Striking a Balance Between Voice and Vision

Terry Schwarz's Keynote Address at Build Pittsburgh 2018

By Maya Henry Posted on April 19, 2018

Image credit CUDC/MOOS. The theme of Build Pittsburgh 2018 was “design with purpose.”  This year’s Keynote Address was given by Terry Schwarz, FAICP to a crowded ballroom of early risers who gathered to hear about design culture and community engagement from the director of Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC).  Schwarz began her presentation by proposing that community design does not need to be about the community OR design (discuss!) but that placemaking could, in fact, include both facets working together.  Portions of Schwarz’s keynote address are captured here. Schwarz began by showing examples of her early fascination with Bauhaus design and then showed how residents repurposed the spare spaces in Mies van der Rohe’s Layfette Park in Detroit...

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My Day at McMurray Elementary School

Presenting to Elementary Students on the Practice of Architecture

By Jennifer Beck, AIA Posted on April 12, 2018

New Peters Township High School Rendering, Hayes Design Group Architects Jennifer Beck, AIA, Project Architect at Hayes Design Group Architects, recently attended Career Day at Peters Township School District’s McMurray Elementary School. She, along with a number of other special guests, presented to fourth, fifth, and sixth-grade students about different careers to consider. Jennifer shared information about the field of architecture and all that goes into designing buildings. She also showed the students some examples of HDG’s recent projects, including the design of the new Peters Township High School (which recently went out to bid). After Career Day, Jennifer received a number of very creative and thoughtful thank you notes from the students! Peters Township’s McMurray Elementary School holds a...

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Creativity in the Architectural Design Process

How We Make Sense of the Many Tools That Are Available in Today's Profession

By Ilana Gutierrez, Assoc. AIA and Collaborators Posted on March 13, 2017

Technology has fundamentally changed the way we work and think within the architectural world. I have spoken with many architects at different levels in their career to understand how technology, hand drawing, and other conventions play a role in the design process and the effective communication of architectural ideas. Through these conversations with principals, directors, and collaborators at Rothschild Doyno Collaborative, I have learned that there should be a constant dialogue between all creative conventions of design such as hand drawing, physical modeling or computer programs to enhance the architectural design process rather than allowing creative tools to shape us. The approach to architectural education teaches us to problem solve using creative tools. Drawing from my experience, the first year...

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March @ the AIA

See What's New This Month

By AIA Pittsburgh Posted on March 1, 2017

If you’re submitting for one of the competitions below best of luck to you! This month, AIA National Knowledge Committees announce opportunities to share your work in healthcare and justice design.  AIA National is also there for you if you are making the switch from desktop software to online service.  If your practice works in foreign markets, trade or procurement or if you have any projects at all in international markets then there are several new resources available for you.

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New Year, Old Face

What's Old is New Again

By Maya Henry Posted on December 28, 2016

Here at AIA Pittsburgh we are ringing in the new year with a new editor at Columns (you may have read that Becky Spevack signed off to devote herself full-time to her bacon-making business).  I’m Maya Henry and I worked here from 2001-2006 when I left to pursue my degree in Historic Preservation Planning. It was working at AIA Pittsburgh and meeting so many passionate architects and designers that got me excited about historic preservation, and I was proud to have the support and mentorship of many of you as I made the decision to attend Cornell. While pursuing my degree I had many opportunities, including leading a trip to Pittsburgh for the whole Department of City and Regional Planning at Cornell,...

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Finally Registered!

My Path to Licensure, and Some Lessons Learned

By Bea Spolidoro, Assoc. AIA Posted on December 12, 2016

It took me seven “pass” notifications from NCARB, but soon I will be able to call myself a registered architect. I still need state approval, but as of right now there is only a 40-dollar check to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania between me and my professional seal. Until two years ago, I was not interested in being registered. For one thing, as an immigrant in the US, there were too many uncertainties. I am not a registered architect in Italy and this is the only licensure I now carry. My friend Mindy Fullilove, Hon. AIA convinced me that a license in the US would be important for my career here. At the time, she was serving as Public Director on the...

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Georgia On My Mind

Pittsburgh Architect Gets Ready for AIA Convention

While it is still a few months away, most of the planning for AIA Convention has already happened, including the schedule of workshops, seminars, and events. Speakers have been lined up, and among those is one of AIA Pittsburgh’s own who will be traveling down to Atlanta this May to lend their voice and expertise. Nicole Graycar, AIA, of IDC Architects | CH2M Hill, will be part of the team to present “Equity by Design: Knowledge, Discussion, Action!” An invited guest at last year’s AIA Emerging Professionals Summit, and Vice Chair of YAF, Graycar’s engagement in both the profession and the community makes her a great choice for this workshop. “Equity by Design” will look at how to advance the...

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An Architect in 2033?

One emerging professional's look at the future

By Nicole Graycar, LEED AP BD+C Posted on January 22, 2014

This weekend, the AIA will bring together thought leaders from across the profession – including students, young architects,  firm owners, academics, and more – to address how practice culture can be shaped to prepare current and future architects for their role in society at the Emerging Professionals Summit. Meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico, they will look ahead 20 years, hoping to address the question of what role architects will be playing in society in 2033 and how to best position the profession for the future. Attendees were asked to tackle the aforementioned questions; here is one local Emerging Professional’s response. It’s 2033. In a perfect world, architects are heralded as visionaries, as innovators, as civic and private sector leaders. The...

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An Unlikely Leader

Musings - and misconceptions - from this year's chapter president

By Jen Bee, AIA Posted on January 16, 2014

CONFESSION:  I never saw myself serving as President of AIA Pittsburgh’s Board of Directors.  I don’t fit the mold. I don’t fit the mold of what I once thought the AIA is, who exactly it represents, and why it exists. I’m a relatively young architect, I’m a sole proprietor, and I happen to have a vagina. None of these traits fit the model of the “Architect” that I assumed the AIA served. It wasn’t until I became more deeply involved in the organization that I realized how many of my assumptions about the organization were incorrect. Because I have had many conversations with other architects over the years who share many of the misconceptions that I once had, I’d like...

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Karissa Pytlak, Assoc. AIA

Meet the outgoing YAF president

Name: Karissa Pytlak, Assoc. AIA Firm: Sleighter Engineering Years in practice: 2 Education: BA: Art History/Architectural History, University of Pittsburgh; Masters of Architecture, North Carolina State University Your first job: Cashier at my grandma’s bookstore. What’s the best part of your job? Freehand sketching and 3D rendering. What would you change about your job? Location – I want to work downtown. What’s the most annoying thing architects do? Architects are design snobs; sometimes a little overly critical of each other’s designs when we should be complimenting and working together. What’s the next big architectural trend? Sustainability and collaboration. Advice to young architects: Join the YAF! It’s a great starting point to get involved in the local community and connect with fellow...

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