Anne Swager, Hon. AIA has been called many things – progressive, outspoken, ballsy, an ally, a foe, compassionate, cheerleader, easily distracted, thinker of big ideas. And for the past 27 years, she’s also been called Executive Director of AIA Pittsburgh. With Anne’s recent retirement on June 5th we are re-running this inspiring interview with then-editor Becky Spevack. Best of luck in your future travels Anne! Columns: First things first, did you ever expect to be at the AIA this long, to make a career out of it? Anne Swager: No, absolutely not! I never thought I would be around this long. You know, my mom used to say she thought I’d become an architect but my kindergarten teacher spent the...
Lessons in Human Nature
Anne Swager's 27 Years with AIA Pittsburgh
By Becky Spevack Posted on June 21, 2017
Architecture That Sparks Conversation
Action, Ideas, Architecture: Arthur Lubetz/Front Studio at the Heinz Architectural Center
By Bea Spolidoro, AIA Posted on May 1, 2017
The Heinz Architectural Center is currently displaying an exhibit covering five decades of work by Arthur Lubetz. Lubetz, fully active and with no intention to retire, is one of the principals at Front Studio, an award-winning firm based in Pittsburgh and New York City. It is rare to see the work of an active architect being celebrated in a museum, but if you visit the exhibit, you will immediately understand why. The architecture of Arthur Lubetz is always provocative, even when it’s only proposed, and sparks conversation. That conversation typically involves colorful, modern architecture, but in a more traditional context. Although Arthur Lubetz says “I learned a long time ago that red paint doesn’t cost any more than beige,” the...
The Nonprofit Paradox: High-Performance on a Budget
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Annex, Byham Center for Dance
By Nicole Grayburn and Melanie Como Harris, AIA Posted on April 17, 2017
All photos Adam Warner, IKM Incorporated “High-performance building” takes on new meaning when showcasing a visual art like ballet. When the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre announced plans to build an expansion in 2013, they accepted an obligation to grow responsibly and ensure the longevity of a beloved arts organization. With this obligation comes a distinct set of priorities (and constraints) for nonprofit organizations where sustainable practices often fall short in the face of time and budget. How, then, does a brand in the business of “pushing the limits,” push the limits of green design on a budget? In partnership with IKM, a firm committed to the goals of the AIA 2030 Challenge, the Ballet agreed on a design that puts art on...
William Bates, FAIA has been elected AIA National First Vice President/2019 President-elect
Bates Now Holds the Position of 2018 First Vice President/2019 President-elect
By AIA Pittsburgh Posted on April 11, 2017
I’m assuming this national office with hopes of making the AIA more responsive to it members needs and enabling our profession to better serve society. You probably know him as Bill. He’s been an active member of the Chapter and a familiar face in the Pittsburgh architectural community since serving as the AIA Pittsburgh Board President in 1987. Since then, Bates has gone on to serve as President of AIA Pennsylvania (twice), become an adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon and held a number of positions with AIA National including the Equity Commission and Diversity Council. Most recently Bates, who works at Eat’n Park Hospitality Group, has served as Vice-President of the Board at AIA National. After being elected during the...
ACTION-Housing’s Penn Mathilda Development
What an Affordable Housing Solution Can Look Like in an Urban Neighborhood Business District
By Maya Henry Posted on March 28, 2017
All photos by Nathaniel Rice courtesy ACTION-Housing, Inc. unless otherwise noted. ACTION-Housing’s Penn Mathilda development designed by mossArchitects seems to defy conventions about what affordable housing is, can, and should be. The project provides 39 units of affordable housing with half reserved for veterans. Additionally, the commercial spaces are fully leased to arts-based, locally-grown businesses including Assemble, Level Up Studios, and Silver Eye Center for Photography. The project is contextual, adjacent to public transportation, and takes into consideration the Penn Avenue Corridor Master Plan that recommends that new developments be pedestrian-oriented and contain ground floor retail, restaurant, and gallery uses to promote active storefronts. Columns recently sat down with developer Lena Andrews of ACTION-Housing and architect Andrew Moss, AIA of mossArchitects to discuss the project....
Thomas Vonier, FAIA
Get to Know Build Pittsburgh's Keynote Speaker
This year AIA National President Thomas Vonier, FAIA will deliver the Keynote Address at Build Pittsburgh on Wednesday, April 5th. Make sure you are registered to hear Mr. Vonier present on the nature of influence and demonstrate how good design delivers. He will discuss how the American Institute of Architects is seeking to harness the power of association in order to wield influence more effectively. Name: Thomas Vonier FAIA Firm: Thomas Vonier Architect LLC Family: Françoise (my spouse), Pascale (our daughter) and William (our son-in-law) Years in practice: 38 Education: B.Sc.Arch. and M.Arch. Your first job: Delivering newspapers and shoveling snow in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Project you’re proudest of: . . . is still to come. What have you always wanted to...
And the Winner is … Affordability
A Juror Highlights Affordable Projects from the 2017 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture
By Bea Spolidoro, AIA Posted on February 15, 2017
Each year AIA National the 2017 Architecture program celebrates the best contemporary architecture regardless of budget, size, style, or type. These stunning projects show the world the range of outstanding work architects create and highlight the many ways buildings and spaces can improve our lives. Here are four 2017 winners highlighted by Pittsburgh’s own Bea Spolidoro, AIA who was invited to participate on this year’s jury. Last summer, I was invited to be a juror for the 2017 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture with other eight professionals. The jury typically features architect members of the AIA and one non-architect, acting as an allied professional and client representative. At the time, I was serving as the Associate AIA member of the...
I Belong to the AIA Because …
Architects on the Value of Membership
By AIA Pittsburgh Posted on February 7, 2017
Columns has included a ‘Dossier’ of AIA members almost since its inception as AIA Pittsburgh’s chapter magazine. Here we feature a selection of members’ answers about why they belong to AIA. 1. Paul Rosenblatt, AIA I value the talents, perspectives, and friendship of my colleagues in the profession. Architects are a rare breed and it takes one to know one. 2. Nicole Graycar, AIA The amazing young women in YAF. 3. Dutch MacDonald, AIA It allows me to stay connected to my colleagues in the profession and contribute to the ongoing evolution of the practice. 4. Christian Hughes, Assoc. AIA It is an association of professionals from all ages, walks of life, and backgrounds with one common goal – designing...
Four Benefits of Creating Transit-Oriented Development with Mixed-Income Housing
Can Housing Be Truly Affordable Without Public Transit?
By Maya Henry Posted on January 25, 2017
When transit-oriented development is combined with mixed-income housing the benefits multiply. Transportation is a hidden cost of living and is at the heart of equitable access to services and jobs. It’s difficult to have truly affordable housing without access to multi-modal transportation choices. Transportation is so crucial to healthy communities that former Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx called it “one of the top social justice issues of our time.” Local officials agree. Last year at an event at Pitt’s Institute of Politics Kevin Acklin, Chief of Staff to Mayor Peduto, said, “transportation can be a bridge to lift people out of poverty.” He noted that the administration is paying special attention to places of disinvestment and displacement. The p4 PITTSBURGH PolicyLink...
New Leadership at AIA Pittsburgh Shares A Vision for the Year Ahead
By AIA Pittsburgh Posted on January 16, 2017
At the recent 2016 AIA Pittsburgh President’s Holiday Party Jeff Murray, FAIA took the reins as President of the Board of Directors. Ray Bowman, Assoc. AIA received the AIA Pittsburgh President’s Award for his dedication and many contributions to the AIA and has now taken over as Chair of the Young Architects Forum (YAF). Revisit their dossiers and read what they have to say about their vision for the coming year: Jeff Murray, FAIA, President, AIA Pittsburgh Board of Directors I’m looking forward to getting to know more within the PGH architectural community. My goal this year is to help in some small ways to better prove to the rest of the building industry [and to a lesser extent the general public]...