Traditional Building Conference

Schedule: Traditional Building Conference Series NEW YORK

October 21-22, 2011
(preliminary schedule, subject to change)

Friday, October 21, 2011

8:00 am - 9:00 am Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:00 am - 10:15 am Keynote Address: For Healthy People, We Need Healthy Places
Speaker: Richard J Jackson MD MPH Professor and Chair - Environmental Health Sciences UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA.

We face grave challenges in environment, economy and health. "Easy oil" and cheap resources have disappeared. While some may debate the causes of climate change, none would argue that we will need more resilient places to live and work. And medical care costs will continue to escalate not just because of population aging and new technology, but particularly with the tripling of obesity and doubling of diabetes rates. Piecemeal solutions will fail; we need solutions that solve problems across many challenges. Places—homes, buildings, places—that bring comfort and foster health, at a personal and population level. Jackson will lay out strategies, and show how good designers and builders are health leaders.

  • List specific ways architectural design can proactively support personal and community health;
  • Explain to any client why considering health in design is important for personal and community wellbeing;
  • Describe the relationship between traditional design and healthy people, buildings and communities; and
  • Apply lessons about designs for physical activity, air and water quality, injury mitigation, and mental health.


10:15 am - 10:45 am Break

10:45 pm - Noon: Sensitivity and Sensibility: Additions and Adaptations in New York City
1.25 AIA HSW LUs
Speakers: Manuel Mergal, AIA, LEED-AP, and Partner; and John Kirk, AIA; Cooper Robertson & Partners, New York, NY

The presentation will showcase four New York projects that include a new building carefully knitted into the sensitive fabric of one of New York City's premier institutions, an addition to an historic church on a town green that is on the National Historic Registry of Places, the adaptive re-use of a former mill into a public event venue and the transformative renovation of a New York City apartment. After participating in this session, attendees will be able to:

  • Evaluate appropriate additions and alterations based on the sense of place;
  • Apply lessons learned for seamless additions of new to old building materials and settings;
  • Commence work with the certainty that "good bones make good buildings."
  • Make creative choices to improve upon existing conditions.

Noon - 1:15 pm: Lunch

1:15 pm - 1:45 pm: The History of the Society of General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen- the organization and its building

1:45 pm - 3:15 pm: In the Footsteps of Vitruvius: Design and Construction Durability Lessons Learned from Hands-on Study in Rome
1.5 HSW/SD LUs
Speakers: Matthew Bronski, Senior Staff, Building Technology; Simpson Gumpertz Heger, Boston, MA and 2009/10 Rome Prize Winner

Construction that is highly durable over the very long-term (e.g., centuries) is inherently sustainable. Despite major emphasis on sustainability over the past decade, we are in the midst of a widespread crisis of rapid building enclosure failures, ranging from highly-publicized and almost immediate enclosure failures on prominent commissions by "Starchitects," to rapid enclosure failures on nondescript builder houses on Any Street, USA. Where did we go wrong? What do we fail to understand about designing enclosures for durability? And what pertinent lessons, if any, can we derive from historic constructions that have proven to be durable for many centuries? Mr. Bronski’s lecture is based on his year of study in Rome as a Rome Prize Winner. This session will aid participants by helping them to:

  • Analyze how time-proven traditional construction details succeed technically and durably.
  • Apply traditional construction principles to better manage water on facades and windows thereby promoting durability of their materials.
  • Evaluate and choose natural materials wisely for their long-term durability, and hence their sustainability.
  • Recognize and minimize the inherent vulnerabilities in construction details, promoting performance, long-term durability and sustainability.

3:15 pm - 3:45 pm Break

3:45 pm - 4:45 pm: This New Old Green House
Speaker: Barry Katz, President, Barry Katz Group, Norwalk, CT

  • Recognize the environmental issues that make sustainability an important consideration for all buildings.
  • Address three fundamentals of green construction: Energy efficiency; Healthy living/working environments; Resource conservation and environmental responsibility.
  • Apply stylistically appropriate green building methods and materials to traditional architecture.

There is a common misconception that environmentally friendly green design is incompatible with traditional home styles. Styles that evolved in the pre-technological era naturally incorporated time-tested strategies for adapting to local climate. By combining traditional methods with recent advances in building science, we can learn to create timeless homes with greatly minimized environmental impact.

6:00 pm - 7:00 pm: Cocktail Party
Hosted by Restore Media with the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA) chapter presidents
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm: ICAA Lecture: Maurice Fatio: Palm Beach Architect
Speaker: Kim Mockler

Kim Mockler will be speaking on the book Maurice Fatio: Palm Beach Architect. For more information, please visit:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

8:00 am - 9:00 am Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:00 am - 10:00 am: Mining History for the Practice of Architecture Today
Speaker: Peter Pennoyer AIA, Founding Partner, Peter Pennoyer Architects and co-author of three monographs on American Architects.

Join a leading practitioner of classical architecture for a discussion about the lessons of historical buildings and how they provide a significant resource for his firm in designing buildings that are relevant, appropriate, and durable. The presentation will include examples of details and styles that are based on historical research and remain important tools in creating sustainable architecture now and for the future. Following his design of the current exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York, "The American Style: Colonial Revival in the Modern Metropolis", Pennoyer will share specific resources that can be valuable to the architect, builder, designer or craftsman today. The learning objectives for this course are the following:

  • Improve your own practice (whether architect, builder, designer, or craftsman) by selecting classical building details that make a building better;
  • Apply Vitruvius’s goals of "firmness, commodity, and delight" to architectural projects today;
  • Use pattern books and other historical resources with greater confidence; and
  • Make the best use of limited time for research with significant results.

10:00 am - 10:30 am Break

10:30 am - 11:30 am: The Environmental Responsibility of Traditional Design

Speakers: Gary L. Brewer, AIA, Partner, Robert A.M. Stern Architects, New York, NY and Paul Stoller, LEED AP and Director, Atelier Ten, New York, NY

Too often high-performance building is conflated with experimental architecture. Yet traditional building strategies have been developed over millennia by builders and architects seeking to provide comfortable and resource-efficient accommodations without the benefit of energy-intensive mechanical and electrical systems. Both vernacular solutions and Classical principles are logical starting points for the design of buildings that respond intelligently to local climate and site opportunities. The architect must go beyond Classical facades to study orientation, proportion, materials, and organization of spaces in both plan and section to realize this potential. Participants will be able to:

  • Devise high-performance solutions that take advantage of tried-and-true strategies and minimize reliance on high-tech mechanical and electrical solutions.
  • Understand the applicability of Classical principles to sustainable goals.
  • Organize buildings in plan and section to achieve an optimal balance among controlled daylight, heat gain, and ventilation.
  • Select strategies for high-performance solutions that are appropriate to specific climate and site conditions.


11:30 am - 12:30 pm: A Sustainable Tradition: Storm Windows
Speaker: David Martin, President, Allied Window, Inc., Cincinnati, OH

Storm Windows have been a traditional energy saver since the 19th century. They endure as an option for historic buildings because they add a layer of protection to and increase the performance of the primary window. This session will provide a comprehensive discussion of what storm windows can do; when they are best used; what the additional benefits beyond energy and preservation are; and how to calculate the cost benefit analysis of using them. Participants will be able to:

  • Explain why the installation of storm windows is a sustainable practice;
  • Evaluate the energy savings that storm windows offer;
  • Describe the options that are available when selecting storm windows;
  • Select and specify products and designs for specific storm window applications.


12:30 pm - 1:30 pm Lunch

1:30 pm - 3:30 pm: Cast and Carved: The Crafts of Architectural Ornament
Introduction by: Christine G.H. Franck, Designer and Educator, New York, NY. Speakers: Robert Baird, Vice President, Historical Arts and Casting, Salt Lake City, Utah; David Flaharty, Sculptor and Ornamental Plasterer, Green Lane, PA; and Deborah Mills, Deborah Mills Woodcarving, Long Island City, NY

Join three experienced artists and craftspeople for a discussion of the enduring value of architectural ornament. Learn the basics of each craft and why these three traditional crafts- plaster, wood carving, and architectural cast metal are still in demand today. Included in this session are demonstrations of how plaster ornament is created; a demonstration of wood carving, and the film, “ZCMI, A Legacy Cast in Iron,” will be shared. After participating in this session, participants will be able to:

  • Integrate ornamental plaster, wood carving, and cast iron architectural details into project designs;
  • Explain the methods that craftspeople use to create plaster, wooden, and cast iron architectural details;
  • Describe the history of cast iron architectural facades in the United States;
  • Advocate for increased use of ornament in contemporary architectural designs.

3:30 pm - 3:45 pm Break

3:45 pm - 4:45 pm: Tour of the Grand Central Academy and the ICAA historic plaster cast collection

Schedule subject to change

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