Architecture and Post-Occupancy Symposium at NJIT

October 5, 2010

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Organized by Rhett Russo, Matt Burgermaster, and Richard Garber
Wednesday October 27, 2010; 1:45-6:30 pm, Weston Lecture Hall 1
4 AIA / CEU Pending Approval

“…architecture‟s instrumentality can be reconceived – not as a mark of modernity‟s demand for
efficient implementation but as the site of contact with the complexity of the real.”

– Stan Allen, Points and Lines

“Such an understanding of architecture requires us to raise the aspirations of high-performance
building, to adjust our method of design, and to broaden the criteria used to measure success.”

– David Leatherbarrow + Richard Wesley, “Frameworks of Performance and Delight”

The completion of a building typically marks a line at which its production ends and its use begins. This point in time is marked by events such as the closing out of contracts, groundbreaking ceremonies, moving in, etc. It is this line that delineates the end of the architect’s professional services, the delivery of the final “product”, and the beginning of its new “life” amidst the social, economic, and natural circumstances of the “real world”.

Of course, a building’s entry into the real world and its use is preceded by architecture’s disciplinary methods used to get it there. It is this linearity of process-to-production that locates and fixes this line, often in absolute terms. Post-occupancy has traditionally been defined as the evaluation of “buildings in a systematic and rigorous manner after they have been built and occupied for some time” (Wikipedia); however, new mandates (energy), new technologies (digital fabrication and information modeling), and new thinking (“projective” theory), however, are blurring – if not moving – that traditional dividing line between architecture‟s means and its ends; between those who design it and those who use it. To reconsider the relationships between these terms, across this line, is to consider architecture’s effects – its performance. The success of a work of architecture is not only defined by the material evidence of it as a physical object but also in terms of its performance. Contemporary concepts of „performance-based‟ design are emerging as alternatives to the “one-size-fits-all‟ and “silver bullet‟ solutions of 20th c. functionalism. This significant shift from a now-historical paradigm carries with it a more subtle shift that, today, the consequence of a building‟s effects are emerging as valued – or more – as the means of production. A prime example of this expanded field of “performance‟ is the renewed relevance of an individual building’s relationship to larger built and natural environments via increasingly sustainable ways of utilizing material, energy, and human resources over a building‟s “world lifecycle‟. Such expanded, qualitative mandates leverage design and its attendant technologies towards the enhancement of realities residing beyond “the thing itself‟. Transcending the linearities of older notions of efficiency, these performative practices require alternative conceptual frameworks and benchmarks for quantifying the qualitative.

How to evaluate architecture’s success? Whose criteria are used? How can the design process be informed on the front end, prior to the construction of a building? What are the methods for post- occupancy evaluation? What kind of feedback loops can be used between users and designers, both before and after the building is completed? To ask, and perhaps answer these questions, this symposium places architecture “in conversation‟ with its effects by inviting a series of noted architects/researchers and their clients and/or collaborators to discuss their respective involvement in the life of the buildings that they design and use.

Kindly RSVP for this event to Samanthea Jones at (973) 596-3080 or


1:15 Sign in/registration

1:45 Welcome
Urs Gauchat, Dean, College of Architecture and Design, NJIT
Stacey Ruhle Kliesch, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP; Past-President AIA New Jersey

Matt Burgermaster, Assistant Professor, NJIT CoAD

2:15 – 4:00 Panel Session 1: Education and Research, moderated by Michael Mostoller, Professor, NJIT CoAD


Richard Garber, AIA; Assistant Professor, NJIT CoAD and GRO Architects with
Jason Valdina, Interface Designer

Clinton Andrews, Ph.D; Professor of Planning, Bloustein School, Rutgers University with
Richard Wener, Ph.D; Associate Professor of Psychology, Polytechnic Institute of NYU

Alan Chimacoff, AIA; ikon.5 Architects with
Urs Gauchat, Dean, College of Architecture and Design, NJIT

4:15 – 4:30 Coffee Break

4:30 – 6:15 Panel Session 2: Information and Collaboration, moderated by Rhett Russo, Associate Professor, NJIT


Peter Gluck, Gluck and Partners, Architects with

Georgeen Theodore, AIA; Assistant Professor, NJIT CoAD and Interboro Partners with

Joeb Moore, AIA; Joeb Moore and Partners, Architects with
David Prutting, Prutting and Co. Custom Builders

6:15 – 6:30 Closing remarks: Karen Franck, Professor, College of Architecture and Design, NJIT

6:30 – Reception at NJSOA

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