Category Archives: Members & the Community

Latest news and information on the various ways AIA-NJ Members are involved in their New Jersey communities beyond designing the built environment.

Drawing Inspiration from our Emerging Professionals – Megan Pritts

i_am_epic“Drawing Inspiration from our Emerging Professionals” is an eight-part series that will be published on the AIA NJ blog over the course of the month of October, AIA Emerging Professionals Month. In this series, our young professionals will chronicle the personal stories of how they were attracted to become architects — and how architecture inspires them.

At the age of 5, I already knew I wanted to become an architect. What inspired me was the environment around me in which I grew up. Living in the suburbs, I drew variations of what I saw from houses to gardens to school buildings. I drew a house for each of my friends with vibrant colors and imaginative shapes that reflected the personality or image of them in my head.

I drew each of these houses from the view of the street and later learned that one side or face of a building is called a facade. My series of facade studies started taking shape within a neighborhood where I drew landscapes, roads and driveways connecting all of the homes to other buildings like schoolhouses. I assume this progression from drawing houses to interconnected neighborhoods came from riding the school bus every day and beginning to understand how neighborhoods are planned and connected.

I would argue that anything can be inspirational for a child. I found so much inspiration from my natural surroundings and the built world I lived in that I used that to imagine new structures that would enhance the existing environment. My passion for drawing and my early imagination led me to develop a sense or ability to design at a young age.

Growing up, I never stopped sketching, designing and planning, so it was only natural for me to pursue a career in architecture.

Megan Pritts

AIA-NJ to Host Annual Design Conference

Oct. 20 in Somerset, N.J.

AIA New Jersey Design Conference to Include Rutgers Campus Tour, Keynote on University’s Master Plan as well as annual Design Awards



The biggest names in New Jersey architecture will meet for a full-day architectural affair, culminating in a panel review of AIA-NJ’s annual design award submissions. In addition to the Design Awards Reception, the conference will feature a trade show as well as seminars on a range of topics, from women in architecture to emerging technologies for architects. In recognition of the 250th anniversary of Rutgers University, the opening keynote will focus on Rutgers University’s master plan, while the annual architectural tour will be a walk-through of the New Brunswick College Avenue Campus, discussing the campus’ history, recently constructed buildings and what the future holds in store.


Keynote 1: Frank Wong, Rutgers Executive Director of University Planning and Development on the topic of “Rutgers University Master Plan, Then and Now”

Keynote 2: Stephen Chrisman, Senior Associate at Ferguson & Shamamian Architects on the topic of “New Traditional Architecture: The Work of Ferguson & Shamamian Architects”

Keynote 4: Rick Joy, AIA, renowned architect and former visiting professor at Harvard Graduate School of Design on the topic of “Taking the Time”



      Design Conference – Thursday, October 20, 8:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.


Highlights include:

-Rutgers Keynote – 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

-“Women in Architecture” seminar – 10:15 – 11:15

-Walking Tour of Rutgers University – 10:15 – 12:15

-Design Awards Reception – October 20, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

-Showcase New Jersey Architects’ Projects – October 20, 8:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.



The Palace at Somerset Park, 333 Davidson Avenue, Somerset, NJ



The BIG Ask

By Jerome Leslie Eben, AIA
AIANJ Member of the ArchiPAC Steering Committee

For those who do not know, ArchiPAC is the only federal political action committee (PAC) speaking up for members of the AIA. The mission has been and continues to be to support candidates running for the US House and Senate who support AIA’s initiatives to preserve the profession and promote positive solutions for the built environment. The Stearing Committee works with both sides of the aisle and this has been a key strategy for moving the AIA’s legislative agenda through Congress.

In one way or another I have been involved with ArchiPAC for over a decade. Back in 2006 we had jus 23 donations that totaled $3,351. Our numbers of donators and individual donations have steadily increased and by the end of last year, we had raised just over $10K.

With just two and one half months left we are some $3K short of that goal. Increasing our goal, which this year was to 10% above last year’s numbers, would elevate effectiveness and compete with our counterparts in the building and construction industry. By doing so we would in effect elevate the debate on Capitol Hill by bringing awareness to the issues that impact the practice of OUR profession from tax policies that affect cash flow to energy policies that impact how buildings are designed.

The above explanation leads to the BIG ask from me to all of you to make your donation before December 31st of this year.  It is easy to do so long as your check is not a corporate one. I am especially asking our entire current and past leadership to step up and make your donation and help with the ask so others will also contribute.

You can make your donation by visiting the contribution website or mail a check payable to ArchiPAC to AIA Headquarters at 1735 New York Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20006



Thank you

[email protected]

Drawing Inspiration from our Emerging Professionals – Matthew Pultorak, Assoc AIA

“Drawing Inspiration from our Emerging Professionals” is an eight-part series that will be published on the AIA NJ blog over the course of the month of October, AIA Emerging Professionals Month. In this series, our young professionals will chronicle the personal stories of how they were attracted to become architects — and how architecture inspires them.EPiC_Pultorak

A day at the beach

I grew up in Canarsie, Brooklyn, so for much of my childhood I played on asphalt and concrete. (There was also an occasional patch of dirt, which was invariably sprouting weeds). Finding refuge from the bustle of the busy city was rare, so my family would take fairly regular trips to the beach to alleviate the stress and wear of the city lifestyle. Although we didn’t frequent it as often as I would have liked, the beach would influence my creative side in a number of ways. As a creative professional, I look back on those trips and wonder if they had an influence on my decision to pursue a career in architecture.

The beach is a place where all five senses can be evoked, which can cause some sensory overload in a young child. All of the new feelings I experienced on the waterfront caused me to see my surroundings differently. What was a nice place for most people to lounge became my new site for childhood  construction as I designed the most intricate sand castles any architect could conjure up.

You learn about everything in life through experience, and anyone who has built a sand castle can tell you about the factors you must take into account: the wetness of the sand, proximity to the water, where the sun is coming from, if there are other people walking on your “site” and how you have to redirect the ocean water as the tide came in.

Dealing with all of these concerns, unbeknownst to me, was my first experience solving an architectural problem. The end goal was always to create the largest, most intricate sand castle, but in order to complete the project, all the other problems had to be addressed. These small details can really help a young mind develop their problem solving abilities, and from it arises a heightened sense of creativity.

While most people see the beach as a relaxing way to spend the day, it can also be used by parents as a means of developing future architects. It worked for me!

Matthew Pultorak, Assoc. AIA

Are You EPiC ?

AIA New Jersey Emerging Professional Community


We are looking for members who are interested in becoming the 2017 Vice Chair and Section Directors within our Emerging Professionals Community [EPiC], which consists of architecture school graduates, AIA Associate members, and AIA members licensed for 10 years or less.

Our mission is to promote the professional growth of emerging architects and support local communities through advocacy, education, and service. Through consistent communication and coordination between the state committee and local sections throughout New Jersey, EPiC provides programming, events, and service opportunities for our members to have fun while building relationships, developing leadership skills, and increasing emerging professional’s involvement within the profession.

The Vice Chair position has a term of two years. One year as Vice Chair followed by one year as Chair. Responsibilities of the position include:
– Assisting the Chair with responsibilities, coordination and planning
– Organizing the monthly teleconference with the state EPiC Committee

– Updating website and helping to create monthly newsletters

The Section Director position has a term of one year. Responsibilities of the position include:
– Promote the EPiC mission within your local AIA NJ section
– Attend a monthly teleconference with the state EPiC Committee

– Participation in one or more committees chaired by the state At-Large Directors – Add to the social media platforms used by EPiC

As a newly revived community within the AIA, EPiC provides a great opportunity to shape the emerging professional programming at both the section and state level. Such programming includes:

Hill Day: Advocacy training and meetings with New Jersey legislators
ARE Seminars: Courses to help you pass the licensing exams
Service Opportunities: Design small impactful projects in local communities Leadership Training: Improve your skills and promote member involvement

aianj_sectionmapIf you are interested in becoming an EPiC Section Director or applying for the Vice Chair position, we would like to hear from you.

Please submit a letter of interest by e-mail to [email protected] by October 7, 2016 (500

words). Be sure to include your AIA NJ section in your letter. Although not we will accept up to two letters of support.

We look forward to your interest.

Jessica O’Donnell, AIA 2016 EPiC Chair



Spiezle Architectural Group Announces its Acquisition of GS Architects

Strategy Strengthens Healthcare and Interior Design Capabilities,

Expands Southeast Pennsylvania Area Presence


Spiezle Architectural Group, Inc., an award-winning, full-service architectural, interior design and planning firm with offices in Trenton, New Jersey and Media, Pennsylvania, is pleased to announce its acquisition if GS Architects of Havertown, Pennsylvania.  The strategic move, leveraging the strengths of GS Architects, will extend Spiezle’s service portfolio by incorporating their impressive healthcare studio and interior design expertise, and enabling them to better serve the southeast Pennsylvania and surrounding area.


Driving the mission and vision of both firms, the acquisition will empower them to significantly enhance the scope, depth and diversity of client capabilities. The combined force offers a team of 60 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.


“The GS Architects world-class expertise and unparalleled commitment to service were the conclusive factors that enticed us to pursue the acquisition,” stated Thomas Perrino, interim chief executive officer of Spiezle Architectural Group. “The acquisition exemplifies our commitment to sustained growth and allows Spiezle to broaden its service portfolio and geography.”


GS Architects will continue to operate under its current name and will be a division of Spiezle Architectural Group. No financial terms were disclosed.

“Our partnership with Spiezle Architectural Group provides the opportunity for our clients to benefit from our diversified knowledge base and access to greater resources, increasing efficiency, effectiveness and value,” stated Chris Gaumann, founding partner of GS Architects. “The firm’s collective talents bolster their respective abilities allowing them both to grow and prosper.”


GS Architects’ leadership team of Chris Gaumann, Lisa Sheehan and Bill Hendrickson will continue to actively serve their clients as leaders within the Spiezle organization.

KSS Architects Announces 3 New Partners

KSS_new-partners2016KSS Architects, a national design firm focused on architecture, interior design, and planning, is pleased to announce three new partners: Petar Mattioni, Matthew McChesney, and Scot Murdoch. The elevation of Mattioni, McChesney, and Murdoch to Partner reflects their embodiment of KSS’s values—design that inspires, relationships that are lasting, innovation in the intersections, and guidance through the process.


Petar Mattioni, AIA, LEED AP

Petar has a practical design methodology that balances design with client objectives, technical coordination, and effective project execution. His committment to strong client relationships and building consensus consistently result in successful projects, particularly in the field of higher education and the emerging field of innovation. Petar’s leadership on the University of Pennsylvania’s Pennovation Center has contributed to its establishment as a keystone in the emerging Lower Schuylkill Innovation District.


Pamela Rew, FAIA, Partner at KSS, says, “Petar represents the next generation of designers and practitioners of architecture—passionate about place as a contribution to society, enthusiastic about guiding young architects toward new opportunities, and responsive to client needs & values. Petar’s dedication to the Philadelphia community is an example of how his contributions to place achieve more than the design of a building—they achieve a stronger community.”


Matthew McChesney, AIA, LEED AP

Clients know Matt for his ability to listen to their needs, understand their values, and create spaces where they can maximize their potential. His technical understanding of the built environment allows him to design intricate solutions that range from complex renovations and additions to highly specialized laboratory buildings. His work for leading-edge education and community-focused clients such as Uncommon Schools and Civic Builders has contributed to the design and renovation of dozens of charter schools in the New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York. Matt’s leadership in design for Pre-K-12 education is providing new opportunities for students and communities alike to reimagine their future.


Merilee Meacock, AIA, PP, LEED AP, Partner at KSS, says, “Matt is a powerful force in the K-12 community—he is a trusted advisor to many, helping to build community and facilitate education pedagogy, thereby empowering students to succeed and neighborhoods to flourish.”


Scot Murdoch, AIA

Scot has supervised the successful transformation of millions of square feet of commercial and industrial development. He excels at developing and implementing solutions to design challenges in both new and existing buildings for many project types. With a deep understanding of the value of sustainable design and the role of cutting-edge facilities in the marketplace, Scot’s work unlocks value and improves performance for clients. His knowledge and commitment to sustainable design have contributed to KSS’ leadership in the development of contaminated sites in New Jersey, and industrial growth along the East Coast from Maine to Georgia.


Ed Klimek, AIA, NCARB, Partner at KSS, says, “Scot has emerged as a respected voice in the commercial marketplace. He is known for his strategic thought and detailed knowledge. Our firm and clients are inspired by his guidance.”

Architects Travel and Research Grant

aia_CFA_nyCenter for Architecture and AIANY are currently accepting applications for the Stewardson Keefe LeBrun Travel Grant. This grant is designed for early to mid-level architects to further their personal and professional development through travel.

Stewardson Keefe LeBrun Travel Grant



The application deadline for the LeBrun Grant is November 1st by 5:00 pm EST.

If the deadline falls on a weekend, the application must be submitted by 5pm on the following Monday.

Information and submission guidelines click here.



Single award of $15,000.



To further the personal and professional development of an architect in early or mid-career through travel. Travel plans should be focused on a selected topic of interest to the individual, rather than a part of a larger humanitarian or institutional endeavor. If appropriate, the winner may be asked to present at the Center for Architecture upon return.



Applicants must be U.S. citizens with a professional degree in architecture as well as practicing architects, either licensed or unlicensed. Academics may apply, but must also be practicing architects.


Jury Guidelines

Proposed travel plans should demonstrate a focused course of study engaging the applicant’s interests and concerns and occur outside of the academy. The travel scholarship was originally based on the idea of the Grand Tour, in which recent architectural graduates would travel through Europe experiencing art, architecture and culture first-hand. The scholarship focus is less on academic projects than on self-directed education. Proposals should be judged on the following criteria:

Need            The journey cannot be completed without funding
Focused     A clear and focused line of inquiry
Beneficial  Valuable to the applicant’s professional practice

AIAN&S Annual Roundtable


General Meeting #3 Annual Roundtable Event
Registration will close Wednesday

Roundtable Event Thursday, September 8 
5:30 – Networking/Cash Bar
6:30 – 8:30 – Dinner/Discussion


More Event Info

Free to AIANS Members (Regular, Associate and Allied)
$25 for interns when attending with a member
$50 for all others
  Pella Windows and Doors
Stuctural Workshop, LLC


Food Bank of South Jersey Canstruction

2015 South Jersey CanstructionDuring Hunger Action Month (Sept.) Food Bank of South Jersey tries to do creative things to bring awareness to the global issue of hunger that impacts our beautiful South Jersey community. Last year, we launched a Canstruction event, which was a hit. See pictures below and the attachments.  Also, go to our website and click on the link for Canstruction.
There is a wonderful video!


South Jersey Corporations build giant structures made out of full cans of food! The “build” date for the event is Saturday, September 17.  There’s plenty of time to register, submit your design, (Sept 8) assemble your team, and procure your cans.  The structures will be on display at Rutgers Camden Campus for one week.  There is a judging and award ceremony as well.


This event is a  unique “food drive”.  It’s a great team building opportunity, and the best part is that all the canned goods are donated to the Food Bank of South Jersey to feed those in need. It doesn’t get much better than that!


If your team is up for the fun and challenge, we welcome you.
Also, challenge another company to join you in making a difference!