NEW YORK, NY— Regional Plan Association (RPA) today announced that Miriam Peterson and Nathan Rich, co-founders of the New York City-based architecture and design practice PRO—Peterson Rich Office, have been selected as the inaugural 2019 Kaplan Chairs for Urban Design as part of a newly established fellowship that will focus on innovative design solutions to help the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and its residents.
In its first year, the fellowship is funded to address a critical need for preservation and better design in the New York City Region by focusing its efforts on NYCHA. With 45 billion dollars in unmet capital needs and residents facing increasingly dire living conditions, fixing New York City’s public housing is a growing priority for both government and the civic sector. RPA is currently engaged in a major research project to find new financing, management and design solutions for NYCHA, including how best to utilize existing and potential development rights to generate funding for repairs and better designs for campuses.
NYCHA is a critical reservoir of deeply affordable housing for New York City, with over 400,000 people calling NYCHA developments home. In RPA's December report, “NYCHA'S CRISIS: A MATTER FOR ALL NEW YORKERS,” the organization estimated that not finding solutions to this crisis and allowing buildings to further deteriorate could lead to additional yearly costs to the city of over one billion dollars, more than 100,000 people experiencing homelessness, and the loss of critical sections of New York City's workforce in manufacturing, transportation, education and health.
A prestigious selection committee made up of architectural critic Paul Goldberger, urban planner Maxine Griffith, architect Jim Polshek, and professor Susan Solomon chose Miriam Peterson and Nathan Rich from several initial applications and three finalists.
Since 2014, PRO—Peterson Rich Office has focused on the unrealized potential of NYCHA’s assets and how to preserve and improve its vast portfolio. By thinking at the scale of the neighborhood, PRO’s drivers have been to bring NYCHA into financial solvency, while better integrating NYCHA into the surrounding communities. What ties each individual proposal together is a citywide, strategic approach that seeks replicable solutions in order to maximize impact.
As the final deliverable, PRO will produce a book of scalable concepts and design proposals which can serve as a template for NYCHA to implement as solutions for improving the financial and physical health of buildings, as well as living conditions for NYCHA’s more than 400,000 residents across New York City’s five boroughs.
“The J.M. Kaplan Fund is thrilled with the appointment of Miriam Peterson and Nathan Rich as the inaugural Richard Kaplan Chairs for Urban Design at the RPA. Richard was a brilliant architect and a passionate New Yorker who devoted decades of service to the RPA. These Kaplan Chairs share his vision for a better city and stronger region with outstanding, innovative design.” — Peter Davidson, Chairman of the J.M. Kaplan Fund
“PRO—Peterson Rich Office stood out for having developed a series of projects that focus on the New York City Housing Authority as a public resource that should be valued by all New Yorkers. We're extremely excited to have them on board as the inaugural Richard Kaplan Chairs for Urban Design and look forward to working together on solutions to make sure residents of NYCHA have the types of homes New Yorkers need and deserve." — Tom Wright, President of Regional Plan Association
“One of the most rewarding things that has come out of this past and ongoing research is our constantly expanding network of like-minded colleagues and collaborators. Architects are just one part of a complex system of actors working towards a common goal and we see collaboration as an essential component to designing smartly.” Miriam Peterson, Architect and Principal at PRO—Peterson Rich Office
“Our approach has a reparative undertone - urban planning strategies knit NYCHA’s campuses into the surrounding urban fabric. Coherent citywide architectural strategies that address spatial, environmental and social issues at a range of scales, in service of the well-being of residents and their surrounding communities, is an essential part of the approach we must take.” — Nathan Rich, Architect and Principal at PRO—Peterson Rich Office
About Regional Plan Association
Regional Plan Association is an independent, not-for-profit civic organization that develops and promotes ideas to improve the economic health, environmental resiliency and quality of life of the New York metropolitan area. We conduct research on transportation, land use, housing, good governance and the environment. We advise cities, communities and public agencies. And we advocate for change that will contribute to the prosperity of all residents of the region. Since the 1920s, RPA has produced four landmark plans for the region, the most recent was released in November 2017. For more information, please visit www.rpa.org or fourthplan.org.
About PRO—Peterson Rich Office
PRO—Peterson Rich Office is an interdisciplinary design studio founded in 2011 by Miriam Peterson and Nathan Rich specializing in cultural and
residential projects as well as urban design proposals. PRO has been recognized for its work at multiple scales, from awards by the American Institute of Architects and Architizer, to features in The New York Times and Galerie. In 2018 PRO was awarded the New Practice New York prize by the American Institute of Architects and was named to the 2018 ‘Design Vanguard’ by Architectural Record. Completed projects include the transformation of an historic building for Galerie Perrotin, a new flagship for the beauty brand Glossier, Inc. and a private townhouse for a young family, among others. The firm’s ongoing projects include two major cultural buildings, ground-up residential housing, private apartments and commercial interiors on the East Coast. In 2019, PRO is also serving as the inaugural Richard Kaplan Chairs for Urban Design for the Regional Plan Association. For more information, please visit www.pro-arch.com.