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Join the AIANY Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA) and the AIANY Diversity and Inclusion Committee as we celebrate Black firm founders who have united their love of architecture and design with their passion for entrepreneurship and self-determination. Our panel of founders will explain what motivated them to pursue their own practice and how they went about establishing a successful office, pursuing business and clients, building a brand, and more! See your own professional aspirations reflected in the stories of those who have been there, and engage a fantastic group of inspirational leaders in friendly, lively debate. See you all there!

Mark Gardner, AIA, NOMA, Founder and Principal, Jaklitsch / Gardner Architects
Elizabeth Graziolo, AIA, NOMA, Founder and Principal, Yellow House Architects
Everardo Jefferson, AIA, NOMA, Founder and Principal, Caples Jefferson Architects
T. Camille Martin-Thomsen, AIA, NOMA, Founder and Principal, Martin-Thomsen Architecture, PLLC, and TCM Studio

Talisha L. Sainvil, AIA, NOMA,
President, AIA Brooklyn; Founder and Principal, 40 Six Four Architecture

About the Speakers:

Mark L. Gardner is a principal at Jaklitsch / Gardner Architects (J/GA), an award-winning design practice and studio that works across scales, from product design to interiors to buildings. His firm has won an AIA National Honor Award and numerous AIANY, NOMA and Architizer design awards. Gardner is the Assistant Professor of Architectural Practice and Society at the School of the Constructed Environments, Parsons the New School. He is the past Director of the Graduate Program in Architecture. Gardner is on the Board of Advisors for the University of Pennsylvania Weitzman School of Design, where he advocates for issues of diversity and inclusion. He also currently serves on the board of Youth Design Center, a nonprofit on a mission to reduce the number of disconnected youth in Brownsville, Brooklyn by lowering their barriers to entry to the STEAM professions and increasing their relevant experience in the innovation economy. He is a Vanguard Member of the Van Alen Institute’s Board of Trustees and a Fellow of the Urban Design Forum. Gardner is a Past Co-Chair and current member of the AIANY Diversity & Inclusion Committee, which he helped to restart with Venesa Alicea.

Elizabeth Graziolo is the award-winning founder and principal of Yellow House Architects (YHA) based in New York City and Miami, a collaborative-minded practice specializing in residential and commercial work. Preceding YHA, she was a partner at Peter Pennoyer Architects for over 15 years, directing projects ranging from private homes to multi-tenant developments in the United States and abroad. In 2021, Architectural Digest inducted Graziolo into their illustrious AD100 after profiling her as “One to Watch” earlier that same year. In 2018, the Museum of the City of New York presented Graziolo with their renowned City of Design Award. She has contributed regularly to articles in The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, Traditional Building, and Veranda. Graziolo is a trustee of the Museum of the City of New York and the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science & Art and serves on the Delano & Aldrich/Emerson Fellowship Committee of the American Institute of Architects. She has spoken at international conferences for prestigious institutions such as L’ARDEPA, The American Academy in Rome, and The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art. She is an guest lecturer at the Cooper Union. She is also an active mentor and champion for young women entering the architecture profession, participating as a presenter and resource in programs that help inspire and support the next generation of women architects. Graziolo received her Bachelor of Architecture from the Cooper Union. She is a registered architect in New York, Michigan, and Florida and is a longstanding member of the American Institute of Architects.

Everardo Jefferson is an architect who has spent the last 40 years creating modern designs that engage with the cultures and communities of New York. Jefferson is co-founder of the award-winning architecture firm Caples Jefferson Architects with Sara Caples. For over thirty years they have focused on creating works that are drawn from nuanced formal design principles and grounded in social and cultural context; almost all of their work is designed for public and institutional clients, committed to engaging in the needs of the community. Their 2016 building for the Weeksville Heritage Center drew wide recognition for its thoughtful, innovative design. They are currently designing new buildings for the Africa Center and the Louis Armstrong House Museum. The firm has been honored with numerous national, state, and local design awards, in addition to recognition by architectural organizations in New York City. In 2017, AIANY honored them with the President’s Award and in 2012, AIANYS recognized them as State Firm of the Year. In 2009, they were named City of New York MWBE of the Year. Jefferson’s commitment to serving his community has extended beyond his design practice. He has taught at several colleges and universities, most recently as the Davenport Visiting Professor at Yale School of Architecture. He currently serves as a Commissioner on the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.

T. Camille Martin-Thomsen is an architect, researcher, Acting Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Adjunct Professor in Interior Design and Art And Design Education at Pratt Institute. She is the founding principal of both Martin-Thomsen Architecture, PLLC, and the creative multi-disciplinary design consultancy TCM Studio, both based in Brooklyn. Martin-Thomsen has 25 years of experience liaising with various public organizations and institutions, both as a scholar and as a designer. Her work and interests span across scale and typology but focus on developing material strategies that expand the definition of sustainability, speaking to an improved quality of life. Equity, sustainability and aesthetics are at the core of her studio. Her studios draw on relationships with local artisans and designers and craftspeople to create forward-thinking, culturally relevant projects that mediate between temporal and contextual constraints to create meaningful work. Martin-Thomsen combines her affinity for public work and and her background in large-scale institutional projects with a talent and intuition for fine detailing and craft. She has been an invited guest critic at Columbia University, the Helsinki University of Technology, Washington University in St. Louis, the Fashion Institute of Technology, the New York Institute of Technology, the New York School of Interior Design, and the New York City College of Technology.

Talisha L. Sainvil was born and raised in Brooklyn and graduated from the University of Miami School of Architecture. Since then, she has gained almost 20 years of knowledge and practical experience by taking on various roles and responsibilities. Presently, Sainvil is the Principal of her Brooklyn-based architecture and design firm, where she specializes in homes and hospitality. She is a registered architect in New York and New Jersey, an active member of nycoba|NOMA, and currently serves as President of AIA Brooklyn and Editor-in-Chief of PYLON, the AIA Brooklyn publication.

This event is offered virtually; you will receive an email with a Zoom link to access the program.

Organized by
AIANY Emerging New York Architects Committee; AIANY Diversity and Inclusion Committee
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