1. In the news | Summer 2022

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    The Van Alen network has been busy this summer! We’re thrilled to share a few recent accomplishments and accolades…

    Van Alen Board member Nnenna Lynch was named Chairwoman of the Board for the New York Road Runners (NYRR). Upon the announcement, she said, “Running has been a lifelong passion of mine, and after eight years of serving as a Board Member supporting NYRR’s community impact initiatives, I’m looking forward to serving in this role to help further NYRR’s presence in the community for future generations.”

    As a 2022 League Prize winner, design team Dept. spoke with the Architectural League of New York about Good Neighbor Stormwater Park. Located in North Miami, FL, this a stormwater retention basin doubles as a public park, and was an outcome of our 2019 initiative Keeping CurrentDept. principal Isaac Stein noted, “So many stormwater management projects are just holes in the ground that are fenced off and are very much not part of the community. I think the success of our approach was that we thought of the park as something that could tie together both public space and stormwater management.”

    Van Alen Board member Kia Weatherspoon and Point of Action designer Nina Cooke John were celebrated by the Future Rising initiative. Presented by Oprah Daily and Hearst Magazines, Future Rising tells the stories of 49 Black leaders across disciplines. Catch up with these conversations with Kia Weatherspoon in Veranda and Nina Cooke John in ELLE Decor.

  2. NYC DOT

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    The New York City Department of Transportation’s (NYC DOT) mission is to provide for the safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible movement of people and goods in the City of New York and to maintain and enhance the transportation infrastructure crucial to the economic vitality and quality of life of our primary customers, City residents. Our agency’s work is guided by the Strategic Plan 2016: Safe – Green – Smart – Equitable. We are customer-driven in all our activities. We seek opportunities to create partnerships in the provision of transportation services through appropriate relationships and alliances. To accomplish our mission, the Department works to achieve the following goals:

    • Provide safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible movement of pedestrians, goods, and vehicular traffic on the streets, highways, bridges, and waterways of the City’s transportation network
    • Improve traffic mobility and reduce congestion throughout the City
    • Rehabilitate and maintain the City’s infrastructure, including bridges, tunnels, streets, sidewalks, and highways
    • Encourage the use of mass transit and sustainable modes of transportation; and
    • Conduct traffic safety educational programs
    • Over 5,500 employees of NYC DOT oversee one of the most complex urban transportation networks in the world. NYC DOT’s staff manage an annual operating budget of $1.1 billion and a ten-year $19.7 billion capital program, along with 6,300 miles of streets and highways, over 12,000 miles of sidewalk, and nearly 800 bridges and tunnels, including the iconic East River bridges. NYC DOT’s staff also installs and maintains over one million street signs, 13,250 signalized intersections, over 315,000 street lights, and over 350 million linear feet of markings.
  3. Office of Lou Arencibia

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    Office of Lou Arencibia is a global landscape architecture and urban design practice. OLA’s team engages in a process of research, analysis, and design to address the unique circumstances and complexities of contemporary landscapes. The office strives to develop holistic design interventions that center around the human experience, establishing social relationships within the community, while connecting people to their built environment. All projects are developed in close dialogue with local experts and stakeholders, including architects, planners, ecologists, and engineers. OLA’s collaborative approach results in multi-layered and immersive landscapes that offer space for growth and interaction.

    Founder Lou Arencibia, PLA, ASLA is a landscape architect that comes from a cross-disciplinary design background. Prior to founding OLA, Lou worked at a variety of acclaimed architecture and landscape architecture firms where he oversaw the development of award-winning projects in the United States and abroad, including most recently as senior landscape architect at Bjarke Ingels Group where he led the landscape design of Audemars Piguet Hotel Des Horlogers in Le Brassus, Switzerland.

  4. Bryony Roberts Studio

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    Bryony Roberts Studio is an award-winning design and research practice based in New York. Integrating methods from architecture, social practice, and historic preservation, the studio creates community-based projects in the public realm. With projects at international locations such as the Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome, the City Hall in Columbus, Indiana, the Federal Plaza in Chicago, and Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem, New York, the practice works with local creators and community groups to develop processes of interdisciplinary, collaborative exchange. Bryony Roberts Studio was awarded New Practices New York from the AIA New York in 2020, the Architectural League Prize of 2018, and Bryony Roberts received the Rome Prize for 2015-16. The studio has received support from the Graham Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the American Academy in Rome, and has exhibited with the Chicago Architecture Biennial of 2015 and Performa 17.

    Complementing the practice, Bryony Roberts also teaches architecture at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation in New York and initiates research projects on design as a social practice. She has edited a book titled Tabula Plena: Forms of Urban Preservation published by Lars Müller Publishers, guest-edited the volume of Log 48: Expanding Modes of Practice, and co-edited the volume Log 31: New Ancients.

  5. Austin+Mergold (A+M)

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    Austin+Mergold (A+M) is a collaborative practice of architecture, landscape, and design, founded by Aleksandr Mergold, AIA and Jason Austin. A+M see our work process as slow architecture. Believing that it is preferable to rethink and repurpose existing resources than to tap new ones, A+M infiltrate existing systems that are responsible for built form, rather than reinvent the wheel each time. A+M explore local vernacular conditions to discover how an efficient (and economical) reconfiguration of available materials, forms and methods, informed by the latest advances in technology, can result in an improved quality of life for communities and individuals. A+M thrive on solving design problems around multiple obstacles: time and budget constraints, common (often, unglamorous) materials and utilizing the long-established local methodologies.

  6. Architensions (ATE)

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    Architensions / ATE is an architectural design studio operating as an agency of research led by Alessandro Orsini and Nick Roseboro based in New York and Rome. Architensions’ research focuses on social behaviors and architecture, both in continuous dialogue with the context and aiming at creating new experiential scenarios opposing the paradigm of architecture as a financial tool. The work and research of the studio have been published in magazines such as Domus, Frame, and Wallpaper, and exhibited at the Casa dell’Architettura in Rome and Storefront for Art and Architecture, the Center for Architecture, and the Java Project Gallery in New York. In 2015, Libria published the volume “Forma Urbana” a focus on the office’s early research. Architensions was commissioned a large public installation for the Coachella Music and Art Festival 2020, now postponed. In September 2020, the studio was profiled by Architect Magazine for its “Next Progressives” series.

  7. Studio Zewde

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    Studio Zewde is a vibrant landscape architecture, urban design, and public art practice based in New York City. The firm’s work is lauded for its innovative design methodology that syncs site interpretation with community engagement, a design process powered by narrative, and a dedication to the craft of construction. Projects like the Mander Rec Center Campus in Philadelphia, Africatown Plaza in Seattle, and the Valongo Wharf in Rio de Janeiro demonstrate the potential for design work to illuminate the stories of people and place. The firm’s design energy is devoted to the “aesthetics of being” and to creating enduring places where people belong.

  8. Studio Cooke John

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    Studio Cooke John is a New York-based design studio with a strong focus on high-impact, residential architecture, as well as design for international cultural institutions.

    With a broad range of expertise, Studio Cooke John values placemaking as a way to transform relationships between people and the built environment. Throughout the design process, our collaborations with clients yield insights that inform how we, alongside our network of craftsmen, fabricators and consultants, transform spaces within the home and in the public sphere. What emerge are spaces tailored to each client’s needs, revealing elements of serendipity and surprise that last a lifetime.

    Studio Cooke John is currently developing capabilities in strategic design for urban public spaces. Our speculative design projects include work for the Jamaican Parliament; the city of Newark, NJ; and NYC’s Stryker Park.

    Nina Cooke John’s work has been featured in The New York Times, Dwell, NBC’s Open House and the Center for Architecture’s 2018 exhibition, Close to the Edge: The Birth of Hip-Hop Architecture.

    Born in Jamaica, Nina has always been inspired by the creativity she witnessed in her homeland: the art of people transforming everyday hardships and limitations into innovative solutions through multiple spheres of life. She imbues the spirit of transformation and innovation into every design project, from the structure of a home’s interior to the streetscape of a city block.

    Nina began her professional career designing houses in Connecticut, Arizona and Virginia with the architecture firm Voorsanger and Associates. She went on to work on large cultural institutional projects like the New York Botanical Gardens master plan, the Clinton Library and the Biltmore Theater at Polshek Partnership (now Ennead).

    Nina collaborated with Reddymade Design on retail design, corporate offices and custom residential construction and interior design for seven years before forming Frame Design Lab in 2012. Studio Cooke John is the evolution of that collaboration.

    For two decades Nina has been a sought-after educator, having taught architecture and design strategy at Syracuse University and currently at Parsons the New School for Design. Nina has been a registered architect since 2000 holding licenses in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. She earned her Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University and a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University.

  9. Ekene Ijeoma

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    Ekene Ijeoma is an artist, professor at MIT, and the founder and director of the Poetic Justice group at MIT Media Lab. Through both his studio and lab at MIT, Ijeoma researches social inequality across multiple fields including social science to develop artworks in sound, video, multimedia, sculpture and installation. Working from data studies and life experiences, and using both computational design and conceptual art strategies, he reframes social issues through artworks that embody and empower overlooked truths within systems of oppression. Ijeoma’s work has been presented by museums and galleries including Contemporary Art Museum of Houston, Museum of the City of New York, Neuberger Museum of Art, Design Museum London, and Storefront for Art and Architecture. Ijeoma’s practice has also been supported by grants, fellowships and residencies including Creative Capital, Map Fund, Wave Farm, The Kennedy Center, and New York Foundation for the Arts.

  10. Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership

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    The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Business Improvement District, formed in 2006, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to enhance the reputation of Flatiron and NoMad as two of New York’s most vital and exciting neighborhoods. This is accomplished by maintaining a clean and safe environment for the district’s businesses, residents, and visitors; by spearheading area improvement projects; and by marketing the diverse business and retail options in this vibrant and historic area.