Monthly Archives: May 2014

2015 Slate of Officers

The latest slate of the 2015 Officers for the AIA-NJ Executive Committee is as follows:


  • –  President    (ascends to position from current position)
    o Kimberly Bunn, AIA
  • –  President Elect:
    o Justin Mihalik, AIA
  • –  1st Vice President:
    o Ben Lee, AIA
  • –  2nd Vice President
    o Verity Frizzell, AIA
  • –  Secretary   (currently serving multi-year term)
    o Judith Anne Donnelly, AIA
  • –  Treasurer
    o Steven B. Lazarus, AIA
  • –  Regional Director  (currently serving multi-year term)
    o Robert Cozzarelli, AIA
  • –  Regional Associates Director
    o Nicholas Caravella , Assoc. AIA
  • –  Past President   (ascends to position from current position)
    o Kurt Kalafsky, AIA

As per AIA-NJ By-laws voting for these officers will be held at the June 17, 2014, Board of Trustees meeting.

Any questions please contact our AIA-NJ office  (609-393-5690) or  Jack A. Purvis, AIA
2014 Nominations Committee Chairman [email protected] 

Studio Hillier Earns AIA-NJ Merit Award for Urban Trifecta

Studio Hillier Earns AIA-NJ Merit Award for Urban Trifecta Architectural Design Studio in Princeton, N.J.  

Firm Recognized for Innovative Repurposing of Vintage Commercial Building at 190 Witherspoon Street

379mnmm6fo4amk3lAIA-NJ has awarded Princeton, N.J.-based architectural design firm Studio Hillier with a Merit Award in the Built category for its creative transformation of 190 Witherspoon Street into a cutting-edge, energy-efficient design studio.

“Studio Hillier exhibited keen vision, revitalizing a once decaying building into an aesthetically and structurally stunning space,” said Kurt Kalafsky, AIA, president of AIA-NJ. “With a clear dedication to energy efficiency, the Urban Trifecta project is a marvelous example of how New Jersey’s architects can introduce new life to our buildings and communities in imaginative ways.”

Once home to a warehouse and garage structure, the central component of 190 Witherspoon Street now houses Studio Hillier’s state-of-the-art storefront architectural design studio. The Urban Trifecta, as the project is known, is rounded out by two residential-turned-commercial structures flanking the studio.

Designed to meet LEED Gold standards, Studio Hillier designed the Urban Trifecta to draw daylight from three large clerestories on its roof, providing approximately 80 percent of the studio’s lighting needs. The rooftop also produces electricity through photovoltaic solar arrays, with surplus energy redirected back to the grid. The dramatic design creates a bright, shimmering atmosphere during daytime hours.

“The architect as developer is not such an oddity as it once was. We are in it for the value we create,” noted Barbara Hiller, founding partner at Studio Hillier. “For many small towns, this kind of investment and the regeneration it stimulates will have existential meaning.”

The AIA-NJ Annual Design Awards program recognizes architectural projects that exhibit design excellence in one of four categories: Open (meant for any building type), Residential, Historic Preservation and Interior Architecture. Projects are further designated as either Built or Un-built. To be eligible, projects must be either located in New Jersey or designed by an AIA-NJ architect. Submitted projects are evaluated during the organization’s annual Design Conference by a group of distinguished architects from throughout the country.

New Series: Empowerment by Design

By Steve Whitehorn


These days, owners are expecting more and more for their investment dollars.  Unrealistic owner expectations can lead architects and engineers to experience greater risk and anxiety with every new project.

In my new series for AIA New Jersey – Empowerment by Design – my goal is to help you, the A/E professional, to create a greater sense of clarity in your practice, to establish standards that will protect you and to make you more confident practicing in this ever-changing economic landscape.

It’s not my position that what you’ve been doing is wrong, but that there are more effective strategies – both internal and external – that can empower you and your firm to succeed in today’s marketplace.

This column will also provide you with information as well as, I hope, inspiration.  The kind that helps you step outside of your comfort zone, away from the mindset of “this is the way we’ve always done things, ” and toward a more confident approach to risks and rewards.

Professional boxer Jack Dempsey used to say, “the key to a good offense, is a great defense.” It seems to me, that for the past 40 years, our industry looked at risk in this way.  In my opinion, this hasn’t been the best approach; architects and engineers get sued all the time, and not necessarily with good results.  That kind of uncertainty leaves you always on the balls of your feet.

But what would happen if you learned strategies that helped you get paid, on time, every time?  How about setting standards that empower you to refuse to accept substitutions?  How about discovering the power to keep contractors from running circles around you?  You may find operating and negotiating from a position of strength has its payoffs.

We believe it’s time for change and that your credo as an A/E professional should be, “the key to a good defense, is a great offense!”  That’s what Empowerment by Design is all about.  So go confidently in this new direction, dear reader.  We’re here to help you find greater clarity, greater stability and, above all, greater success.


Create Greater Clarity to Empower Your Firm

Editor’s Note: This is the first article in the Empowerment by Design series by Steve Whitehorn of Whitehorn Financial Group, Inc., providing A/E professionals with practical tips for a more successful, profitable practice.

As an architect, what are your top career goals?  Fame?  Creative freedom?  Respect?  More money?  Having worked with hundreds of architecture and engineering firms over the past twenty-five years, I have learned that there are many paths to a successful career in architecture.  But each path has one common guide that lights the way: clarity.

So what exactly do I mean by “clarity”?  In the context of observing it in successful firms, possessing clarity means having a detailed understanding of the responsibilities of each person’s role in the firm – from principals to associates to assistants, and so forth – and developing a greater awareness of how each role affects the other.

Why?  Because design is a team sport.  In baseball, for example, coaches typically say that their best hitters are “seeing the ball well.”  In other words, they have achieved a sense of clarity: they can see what’s coming at them and they’re confident they can knock the ball out of the park.  In the same way, the greater clarity firm principals have, the greater positive impact it will have on the firm.  Clarity is a stepping-stone for success, as it will improve and guide the firm’s projects, relationships, and overall economic stability.

Unfortunately, a lack of clarity is a distinct flaw that shows up in many areas of a firm.  I have found that most of the fears and anxieties that my clients possess ultimately can be traced back to a lack of clarity. The resulting uncertainty and apprehension leads to a domino effect of confusion among their employees in their respective roles.  Thankfully, finding greater clarity within your firm isn’t as elusive as it may seem.

The following are a few ways in which you can empower yourself to bring more clarity to your firm, your projects and, with it, more peace of mind for yourself:

Be selective.  You may find that you spend only 20% of each day actually designing and the other 80% lost in tedious tasks.  This is because you lack clarity and you’re not making the right business decisions. In school, you learned how your designs could change the world, but what you didn’t learn were strategies necessary to attain the work you desire. When you’re clear about what you want, how you and your team are going to execute tasks, and you’re selective with clients and projects, it’s likely that you’ll end up with more projects you want and can reasonably manage.

Create a gameplan.  You must establish a clear understanding of scope for each project; from the owner’s perspective, your perspective, and the project team executing the project.  Creating a game plan for your team – one that clearly states which team member is responsible for which tasks, and so forth, from the start of a project to its completion – will relieve you as a principal from feeling like you have to control everything and accomplish everything yourself.

Beware of micromanaging.  If you find yourself worrying about what might go wrong if you don’t have your eye on each and every task within your firm, or about what an employee might do without your knowledge, nothing in your firm will be accomplished.  In this case, you’re too busy planting doubt within your firm and those who work for you.  Clarity comes when you learn to let go of the worry of losing control.  In fact, you will have greater control in the end because you will be able to focus more clearly on your vision, passion, and creativity, while knowing who’s executing tasks and how the work is getting done.

Clearly define post-design phase responsibilities.  Lacking clarity, especially during the construction process, prevents employees from practicing with confidence.  For the construction phase of a project, clearly define your firm’s responsibilities, as well as each of your employee’s responsibilities.  Additionally, confidently express expectations to the contractor in terms of their responsibilities for the project, and, above all, always hold them accountable.

Step out of your comfort zone.  If you’re holding on to the mindset that “we’ve always done it this way,” you’re not doing yourself or your firm any good over the long term.  Finding greater clarity will require you to try new ways of getting things done.  This doesn’t mean that the way you’ve always done things is wrong, but that there are ways to do the work more efficiently and effectively.

Greater clarity enriches your firm’s value, but it must be shared from top to bottom.  Defining scope and responsibilities, being more selective about the work you take on and freeing yourself to do more of what you love to do, will bring you and your firm greater clarity, greater confidence, and greater success.


Steve Whitehorn is the author of the upcoming book, Empowerment by Design, and Managing Principal of Whitehorn Financial Group, Inc., which provides architects and engineers with strategies that minimize risk, increase profitability, speed up cash flow, and get more work. Whitehorn Financial Group, Inc., is the creator of The A/E Empowerment Program®.whitehorn-finacial-logo-w-tagline41


AIA-NJ Convention Fellows Reception

The AIA National Convention is only a month away – register today if you haven’t already.

If you will be in Chicago this year, please join AIA-NJ at the Fellows Cocktail Reception
June 26th at Joe’s


Regional Director’s Message: Governance, Nature and Mother

cozzarelliBy Robert Cozzarelli, AIA

2014-2016 Regional Director, New Jersey


The 2014 AIA National Convention will be held this the first week of Summer in Chicago.  It seems that this AIA Convention more than any other, in recent memory, is approaching with great anticipation, as the AIA Delegates prepare to vote on the governance of “Repositioning” of the Institute.  Clearly, whatever the outcome is there will be one thing that is for certain; decisions in Chicago will be made on the basis of careful, thorough and objective consideration of the issues by responsible AIA Delegates.  Hopefully, the AIA Delegates will elect Jerome L. Eben, AIA as Secretary of the American Institute of Architects and AIA New Jersey will be celebrating Jerry’s victory at the convention.

Should Repositioning be ratified at the AIA Convention it will allow the Institute to react in a quicker and responsive manner to issues and challenges that are occurring more frequently in this cyber world that we experience every day.  Further, a smaller Board of Directors will have the ability to be more interactive with the AIA membership and there will be a clearer understanding of the responsibilities of the Board and of the new Strategic Council.  The Strategic Council will be able to represent members of varying backgrounds, requirements and interest, while seeking and exploring pro-active positions for the Institute to forge.  By moving forward with this Repositioning new governance structure the AIA will be in the forefront of many national and worldwide discussions addressing issues, spearheading intellectual forums on architectural design and advancing the value of the architectural profession.

Repositioning will be a tremendous change to the Institute and it will come with a purpose and hopefully it will be recognized as a model for leadership of the Institute now and years to come setting an example of what is best for the greater good of the AIA Members and the Institute.  Honestly, it may ultimately answer, what is the value of being an AIA member.  Only time will tell as these efforts to implement these governance changes are being implemented for the betterment of the Institute and its membership now and for years to come.

With respect to Change it has always evoked emotions.  Change denotes a making or becoming distinctly different.  Some people readily accept change and others don’t.  I personally enjoy the change of seasons and I look forward to each and every one.  I particularly love Spring because I live near Branch Brook Park, which is recognized as the first County Park in the United States.  The park is situated both in Newark and Belleville.  The local residences of each community typically identify the boundaries of Branch Brook Park with the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, which was designed by Newark architect, Jeremiah O’Rourke, FAIA (circa 1850-1880) at one end and at the north end with the banquet facility Nanina’s-In-The Park.  As the architect of record for Nanina’s it is a privilege that my architecture is also identified as part of Branch Brook Park.  The park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and it is accented with a variety of Cherry Blossom trees that bloom only for a short period, from mid April through May.  But it is with great anticipation each year that I and the community look forward to nature’s gift of beauty when the Cherry Blossom Trees are in full bloom and the sun is shining and the weather perfect.  Yes, change is good and we have a lot to be thankful for, but I would be remiss if I did not mention Mother’s Day this time of the year and personally how thankful I am for my mother and how she encouraged me to be an architect because her father was a mason and he had extreme respect for the architect whenever they visited the construction site.

Mother’s Day is a day to appreciate both what you have and what you have been given.  Mothers, grandparents, aunts, and guardians all play a special role in the lives of their loves ones.  They help shape our character and form us into the people we become.  They may have played an important role in you deciding to become an architect, such is my case.  They serve as role models, shoulders to cry on, navigators through hard times, and a source of dependency.  For those who have lost their mothers, they will always be remembered and cherished in our thoughts and prayers.  The memories of those we have lost continue to shape our lives and choices we make that change our lives.  I hope each of you took time to reach out to those who have served as a maternal role in your life, to remember those we have lost and miss dearly, and to celebrate your own motherhood.

If you are asking why I have discussed these three different topics, AIA Repositioning, Cherry Blossom Trees, and Mother all in the same article it’s because they all represent some form of change and how it affects our life.  These are examples of change that stand to symbolize individual growth and nurturing of personal goals, hard work that inspires us to forge new paths in our personal life as well as professional life, and the gift of caring for each other as we enjoy the natural beauty of the world where we live, work and play in.  Simply, Architects create change and they influence lives and serve society by their designs.  Design is the value of what we do as architects!

Enjoy Spring because Summer is around the corner!


cuba1AIA-NJ with a delegation of 15 members has just returned from an 8-day tour of Cuba. The purpose of the tour is to observe the urban environment and architecture fabric of the cities and meeting with Cuban architects. The group was able share and exchange knowledge with Cuban architects to have a better understanding of the socio-economic impact to their cities. The information the group gathered will be shared with AIA-NJ Chapter and all the local 6 Sections.

The group started the tour at Old Havana, meeting with Cuban architect Miguel Coyula international renowned architect, urban planner and faculty of architecture at Havana University. The Old Havana are known for many square or plaza, surrounded by cathedral, institutional buildings reflects Cuban baroque architecture. The Old Havana has been designate as UNESCO Heritage Site. Many buildings in Havana has been deteriorated over time, we met with architect and preservationist Isabel Rigol director of the national Center for Conservation, Restoration and Museology. The surrounding buildings included Capitolilio Nacional, Centro Gallego, Centro Asturano, Manzana de Gomez, Bacardi Building, the restoration work in a neo-renaissance building and experience the promenade of Paseo del Prado.

The post revolution architecture included Instituto Superior de Arte, started from 1961 to 1965. The project was halted until Cuban government re-commission the work in 2001, the restoration work for School of Visual Art was completed in 2009. The Institute was part of the documentary film “Unfinished Space”. We also visited the Housing and Planned Community of Habana del Este, a 1500 unit planned community to address housing needs, it was built from 1959 to 1962.

We were able to meet with Cuban architect Pedro Vasquez to observe various architecture from the Modern period. Pabellon Cuban an exhibit hall built in 1963, Hotel Habana designed by Welton Becket Associates convert to housing and governmental facility. Coppelia built in 1966, Hebrew Community center 1953 and Hotel Riviera in 1957 for Meyer Lansky.

The Cuba is evolving, we have seen more restoration work in progress, however many classical buildings has fallen beyond repair. There are more and more privately owned restaurants “pardares” in the cities. There are more boutiques, bars, coffee shop, jazz club and art galleries in the city as well as in the suburb. We as a group of architects fully aware this is a very unique time to be in Cuba. Our hope is through the understanding from people to people that we will begin to see improvements in people’s lives.

Ben P. Lee
AIA-NJ Treasurer




2014 AIA‐West Jersey – Emerging Professionals Design Competition

AIA WJ Community Rocks Logo

AIA‐West Jersey is offering Emerging Professionals the opportunity to design a mobile music, art studio and community outreach vehicle. AIA‐West Jersey has partnered with Community Rocks!, a non‐profit organization established to educate, strengthen and connect communities through arts and wellness programs, partnerships and relief work.

What is Community Rocks! the Blocks?

Based in Oaklyn, NJ, this program provides relief supplies to neighbors in need. Throughout the year the program collects, sorts and deliver supplies to various relief centers, churches, community spaces, individuals and families. Now, there is a plan to expand the program. The Community Rocks! RV will tour Camden, Camden County & Burlington County providing music, art and exercise programs to children, neighborhoods and community centers in need.

This is where AIAWJ joins the effort.

The RV is retro‐chic from the 1980s, but needs significant upgrades to achieve the following programmatic needs. This is the focus the competition:

  1. Art Studio / Classroom inside the RV for up to 8 children.
  2. Music Classroom inside the RV for up to 8 children.
  3. “Hang‐Out” Space for up to 4 children.
  4. Mobile Stage / Sound System with Speaker Hook‐up Outside the RV.
  5. Flexible Signage System on RV exterior.
  6. Storage of tents, art supplies, and equipment.
  7. Retain sink and toilet functions.
  8. Child generated art piece for interior or exterior of RV.
  9. Storage of goods and supplies to be delivered to local charities.

Safety, Health and Welfare

Safety of the occupants is paramount. The RV will be used to educate, stimulate and uplift children in underserved communities. This can only be achieved in safe environment. The RV will serve the children while parked, no programming will take place while the RV is in motion.

Additional Requirements

  1. Use of Community Rocks! Colors: Pink, Brown, Green and Yellow. (See Logo)
  2. Paint Exterior of RV – Pink Base Coat
  3. Display boards 30×40 inches depicting proposed designs.

BreastFest – The Tyanna Foundation

Sara O’Brien, Founder and Director of Community Rocks!, along with her sisters, also founded The Tyanna Foundation, which works to increase awareness and generate money for breast cancer research, services, education, treatment and patient care for local breast cancer patients and survivors. The major fundraiser for the foundation is BreastFest, a fun filled festival for the entire family offering food, drink, activities and live entertainment. To date the foundation has raised over $1,000,000 through events held in 5 different states.


Entries due to AIA‐West Jersey, Monday, June 2, 2014.

All entries will be displayed in front of the RV at BreastFest New Jersey, on June 7th, 2014, behind The Taproom and Grill in Haddon Township. Community Rocks! and The Tyanna Foundation board members and the general public will be given the opportunity to comment on the designs and ultimately select a winner.

 AIA WJ 2014 Design Competition RV Photo


Community Rocks! Website –
The Tyanna Foundation Website –
Sara O’Brien Website –
AIA‐West Jersey Contact: Mark Barone, AIA – [email protected]


If you are interested please contact Mark Barone, AIA by the end of business, Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Thank you.



2015 AIA-NJ Slate of Officers


  • –  President Elect:red_eagle
    o Justin Mihalik, AIA
  • –  1st Vice President:
    o Ben Lee, AIA
  • –  2nd Vice President
    o Richard Carroll, AIA
    o Verity Frizzell, AIA
  • –  Treasurer
    o Steven B. Lazarus, AIA
  • –  Regional Associate Director
    o Nicholas Caravella , Assoc. AIA

    An election will be held in June.  Watch for articles in the newsletter and direct emails with more information on the election.
    Any question or more information contact:   Jack A. Purvis, AIA
    2014 Nominations Committee Chairman [email protected] 

2014-15 AIA-NJ Scholarship Foundation Grants Available

red_eagleThe  AIA New Jersey Scholarship Foundation is seeking qualified applicants currently attending Schools of Architecture to award scholarship monies associated with the 2014-15 AIA New Jersey Scholarship Foundation Program of Scholarships. 

An application form for grant consideration is required from all applicants.
Deadline for receipt of completed applications for financial aid (including receipt of transcripts and portfolio materials) is FRIDAY, JUNE 20, 2014.   

Grant awards range in size from $2,000 to $5,000 and may be awarded to multiple, selected architectural students for the 2014-15 School Year. 

The award selection is based upon a scholastic achievement, financial need, and architectural talent as determined by a portfolio submission.
More information regarding can be found online:


Healthcare and Small Firms- how will you be affected?

Submitted by: Justin A. Mihalik, AIA, Membership Chairperson

This past Grassroots in Washington, D.C., I spent some time with the folks from AIA Trust specifically to talk about what options Trust has for members as it relates to healthcare.  Recently, members have talked to me about the importance of access to healthcare through AIA being a “value” to members.  As a small business owner myself I fully understand this.  For many years, members of AIA and AIANJ have lobbied on behalf of its members, for legislation that would allow the AIA to offer group healthcare plans to its members.  Although the House approved the Bill to make this happen on more than one occassion, the Senate never took vote on it because the administrations had been working on a healthcare package for the Senate to approve, which never happened.  Therefore, AIA and many other national trade organizations like AIA, cannot offer the plans as a group.  With that said, there are options through AIA Trust and a wealth of information for firms to understand how the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) will affect them.  You can find this information at

As an AIA member, there are many benefits that come with your membership including access to discounted Professional Liability/Risk Management, Life Insurance, Long Term Care Insurance, and even Travel Assistance, all through AIA Trust.  Please visit their website to take a look at all of these offers.