Monthly Archives: April 2013

metamorphAIAsis- Emerging Leaders

metamorpAIAsis image

The Intern Development Program (IDP) prepares future architects for the requirements of our profession. However, it is through the AIA that the Leaders of Architecture are made.

Every day we listen to advocacy for the profession. When you open AutoCAD each morning, when you point a major design flaw in a project and even now by reading this article, you are advocating for architecture!

It is easy for us to talk about architecture. What is not easy is talking about architects. Furthermore, it is even harder to talk about yourself. Buildings are stagnant, they are what they are. We can classify buildings by period, style, and recall a number of facts that would impress your college history professors. But can you talk about yourself in the same way, with the same passion, as you can your favorite building? If your answer is no, then you should consider becoming more involved in the AIA and its programs.

One simple problem for emerging professionals is the fact that we are not architects; how can you speak for something you are not. Let’s forget the term architect for the moment (as that is an entire lengthy discussion in itself), and replace it with the term Leader. What the AIA is good at accomplishing is evoking passion for what you do and passion is what inspires leadership. There are no state laws that prevent you from calling yourself a Leader!

As a 2nd time attendee of the annual Grassroots Leadership Conference held in D.C., I have noticed a drastic change between 1st time attendees and those who return. During my 1st conference, I followed my local chapter and only sat next to somebody I knew. What I missed was the wealth of information and mentorship every person in that room possesses. When I had the opportunity to attend the conference again, I was not shy about asking people to share their knowledge with me!

In hopes of inspiring you, I will begin my conversation with you by instilling some knowledge…

Let’s reimagine this quote by Louis Kahn where the Brick is not your building, but it is YOU!

And if you think of Brick, for instance,
and you say to Brick,
“What do you want Brick?”
And Brick says to you
“I like an Arch.”
And if you say to Brick
“Look, arches are expensive,
and I can use a concrete lentil over you.
What do you think of that?”
Brick says:
“… I like an Arch””

Jason Peist, Assoc. AIA
Regional Associate Director | New Jersey Region


[email protected] | @AIANJRAD

CSI Philadelphia: Affordable Housing Seminars

CSI Philadelphia Annual Seminar Day

Affordable Housing: Innovation and Construction

Wallace Roberts Todd Affordable Housing Photo

Design by Wallace Roberts & Todd

On Monday, May 20, 2013, the Philadelphia Chapter of CSI will host its annual seminar day. The topic this year will be Affordable Housing: Innovation and Construction. The event will be held from 1:00 pm to 8:30 pm at The Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District, 400 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106. David Stuzman, AIA, President of the Philadelphia Chapter of CSI, extends his personal invitation to all members of AIA New Jersey to attend this very worthwhile program. For more information and to register, please click here.

CSI Philadelphia Logo

Rebuttal to the ‘3 Little Pigs’ as a Discriminatory Story against Contextual Architecture

Once upon a time there were three little architects. One architect built his home with straw, the other of sticks and the last of brick.

The first architect handpicked straw from the field outside his property, while the second gathered sticks from the forest floor. The final architect, well that architect ordered his custom-made bricks from thousands of miles away for just 10 cents a brick! What a steal oinked this little architect. Little did he know he would soon be facing $4 dollars per brick shipping and holding fees. Weeks passed, but still no bricks.

The first two architects received their Certificates of Occupancies within days of starting, while the only paperwork the third poor, little architect received were change orders and more bills.

Homeless and distraught, the third architect had to stay with the other architects while his site sat full of dirt. Months past, and finally boxes of bricks arrived!

“How do I build with these?!” he squealed. He picked up his phone and called Wolfe Contractors. They were at the site in minutes, and the architect hired them. Wolfe employed Union Contractors and it took weeks before a brick was even laid. The contractor huffed, and he puffed, for more and more money. Soon the architect was completely broke.

The bricks sat there dormant until the third little poor architect was able to borrow money from the other two architects who already paid off their mortgages. Finally, after more and more months of waiting, the project was complete!

During the architect’s house warming party, a major earthquake struck. The area was prone to such occurrences; fortunately for this architect, he had already included seismic calculations into his design. However, this earthquake was unlike any earthquake ever felt before and it shook and it shook the three little homes. The straw and stick house stood intact with a few stray straw and stick pieces gone astray. The poor brick structure stood, but a large crack ran straight down the center of the building. That night was an extremely cold, wet night. The expanding and contracting ice split the brick house in half and it was condemned.


peist noahFairy tales utilize anthropomorphism and whimsy in order to tell their tales which engrave moral undertones in the minds of young children. In such cases, vestigial feelings remain such as in the story of three little pigs, where the material that could withstand the huffs of a wolf is brick. This leads to the assumption that brick is always the right material to select because no “wolf” can penetrate it.

Brick has always been revered for its strength and symbolic meaning of fortitude. Even today, brick homes sell for more than wood stud homes. Is this because subconsciously we worry that someone will knock on our doors and start blowing it down?!

Brick is not without its disadvantages:

  • Brick does not do well with extreme shifts such as mentioned in the story above. Being porous, water can easily penetrate the bricks and begin cracking when it turns to ice.
  • Bricks need repointing in order to replace loose mortar.
  • Brick cannot be laid during inclement weather such as rain.
  • Efflorescence can form making the bricks look like they are covered in chalk.
  • Brick buildings can easily shift from their foundations and are not great for seismic areas or areas that do not offer a solid rock foundation.
  • It is a lot harder to move or repair a brick building versus wood construction.

For centuries homes have been built of sticks and even hay and they are still standing today. Log homes are very popular in wooded areas with inclement weather. Early colonial towns would come together to build a new log house by harvesting nearby trees and using mud to fill the gaps of the wood.  Despite the misconception that building your home out of a flammable material such as wood is a bad decision, it may come as a surprise that some heavy timber homes will remain standing longer than unprotected steel buildings! This is because heavy timber takes a longer time to burn, where unprotected steel, due to its high thermal conductivity, quickly heats up and loses strength during fires making it prone to failure. Heavy timber construction even has a special class of construction called Type IV.

Straw-bale construction is a building method that uses bales of straw as structural elements and/or insulation. Straw is a naturally fire retardant with a very high insulation value. When combined with clay, its biggest disadvantage- rot- is greatly reduced making it an ideal choice in farmlands over the centuries. The dry straw that makes up the bale is very combustible when loose, but compressed in the form of a bale, the straw does not trap enough air to allow easy or rapid combustion.

In the story of the 3 Little Pigs, the two other pigs are referred to as being lazy because they built their homes from easily accessible materials and even had time to sing and dance. In today’s sustainable based society, these two pigs would earn LEED credits and be celebrated for their architectural choices, while the carbon footprint of the brick home would be criticized.

There is a reason for regional contextual architecture. For centuries people have already experimented with building for climate. They did it without central air, automatic window blinds, sprinkler systems and heating. Years of perfecting natural smart design choices are thrown to the waste side with new technology. One can build an ice igloo in the Mojave Desert and use cooling systems that prevents it from melting, but is this the most intelligent, sustainable method to architecture?

Now, let’s take a step back and imagine that for arguments sake the Wolf’s name in the ‘3 Little Pigs’ is Sandy! Sandy hit unexpectedly and caused massive destruction leaving many homeless. We should look at why certain homes were destroyed and why others survived in order to build a more “wolf” resistant area. This should be the focus and moral on rebuilding after Sandy struck. For example, small wood-framed homes that survived have a major advantage in rebuilding. They are easier to repair, elevate and place on piers versus a large double-story brick McMansion. Eliminating basements and switching to pier buildings can ease the damage caused by these unexpected forces and prevent homes from being dislodged from their land. Replacing all windows with hurricane windows will reduce potential dangers caused by the wind and debris breaking glass and harming the occupants inside. Lastly, rebuilding natural barriers such as sand dunes that have protected these areas for centuries will bring contextual architecture back to its rightful place.

With technology, overpopulation, and ease of building, we have stripped away all context from where we live and how we live it. The boom of construction through cookie cutter homes have littered the landscape with inefficient outdated inappropriate “brick” homes. We should not look at architecture as just build it right, but rather build it suitable!

Jason Peist, Assoc. AIA
Regional Associate Director | New Jersey Region


[email protected] | @AIANJRAD

Camp Osborne SDAT

AIA New Jersey Creates Design Program to Help Rebuild

Camp Osborne in Brick Township, N.J.

Program to Take Place on Weekend of April 27

Open to the Public

CampOsbornePhoto002BRICK TOWNSHIP, N.J. (April 22,2014) – The New Jersey chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA-NJ) has announced that it will host a weekend, community design program starting April 27 to help develop a plan to rebuild Camp Osborn in Brick Township, which was devastated by a fire after Hurricane Sandy.

Taking place at Emma Havens Young Elementary School on Drumpoint Road, the program, formally known as a Sustainable Design Assessment Team or SDAT, will combine local resources with the expertise of a multidisciplinary team of professionals to create a viable solution for rebuilding the Route 35 community. The volunteer participants include architects, planners, engineers, landscape architects, attorneys, officials and stakeholders.

CampOsbornePhoto001“As architects, we have the ability to not only rebuild structures, but entire communities,” said Jack Purvis, president of AIA-NJ. “In an effort to help rebuild one of our local communities, which was devastated by fire as a result of Sandy, we’re using an SDAT as tool to help mobilize local support and foster result-driven cooperation. This fast-paced, exciting program will help us design and rebuild Camp Osborn in a sustainable way as quickly as possible.”

Camp Osborn, located on a three-acre seaside lot and comprised of densely packed cottages, was ravished by a wind-swept fire – likely fueled by natural gas. The community, formerly a tent camp that dates back to the 1920s, is one of Brick’s first summer colonies. In total, the fire destroyed 68 homes.

“We’re excited to work with the New Jersey chapter of AIA to rebuild Camp Osborn quickly, safely and sustainably,” said Brick Township Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis. “I look forward to a productive weekend, driven by the expertise of volunteering design professionals and community stakeholders. I thank AIA-NJ for their participation and encourage those with interest to participate.”

CampOsbornePhoto003One of the topics under discussion will be how to rebuild Camp Osborn in accordance with the new Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Advisory Base Flood maps, which require homes in designated areas — known as A-Zones and V-Zones or “velocity” zones — to be raised. In addition, in V-Zones walls must be designed to break away from foundations and special support pilings are required.

The SDAT program will include general sessions and breakout secessions with specialty focuses. In creating the plan, the SDAT program will draw on tools such as historical data and photographs, a site plan showing the area as it existed before the fire, zoning ordinances affecting the area, proposed improvements to Route 35 and current flood maps.

SDAT programs across the country have used this grassroots approach to help create communities that are healthy, safe and livable, as well as sustainable.

Legal Issues and Litigation Avoidance for Architects and Engineers

CarlowiczGaeckleWorking in collaboration with Atlantic Cape Community College and Hoagland Longo Moran Dunst & Doukas, LLP, Attorneys at Law, AIA South Jersey is pleased to announce a continuing education seminar: Legal Issues and Litigation Avoidance for Architects and Engineers. This is a full day seminar and will be held from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm, on May 16, 2013, at the Mays Landing Campus of Atlantic Cape Community College. The instructors for the course are Andrew J. Carolwicz, Jr., Esq. and Richard W. Gaeckle, Esq., LEED Ap.

This program is approved for both 6 AIA/CES LU/HSW and 6 CPC Credits.


The professional practice of architecture and engineering is difficult enough without the threat of impending legal liability for providing one’s professional services. Nevertheless, the potential exposure to liability is a real issue that design professionals must recognize in performing their services. This program identifies those issues and offers risk management and litigation avoidance strategies that may be employed to help protect the design professionals from potential liability. Through interactive discussions, case studies and real life examples, this program will address the legal duties and professional obligations required of design professionals practicing in New Jersey. Issues of professional conduct versus civil liability, the standard of care expected of New Jersey design professionals, and methods available to limit the professionals’ liability will be addressed.

At the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Identify and define the scope of the legal standard of care and required professional conduct.
  • Apply the professional legal duties and standard of care to actual practice situations in the context of construction site safety.
  • Assess specific practice issues and developing trends in the profession and the potential for liability.
  • Develop risk management and practice techniques to avoid potential liability.

For more information, a registration form and a course outline, click here.

AIA South Jersey Logo 2012



AIA South Jersey Membership Meeting

AIA South Jersey April 30 2013

Iconic Architect Poll

AIA-NJIn honor of National Architecture Week (April 7-13, 2013) a week-long celebration of architects and architecture, the New Jersey Chapter of the American Institute of Architects created a list of 10 of New Jersey’s most iconic architects. You’ve seen our list, now tell us what you think. If you want to read more about any of these architects before you vote, please click here for links to articles about each of them. And remember, if you believe someone is missing from the list that should have been included, please write them in the comment section.

Summary: The Garden State’s Most Iconic Architects

AIA-NJIn honor of National Architecture Week (April 7-13, 2013) a week-long celebration of architects and architecture, the New Jersey Chapter of the American Institute of Architects created a list of 10 of New Jersey’s most iconic architects. The list includes architects representing a range of architecture styles & philosophies; contemporary & historic figures; men & women; North & South. In some way they all are connected to the Garden State, whether they were born or practiced in New Jersey.

AIA New Jersey highlighted two of these iconic architects each day, Monday through Friday during the week. You may or may not agree with the list, but we hope it encouraged, and will continue to encourage dialogue about architects and architecture in the great State of New Jersey. We urge you to share the stories of these architects with your family and friends, and to share with us your thoughts about our list of New Jersey’s most iconic architects in the comment section after each article. These are not the only New Jersey architects who inspire us. They are only the 10 selected for this week. Who is not on this list who you think should be there, and why?

Below is a link to the article about each one of the 10 architects. And remember, New Jersey is not just home to Jack Nicholson, Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi; it’s also home to some of architecture’s greatest minds – those who have helped shape the world in which we live.

BTW, do you need more inspiration?

Click Here

We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us – Winston Churchill

AIA-NJ Nominates Michael Graves to New Jersey Hall of FameMichael Graves, FAIA

Richard MeireRichard Meier, FAIA

epettersen1Eleanore Pettersen, FAIA

hillier2J. Robert Hillier, FAIA



Malcolm Holzman, FAIA

MalcolmWellsHeadShotMalcolm Wells, FAIA

peter eisenmanPeter Eisenman, FAIA

Bill Short Head Shot PhotoWilliam H Short, FAIA


Freedom Tower architect David Childs attDavid Childs, FAIA

Fred Wesley Wentworth, FAIAFredWesleyWentworth Photo

Wentworth: The Garden State’s Most Iconic Architects

FredWesleyWentworth Photo

Fred Wesley Wentworth, FAIA

Fred Wesley Wentworth, FAIA, was a highly accomplished and respected architect in Paterson, N.J. between the late 1800s and mid-1900s, although, up until recently, was relatively unknown.

Wentworth’s work, which had a large impact on shaping the Paterson community, consisted of institutional, commercial, residential, religious and healthcare buildings, as well as prototype buildings for emerging property types, most notably, moving picture theatres for which his design set standards. 

Some of Wentworth’s better-known Paterson works include Barnert Hospital, the post office and Passaic County Court House; but perhaps his most impressive contribution was designing about 40 buildings in the rebuilding efforts after a wind-swept fire decimated much of central Paterson in 1902.

In addition to his work in Paterson, Wentworth built some well-known buildings throughout North Jersey including the 25-room Atwood-Blauvelt Mansion in Oradell, N.J. and many movie theaters across the region. His beautifully structured designs influenced others in a movement across New Jersey to restore old industrial cities.

Wentworth was also a leader in the architectural community, having served as president of the New Jersey chapter of the American Institute of Architects, a member of the State Board of Architects, and a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects.

Although his work has not received the recognition deserved, partly because of the general disrepair of Paterson, his designs and the architecture of the buildings have had a great impact on the Paterson community — and New Jersey — and his legacy continues to live on in his work.

Wentworth Building 1-Post-Office-and-Court-HouseWentworth Building 2 barnert-hospitalWentworth Building 3a Atwood Mansion

Childs: The Garden State’s Most Iconic Architects

Freedom Tower architect David Childs att

David Childs, FAIA

David Childs, FAIA, who was born in Princeton, N.J., has designed some of New York City’s most iconic buildings, including the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, One Worldwide Plaza and the New York Mercantile Exchange, although he is perhaps best known for his controversial redesign of the new 1,776-foot One World Trade Center, also know as the Freedom Tower, which was designed to memorialize the original World Trade Center complex destroyed on September 11, 2001.

Now chairman emeritus and consulting design partner at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, Childs did not always want to be an architect. Growing up in a family of scientists, Childs had a passion for the sciences and majored in zoology at Yale University before realizing his dream and switching to architecture.

In addition to his work in New York, Mr. Childs is known for his work in Washington, DC. With a reputation as a political animal, Mr. Childs was able to harness his political skills to an architectural agenda. He was once hired by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan to work on the redevelopment of Pennsylvania Avenue, and he is particularly proud of the Constitution Gardens, adjacent to the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool at the National Mall.

Childs has also served in presidential positions including chairman of the National Capital Planning Commission, a federal agency that oversees development projects in Washington, D.C., and as the chairman of the Commission of Fine Arts in Washington.

Always with self-effacing charm, he once said, “I know a lot of what I’ve designed is not ‘A’ work. “But my role was different. I wanted to raise the level of everyday development as much as I could.” But, he has since left his mark on a wide range of important projects.

David Childs Building 1 WTCDavid Childs Building 2 WWPDavid Childs Building 3 hudson-yards-nyc-e-towerDavid Childs Building 4 time-warner