Dossier: Bea Spolidoro, AIA

Introducing AIA Pittsburgh’s 2022 Board President!

Name: Bea (Beatrice) Spolidoro, AIA, WELL AP Firm: Fisher ARCHitecture Family: Husband, Eric Fisher Years in practice: 10+ Education: MArch at “Politecnico di Milano” University AIA Committees you’ve served on: Young Architects Forum, Outreach Committee, Build Pittsburgh Committee, Continuing Education Committee, Communications Committee, Design Pittsburgh Committee… Your first job: I designed logo and merch for a focaccia company, called “Focaccia Mia”. Project you’re proudest of: While working with RDCollab, I was part of the design team that renovated the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh. It was a touching experience. What’s the most annoying thing architects do? Telling clients that what they want to do is (often) not allowed by the Building Code. What have you always wanted to tell your clients?  “You’ll thank me later.” Favorite tool (can...

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AIA Pittsburgh Year in Review: 2021

Looking back at a Year of Perseverance

By Michelle Fanzo and Dina Snider, AIA Posted on January 7, 2022

Dear Members, Partners and Friends, We all know how challenging the last year was, so we’re going to skip over the global pandemic, stressed public, wild weather, and – more recently – exploding meteors, and tell you what went well in 2021: our members continued to develop their skills and knowledge, the architecture community as a whole has been extremely busy, and AIA Pittsburgh continues to provide valuable resources, shared knowledge and fellowship to its members. Though some of our usual gatherings and events could not happen during year two of COVID-19, we continued to find ways to build relationships and collaborate virtually as well as in-person, deliver quality continuing education, and support the work of our committees and the...

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The Fabricated Landscape Highlights Potential of Architects and Sustainable Design

By Brigid Moser Posted on July 29, 2021

The Heinz Architectural Center (HAC) of the Carnegie Museum of Art recently opened its new show, The Fabricated Landscape, highlighting the work of ten architectural firms from around the globe. The collection is particularly notable for its contradictions.“Chapel in Guastalla” from Go Hasegawa, a chapel fabricated from white marble slabs cut thin by computers, creates a synthesis of traditional materials and new technology. In “Cathedral Altar” from Anna Heringer, a humble, rammed earth altar sits amid the splendor of a historic, baroque church. All three projects from MAIO envision a blurring of public and private spaces, resulting in sites that move and adapt to the needs of the people inside. The exhibition features projects that all speak to the same...

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National Intercultural Leadership Program – Scholarships Available!

Following the success of our 2020 scholarships for AIA Minnesota’s National Intercultural Leadership Program (NILP), AIA Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Architecture Foundation will offer partial scholarships to a 3-session version of the virtual leadership program – Foundations of Intercultural Development. Learn the core concepts of intercultural development and build your ability to engage effectively with colleagues, project partners, clients, and community members of various genders, races, ethnicities, and other “differences that make a difference.” 2-hour sessions held on July 9 and August 12 & 13. Cost: $250 without scholarship. Learn more and register today. Seats are limited. How past AIA Pittsburgh NILP graduates distill their top takeaways: Joe Bevin  –  “Humbled and Inspired” Monica Blasko  –  “Unpacking Power” Melanie Buzgan-Dower  – ...

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Dossier: Stefani Danes, FAIA

Stefani Danes, FAIA, LEED AP, is one of 101 AIA members nationally to be elevated to the College of Fellows in 2021.

Name: Stefani Danes Firm:  I teach at Carnegie Mellon and have my own consulting practice. Family: husband, Doug Cooper, five children (all out in the world, healthy and reasonably happy), and 2 grandsons Years in practice: 44 Education: A.B. in Architecture, Princeton; M.Arch., Yale Your first job: Library assistant at Firestone Library, Princeton Project you’re proudest of: East End Cooperative Ministry Favorite tool (can be digital, drafting, physical,…): My rotary cutter Favorite building:  Castelvecchio Museum by Carlo Scarpa Favorite outdoor spaces:  Cours Mirabeau in Aix-en-Provence and Granville Island in Vancouver Architect you’d like to have a drink with:  Denise Scott Brown Best gift to give an architect:  Good pair of walking shoes If you hadn’t become an architect, what would you have been? Quilting artist If you could live...

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Committee Corner: Advocacy Committee

AIA Members Meet with PLI and City Planning

By John Ryan, AIA Posted on March 11, 2021

Members of the Board of Directors and the Advocacy Committee recently met with the City of Pittsburgh’s Depts. of Permits, Licensing and Inspections (PLI) and City Planning. In mid-February, Dina Snider, Board President, and John Ryan, Advocacy Committee co-chair, met virtually with Andrew Dash, Director of City Planning. to explore where the work of AIA might intersect with the department’s efforts. Here are a few of the key takeaways: Forging PGH, a new master planning initiative, is moving forward with next steps in mid-2021. AIA members can help generate a successful plan by sharing this effort within our networks for feedback and supporting policy proposals. City of Pittsburgh is shaping the growth of the Marshall Plan for Middle America (MP4MA)....

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Dossier: Michael Larche II, Associate AIA

Meet the 2021 NOMA Pittsburgh Board Secretary

Name: Michael K. Larche II Firm: DRS Architects Family: My family consists of my mother and father, Leslie & Michael, and two little brothers, Matthew & Mark. I also have a Boxer named Joe and a black and white cat named Haru. Years in practice: 5 Education: Bachelor of Architecture from Tuskegee University Your first job: My first official job was at Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport escorting minors to their flights. If you want to get technical, my very first job was creating flavored, frozen ice cups, called “Huckabucks,” with my brothers and selling them to the neighborhood kids for 50 cents a cup. What’s the most annoying thing architects do? We, including me, overanalyze everything! I love how precise and detailed we are, but if I could...

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Dossier: Cassandra Osterman, AIA

Introducing the 2021 AIA YAF Chair!

Name: Cassandra Osterman, AIA, NCARB Firm: Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff Goettel Family:My husband, my parents, my brother Years in practice: About 5 Education: MA Architecture and Historic Urban Environments – The Bartlett School at University College London 2018; BArch – SoArch at Carnegie Mellon University 2014 Your first job: My first full-time architecture job (after graduation) was with Springboard Design. My experience at Springboard was foundational to establishing how I want to practice architecture and grow within my profession. You learn so much in the first couple years out of school – and I have to thank Paul Rosenblatt and Bill Szustak for being excellent mentors to me during this period. Project you’re proudest of: My master’s thesis project on Autonomous Mobility in the Golden Triangle. I did...

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My Unprecedented Year on the AIA National Board of Directors

By Vivian Loftness, FAIA Posted on January 15, 2021

I had the privilege to serve on the AIA National Board of Directors in 2020, the year we were going to focus our 95,000-member professional organization on climate action. Instead, this proved to be the most tumultuous and transformative year for the 163-year old organization, and for my long-term commitment to the AIA, AIACOTE, AIAS and AIARC (the old AIA Research Corporation). Originally planning on three major meetings in DC, LA, and Charleston, we ended up meeting bi-weekly as a succession of critical long-term challenges arose: climate action, the pandemic, Black Lives Matter, and political advocacy. I ended the year with the greatest respect for the board and the organization, and view the profession as pivotal to addressing all four...

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Young Architects, W+iD PGH, and a More Inclusive Industry: Where Do We Start?

By Brigid Moser Posted on January 7, 2021

After witnessing the recorded killing of George Floyd and the explosive national response, many members of our architecture and design community asked: What can we do? An early answer came from Women+ in Design Pittsburgh (W+iD PGH), a grassroots organization of design professionals committed to making their industry more diverse, inclusive, and equitable. As a group of primarily white women, they sought ways to use their talents and resources to support Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, and establish their next steps as an organization. Monica Blasko, AIA (qkArchitecture) recently wrote an article for YAF’s national publication, Connection, about the explorations into systemic racism that she and her colleagues Katie Walsh, AIA (Perkins Eastman) and Emily Pierson-Brown, AIA (Perkins Eastman) organized with...

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