The Business of Architecture: What they Didn’t Teach You In School
What are the important factors in running a successful architecture practice? The fifth panel of the 2019 TORCH Mentorship program explores how architects run a business, manage clients and expectations, make a profit, and prepare for market cycle downturns, etc. A panel of FAIA members will share their experiences before joining roundtable groups for more intimate group conversations.
David C. West, FAIA, Founding Principal Hill West Architects
Frances P. Huppert, FAIA, Founder, Frances Huppert, Architect
Jane Smith, FAIA, IIDA, Partner, Spacesmith, LLP
Howard L. Zimmerman, FAIA, Principal, Howard L. Zimmerman Architects, PC
Claire Weisz, FAIA, Principal-in-Charge, WXY architecture + urban design
The TORCH Mentorship program partners emerging professionals and AIA Fellows over the course of the year to share personal strategies and paths to success in the architecture profession.
Past TORCH Events:
January 23: TORCH Mentorship Program Launch + Happy Hour
March 19: TORCH Mentorship Program – Career Paths: What’s Your Plan?
April 22: TORCH Mentorship Program – Laying out a Career Plan
May 21: TORCH Mentorship Program – Communicating Architecture
September 17: TORCH Mentorship Program – Community Engagement and Social Responsibility
About the speakers:
David C. West, FAIA, Founding Principal Hill West Architects Elevated 2018. With “architecture in his DNA,” David is a veteran with over 30 years of experience. From the time he built model airplanes as a young boy, David has always been fascinated by the art, science, history, math, and “respecting the past” of architecture which has continued throughout his career. As one of the founding partners, David continues to lead design projects that have included Sky, 363 and 365 Bond Street, 101 Lincoln Avenue and 2401 Third Avenue, and 1399 Park Avenue. As a zoning authority, West has conducted thousands of feasibility studies and has been involved with nearly 100 completed projects. The unique blend of knowledge of both the pre-development process and residential building design, he provides the most creative and practical solutions. Additionally, through his extensive background in land-use approvals including the ULURP process, Variances and Landmarks Commission Approvals, he is frequently involved in projects from the earliest stages of land assembly, giving him a unique perspective into the practical aspect of various development solutions. Prior to co-founding Hill West Architects, David co-founded Goldstein, Hill & West Architects and was a partner at Costas Kondylis and Partners. Previous positions include Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer and John Harding Architects. He received his degree in Architecture from the University of California at Berkeley. An expert in the industry, David has given numerous lectures and participated on panels at such institutions as the AIA, Department of City Planning, Real Estate Board of New York, New York University and Columbia School of Real Estate.David West has played a seminal role in the advancement of housing design and the highrise apartment building typology in New York City, establishing national and international models for urban housing.
Frances Huppert, FAIA, founder and principal of Frances Huppert Architect is a recognized leader in Project Planning, Project Management and Urban Design on major capital projects. Over the course of a career that spans over 30 years, she has led major projects in the public sector dedicated to fostering an environment of design excellence, quality architecture and successful project planning. Huppert was previously Vice-President at the United Nations Development Corporation working on the development of a major new office building for the UN designed by Maki & Associates and FxFowle Architects. Prior to joining UNDC, Huppert was Associate Vice-President for Capital Projects at Columbia University where she oversaw the design, construction and renovation of various capital projects on campus. She previously served as Senior Vice-President of the Design and Construction Department at Empire State Development Corporation where she was recognized for her role in supporting design excellence on major public development projects including; the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, Moynihan Station Redevelopment, and Queens West. Huppert is a Registered Architect, holds a B Arch from Pratt Institute and a Master in Urban Planning from City College, and is a recipient of the AIANY Chapter’s Public Architect Award. Frances recently has been an advisor to the Urban Design Forum on Conscious Shelter Design Guidelines, is currently serving as Co-Chair on the AIANY Fellows Committee and is an active member of the AIANY Planning and Urban Design Committee.
Jane Smith, FAIA, IIDA, is the founding partner of Spacesmith, LLP, an architecture, planning, and interior design firm with offices in New York City and Hudson, NY. With a diverse portfolio and many repeat clients, Spacesmith has completed work for city, state, and federal agencies, schools, not-for-profits, and private sector clients in fashion, finance, and media. For twelve years, Smith served as the Chair of the Interior Design Department at the School of Visual Arts (SVA), guiding and mentoring the next generation of designers. At SVA she developed a faculty of design and technical leaders and has engaged designers and architects in an ongoing dialogue of collaboration and professional inclusion. She is currently serving as Special Advisor to the President to develop a Master Program in Architecture at the School of Visual Arts. Smith is dedicated to making meaningful contributions to the practice of architecture and serving the community. She is currently serving as the co-chair of the Architecture Leadership Council for the NYC Building Congress and as a director on the AIA New State Board. Smith has been an active member in organizations such as CoreNet, Women Executives in Real Estate, and the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter. Jane served on the AIANY Board Executive Committee for five years as Secretary and VP of Professional Development. In 2017, Jane received the AIA New York State President’s Award for outstanding contributions to the profession in education, industry, or government by an AIANYS member. Her work was recognized by the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation, for one of 100 outstanding structures and built environments designed by women in New York City. She is a regular participant on juries and panels for various educational and industry organizations.
Howard L. Zimmerman, FAIA, is the founder and principal of one of New York City’s foremost architecture/engineering firms specializing in Exterior Building Restoration and Infrastructure. He points to the renovation of the Plaza Hotel, Riverside Church, Temple Emanu-El and hundreds of additional NYC buildings to advance that claim. Leading a staff of 80 with highly specialized knowledge and a wealth of complex project experience, Zimmerman teaches finely tuned solutions and exceptional service for each and every client and project. Frequently quoted in The New York Times, the firm also goes deep into Historic Preservation, Forensic Investigation, and Capital Improvements, as well as New Building Consulting. Since 1978, when he founded Howard L. Zimmerman Architects, P.C., Howard has dedicated himself to delivering not only the highest quality architectural and engineering services, but also developing and maintaining long-term client relationships built on a foundation of mutual trust and respect. To that end, he has organized a professional team of excellent architects, engineers, and technical specialists who share his belief in the importance of serving clients very well – to the best of their ability, and better than any competitor. Zimmerman is on the Board of Trustees of The Educational Alliance (an affiliate of the UJA Federation of New York) and the 14th Street Y, and provides pro-bono services to the facilities team at the Tenement Museum. His professional affiliations include the American Institute of Architects, the Association of Building Owners, the Building Owners and Managers Association, and the Construction Specifications Institute.
Claire Weisz, FAIA, is an architect and urbanist, and a founding principal of WXY. With her partners Mark Yoes, Layng Pew, and Adam Lubinsky, Weisz focuses on innovative approaches to public space, structures, and cities. WXY has received the League Prize from the Architectural League of New York, as well as being selected as one of the League’s Emerging Voices practices in 2011, in addition to numerous awards from AIA National, AIANY, and the American Planning Association. Recent and ongoing work in New York City includes the redesign of Astor Place, the Spring Street Sanitation Garage, the redesign of the Rockaway Boardwalks, Pier 26’s Boathouse/Restaurant, Battery Park’s SeaGlass Carousel, a pedestrian bridge in lower Manhattan, a design to better accommodate both pedestrians and elevated trains in Harlem, a study of Brooklyn’s growing commercial tech sector (The Brooklyn Tech Triangle), The East River Blueway Plan, and a finalist proposal for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rebuild by Design initiative. With Andrea Woodner, Weisz co-founded The Design Trust for Public Space, and has recently been on faculty at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service and a Visiting Critic of Urban Design at Cornell’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning in NYC. Claire received her professional degree from The University of Toronto with Honors and her Master’s in Architecture from Yale University.
As a reminder, AIA National policy requires participants to attend the entire educational portion of an event to receive continuing education credits. We encourage all participants to arrive on time to comply with this policy.