The Post-Soviet Region Eastern Europe as an Emerging Market: Professional Practice Issues

62 Greene Street (Ground Floor), New York


As recent history and current events demonstrate, Eastern Europe is both an opportunity for major building commissions and a potentially challenging, even volatile market. Three architects with projects in these regions discuss their experiences in securing commissions, developing design concepts, and managing local construction projects.

"Post-Soviet Region as Emerging Market" brings together three very different projects and architectural practitioners to discuss how U.S. firms successfully compete and build in countries such as Azerbaijan, Bulgaria and Kyrgyzstan. The panelists -- including Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership, FXFOWLE, and HMA2 Architects provide case studies that illuminate a range of issues behind their American service exports. One of the region's first children's museums, for example, illuminates how an architect is helping serve new trends in K-12 education and social priorities in Bulgaria.

The architecture firms are midsize, design-focused practices currently working on one or more Eastern European and Central Asian projects. Their project case studies illuminate the economic and social forces at play in the post-Soviet region as well as specific logistical, business and practice-based challenges of working internationally.

The projects to be discussed include Muzeiko (Children's Museum of Bulgaria); a new campus for the American University of Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan; and a new mountainside spa-hotel in Azerbaijan.

Panelists include Lee Skolnick, FAIA, founder of Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership, New York; Dan Kaplan, FAIA, senior partner with FXFOWLE; and Henry Myerberg, FAIA, founder of HMA2 Architects. The moderator is Susan S. Szenasy of Metropolis. 

About the Panelists
Lee H, Skolnick, FAIA is founder and principal of Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership, a diverse practice known for museums, schools, residences, exhibit designs and museum education programs. Lee has conducted symposiums, workshops and provided teacher training for leading educational and cultural organizations, and he has designed major exhibitions around the country and globally. Lee has served on advisory and grant evaluation panels for both the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts, and he sits on the boards of various arts and design organizations including Architecture Omi, where he is founding chairman of the board of directors. He also serves on the board of LongHouse Reserve, where he chairs the museum committee, and he is a trustee and chair of the Academic and Student Affairs Committee at Cooper Union. As an honorary research fellow at the University of Leicester in the U.K., Lee has authored scholarly papers and books, including "What Is Exhibition Design?" New York University and the Bank Street College of Education have counted him among their adjunct faculty members. His design work has been widely published and has received many awards of excellence, including the “AD 100 Architects” by Architectural Digest and local, state and national AIA Honor Awards.

Dan Kaplan, FAIA, is a senior partner at FXFOWLE Architects and design director of the firm’s Urban Studio, which bridges the realms of architectural design, urban planning, and sustainable innovation. He has served in a design leadership capacity for many of the firm’s significant projects, crafting modern award-winning buildings and urban designs that are distinguished by imagination, sustainability, and technical sophistication. Projects currently under Dan’s direction include, Renaissance Tower, a 42-story commercial tower in Istanbul, Turkey; the Qalaalti Hotel Spa in Baku, Azerbaijan; the Greenwich Lane residential development in the Greenwich Village historic district; 35XV, a mixed-use residential tower in the Union Square neighborhood; a 52-story residential tower in Brooklyn’s cultural district; and several mixed-use and residential projects in the Mid-Atlantic region. Dan maintains ongoing involvement with academia as a co-chair of the Dean's Advisory Board/Visiting Lecturer at Cornell’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning, where he teaches a graduate-level course that explores the marriage of design invention with environmental performance in the building envelope.

Henry Myerberg, FAIA, is founder of HMA2, an architectural firm launched in 1986. Since that time he has built a distinguished career creating innovative and inspiring environments for libraries, schools, and colleges -- all informed by his complementary experience in retail, office and gallery spaces, hotels and airports. Notable education projects include work for American University of Central Asia, Amherst College, University of Virginia, Hampshire College, Bryn Mawr College, and Wofford College. Henry also has served as volunteer design director for the Robin Hood Foundation’s L!BRARY initiative. His extensively published projects have won numerous awards, including the 2001 National Award from the American Institute of Architects and the American Library Association award for Bryn Mawr College’s Rhys Carpenter Library. He is a frequent speaker on library and higher education topics. From 2003 to 2007 Henry was a principal at the Rockwell Group, overseeing projects nationwide including the marketplace of the JetBlue terminal at JFK. Prior to this, he was a principal of Helfand Myerberg Guggenheimer architects, which he co-founded in 1999, and he has also worked for the noted architect Edward Larrabee Barnes. He also serves as an adjunct professor at Columbia University and lecturer at Harvard University.

Susan S. Szenasy is the longtime editor in chief and new publisher of Metropolis, the magazine of architecture, culture, design. A new book, Szenasy, Design Advocate, published by Metropolis Books/DAP, traces the evolution of her voice through decades of writing and public speaking about the designed environment at all scales.

This course offers 1 LU credit