Design Speed Dating this Saturday -- come celebrate spring with our open house brunch and portfolio reviews! Plus Feminist Practices at Van Alen Books, VAI seeks a new Program Director, awards and fellowship opportunities, and much more inside.VAN ALEN INSTITUTE
March 2012 Newsletter
In this Issue
  • March 3: Springtime Brunch and Design Speed Dating
  • Feminist Practices Series with Lori Brown
  • Upcoming Bookstore Talks and Events
  • We're Hiring: VAI Program Director
  • Funding Opportunities and Programs Around Town
  • Public Architecture Is in Bloom at Van Alen


Come celebrate spring with Van Alen this Saturday, March 3, at 12:00 p.m. as we open our doors for a seasonal brunch and the return of Design Speed Dating. Our portfolio review series is back, pairing emerging designers with architects, educators, and critics in round-robin reviews. We’re pleased to welcome this round’s esteemed jurors Wendy Feuer (NYC Department of Transportation), Eva Franch (Storefront for Art and Architecture), Daniel Hernandez (Jonathan Rose Companies), and Stephan Jaklitsch (Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects).

Don’t miss the action—all Van Alen members, friends, and supporters are invited to take part in the conversation, revel with snacks and drink, and meet fresh talent while mingling with the broader New York City design community. Just RSVP here.


Design Speed Dating


This month, continuing our ongoing conversation about the formative impact of books on architecture and design, Van Alen Books is celebrating the release of Lori Brown’s volume Feminist Practices with three events exploring the role of women in shaping architecture, design research, and pedagogy. Unless otherwise noted, all events take place at 7:00 p.m. at Van Alen Books—we’ll see you there!

Presenting female designers whose projects range from the global to the local, Syracuse University professor and architect Lori Brown’s Feminist Practices considers how women’s perspectives can make architecture more culturally, politically, and environmentally relevant. On Thursday, March 1, Brown will be joined by contributors Meta Brunzema, Ronit Eisenbach, Kyna Leski, and Margarita McGrath for a panel on the evolving definition of feminism in the 21st century.

Brown returns on Wednesday, March 7 with a conversation on design research. Joined by Van Alen director Olympia Kazi, Studio Sumo principal Yolande Daniels, and Catherine Seavitt of design firm Catherine Seavitt Studio, Brown will lead a panel on female-led investigations in the design field with three women whose research spans design in the public realm, social systems and technologies of difference, and sea-level rise in urban regions.

Our third panel exploring feminist practices takes place on Wednesday, March 21, when Brown leads a conversation about architectural pedagogy with Dagmar Richter, chair of undergraduate architecture at Pratt Institute, Despina Stratigakos, professor at the University at Buffalo school of architecture and planning, and Peggy Deamer, professor at Yale’s school of architecture.

For another look at women's experiences in the design world this month, head to the National Building Museum on Thursday, March 8, when the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation presents the seventh annual Women of Architecture program, “Architecture and the Great Recession.” HOK’s Sheila Cahnman, Forest City Ratner’s MaryAnne Gilmartin, Cathleen McGuigan of Architectural Record, and architect Claire Weisz join a discussion moderated by political correspondent Mara Liasson about the building industry's response to the recession.


Liza Fior/muf architecture
Feminist Practices contributor Liza Fior's Barking Town Square

Studio Sumo
Studio Sumo’s Josai School of Management in Japan

Dagmar Richter
Dagmar Richter's Aqua Alta

WXY Architecture
WXY Architecture's EMS 27


Mark your calendars for three more events we're thrilled to host this month. On Thursday, March 8, we welcome Deborah Schneiderman and her fascinating history of prefabricated interior design, Inside Prefab: The Ready-Made Interior. The author will be joined by Anita Cooney, chair of Pratt Institute’s department of interior design, to explore this inherently sustainable building method and case studies from the likes of Shigeru Ban, Atelier Tekuto, and Greg Lynn.

On Thursday, March 22, we feature Piecing Together Los Angeles: An Esther McCoy Reader. The first collection of writings by the groundbreaking architectural historian, author, and curator who articulated the vibrant character of West Coast modernism, this volume includes out-of print essays, articles, memoirs, and more. Join editor Susan Morgan and architectural historian and critic Gabrielle Esperdy for a discussion of McCoy’s writing and the region that inspired it.

And Tuesday, March 27, author Suzanne Frank discusses IAUS: An Insider’s Memoir, her look at one of New York’s defining architectural enterprises. Frank will be joined by Julie V. Iovine, executive editor of The Architect’s Newspaper, for a conversation about the legendary Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies and its 12-year run with a broad circle of collaborators including Peter Eisenman, Diana Agrest, Kenneth Frampton, Mario Gandelsonas, Anthony Vidler, and others.


Inside Prefab

Esther McCoy Anthology

Inside VAI


Van Alen Institute is seeking a highly motivated team player to join our staff as Program Director. This is an outstanding opportunity for a resourceful, supremely organized individual to help support long-term strategic thinking and planning for Van Alen’s programs. The Program Director is responsible for guiding and coordinating oversight of the Institute’s projects—large-scale competitions, design research initiatives, public events, and publications—as well as providing leadership for program managers, and ensuring that performance meets the highest standards of excellence. Strong interest in architecture, planning, or related fields is a must. Interested? Find out more about this opportunity and how you can apply here. No phone calls, please.


We're Hiring

In The Field


Kicking off Friday, March 2, the Historic Districts Council’s 18th Annual Preservation Conference presents “The Great Outside,” a three-day series of lectures, panel discussions, and tours focusing on significant open spaces and landscapes in New York City. Participants will examine issues such as development history, current threats, preservation efforts, and future use. The Cultural Landscape Foundation’s Charles Birnbaum gives Friday’s keynote lecture, and weekend events include talks by planning professor Thomas J. Campanella, landscape architect Ken Smith, historian Thomas Mellins, and more. Saturday's conference is free for students—see the full schedule here.


Eastern Parkway
Olmsted's Eastern Parkway


Attention students! March 15 is the deadline for nominations for the Center for Architecture Foundation Design Scholarship. This award grants up to $5,000 to students studying architecture, design, engineering, planning, or a related discipline in an accredited program within New York State. (Graduate students are eligible if their undergraduate degree is in a field other than architecture.) Students must be nominated by the dean or chair of their program, with three students per school invited to apply.


CFAF Design Scholarship


The Graham Foundation has announced the 2012 Carter Manny Award to recognize outstanding doctoral students whose work represents some of the most innovative scholarship on architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society. Since 1996, over $500,000 has been awarded to support doctoral dissertation research and writing by promising scholars who focus on architecture, design, engineering, landscape architecture, urban planning, and related fields. The Graham Foundation offers two Carter Manny Awards: a $15,000 research award and a $20,000 writing award. Applications are due March 15.


Carter Manny Award
2011 winner Erica Morawski studied tourism in Puerto Rico


The University at Buffalo is offering two fellowships in creative research and teaching for the 2012/2013 academic year. Inspired by the diverse research of John and Magda McHale, the McHale Fellowship invites candidates to propose an innovative, semester-long project that may include workshops, seminars, a design studio, or other contribution to the intellectual environment of the school. The Banham Fellowship celebrates Reyner Banham’s legacy of experimental criticism by supporting emerging practitioners. Applicants should propose a research trajectory and pedagogical agenda, and will teach a design studio and an elective course each semester during the one-year fellowship. Applications for both opportunities are due March 23.


Banham Fellowship
Banham Fellow Curt Gambetta’s work on public infrastructure

Join Us


With a bouquet of competitions, publications, and public programs all in bloom this month, springtime is the perfect time to become a Van Alen member. Join today, and you’ll be part of our diverse community of designers, planners, policy-makers, and urban thinkers—anyone with a passion for the public realm—who are supporting the work we do to foster design excellence in public architecture. Our members are already enjoying benefits including 10% off purchases at Van Alen Books, plus complimentary VAI publications, special members-only events, and more. Join us today by signing up here.

And as always, it’s easy to keep in touch with Van Alen: Browse our home page at, find us in your in-box via our monthly newsletter, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.



Van Alen Institute’s ongoing programs are made possible through the generous assistance of our individual contributors and partners, and are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and by Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund and Seed Fund. We gratefully appreciate their assistance, and acknowledge the generous support of the following organizations:


Van Alen Institute promotes innovative thinking about the role of architecture and design in civic life. Among our activities are design competitions, lectures and symposia, exhibitions, publications, research and advocacy. Our programs engage a broad constituency of people in New York City, the nation, and around the world who participate in shaping the designed environment, from architecture students to emerging and established professionals to the interested public. For more information, please visit


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