need to re-evaluate the critical elements for training young architects? Is too much emphasis placed on unrealistic design studio and none on the core values of design and construction? These are questions we must face and act on sooner than later.

Well all things considered, in order for the public to appreciate the Value of the Architect the architect has to have value.  The value is in the design rendered and the technological expertise in the construction sciences that utilizes strength of materials and sustainable design.  The architect must possess a strong working knowledge in design and construction in order to deliver value to the public. The architect covers a vast realm of science art and the humanities. These are the principles we work by on a daily basis and what we do as architects.  This is our profession, keep it strong and keep it ours.

Laurence E. Parisi, AIA

AIA-NJ COTE Top 10 Awards Open for Submissions

Entries are now being accepted for the 2012 AIA- NJ COTE Top Ten Green Projects Awards.

Check out for more details.

Final submission date April 16, 2012 

The Top Ten Green Projects program seeks to identify and recognize the benefits of a high performance, sustainable design approach; to educate the architectural community and the public at large on the increased value that sustainable design provides for developers, building owners and occupants; and to acknowledge architects as experts in the creation of energy conscious and environmentally responsible design solutions endeavoring to meet the Architecture 2030 goals.

To maintain relevance with AIA-New Jersey, projects must be located in New Jersey and/or have been designed by an architect whose primary license and office are in New Jersey. Entries submitted may be large or small projects, new construction or renovations, and any project type. Urban and regional design projects are welcome. Projects must be built and completed after 2002 and at least three months prior to the submission deadline.


In Memoriam – Robert F. Thomson

THOMSON, ROBERT F., 81, of North Wildwood passed away peacefully on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at his home. Born in Bryn Mawr PA and formerly of Haddonfield; he has been a Cape May area resident since 2002. Robert served his country in the US Navy during the Korean War. He was a self-employed architect in Haddonfield, NJ for many years and also worked for Radey & Radey Architects of Cherry Hill, NJ. Robert was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Wildwood, a former member of the First United Methodist Church of Collingswood, a past president of the West Jersey Society of Architects, and was very proud to have been an Eagle Scout.

He was preceded in death by his wife Jane (nee Colson) on March 11, 2011. Robert is survived by his sons Marc Steven (Susan) Thomson of Collingswood, NJ and Robert “Jeff” Thomson of Cape May Court House, NJ. Also surviving are his grandchildren: John H. (Laurie) Thomson, Robert S. Thomson, & Katie Thomson; his step great grandson James Snyder; and his step great-great grandson Chase Snyder.

There will be a funeral service at 11:00 AM on Saturday, March 31, 2012 at the First United Methodist Church of Wildwood, 6700 Atlantic Ave, Wildwood Crest, NJ 08260; where friends may call from 10:00 to 11:00 AM. Interment will be private. The family suggests donations in Roberts memory to the First United Methodist Church of Wildwood. To share condolences, please visit: mthomson19

In Memoriam – Michael Trotta

Michael A. Trotta, RAAGE: 89 •Michael A. Trotta, 89, passed away peacefully at home on February 24, 2012. He was a distinguished Architect, artist, and jazz musician, but he embraced that his greatest accomplishment and joy was his dedication to his family. Born in Bronx, NY, Michael’s full and rich life included performing upright bass with top jazz bands of the 30’s and 40’s, serving meritoriously and receiving the Purple Heart in WWII, and designing thousands of churches, synagogues, and other works of art that remain with us, as one of New Jersey’s most highly respected Architects. Surviving Michael are his loving wife, Ruth R., four children, & 5 grandchildren.

Family and friends are invited to visit from 7-9pm on Tuesday, February 28th, at Riggs Funeral Home on Route 9 in Forked River. A funeral mass will be held at St. Stephen’s Church on Route 9 in Waretown at 11am on February 29th; interment will follow at Brigadier General William C. Doyle cemetery in Wrightstown.

Published in Asbury Park Press on February 27, 2012

AIA-NJ at Grassroots

AIA-NJ's Regional Director Jerry Eben on stage during the opening session

Over 20 representatives of AIA New Jersey and the 6 local AIA chapters joined over 700 AIA members in Washington DC this past week to attend the AIA 2012 Leadership and Legislative Conference –  Grassroots.

AIA President Jeff Potter, FAIA, and First Vice President & Grassroots Chair Mickey Jacob, FAIA, welcomed AIA and CACE members from across the country and around the world to Grassroots on Wednesday, March, March 7th.  Saying to all – “Come as you are – Leave Inspired”.

Over the next three days there was much shared on Leadership, Advocacy and Communication.  Highlighting case studies on what other chapters and components have been doing to succeed in these economic time.  Small break out sessions and seminars to connect, learn and get questions answered.  Offers of assistance to help the leaders of our local AIA serve YOU the members of AIA better.

AIA-NJ members on Capital Hill after meetings outside the house office buildings

Thursday, March 8th, meeting were held on Capital Hill.  Your AIA-NJ representatives met with either House or Senate members to bring the issues important to architects and the profession to our Congressional members.  We hope you should be hearing more about these visits at your local chapter meetings.  Issues highlighted are outlined on AIA’s Advocacy website:

Congratulations to AIA Newark & Suburban, who had entries from their Live the Box and Newark Visitors Center competitions on display in the AIA Headquarters gallery.   We heard many great comments from AIA members across the country on these wonderful competitions.

The main conference end with a keynote address from Vernice Armour, inspirational author of  Zero to Breakthrough: How A Breakthrough Mentality Creates Breakthrough Results.   She reminded all to, ” Acknowledge the obstacles, don’t give them power” and that, “Opportunities don’t go away, other people take advantage of them.”

To learn more about Grassroots ask you local AIA president.

Also we have started posting some photos on our Facebook page – Go have a look, and remember to “Like Us”.