Morris Adjmi, founder and principal of Morris Adjmi Architects, began his career working with renowned Italian architect Aldo Rossi in 1981 after obtaining his Masters of Architecture degree from Tulane University. In 1986, Adjmi partnered with Rossi and opened Studio di Architettura in New York City. Adjmi established his own design firm in 1993. Currently he is designing five new buildings in New York City, including a mixed-use building in TriBeCa, a commercial building in the Gansevoort Historic Market District, and a residential building in the Ladies Mile Historic District. His office is also working on a number of commercial buildings and hotels in Florida. His work has been covered in numerous publications, and he has edited two books on Aldo Rossi. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects.
For more than 40 years, Fred Bland has provided design leadership on a wide range of projects both in the United States and abroad. Fred joined Beyer Blinder Belle in 1972, and in 1978, became the first partner to join the founders. Over the course of his career with the firm, and as Managing Partner, he has fostered a culture of respect, collegiality and enthusiasm, equally nurturing of individual creativity and collaboration.
Fred’s interest in how the built environment shapes society has guided his focus on civic and cultural commissions that capture the spirit of the city and who we are as people. While demonstrating an innate respect for a project’s context and significance, his designs are notably contemporary. Whether working on a downtown redevelopment plan or a new home for a cultural institution, he is conscientiously designing for the long-term growth and evolution of the city. As a Commissioner on the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, he plays an active role in shaping the future of America’s largest metropolis.
Fred has directed the design of hundreds of cultural and educational projects, including the General Theological Seminary and Mark Morris Dance Center in New York, the State University of New York at Buffalo, the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky, Minnesota’s St. Paul Union Depot and the Shanghai Cultural Center in China.
Fred is an adjunct professor in the Art History Department at New York University, where he has taught a course on urbanism since 1991. He has also served as a visiting lecturer at Columbia University, Yale University, and Pratt Institute. He is a member of the Vestry of Trinity Church in Manhattan and Chairman of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the James Marston Fitch Charitable Foundation. In the spring of 2015, Fred was appointed to The Gracie Mansion Conservancy Advisory Committee by the Office of the Mayor. In the past, he served as a board member of the Brooklyn Historical Society and as president of the Brooklyn Heights Association.
Fred earned his Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in architecture at Yale University.
Sherida E. Paulsen joined PKSB Architects in 1999 as a Principal, with a focus on large-scale, complex urban projects. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the New York Convention Center Operating Corporation and has served the City of New York as a Commissioner and Chair of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, and as a founding Director of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation. In addition, she serves on the boards of the Center for Architecture Foundation, Landmarks Preservation Foundation, Riverdale Nature Preservancy and the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy. She has also served as 2009 President of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter, Chair of the Van Alen Institute: Projects in Public Architecture, and President of WX: Women Executives in Real Estate, and on the board of the Skyscraper Museum and the Advisory Council of the Landmarks Conservancy. She is a member of the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects.
Meredith Kane is a partner and co-chair in the Real Estate Department of Paul, Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP, a law practice based in New York City. Ms. Kane’s experience includes all aspects of the finance and development of complex public/private joint venture projects. She was instrumental in the long-term lease acquisition of New York’s World Trade Center complex; the development of Hudson Yards on Manhattan’s far west side and of Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn; and the development of a world-class engineering and applied sciences campus on Roosevelt Island; among many other projects.
Ms. Kane has received numerous honors and awards for her work. She was honored as the 2009 Woman of the Year by WX – New York Women Executives in Real Estate, and was named one of the Top 50 Women in Real Estate and one of 25 Current Leaders in the Industry by Real Estate Weekly and The Association of Real Estate Women. Euromoney Legal Media Group named her Best in Real Estate at the 2012 inaugural Americas Women in Business Law Awards and Grid Magazine named her one of the top 10 American women in real estate development. Most recently, Commercial Observer profiled Ms. Kane as part of New York’s Most Powerful Real Estate Attorneys, an accompaniment to its 2015 Power 100 list.
Ms. Kane served as a commissioner of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission from 1995 to 2004. She was a member of the World Trade Center Memorial Center Advisory Committee. She was a lead official from 1985-87 of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development in charge of the planning and development of 8,000 new housing units, and a City Planning official for the City of New Haven from 1977-79 in charge of mixed-use retail and commercial districts.
Frances Halsband is the founding partner of Kliment Halsband Architects. She has served as Dean of the School of Architecture at the Pratt Institute in New York, has been visiting distinguished professor of design at many universities, including University of California at Berkeley, University of Maryland, and University of Pennsylvania. In an advisory role, she is currently Architect Advisor for Brown University and Harvard University, a member of the Architectural Review Board of the Federal Reserve Bank and the U.S. General Services Administration, and was a Commissioner of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Frances was the first woman to be elected president of the New York Chapter of the AIA, has served as president of the Architectural League of New York, and is a frequent participant on many AIA committees, panels, and design awards juries. Frances Halsband received a Bachelor of Arts from Swarthmore College and a Master of Architecture from Columbia University.
Mehul Patel is Chief Operating Officer for Midwood Investment & Development, an investment and development platform that owns over 125 properties in 10 states and the District of Columbia comprising in excess of 3,500,000 square feet.
Previously, he served as chief of staff for New York State’s primary real estate and economic development agency, where he was charged with building a shared vision on complex large-scale projects. It is a skill he honed while working as vice president of the Moynihan Station Project, the long-overdue plan to shift and expand New York City’s Penn Station into the historic James A. Farley Post Office Building.
Patel oversaw the design, planning, and financing for the project, which—after two decades of false starts—is now under construction thanks to a strategy of breaking the project into achievable phases that could win agreement from overseers from the federal, state, and city governments as well as representatives of four transit agencies that use the station—Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, the Long Island Rail Road, and New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority. Patel played a leading role in other megaprojects in New York, including Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn and the 350-acre (142 ha) Buffalo Outer Harbor redevelopment.
Mary Elizabeth Rusz, AIA is a Senior Architect and Urban Designer with the Office of Design, of the New York City Housing Authority. She has been the design lead for a number of large scale, urban revitalization projects under both the HUD Choice Neighborhood Initiative and the prior HOPE VI Program. She is currently the Project Manager for the Historic Preservation Study of the NYC Housing Authority’s entire development portfolio, in support of a Programmatic Agreement with the NY State Historic Preservation Office.
Ms. Rusz is a graduate of Columbia University, GSAPP [M.S.A.U.D.], and the University of Toronto, Faculty of Architecture [B.Arch.], including study abroad at Paris’ Unité Pedagogiques d’Architecture Six.
Ms. Rusz is a long standing member of the American Institute of Architecture – New York Chapter’s Housing Committee, and the City Club of New York’s Urban Design Committee. She is also an avid Watercolorist [See website: “Watercolor Works”], and an active Member of both the National Association of Women Artists, and The Salmagundi Club of New York.
In 2015, Ms. Rusz founded TORONTO – NEW YORK, a new platform by which designers of these two great cities may share innovations and best practices with the common goal of enhancing the built environment [akin to the UDF’s NEW YORK – LONDON exchange]. The first exchange, on the topic of HOUSING, was held at the AIA NY Chapter, in Taffel Hall, on September 26, 2016. It is hoped that TORONTO – NEW YORK will become a more integrated activity in future with the UDF.
In 2017, Ms. Rusz will embark on an abbreviated “Grand Tour” as a travel / study program through Italy, to document seminal works of Architecture and Urbanism, in order to prepare a “primer for young designers”. This document will be focused on High School Students who may be considering studying the design professions in College / University; the content and format of this primer will be developed in conjunction with the AIA NY Chapter’s Center for Architecture.
Mr. Rui Qian holds a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from Harvard GSD, and a Master of Urban Design degree from TCAUP, University of Michigan. Mr. Qian was recently nominated as the International Research Associate of National Research Center of Rural Planning and Development of China. Along with that, he has been serving as the VP of UM Beijing Alumni Association, in charge of bridging Sino-US institutions. He has worked as an urban designer with Cooper Robertson and Partners, Goody Clancy and Associates and China Sustainability Center of AECOM Beijing Office. He also serves as the overseas editor for several professional magazines in China.
Alice Shay is a city planner and urban designer with the Bloomberg Associates Urban Planning practice. She contributes to the team’s full range of strategic planning and public realm projects including waterfront infrastructure, public space redevelopment and land use instruments.
Previously, Alice worked with WXY Architecture and Urban Design, an architecture and planning firm that works closely with government agencies and private stakeholders on public realm projects. Alice also consulted for the UN-HABITAT City Development Strategies program in Indonesia with Solo Kota Kita (SKK). With the support of AECOM, Alice and SKK used a participatory charrette process to create Firm Foundation, a waterfront public space, for a low-income neighborhood in Banjarmasin. Documenting the process with SKK, Alice co-authored the Firm Foundation Social Design Field Guide.
Alice exhibited at the 2013 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture in Hong Kong, conducted research in residence at the Strelka Institute in Moscow in 2012 and has consulted on public realm strategies in London. Alice has a B.A. from Brown University and a Master in City Planning from MIT.
Stephen Fan is an adjunct assistant professor in the art history and architectural studies department at Connecticut College. His research focuses on user-centered, evidenced-based design informed by psychology and anthropology. He is the curator and editor of SubUrbanisms: Casino Urbanization, Chinatowns, and the Contested American Landscape, which has received awards from the Vernacular Architecture Forum, American Planning Association, among others. He has lectured on topics such as peripheral urbanization, crowding, and informal suburbs, including at Columbia University, Hong Kong University, National University of Singapore, UCLA, and Yale.
His work has been featured in Architectural Record, The Atlantic’s City Lab, Metropolis, Next City, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Shinkenchiku, Urban Omnibus, and the World Journal.
Stephen holds a Masters in Architecture and Bachelors Degree from Harvard University, where he has also taught art history. He serves on the Board of the VAF New England Chapter.
Diana Chapin is the director emeritus of the Queens Library Foundation and is a founding and current member of the Historic House Trust, which works with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to protect and preserve historic houses.
She has served as the First Deputy Commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and as Deputy Commissioner for Planning and Capital Projects at the Parks Department, where she regularly reviewed landscape and architectural projects. She also served as the Parks Department’s first borough commissioner in Queens, and oversaw Community Relations for the agency. She was also a deputy commissioner at the New York City Department of Buildings.
Commissioner Chapin earned a bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Michigan, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in medieval literature at Cornell University and was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and Dissertation Fellow. She is also a member of the Municipal Art Society and The New York Landmarks Conservancy, and lives in a historic district in Queens. Commissioner Chapin is one of two Queens representatives on the Commission. She was appointed in 2007.