15 July 2009: SUSAN DOBAN, AIA, CHAIR OF BBA JUDGING PANEL DISCUSSES

In her message in the Brooklyn Chamber’s Building Brooklyn Awards Journal, Susan Doban, president of Susan Doban Architect, P.C. and chair of the BBA Judging Panel, highlighted the natural tension between economic impact and design when the committee evaluates nominated projects each year.

“The Building Brooklyn Awards is a summer celebration of the year’s accomplishments in real estate development not only for the Chamber and the borough, but for the greater real estate, development, and design communities,” Doban wrote. “The judging dinner, the convening of panelists from the fields of architecture, development, planning, and government, which takes place a couple of months before the main event, has also become a ritual, often involving animated conversation on the submissions and on the synergy—yes, sometimes even the friction—between commerce and design. This particular year, there was a greater yearning than ever in these discussions to consider the definition of good design and possibly redefine it for our future deliberations.”

The Building Brooklyn Awards, which was held July 15, 2009, at Steiner Studios in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, honored Richard Meier, FAIA, managing partner of Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP, and Joanne M. Oplustil, executive director of CAMBA, as well as development projects throughout Brooklyn—Galapagos Art Space; Triangle Junction; 221 McKibbin Street Industrial Center; The Block Building; Brooklyn Children’s Museum; Brooklyn Bridge Pedestrian Improvements; Atlantic Gardens; the Perry Building; NYPD Brooklyn Tow Operations Building; Morris Manor; Carroll Gardens Row House; One Prospect Park.

Since the inception of the BBA, about a quarter of all the awards have gone to residential projects, and at the height of the housing boom in 2008, eight of the 17 BBA award winners were residential projects.

“This year there was a significant discussion about the design and economic constraints inherent to the design of affordable housing and the imperative of awarding in that category,” Doban wrote. “At the other end of the construction budget spectrum, many judges felt that sustainable design approaches should be more integral to the definition of excellence in all design, including residential.”

Doban concluded her remarks with the following thought, “ ‘I walk past that project every day and it makes my life better,’ is a juror comment passionately stated at almost every BBA award deliberation, including this year’s. As we anticipate the tenth anniversary of the BBA, let’s focus on what makes that happen for each of us.”

In addition to Doban, the other BBA judges included Brendan Coburn, AIA, president, Coburn Architecture; Michael Kaye, CEO of Douglaston Development; Frank LoPresto, AIA, president of the American Institute of Architects, Brooklyn Chapter; Carlos Menchaca, capital budget and policy coordinator, Brooklyn Borough President’s Office; Justin Moore, urban designer, NYC Department of City Planning, Brooklyn Planning Office; John Parkinson, executive director of the Urban Land Institute New York; Peter Pelsinski, partner, SPaN; Joseph Rende, vice president, Energy Solutions Services National Grid; and Russell Unger, executive director, U.S. Green Building Council, New York Chapter.

Doban also serves as vice chair of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, and co-chair of its Real Estate Development Committee.

About Susan Doban Architect, PC
Susan Doban Architect, PC is a Brooklyn-based architectural firm focused on historic preservation, adaptive reuse, and new construction for commercial, residential, and educational projects. In New Rochelle, the firm has created Façade Improvement Design Guidelines book using the Model Block project as a test case, and has designed more than ten projects on Main Street, including an award-winning Culinary Arts Center and two dormitories for Monroe College.

In Brooklyn, the firm designed 45 apartments above Fairway market, in a 230,000 square foot Civil War era Red Hook building. The project received the Municipal Art Society of New York’s Masterwork Award for Best Neighborhood Catalyst in May 2007 and a 2007 Building Brooklyn Award from the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. The firm has worked on more than 30 capital improvement projects for the New York City School Construction Authority, including many exterior modernization and restoration projects.

More information about the firm is available at 718-797-1041 or www.susandoban.com.