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Calling all entrepreneurs! Join the Emerging New York Architects (ENYA) and Women in Architecture (WIA) committees for a joint event focusing on female founders and their stories. The panel will comprise multiple generations of architects, ranging from those whose firms are younger than 10 years to Fellows who have been heading their practice for decades. Each one of them will share personal narratives and experiences, helping to inspire a new generation of design professionals.


Roberta Washington, FAIA, NOMAC, Principal, Roberta Washington Architects
Laura Heim, FAIA, LEED AP Principal, Laura Heim Architect PLLC
Sara Jazayeri, AIA, Founding Principal, Studio 360
Julie Torres Moskovitz, AIA, Principal and Founder, Fete Nature Architecture (FNA)
Inés Guzmán Mendez, Director and Partner, Taller KEN

Andrea Steele, AIA,
 Founding Principal, Andrea Steele Architecture (ASA)

About the Speakers:

Roberta Washington, FAIA, NOMAC, is Principal of Roberta Washington Architects. Since 1983, Roberta has designed and overseen the designs of schools, housing projects and cultural centers, including the African Burial Ground Interpretive Center in Lower Manhattan. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Howard University, and a Master of Science in Architecture degree from Columbia University. Roberta is a past president of the National Organization of Minority Architects, and a past Chair of the New York State Board of Architecture. For six years, she was also the Housing Committee Chair, and Co-chair of the Land-Use Committee for Central Harlem’s Community Planning Board. Currently, she serves on the board of the Center for Architecture Foundation, where she was 2009 president. She was elevated to the College of Fellows of the AIA in 2006.

Laura Heim, FAIA, LEED AP, established her award winning, neighborhood-based studio in a storefront in Sunnyside Gardens, Queens after two decades of practice. For the past 15 years, her work has been neighborhood focused with the storefront location making it part of the street life on Lewis Mumford Way (Skillman Avenue) in Sunnyside. The initial focus of the office was on the restoration of the Sunnyside Gardens Historic District, which she was instrumental in having designated a landmark district in 2007 completing over 30 projects at various scales, incrementally enhancing the quality of life of the neighborhood.   Heim is a recipient of the AIANYS Award of Merit for Design in the category of Adaptive Reuse, and the Lucy Moses Preservation Award. Her work has been featured in New York Living (Rizzoli, 2017) about innovative new residential design, and in the recently released Sunnyside Gardens: Planning and Preservation in a Historic Garden Suburb (Fordham University Press, 2021). Heim is currently working with non-profit groups to restore homes and storefronts in Jamaica, Queens, and Brownsville, Brooklyn.  She has taught architectural design at the University of Virginia and University of Florida, among other universities. Heim served as president of the AIA Queens 2009 and 2010. She received her BS in Architecture from the University of Virginia, awarded the Alpha Rho Chi Medal and Shannon Prize, and her Master’s in Architecture from Columbia University, honored with the AIA Henry Adams Medal.

Sara Jazayeri, AIA, is Founding Principal at Bronx-based Studio 360, a high-end architecture and interior design firm specializing in renovations of midsize residential and commercial buildings. She is also the President of the Bronx chapter of the American Institute of Architects – the first woman to hold the position since the organization was formed in 1945. Shaped by years of globetrotting and an insatiable passion for the practice, Sara is an award winning Architect and Interior Designer with 20 years of experience in firms both in Europe and the United States. Upon Graduation from the Sorbonne, Sara obtained a Masters Degree in Architecture from École Nationale des Beaux-Arts de Paris Lavillette. Sara has continued to participate in architectural and business programs over the years, most recently The Leadership program at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and Columbia University Business School CCBP Program. As principal at Studio 360, Sara has spent the last decade spearheading high profile residential and commercial projects throughout the U.S. and the Middle East. She is similarly passionate about creating initiatives that promote diversity in architecture, and a better community through education, support, and mentorship.

Julie Torres Moskovitz, AIA, is principal and founder of Fete Nature Architecture (FNA) – a sustainability-minded architecture studio in Brooklyn, whose work focuses on the three pillars of resiliency, climate adaptation, and social justice & equity. She was the architect on the first certified passive house in NYC, which won an International Passive House Design Award in 2014, and an AIA New York COTE award in 2015. Julie teaches a seminar on Eco Urban Systems at Syracuse University Architecture at the Fisher Center NYC Campus which builds upon these three driving design motivators. She also teaches trainings at the AIA Center for Architecture to architects in understanding Local Laws – such as Local Law 97 for decarbonizing buildings. Julie understands the importance of participation in local, state, and federal politics, and as an architect, strives to be involved in local issues on housing, education, and justice. She is a co-chair of her tenant association and served for 3 years on the NYC Loft Law Board (completing her service in March 2021) as a public member. She is a Democratic County Committee member for her block area in Brooklyn. She was a Judicial Delegate in 2020 and is on the ballot for Judicial Delegate in 2021. She is on her son’s Stuyvesant High School Leadership Team (SLT) for 2021-2022 as a senior parent delegate. She is a life-long activist and is on the Advisory Board for the Street Vendor Project and active in the AIA Committee on the Environment.

Inés Guzmán Mendez is director and partner at Taller KEN, an architecture practice focused on playful design with social relevance with offices in New York, Costa Rica, and Guatemala. Co-founded with Gregory Melitonov in 2013, the firm embraces building partnerships and connections, often in developing countries and urban areas defined by an imbalance of growth and social inequities. To this end, the firm established in 2016 the nonprofit FUNdaMENTAL Design Build Initiative 501(c)(3), in order to work more closely with local communities. The program Page 3 of 3 brings design interns together with real world problems and partners to engage in all phases of realizing of a public urban intervention for the collective good. Taller KEN has received the Architecture League Prize in 2019, and in 2016, the AIA New York, New Practices Award in which “Recognizes and promotes new, innovative and emerging architecture firms that have undertaken unique and commendable strategies”. It was also recently named as a “firm to watch” by Architecture Record and Architect Magazine, and was included in 40@40, the first time Interior Design Magazine devoted a special section to the work of up-and-comers. Before co-founding Taller KEN in 2013, Inés worked for Renzo Piano as part of the design team for the Whitney Museum of American Art and the headquarters building for the High Line. Inés also worked from 2012 to 2015 as Executive Director of the Museo Maya de América Foundation.

Andrea Steele, AIA, is Founding Principal of Andrea Steele Architecture (ASA), a New York-based practice that believes the scale of architecture is not measured by its physical size, but by its positive impact on people, resources, and sense of place. With over two decades of experience practicing architecture, Andrea has led a range of complex urban design projects throughout the United States. Steele served as partner and principal of TEN Arquitectos’ New York office for eight years before renaming the studio in 2019. As ASA, the studio continues the design rigor and excellence, with a heightened focus on institutional, cultural, and communityoriented projects. Andrea received her Master of Architecture degree from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. She has taught at Cornell University, City College of the City University of New York, and Catholic University of America. Steele lectures throughout the United States and is a frequent participant in academic juries.

Organized by
AIANY Emerging New York Architects and Women in Architecture Committees
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