Registration is Open for the 2021 AIA New Jersey Design in a Post Pandemic Era Webinar Series

January 6, 2021

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Registration is Open for the AIA New Jersey Design in a Post Pandemic Era Webinar Series

The AIA NJ Public Awareness Committee is continuing its successful series of free webinars for elected officials, municipal staff, developers, business owners, facility managers, operators, users and architects to assist them in understanding operations and design changes that can be anticipated as a result of the pandemic. Each webinar will focus on a different building/ business type and feature a panel of AIA architects experienced in that sector. The series is developed and moderated by Stacey Ruhle Kliesch, AIA, CID, LEEP AP.

Registration is open for the following sessions: 


Transportation in a Post Pandemic Era: Thursday, February 25th, 12-1:30PM

Course Description:

“Never let a good crisis go to waste” Winston Churchill.

Public transportation played a critical role during COVID and will continue to do so as we navigate the road to recovery.  Public transit provided bus and rail service so that essential workers can get to hospitals, pharmacies, grocery stores, and all the other places we who stayed home needed to support us.  The crisis underscored how important is functional transit, to keep people and purchased objects moving using an established equitable system of safe, clean buses, trains, and subways. 

The better design solutions to Transportation post-COVID will be those that evolve from the bottom up; increasing upon their spontaneous success, enhancing it forward. 

Learning Objectives: 

1. Health: Participants will learn what design changes are expected and/ or necessary to ensure greater protection of the physical health and well-being of all transportation and facility occupants and users post COVID, what each municipality will need to do to accept changes in transportation post-COVID, like greater social distancing, changes in queuing, more hands-free operation and circulation throughout the transportation system.

2. Safety: Participants will learn what code changes may be necessary, municipal rules for safety. The presentation will demonstrate architecturally, what will that look like to protect occupants, users, and any others affected by buildings or sites from harm.

3. Health: Participants will learn how municipalities can protect and enhance the emotional, and social well-being of transportation occupants, users, and any others affected by buildings and sites by properly communicating and demonstrating the elevated health and safety measures put in place. This education and knowledge will calm and relieve the users, reducing stress and anxiety as people return to using public transportation post-COVID.

4. Welfare: Participants will learn those aspects of professional practice that enable equitable access, elevate the human experience, encourage social interaction, and benefit the environment. Similar to restaurants seating in the street, transportation and associated circulation will need to spill for safe separation. This may mean changes in zoning, street closures, creating pedestrian commercial zones, Architecturally, creating bazar atmosphere or farmers market tents or social gathering spaces.  These changes elevate the human experience, encourage social interaction, and enable more equitable access.


Suzanne DiGeronimo, FAIA

As President of DiGeronimo Architects Ms. DiGeronimo, has over 30 years experience in architecture. Her project management expertise focuses on quality control with strict compliance to schedule and cost controls. She has steered the firm to deliver a quality architectural product to clients, including public agencies and private businesses. The firm’s size allows Ms. DiGeronimo’s total personal commitment to each project and to each client. Her intimate knowledge of each project ensures successful completion.

As Managing Principal, Ms. DiGeronimo establishes the firm’s overall goals and objectives and coordinates their implementation. She applies Quality Assurance/Quality Control management techniques to guide each project. She has trained architects, across the U.S in Quality Management for the AIA. She has received training from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in Total Quality Management (TQM) practice and principles and is knowledgeable in ISO 9000 procedures.

Suzanne is licensed to practice architecture in 7 states. She is an NJ Professional Planner, Certified Interior Designer, and member of NCARB. She is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and holds a Bachelor of Architecture Degree from The Copper Union School of Architecture. 


and Richard Schaefer, PE 

Richard Schaefer is the Chief Engineer of Design and Environmental for NJ TRANSIT and has served in that role since 2019 leading the capital planning effort, in-house architectural and engineering design services, environmental and energy group, and the standards and quality group. A structural bridge engineer by discipline, Rich has over 23 years of diversified experience designing and building infrastructure projects in the northeast region and around the country varying from simple overpass replacement to complex cable-supported bridge rehabilitation. He has extensive experience building and implementing capital programs with a focus on buildable solutions that make the most of the dollars spent.  Rich also serves as an adjunct professor at NJIT where he teaches a master’s class in bridge design. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of New Jersey. He holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.


Historic Buildings in a Post Pandemic Era: Thursday, March 25th, 12-1:30PM

Course Description:

From the ashes of a near-apocalyptic year, silver linings are emerging, illuminating approaches to how communities may begin again to safely and sustainably interact within both our built and natural environments.  As we seek to refine and re-engage myriad programs and institutions that underpin our lives and define our neighborhoods, it can be stimulating to see how the confluence of history, science, technology and innovation successfully managed pandemics and other public health concerns for many generations, well before the advent of vaccines.  Those early approaches – endemic to many heritage buildings – remain powerful examples that can instruct our approaches to today’s health concerns, providing useful guardrails and precedents.

Essentially, this is a process of rediscovery, embracing a central tenet of architects’ ancient art:

  • discerning human needs and desires – environmental, social, healthful, aspirational;
  • evaluating options; and
  • divining solutions that are at once responsive, durable and inspired.

Preserving this foundational approach is an ideal form of advocacy for history to repeat itself.

As our physical environments once again become settings to nourish social relationships and provide gateways to the larger world around us, there is likely to be corresponding demand to demonstrate that they also are safe zones, unencumbered by threat of contagion.  Well-crafted heritage buildings, forged with the advancements of their day, are also steeped in tradition and empirical knowledge.  They possess inherent traits that often render them highly adaptable to modern needs, while addressing a more transcendent agenda, one that enhances emotional, psychological and physical wellbeing.  The oil embargo of the 1970s changed our sensitivities, though, birthing a feverish rush to re-engineer our heritage – vanquishing (but not obliterating) many of the favorable features that we now need to re-engage.  This trend toward overlooking healthful, inherent attributes of historic buildings continues to this day.  Insofar as these features still remain, often largely intact and ready to be rediscovered and put back into service, can be a revelation for stewards of heritage properties, one that is both exhilarating and economical.


Creating healthy environments that nurture innovative programs in the wake of a pandemic is an exercise of four inter-related components:  1. Scientific, analyzing conditions on the basis of an expanding universe of knowledge and practice; 2. Architectonic, identifying and capitalizing on intrinsic benefits of early features that support modern goals; 3. Technological, incorporating refined approaches to mechanical systems, both passive and active; and 4. Sensory, supporting a universal approach to wellness that ensures a sense of security when people are invited back in, breaking down barriers between outside and inside, re-evaluating traditional ways of defining space and – above all – recognizing this as our signal moment to re-imagine how buildings can best serve to foster engagement and inclusion.


Case studies focus on holistic approaches to issues of space and wellbeing; blending physical with emotional; rediscovering and re-evaluating existing buildings’ inherent qualities and readily adaptable nature; safety and security; optimizing programmatic needs; expanding accessibility; defining internal connectivity, circulation & egress; providing spatial flexibility; adapting seating plans; evaluating occupancy and density; accommodating emerging live/work needs; systems adaptation and optimization; and refining means and methods of maintenance and operation.

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Health: Upon completion, participants will be able to recognize the relationship between emotional, psychological and physical well-being and the foundations of a holistic healthy building approach.
  2. Safety: Participants will be able to compare the benefits of systems and controls used to increase the health and safety of building occupants and how these systems may be integrated into their buildings.
  3. Welfare: Participants will be able to articulate approaches to refine, operate and manage healthy buildings as well as key healthy building strategies for historic buildings that enable equitable access, elevate the human experience, encourage social interaction, and benefit the environment. 
  4. Safety: Participants will be able to formulate an approach to auditing space usage, occupancy, density, accessibility and circulation among other factors impacting re-occupancy for staff and users.
  5. Health: Identify existing architectonic features and systems and consider the roles these historic features can play in creating healthy indoor environments.


Jill H. Gotthelf, AIA;

Jill Gotthelf AIA FAPT RP, Principal, WSA|ModernRuins, sets a prodigious standard for the open exchange of ideas among peers, clients & constituents, resulting in projects, workshops, presentations & publications that embody the essence of sustainable preservation. She embraces a holistic view of sustainability, pushing beyond the limits of the traditional definition to establish a balance between economics, environment, social and cultural equity, authenticity, and education. Under her guidance as both Founding Member and Chair (2007-2013), the Association of Preservation Technology International’s Technical Committee on Sustainable Preservation, has become a preeminent resource for collecting & disseminating cutting edge philosophy, technology & tools for the preservation community. Her formidable achievements led to Jill’s elevation into APTI’s esteemed College of Fellows.  She currently serves on APTI’s Board of Directors, is Chair of the Advisory Board for the AIA Historic Resources Committee and has recently been appointed to the Government Advocacy Committee of the AIA’s Board of Directors. 


Michael Mills, FAIA;

Michael J. Mills, FAIA, Partner, Mills + Schnoering Architects LLC, has devoted his career to the preservation and adaptive use design of some of the region’s most significant historic structures. He has served as Chair of the Advisory Group of the AIA Historic Resources Committee and is a past president of Preservation New Jersey. Michael is a national peer reviewer for the GSA Design Excellence program, and former member of the NJ Uniform Construction Code Advisory Board. He has lectured at Princeton University’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning, the Association for Preservation Technology’s (APT) international conference, and serves as Associate Graduate Faculty in the Rutgers University Cultural Heritage and Preservation Studies program.  Michael received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture and Urban Planning from Princeton University and his Master of Science in Historic Preservation from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University.  He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.


Tom Newbold, PE, Allied AIA, LEED AP

Thomas Newbold PE LEED AP CFM CPMP is president of Landmark Facilities Group, Inc., an engineering firm specializing in the design of mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection systems for architecturally significant cultural, commercial, & educational applications. Tom holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s of Business Administration and is a licensed Professional Engineer in Mechanical Engineering. His work has focused on unique engineered systems in buildings for over thirty years.  Tom is an active advocate of sustainable designs for museums, libraries, archives, and historic sites and is a frequent speaker on various HVAC sustainable design initiatives. He has been an active member of the Association for Preservation Technology for many years and participates in the Professional Engineering Technical Committee and the Technical Committee for Sustainable Preservation.  Tom is a WELL Accredited Professional, Certified Energy Manager (CEM), Building Commissioning Professional (BCxP) and a certified Green Building Engineer (GBE).  


and Walter Sedovic FAIA FAPT RP LEED,

Mr. Sedovic, Principal & CEO WSA|ModernRuins, has dedicated his career to sustainable preservation. His work and firm represent the vanguard of infusing heritage sites with green building approaches and ideologies while maintaining authenticity and a visceral connection to community and context. Each project incorporates strategies to enrich, inform and strengthen cultural ties and stewardship. The success of his firm’s approach is revealed in the consistent quality of its work, particularly at sites where projects are more comprehensive and complex. The firm’s numerous awards and media attention attest to the respect and interest of his peers and the general population.  Walter is a sought after speaker internationally and was honored to serve as Guest Editor of the Association for Preservation Technology International’s Sustainable Preservation edition of the Bulletin.  Walter has been distinguished with elevation to the American Institute of Architects’ and the Association for Preservation Technology’s prestigious Colleges of Fellows.


Warehouse and Industrial Design in a Post Pandemic Era: Thursday, April 29th, 12-1:30PM


Scot Murdoch, AIA

Driven to increase performance and value for clients through design, Scot has executed complex large-scale industrial projects for corporate and developer clients across the country. His ability to think at both grand and granular scales simultaneously results in comprehensive and creative design solutions that exceed client expectations. A forward-thinking problem-solver, Scot is motivated by designing for the future of the industry and explores themes of next-generation industrial development in his practice. His expertise in the redevelopment of brownfield sites, sustainable design, and renewable energy initiatives has guided the successful transformation of millions of square feet of industrial development from design to production and contributed to KSS’  expertise in the redevelopment of contaminated sites. Scot’s work reaches across the United States, from New York to Los Angeles and San Antonio to Chicago, with clients including Prologis, Forsgate Industrial Partners, Panattoni, Innovo Property Group, Related, Amazon, FedEx, Grainger, Coca Cola, Warby Parker, and many more. 

Each course will be submitted for 1.5 HSW AIA CEU.

Click below to register! 

Design in the Post Pandemic Era 2021 Webinar Series

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