In Memoriam: Frank McCurdy, AIA

AIA Pittsburgh remembers this Past President

Frank G. McCurdy, 77, of Harrison Twp. passed away on Friday, October 12th, 2012, peacefully in his home.  Frank was born in Tarentum on March 6, 1935, the son of the late Irene (Robertson) and Frank M. McCurdy. A 1953 graduate of St. Joseph High School, he was instrumental in the design of the school’s new gymnasium. He completed the five year Architectural program at Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon University) in 1958, and he received his Master’s Degree in Urban Design from Harvard University in 1963. In 1982, he was certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He was a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), serving a term as President of the Pittsburgh...

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AIA Pittsburgh elects new Board members

AIA Pittsburgh has announced that the following architects have been elected to three-year terms on the Board of Directors, which begins on January 1, 2013:  Michael Kuchera, AIA,BBH Design; Marc Mondor, AIA, evolve environment::architecture; and George Halkias, AIA,  Stantec.  Mark Dietrick, AIA, Case Technologies, Inc., was elected to his second term on the Board.

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With Sadness and Celebration in Mind: Thanks.

By Anne J. Swager, Hon. AIA Posted on August 2, 2012

In a city still plagued by pay-to-play and machine politics, it almost goes without saying that many of our best leaders are not in elected office. This past weekend, we lost one of those individuals. Mark Schneider was killed in an accident doing what he loved best, riding his bicycle. By now, many of you will have read the accolades of what Mark contributed to the city as a developer and as a volunteer. His contributions were indeed numerous but most notably he backed projects which took great vision and grit to pull off. We take Washington’s Landing and Summerset at Frick Park for granted now but when Mark was thinking of them and advocating for them, the majority of...

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Book Review

Road Signs

Another young architect takes a less traditional path

By Sean Sheffler, AIA, LEED AP Posted on July 30, 2012

Much has been made in recent years over the graying of the profession, and how the AIA must find a way to engage and encourage younger professionals in order to rejuvenate architectural practice.  The Baby Boomers are expected to begin retiring in droves; projections for the next ten years have shown that for every one Gen-Y member that enters the workforce, as many as five Boomers will leave it, taking their knowledge and experience with them.  In other words, the size of our workforce – and its collective knowledge – is shrinking dramatically.  The AIA has dubbed this “the Associate Crisis,” as if identifying the problem and giving it a name will somehow lead to a solution.  Eric Cesal’s plight...

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Bypassing Architects? Confronting Change in the Information Age

By Mark Dietrick, AIA, LEED AP Posted on July 18, 2012

Several weeks ago, the New York Times published an article that highlighted computer programs that can help owners bypass architects and questioned the wisdom of such an approach.  While our first reaction as architects to this concept and many of the ideas represented in the article is likely absolute abhorrence — architecture is a process that only trained architects may orchestrate — I have spent the last couple of weeks pondering what we can learn from this story and generally what it might mean to be an architect in the information age that is radically transforming our world. Most importantly, I don’t think we can simply ignore it and pass it off as just a small percentage of “DIYers” and...

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Mentor By Design

ACE Mentor Programs of America

By Emily Putas Posted on June 27, 2012

What is the best way to mentor high school students in the design and construction fields?  Get them involved. That is the goal of the ACE Mentor Program of America, Inc.  ACE stands for Architecture, Construction, and Engineering – the primary disciplines responsible for creating buildings.  According to the ACE website (, “The program’s mission is to engage, excite, and enlighten high school students to pursue careers in the integrated construction industry through mentoring; and to support their continued advancement in the industry through scholarship and grants.” Pittsburgh’s chapter, now in its fourth year, is working with 60 area high school students and partnering with dozens of industry professionals to continue the ACE mission right here in Allegheny County.  In...

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Jen Bee, AIA

A look at this sole-practioner

Name: Jen Bee Firm: Jen Bee Design, LLC Family: Husband Mark Paczan, and a son, 4 years old Years in practice: 12 Education: Hofstra University (freshman year), Art Major; James Madison University, Bachelors of Science in Art, Interior Design Concentration; Virginia Tech, Masters of Architecture Your first job: First architecture job- Balance Associates, Seattle Washington; first job ever – Wendy’s drive through window and salad bar, Greensburg PA Project you are proudest of: Any project that I’ve completed since I’ve had my own practice- I’m still amazed and thankful for each project that comes my way. Most embarrassing moment: About 7 or 8 year ago I was attending a construction meeting with about 15 attendees and one of the subcontractors...

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Pittsburgh’s Own Elected as AIA National Secretary

Rich DeYoung, AIA wins the bid.

Rich DeYoung, AIA, president and CEO of WTW Architects, has been elected 2013-14 AIA secretary. A member who has been active on all levels, DeYoung is a past AIA national board member, serving on the board as Pennsylvania regional director from 2009-2011. He was a member of the AIA Secretary’s Advisory Committee in 2011 and an AIA Advocacy Committee member in 2007 and in 2009-2010. He was also president of AIA Pennsylvania in 2006 and president of AIA Pittsburgh in 2003.  To read more about the AIA National election results, click here.

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Good Design Takes Many Types

By Mark Dietrick, AIA, LEED AP Posted on May 16, 2012

I remember being a freshman in college and my professor telling our design studio that only a small percentage of us would end up “designing” buildings, at least in the way we were thinking of “design”.  He proceeded to tell us of all of the many aspects of the profession and that many of us would end up either having some supporting role within a firm, or would end up being in a separate yet related field altogether. At first, this discussion was a bit disturbing.  What we didn’t understand at that time is the fact that designing and constructing environments is an intensely complicated and dynamic process and that it requires many diverse skills to do it well.  I...

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