R. Joseph Chaffin, AIA, President
Michael Baker International
Best way to overcome a creative block: Just walk away… Physical separation typically works best, with a personal preference for flat-water kayaking. Favorite Pittsburgh space: Phipps Conservatory, specifically the Japanese Courtyard Garden that evokes peaceful “found space” shaped by the metal and glass building forms. Favorite drink: Kentucky Bourbon. As a senior at the University of Cincinnati, a seminar course was comprised of regional field trips to study Architecture examples in context. After a morning of Lexington area horse stables, a group of us happened upon a road sign for a “Kentucky Bourbon Trail,” we headed towards Frankfort and never looked back. Summer reading list: “Empires of Light: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse; and the Race to Electrify the World” by Jill Jonnes; “Meet You in Hell: Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick; and the Bitter Partnership That Changed America” by Les Standiford; and “The Whiskey Rebels” by David Liss.
Most significant lesson learned: Communication is essential to succeeding at your goals, whether the goal is to create a significant piece of architecture or negotiate with your child. This is a skill that is learned through experience. If only they could teach it to us in school, we could get a head start on things as we enter the professional world. Listen, ask questions, listen and follow through. Time is valuable, why AIA? The AIA is here to support what we do in our practice of architecture. It is essential to our profession to give back. Favorite Pittsburgh place: Fineview Overlook and Market Square. Summer reading list: Born to Run and The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses.
Best way to overcome a creative block: A 10 mile run along the Pittsburgh rivers. Smaller mileage doesn’t work…
Time is valuable, why AIA? Because you can connect with more people, in less time, and make a bigger impact.
Most significant lesson learned: Talk less, draw more.
Mantra: “Volere e’ potere” (Your will is your power.)
Best way to overcome a creative block: By forcing myself to step away from the problem and focusing on something else. The answer usually comes to me when I’m not actively thinking about it. Time is valuable, why AIA? I truly believe that we can accomplish more by working together than we can individually. Favorite Pittsburgh space: The atrium at the center of the Union Trust Building. That view will never get old. Most significant lesson learned: Being perfect doesn’t always mean you’ll be right. Being right doesn’t always mean you have to be perfect. Favorite food: I will eat almost anything. Except bananas. I hate bananas! Summer reading list: You’ve got to be kidding me. Mantra: “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.”
Best way to overcome a creative block: Take a stroll or a hike. However, that’s not always feasible during the workday, so I’ll strike a conversation with a colleague or call a loved one to get my mind distracted. I’ve also dreamt of solutions. It’s a random occurrence and, yet, some of the best ones I’ve ever had. Time is valuable, why AIA? You get what you give. I find my involvement with the AIA community gratifying, because I’m always learning something new or meeting someone new. Favorite Pittsburgh space: There are many, but I am fortunate that I walk to work from the Northside. I stroll across the Rachel Carson Bridge and I love stopping to admire the cityscape and riverscape, no matter the time of day, weather, or season. Summer reading list: ‘Getting to Yes’ by William Ury and Roger Fisher, and half-finished an issue of the Harvard Business Review.
Stephen Winikoff, AIA, Past President
Time is valuable, why AIA? I have said it before in my AIA dossier, “If a profession does not advocate for itself, no one else will.” We must have a voice and use our voice if we hope to sustain and promote our profession. Favorite Pittsburgh space: One of my favorite spaces in Pittsburgh is the Strip District. Shopping there on a Saturday morning is one of the most uniquely ‘Pittsburgh’ experiences that I have on a regular basis in our city and which I have not experienced elsewhere. Mantra: I learned this phrase from the late Dick Rittelmann, founding Principal of my former firm, Burt Hill, “Architects should not pat themselves on the back for an elegant solution to the wrong problem.” I believe in root causes and spending time investigating an issue and not rushing to a solution. In complex situations, it is easy to judge and often hard to understand. Do not jump to conclusions. Be patient. Be diligent. Listen. Then solve together.
Catherine Wick (Adams), AIA
Time is valuable, why AIA? We can accomplish so much more for the profession and for our individual development if we work together. Best way to overcome a creative block: Flip through magazines or a design website. When all else fails, a walk outside does the trick! Favorite Pittsburgh Space: The Fred Rogers Memorial on the North Shore. It’s a wonderful place to watch the sunrise, or sunset, and enjoy beautiful views of Downtown. Most significant lesson learned: Know your audience. It’s not enough to simply have a good idea; you have to be able to communicate it appropriately to your client, coworkers, and community.
Lisa Carver, AIA
Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff Goettel
Best way to overcome a creative block: Write a list. Often times, there are too many things floating around in my head to be creative. Once I purge those things to paper, I’m free to really think. Favorite Pittsburgh space: The rotunda and concourse of the Pennsylvanian. Favorite drink: Margarita – lime, on the rocks. Never frozen.
Nickie Cheung, Assoc. AIA
Rothschild Doyno Collaborative
Time is Valuable, why AIA? AIA is a community motivated to work toward a better world! Best way to overcome a creative block? Don’t. Embrace the block and maybe you’ll find another block and then you have 2 blocks! Mantra: You have to walk a thousand miles before you know a horse’s strength. You have to know a person for a thousand years before you know their heart. Favorite food: Fried rice of any kind. Favorite Pittsburgh space: Boston. Just kidding… the Riverfront! Most significant lesson learned: Sleep more. Favorite drink: Tequila.
Why I belong to AIA: The AIA challenges architects to make a broader impact on our communities, our environment, and the policies that shape our profession. The AIA promotes avenues of professional growth and mentorship through a supportive network of thought-leaders. Best way to overcome a creative block:Take a walk in nature. Favorite Pittsburgh space: Carnegie Museums and Library in Oakland. These beautiful public amenities represent history, education, culture, and innovation. They spark in me a deep desire to create and explore, but also to listen and learn. Reading List: My Ántonia, by Willa Cather.
Lawrence Fabbroni, AIA
Time is valuable, why AIA? AIA Offers endless opportunities, and lifelong friendships, got get out of it what you put into it. Best way to overcome a creative block: Spend five minutes watching kitten GIF’s… also go talk with people and walk around the block. Mantra: Today is the most awesome day of your life. Favorite food: PIZZA forever! Favorite drink: Hazy, juicy IPA’s. All of them! Favorite Pittsburgh space: Penn Ave, in Garfield, on any first Friday (or the Strip any weekend of course). Most significant lesson learned: Innovation is built on the back of mistakes – plenty of them.
Best way to overcome a creative block: Take a nap. Time is valuable, why AIA? To promote/inform the value of an Architect’s service. Favorite Pittsburgh space: Glass enclosed stairs at the Scaife Gallery. Summer reading list: New York Times and Washington Post (daily to get caught up) Mantra: It’s all the same (one word)
Amanda Markovic, AIA
Time is valuable, why AIA? As architects, we know that the built environment impacts so many aspects of our wellbeing such as equity, inclusion and climate change. Involvement allows me to contribute my voice to something that has a positive impact on our community. Favorite Pittsburgh space: Carnegie Museum of Art. Mantra: Breathe. Best way to overcome a creative block: Walk away, go for a run, get a milkshake and get a good night’s sleep. Favorite food: Popcorn. Most significant lesson learned: Ask the right questions.
Why I belong to AIA:I love architecture. I cherish the discourse we share on the places that shape our lives and how we in turn work to create new spaces. Together, as the AIA, we offer so much to the community at so many levels. It’s thrilling to share in this work. Best way to overcome a creative block: Take a walk. And, make time to do nothing. Un-structured time often provides the best opportunity for free thinking, and usually finding the best solution to a problem. Favorite Pittsburgh space: Schenley Plaza – I love the monumentality of the space. The civic and institutional buildings surrounding this plaza give it a scale that can feel both inspiring, as well as intimate and welcoming. Favorite drink: Guinness. It’s good for you.
2020 Public Directors
Time is valuable, why AIA? Because architects are designing our city and as an affordable housing developer, I believe everyone deserves access to beautiful design. Best way to overcome a creative block: Go for a run. Mantra: Be the engine. Favorite food: Tacos. Favorite Pittsburgh space: I have so many! Agnes Katz Plaza and Magnolias for Pittsburgh, also the Highland Park Reservoir. Most significant lesson learned: In the city of bridges, you can’t afford to burn any.
Department of City Planning
Time is valuable, why AIA? My love for the built and natural environment and AIA’s opportunity to shape it. Best way to overcome a creative block: Get outside. Mantra: Be kind. Favorite food: Lox & bagels. Favorite Pittsburgh space: Market Square. Most significant lesson learned: Share. Favorite drink: Manhattan
Best way to overcome a creative block: Get out of your head. Stop trying to make your brain do something and instead move your body. Yoga, cross-country skiing or kayaking tend to work for me. Another way is to cut myself off from all distractions and let my thinking be less cluttered and more expansive for a number of hours – like when walking in the woods or on a long-haul flight. Most significant lesson learned: a. Be ready for what comes up. b. Work with it. c. Be ready to let it go. Favorite food: Oysters (followed by ice cream) Summer reading list: Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain (fascinating), Why Nations Fail by Acemoglu and Robinson, United by Corey Booker, The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. Mantra? “Less is more!”
Best way to overcome a creative block: Swimming.
Favorite Pittsburgh space: PNC Park.
Most Significant lesson learned: Be Confident. Be persistent.
Mantra: Every day is the best day!