Media Contact: Steven Thomson, 212 924 7000 ext. 12
NEW YORK, May 24, 2017 – Van Alen Institute, a non-profit design organization in New York that uses design to address the disastrous impacts of climate change and to create environments that enhance people’s wellbeing and efficiency in cities and regions around the country and beyond, today announced Jared Della Valle, CEO and founder of Alloy, as the new chair of the Van Alen board of trustees. Della Valle succeeds Stephen Cassell, architect and principal of Architecture Research Office, who will continue to serve on the board.
“Jared Della Valle has deep expertise in design and changing the shape of cities. I look forward to collaborating with him on guiding Van Alen Institute in innovative work and new directions,” said David van der Leer, Van Alen Institute’s executive director. “The Institute’s board of trustees provides critical guidance as we pursue competitions, research, and public programs that help us develop a better understanding of how we are affected by the built environment, and work to improve those environments for people around the country and beyond.”
“It is a great honor to be selected for this role on Van Alen’s board of trustees, and I look forward to leading the organization and advancing the insight and creativity that Van Alen brings to all of its projects,” said Della Valle. “The organization stands at a moment of pivotal growth as it develops local, national, and international initiatives that address the pressing challenges and exciting opportunities facing cities, and I look forward to guiding the board as we map out the future of the organization.”
Jared Della Valle joined Van Alen as a trustee in 2014. He has practiced as an architect and real estate developer for more than 18 years, and has managed the acquisition, development, and construction of more than a million square feet of property in New York City and Brooklyn. Alloy’s recent projects include One John Street on the DUMBO waterfront – a partnership with Brooklyn Bridge Park consisting of residences, restaurant space, and an annex location of the Brooklyn Children’s Museum – and the upcoming 80 Flatbush in Downtown Brooklyn, a million-plus-square foot development that will include 900 units of mixed-income housing, two new schools, a cultural institution, retail, and office space.
Della Valle has taught at Columbia University, Syracuse University, Washington University, Parsons School of Constructed Environments, and Lehigh University. His work has been the subject of more than 200 articles and publications, including a monograph entitled Think/Make published by Princeton Architectural Press. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Lehigh University and master’s degrees in both architecture and construction management from Washington University, St. Louis.
Della Valle follows the previous board chair Stephen Cassell, who will remain as a trustee. During Cassell’s tenure as chair of the board of trustees, Van Alen Institute began a period of growth, including the selection of David van der Leer as executive director. The organization has launched ambitious new projects in cities including London, Malmö, New Orleans, New York City, Washington DC, and West Palm Beach; expanded its board; launched a set of donor and content councils that have broadened Van Alen’s reach and scope; quadrupled the organizational budget; and nearly tripled the staff.
Furthermore, the organization transitioned to a street-level space in 2014 that was created though an open-call design competition; and celebrated its 120-year anniversary, commemorated with a redesigned online archive.
Among the Van Alen initiatives organized during Cassell’s tenure as chair of the board of trustees are Opportunity Space, a design-build competition for a temporary pavilion to promote social inclusion and economic opportunity in Malmö, Sweden; Justice in Design, a study of how the design of jails impacts the health and wellbeing of both the people inside them and the communities in which they sit; and Ecologies of Addiction, a research initiative exploring how the built environment may shape addictive behaviors, organized with Imperial College London’s Sustainable Society Network.
Under Cassell’s leadership, Van Alen increasingly tackled timely climate change-related challenges. As a member of the leadership team of Changing Course, a design competition to reimagine a more sustainable Lower Mississippi River Delta, Cassell played a critical role in shaping the structure of the initiative, by judging submissions and advising interdisciplinary teams as they developed findings that are now informing the State of Louisiana’s next coastal master plan. Also during this period, Van Alen served as a lead partner in Rebuild by Design, an initiative of President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to address the structural and environmental vulnerabilities that Hurricane Sandy exposed in communities throughout the region, and develop fundable solutions to better protect residents from future climate events.
Stephen Cassell is principal, with Adam Yarinsky and Kim Yao, of Architecture Research Office (ARO), a 25-person firm based in New York City. ARO has collaborated with leading universities, cultural institutions, global corporations, government agencies, and private residential clients. The firm’s current and recent architectural projects include the renovation of the Rothko Chapel; the West Pavilion addition to Nippert Stadium at the University of Cincinnati; the restoration of the seminal 20th-century artist Donald Judd’s home and studio; Knoll’s flagship showroom and corporate offices; and a building for the Riverdale Country School. Past notable projects include New Urban Ground, a proposal for urban climate change adaptation; the Princeton School of Architecture; and the U.S. Armed Forces Times Square Recruiting Station. In 2011, ARO received the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Architecture.
Cassell holds an undergraduate degree in architecture from Princeton University and received his Master of Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He has taught at Harvard Graduate School of Design, MIT, Princeton, Syracuse, the Rhode Island School of Design, the University of Virginia, the University of California at Berkeley, and Columbia.