Monthly Archives: August 2017

Raymond F. Wells, AIA, 1928-2017

He lived by the motto, “Service above Self”

AIA NJ is sorry to share the news that Raymond F. Wells, AIA has passed away on August 27, 2017.  We share his obituary with you here. If you were a colleague of Ray’s, we invite you to comment on this post with a memory.

Please consider making a donation to the AIA NJ Scholarship Foundation in the name of Raymond F. Wells, AIA, so that his contribution to architecture can live on through you.


AIA NJ takes action to protect New Jersey from New Executive Order that exposes Government Infrastructure to Flood Risk

red_eagleOn Tuesday, August 15, President Trump issued a new executive order that rolls back Obama-era protections put in place to ensure that government-funded infrastructure projects in flood prone areas would be less exposed to flooding and the effects of climate change. Read more on this executive order here.

Illya Azaroff, AIA Regional Recovery Work Group, and a resiliency expert on AIA National’s Strategic Council says, “In the northeast alone 20% of the US GDP is accounted for from the Boston-Washington corridor or megalopolis. In that same 2% of US land area 48.6 million people reside and it is all connected by a tangled web of infrastructure that is very vulnerable to immediate shocks and stresses. Since Super Storm Sandy the way forward in not only this region but around the country has progressed toward comprehensive resilient building measures that account for risks of today and those predicted in the future. To reverse Obama era directives that aim to design for climate change across political and state boundaries is to say the least a short sighted failure of leadership. I believe the health safety and welfare of the public is at greater risk without these measures in place. ”

Here in New Jersey, we still hear residents speak of the effect of Sandy on our communities, the days before compared to the way things are now.  While the Obama regulations created a new landscape for many on the Jersey Shore, those changes brought a sense of security to people, allowing them to stay in their communities rather than relocating to higher ground. Will that now be ripped out from under our neighbors?

New Jersey’s environmental groups respond to the new executive order. See comments here.

AIA NJ is not in support of the new executive order. It goes against our core values:

  • We stand for a sustainable future
  • We stand for protecting communities from the impact of climate change

President Elect Verity Frizzell, AIA says, “Yes, there is some additional cost to raising projects another 2 or 3 feet, but it is nothing compared to the cost of rebuilding after a flood.  It shouldn’t cause any delays in permitting, at all, unless the original plans weren’t drawn to the higher standard and had to be re-drawn.  It is another example of our President’s shortsightedness and operating without full knowledge of the consequences of his decisions.”

AIA NJ President, Ben Lee, AIA has issued a plan of action that is already underway, with AIA NJ representatives scheduling Summer Recess meetings with our Congressmen and Senators,  and discussions with State Legislators being planned. Our Committee on the Environment is advising on the recommended plan for our state.



Spiezle Architectural Group Announces Significant New Hires and Promotions

Firm Credits Continued Growth to Sustained Strategy Focused on Enhancing

Scope, Depth and Diversity of Client Capabilities


HAMILTON, NJ and MEDIA, PA– August 15, 2017 Spiezle Architectural Group, Inc., an award-winning, full-service architectural, interior design and planning firm, is pleased to announce several significant new hires and promotions. The moves illustrate the effective implementation of its sustainable growth strategy driven to consistently enhance the scope, depth and diversity of its client services.


The latest additions culminate a team of 59 professionals with extensive architectural, planning and interior design expertise in sectors including K-12 education, higher education, healthcare, senior care, commercial, non-profit, hospitality, sustainability, and government markets.  New employees include Thomas Lee, CPA, Chief Financial Officer/VP of Finance and Administration, James Repka, RA, Project Manager, Courtney Prutzman, Interior Designer, and Chelsea Donnigan, Senior Marketing Coordinator. Promotions include Steven Siegel, AIA, LEEDap to Principal as well as Michelle Lopez and Justin Kozik, LEED GA to Project Coordinators.


“I am delighted to welcome our newest professionals and congratulate those who earned a well-deserved promotion,” said Thomas S. Perrino, President and CEO. “Our expanded Spiezle team drives our mission to always strengthen our capabilities to insure optimal performance and client satisfaction.”

Continue reading

Women in Leadership – Meadowlands USA article

AIA New Jersey’s Second Vice President Kim Vierheilig, AIA, was interviewed by Meadowlands USA magazine and spoke about AIA’s role in mentoring in the profession.  In the article, along with Sally Glick, principal and chief growth strategist at Sobel & Co., they spoke about challenges in their respective fields.

In the article Vierheilig shared:
“When I first started out of college there was basically no kind of networking group or anything that was geared to women. Now you have so much stuff and people are willing to actually share stories. I think that Women in Architecture is a platform to me to try and reach out and help women who are coming out of college, who maybe don’t know exactly where their careers want to lead them.”



Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

On August 14, 2017, a terrific article on the East Point Lighthouse was published in The Daily Journal. Despite the extensive coverage, the architect, AIA NJ Member and Chair of the AIA NJ Historic Resources Committee, Michael Calafati, AIA, was left out of the article.

Read the article by clicking here.

CANstruction at Prudential CenterUpon noticing this, New Jersey Regional Representative to the AIA Strategic Council, Bruce Turner, AIA, sent along a letter to The Daily Journal reminding them of the important role of the architect and recommending an edit to the on line version of the article and a suggestion to always credit the architect when writing about any building.

In a matter of minutes, the The Daily Journal Content Specialist responded to Bruce that the editor was being advised of Bruce’s comments, and AIA National’s Media Relations Sr. Manager, Matt Tinder, sent along his accolades to Bruce for the letter being “perfect – polite, balanced, clear, and direct” and offering his support should the editor not respond.

But Bruce did not need to take Mr. Tinder up on his offer because the very next morning, The Daily Journal featured our Regional Representative’s letter…Read Bruce’s letter here.

What a great moment for Michael Calafati, AIA and architecture!

A special thank you to Bruce D. Turner, AIA for being ever vigilant and a message to all AIA members to be on the lookout for more ways to support our profession and our colleagues in a similar fashion.

Be the Voice of AIA and your profession!

Micro-MBA in Architecture

The Business of Architecture Certificate Program
AIA West Jersey, in partnership with Temple University’s Fox School of Business and the Department of Architecture at Temple University, is pleased to announce the creation of a two-part sequence of courses: an Architecture-focused business essentials professional certificate and an Architecture specific Micro-MBA executive program.
This multi-tiered program kicks off with two certificate programs to help prepare Architects and Construction Professionals with limited or no business training to enter the Micro-MBA executive program in late 2018. The Business of Architecture Basic Certificate will be offered Sept. – Oct. 2017 and The Business of Architecture Advanced Certificate will be offered Jan. – Feb. 2018. Each of the certificate programs will be five weeks in duration and provide background training to help ensure the candidates’ success. Classes will be taught by a combination of Temple University Professors and licensed AIA Architects at the Temple Center City Campus.
Registration for the Business of Architecture Basic Certificate is now open! Details on this exciting program are outlined in the attached.

Architecture and the Solar Eclipse

By William J. Martin, R.A., AIA, P.P., LEED AP-Hbill headshot


We are about to experience one of the greatest wonders the natural world has to offer humanity.


In late August,  here in the New Jersey area, there will be a solar eclipse. Solar eclipses are not commonplace. They are actually very rare, especially events visible in the area of New Jersey.  This time around, the sun and the moon will provide a fairly substantial partial eclipse with about 70% of the sun covered at peak time.  This should occur about 2:44pm, local time, on August 21, 2017, and weather permitting, it will be visible throughout New Jersey.


A solar eclipse is a reminder from the universe that we are part of a larger environment.  As architects down here on the earth, we strive through design to make the best use of the effects of the natural world.  The occurrence of a solar eclipse visible in New Jersey is a great opportunity to discuss how architects use the movement of the sun through the sky to design better buildings.


Climate change, the high cost of energy, and reducing dependence on non-renewable energy sources is an important priority for professional architects.  Utilizing design strategies to reduce heat loss and heat gain allow for a reduced environmental footprint and a lower operational cost for the constructed building.  This business case for reducing the carbon footprint of buildings is strong.  It reduces the economic burden on both the building user, and the environment as a whole.


Our design strategies include proper layout and configuration of the buildings we design.  The layout we create responds to the north-south directions through careful building site orientation.  Our spaces are arranged within the building to take advantage of natural solar daylighting reducing dependency on artificial light thus reducing energy utilized.  We incorporate design features such as roof overhangs, that help to manage and minimize solar heat gain by shielding South facing wall surfaces during the hottest parts of the year.  Properly sized overhangs and windows also allow that same solar heat gain to enter the building at the coldest times of the year. Designing to make use of local environmental conditions just makes good design sense.


Roof designs can also be affected.  Architects design roof angles and slope direction to provide surfaces for photovoltaic solar panels to be installed.  We create building forms and shapes that maximize efficient renewable energy generation.


As architects, we play an important role in helping to reduce the effects of climate change through intelligent building design.  Architects understand how buildings can fit into the natural world and we have the skills to design buildings that will reduce, and not contribute to the negative effects of climate change.


This upcoming wondrous celestial event, once again, reminds us that what we do as architects is truly connected to the broader natural world in a most fundamental way.

STEVEN A. SAFARY, AIA, Architect and Artist , 1932-2017

By Jerome Leslie Eben, FAIA


I was one of many colleagues of Steven A. Safary for forty years.  On August 5th, I spoke at a Memorial for Steve organized by his family a few months after his passing.


Wil Shortz is the New York Times “LIFELONG PUZZLE MASTER” and is fond of saying “if you can figure out what you love to do most………then see if you can make a living doing it!”


This statement reminded me of Steve who loved puzzles and related doing them to the work in the practice of our profession.  For my friend, colleague, teacher, and mentor, it was just that simple.


I once asked Steve what the initial ‘A’ stood for in his name, and only used the initial?  Steve told me that it simply stood for the first letter of the alphabet.  He added it when Agnes (his spouse for over 50 years) arrived at Camp Kilmer, NJ after fleeing the ill-fated student uprising known as the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.  He explained at the time that the simple letter did not necessarily have to have any other letters after it. Well, I think that those who knew Steve can agree that the ‘A’ not only stood for ARCHITECT, but also for ARTIST.  Because that was what Steve was in his real professional life.  


I had already been working at Lehman Architectural Partnership as a draftsman when Steve joined the firm in 1978.  Other young draftsmen and I worked not under Steve, but alongside him, learning and expanding our knowledge on just how to put a building together.  

A client, Sutton Construction Company, was embarking on building speculative buildings.  Steve designed two simple boxes.  A low office component up front with a larger component used as a warehouse or industrial space behind.  The floor plans were simple, changed little, but each of the structures had its own identity.  The facades showed off Steve’s talent and knowledge of different building materials.  Most of the buildings were built in what originally had been Camp Kilmer so one could state that Steve had come full circle from refugee to a broken down former army base that he was now responsible for giving new life to in creative architecture.


In the early ‘80s, we found a new client in Toys ‘R’ Us.  Together under the LAP title block, we designed new or renovated stores, repeatedly across the country.  Each time, Steve produced a rendering for the cover sheet.  Rendering is where Steve showed his artistic talent and every project had the flare of his imaginary cars in front of the facades.  


I brought a request of Steve’s talent and asked him to re-create a rendering of my mother’s childhood synagogue in Bamberg, Germany.  Steve sketched out a remembrance from an old photograph, choosing a black and white format, because of his own experience of becoming a refugee from his childhood home.   My mother cherished it as a memory of her days before the Holocaust, until her passing.  I have used the rendering in school presentations where I relate my parents escape from a horrific time in history.


It was Steve that organized all of us at LAP to get involved in AIA.  Under his guidance, we put together the monthly newsletter, which he named the Rostrum.  It became AIA Newark and Suburban Architects’ platform for reaching out to the membership.  Steve put together the first local Design Day, so members could present their work and be recognized for it.  This important program continues to this day.  


Steven A. Safary, AIA was the real thing, an ARCHITECT and true creative genius that we all will miss.


The Safary family has requested that in the spirit of Steve as a teacher and mentor to younger people and future architects that donations in his name be made to the AIA New Jersey Scholarship Foundation.


Thank you,




AIA NJ Responds to the New York Times

On Sunday, July 8th, AIA NJ Historical Preservation Committee Chair, Michael Calafati, AIA, LEED AP, read NYT writer Allison Arieff’s opinion piece on Corporate Campuses.  It included a comparison between Apple’s campus by Foster in Cupertino, CA and the Eero Saarinen-designed Bell Labs campus in Holmdel, NJ.

Given AIA-NJ’s role in the preservation and reuse of Bell Labs, a letter was sent to the Times to highlight AIA-NJ’s role and to draw additional contrast.
We share the letter here…
Dear NY Times,
The Sunday Review on July 8, 2017 made reference to Bells Labs in Holmdel, NJ designed by Eero Saarinen just prior to his death in 1960 (One Thing Silicon Valley Can’t Seem to Fix). While Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, CA has an eye-opening form and an enviable pedigree in its association with Norman Foster, a comparison to Bell Labs, or many other ex-urban corporate facilities of the mid 20th century, merits a much deeper look.  Bell Labs was the product of more naïve times when the US was unchallenged in the realm of technology and innovation and the pitfalls of rapid suburban development were not widely recognized.  In their move to consolidate much of the R&D capacity in one location, Bell (like many other large corporations) turned to Saarinen for a new building type.  In so doing, Saarinen pioneered features we take for granted today with a distinct Bell twist – such as open plans with space for offices and laboratories, the first large scale use of a mirrored glass façade to reflect the surrounding environment (love it or hate it – it took root with this building) and an emphasis on shared and open circulation spaces that fostered professional collaboration.  Professional collaborators within its walls included Nobel laureates and resulted in advances that made touch tone dialing, fax transmissions and the cellular telephones possible. 
Recognizing Bell Labs’ iconic importance and wanting to avoid reuse scenarios that included demolition, AIA-NJ and its regional preservation partners Preservation NJ and Docomomo-NY/TriState lead the battle to awaken the public’s awareness of Bell Lab’s significance to architecture and technology.  Today, thanks to the advance work of architects and preservations, Bell Works is taking shape and its redevelopment to accommodate multiple uses follows the course first charted by the Charrette co-organized by AIA-NJ nine years ago.
Ben Lee, AIA, President 
AIA-New Jersey

AIAWJ EPiC Summer Canoe Networking

Don’t miss the EPiC event of the Summer!

AIA-WJ EPiC: Mullica River Canoe Trip with Pinelands Adventures

Paddle and network on the waterways of South Jersey with emerging AIA members.
Registration is open for our EPiC Canoe Trip on the Mullica River

Check out the event page for more information!