Meet 2022 Fellow, Carla Bonacci, FAIA, In The AIA New Jersey Women In Architecture Showcase

March 16, 2022

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Carla Bonacci, FAIA, Resilient Champion of Urban Mixed-Use Development and Public Spaces for The World Trade Center

Meet 2022 Fellow, Carla Bonacci, FAIA, In The AIA New Jersey Women In Architecture Showcase

Carla Bonacci, Assistant Director of World Trade Center Infrastructure & Project Development for The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, has been elevated by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) to its College of Fellows (Class of 2022).  The FAIA is the highest honor awarded to members who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession and have made significant contributions to
architecture and society on a national level.
Carla was recognized for her accomplishments and body of work across four decades, including the past 33 years leading Architecture/Engineering/Construction (AEC) teams to plan, design, construct and regulate public and private projects at The World Trade Center.  Her tenure and work has spanned modernization of the WTC complex after 1993 terrorist bombings, restoration of the WTC site after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and redevelopment and ongoing rebuilding of the WTC Campus.  In the aftermath of 9/11, Carla provided critical leadership to assert public objectives and institute planning principles that are the basis of the WTC Campus Master Plan.  She subsequently promulgated associated WTC Design Guidelines and agreements that organized the diverse public and private stakeholders, and inspired architects, engineers and other design professionals to successfully adhere to the Master Plan vision across multiple building typologies.

Carla is chiefly responsible for originating and implementing the WTC’s essential planning and design frameworks for land use, zoning, security, sustainability and resiliency.  The complex and myriad challenges of the WTC redevelopment combined innovative design requirements with pragmatic implementation, she helped pioneer many security infrastructure standards that are now benchmarks
for national reference.  Carla’s sustained efforts and perseverance to promote design quality, maximizing exterior and interior public spaces, and integration of mixed-use buildings with common infrastructure, is woven throughout the development, design and construction of the WTC Campus that is now re-established as a vibrant “city within a city” with iconic architecture befitting a place of national and historic significance.

Carla has applied her expertise across a range of capital projects (both pre- and post-9/11) to redevelop public spaces, construct central plant facilities and install site-wide life safety and security systems, as well as project oversight of third-party base building and interior fit-out projects through occupancy. 

Her current work includes integrated projects and oversight supporting completion of the Perelman Performing Arts Center and the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, involving completion of the streetscape that defines the WTC Campus, installations of deployable flood mitigation barriers that preserve the WTC’s aesthetic quality, and the final phase of WTC’s Liberty Park with a Memorial Garden commemorating Port Authority first responders — each of these receiving industry recognition and awards.

Carla dedicates her professional career as well as her prestigious FAIA designation in remembrance of the World Trade Center co-workers and Port Authority colleagues lost in February 1993 and September 2001, and she knows that they would be proud of what has been accomplished.

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