Winning submission by Joseph Wood for Reimagining the Waterfront ideas competition for the Esplanade

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Art, Design, and the Urban Environment.

Co-organized by the National Academy and CIVITAS, Art, Design and the Urban Environment is a discussion series that explores how artists and architects—as well as activists, grassroots organizers, scientists, urban planners, and city agencies—can work together to improve urban environments in meaningful ways.

Themed topics, related to local issues facing the Upper East Side and East Harlem communities, serve as a catalyst for an interdisciplinary conversation that addresses concerns facing the New York community at large.


Water and the East River Esplanade
Wednesday, October 2, 2013 / 6:30 PM

Bringing together policy makers, conservation experts, curators, and designers, this panel examines issues of water and the revitalization of waterfront spaces within the context of the East River Esplanade. Stretching from 63th to 125th Streets, the East River Esplanade is a large public space plagued by maintenance problems that could serve a major recreational and environmental need for the densely developed East Harlem and the Upper East Side neighborhoods.

Cecilia Alemani, Donald R. Mullen, Jr. Curator & Director, High Line Art; Al Appleton, former Commissioner, New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection and former Director, New York City Water and Sewer System; Michael Marrella, Director, Waterfront and Open Space, New York City Department of City Planning; Charles Birnbaum, The Cultural Landscape Foundation; Moderated by National Academician Gregg Pasquarelli, Principal and Founding Partner of SHoP Architects

Urban Revitalization and East Harlem Rezoning 
Wednesday, December 4, 2013 / 6:30 PM

Focusing on urban revitalization through the lens of East Harlem rezoning and updated land use policies, this panel will look specifically at projects currently under way in East Harlem, including the renovation of the former P.S.109 into affordable live and work space for artists, and the transformation of La Marqueta, a marketplace under the Metro North railway tracks between 111th and 116th Streets that was once the economic and social center of the neighborhood.

Peter Gluck, principal architect of GLUCK+, Matthew Washington, Chair of Community Board 11, and Gus Rosado, Executive Director, El Barrio’s Operation Fightback, Moderated by Karrie Jacobs, contributing editor, Metropolis and founding editor in chief, Dwell

Transportation and the Second Avenue Subway

Wednesday, January 8, 2014 / 6:30 PM

In the final part of the series on “Art, Design and the Urban Environment,” panelists will discuss the construction of the Second Avenue Subway as a starting point for a conversation on transportation infrastructure. How can urban design and public art transform street-level spaces to be more functional, and beautify below-ground levels on a grand scale?

Sandra Bloodworth, Director, MTA Arts for Transit; Mitchell Joachim, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Director of Research, Terreform ONE; Judith Kunoff, Chief Architect, MTA New York City Transit; Moderated by James Russell, architecture critic, Bloomberg News


Cecilia Alemani is currently Donald R. Mullen, Jr. Curator and Director of High Line Art. She was formerly the curatorial director of X-Initiative, a temporary nonprofit space; curatorial advisor for the Frame Galleries, a section of the Frieze Art Fair; and curator of the exhibition No Soul for Sale – A Festival of Independents at the Tate Modern in London.

Al Appleton is the former Commissioner of NYC’s Department of Environmental Protection and the former Director of the NYC Water and Sewer System, where he created the Catskill watershed protection program, a worldwide model for sustainable watershed management and drinking water source protection. He is an international expert on water issues, watershed management, and environmental sustainability. He is Adjunct Associate Professor at Cooper Union and a Senior Fellow at the Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design.

Charles A. Birnbaum, FASLA, FAAR, is the Founder and President of The Cultural Landscape Foundation. Birnbaum previously spent fifteen years as the coordinator of the National Park Service Historic Landscape Initiative and a decade in private practice in New York City with a focus on landscape preservation and urban design. His recent projects include two web-based initiatives: What’s Out There (a searchable database of the nation’s designed landscape heritage) and Cultural Landscapes as Classrooms. His has authored and edited numerous publications including most recently the Modern Landscapes: Transition and Transformation series (Princeton Architectural Press, 2012). Birnbaum is currently a Visiting Professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning + Preservation and a frequent blogger for The Huffington Post.

Sandra Bloodworth is an artist and the MTA Arts for Transit and Urban Design Director, where she has been since 1988. In 2005, she received the Fund for the City of New York’s Sloan Public Service Award in recognition of her work in the field of public art. She is co-author, with William Ayres, of Along the Way: MTA Arts for Transit (2005).

Peter L. Gluck is founder and principal of GLUCK+ in New York. It has constructed a ground-up building for the Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service on East 115th Street, St Ann’s School Playspace on East 110th Street, a new baseball field with offices for Harlem RBI on East 100th Street, and a ground-up building for The East Harlem School on East 103rd Street. Each of these projects for “not for profit” organizations were made possible by its ability to both design and build which streamlines and makes design affordable. Peter L. Gluck received both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Architecture from Yale University. He has taught at Columbia and Yale schools of architecture and curated exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Milan Triennale.

Karrie Jacobs is contributing editor at Metropolis magazine where she writes a monthly column, “America,” about how ideas and strategies in architecture and design play out on the landscape, and is a regular contributor to Travel + Leisure. She was the founding editor in chief of Dwell, a San Francisco-based magazine about modern residential architecture and design, and was previously architecture critic at New York Magazine.

Mitchell Joachim, Ph.D., Assoc. AIA, is a leader in ecological design, architecture and urbanism. He is a Co-Founder and Director of Research at Terreform ONE and an Associate Professor at NYU and EGS in Switzerland. He was formerly an architect at Gehry Partners, and Pei Cobb Freed. He is a TED Senior Fellow and has been awarded fellowships with Moshe Safdie and the Martin Society for Sustainability at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was chosen by Wired magazine for “The Smart List: 15 People the Next President Should Listen To” and was honored by Rolling Stone magazine as one of “The 100 People Who Are Changing America”. Mitchell has received many awards including the AIA New York Urban Design Merit Award, Victor Papanek Social Design Award, Zumtobel Group Award for Sustainability and Humanity, History Channel Infiniti Award for City of the Future, and Time Magazine Best Invention with MIT Smart Cities Car. Dwell magazine featured him as “The NOW 99″ in 2012.

Michael Marrella is the Director of Waterfront and Open Space Planning at the New York City Department of City Planning. He was the Project Director for Vision 2020, New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan that outlines a 10-year vision for the future of the city’s 520 miles of shoreline. Prior to his work on the Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, Michael served as Manager of Environmental Planning for the Freshkills Park project, working to turn the City’s former landfill into a 2,200 acre park. He also previously worked for AKRF, Inc., a private planning and environmental consulting firm, and the Town of Smithtown, NY. Marrella holds a Master’s Degree in City Planning from MIT, and an undergraduate degree from Vassar College. From 2006 to 2010, he was a Vice President of the New York Chapter of the American Planning Association and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Gregg Pasquarelli is a Founding Principal of SHoP Architects and SHoP Construction as well as a registered architect in the states of New York, Rhode Island, and Louisiana. Pasquarelli received his architecture degree from Columbia University and has taught at Yale, Columbia, the University of Virginia, and the University of Florida. He has lectured globally and his work has been reviewed and published in periodicals such as Architect, Architectural Record, The New Yorker, Wallpaper, Metropolis, Wired, FastCompany, Surface, Dwell, A+U, and The New York Times, among others. As both a practitioner and educator, Pasquarelli’s commitment to challenging the entire process of building has made a convincing argument to a generation of architects that beauty and technological proficiency are not mutually exclusive.

Gus Rosado is a co-founder and Executive Director of El Barrio’s Operation Fightback. Since 1985, he has been involved in the rehabilitation of eighteen buildings yielding over 225 new housing units for the East Harlem community. Along with Artspace, he is spearheading the rehabilitation of P.S. 109 into a non-residential space for arts and culture organizations and 90 units of affordable housing for artists and their families.

James S. Russell is the architecture critic for Bloomberg News and a former editor-at-large at Architectural Record magazine. He contributes articles on architecture and design to numerous other publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, I.D., the Harvard Design Magazine, BusinessWeek, Details, and Vanity Fair. With fellows of the Design Trust for Public Space and the Art Commission of the City of New York, Russell developed “Designing for Security: Design Guidelines for the Art Commission of New York City,” which advocates for change in the way security concerns are addressed in the design of public architecture. Before becoming a full-time writer, Mr. Russell practiced architecture with firms in New York City, Philadelphia, and Seattle. He is a registered architect in New York and a member of the American Institute of Architects and is also active with the Architectural League and the Municipal Arts Society in New York. He teaches at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning + Preservation.

Matthew Washington is Chair of Community Board 11, which has an important role in initiating and reviewing planning, land use and zoning matters in East Harlem.

Special Thanks
The National Academy Museum & School is grateful to the following for their generous support of our operations: The Bodman Foundation, The Bonnie Cashin Fund, in honor of Henry W. Grady, the Alex J. Ettl Foundation, the F. Donald Kenney Exhibition Fund, The Estate of Geoffrey Wagner in memory of Colleen Browning, NA, The Reed Foundation, Inc. and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

If you are interested in supporting these programs, please contact the National Academy at 212.369.4885.

About the National Academy
The National Academy is a community of artists, students, museum-goers, and supporters of the arts. Since 1825, the National Academy Museum, School, and association of esteemed artists and architects—National Academicians—have been united in the common goal of bringing art to all through arts education and exhibition. Building and sharing the heritage of the arts in America is central to our mission.

Architecture has been integral to the Academy since its inception. Each year, prominent artists and architects are elected into the National Academy and architect members include nine Pritzker Prize laureates, eleven National Medal of Arts winners, three MacArthur Fellows, dozens of Fellows of the AIA, and numerous Rome Prize winners.

Founded in 1981, the mission of CIVITAS is to foster, mobilize, and coordinate civic concern in the community of Manhattan’s Upper East Side and East Harlem. To that end, CIVITAS seeks to promote, preserve, and protect residential neighborhoods that are lively and livable. For more information, visit