Raves (and Some Good-Natured Roasts) for the Woman with the Plan at Architectural League of New York Gala

April 10, 2012

Amanda Burden addresses the crowd at the gala.
Photo © David Malosh
New York Planning commissioner Amanda Burden addresses the crowd at The Architectural League of New York’s gala.


Annabelle Selldorf (left) with New York City planning commissioner Amanda Burden (right).
Photo © David Malosh

Architectural League president Annabelle Selldorf (left) with New York City planning commissioner Amanda Burden (right).

Under Mayor Bloomberg, New York city planners launched an aggressive initiative to compete in the global economy. In an interview with RECORD, City Planning Commissioner Burden discusses key accomplishments over the last nine years.

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The Architectural League of New York held a gala last night to award its President’s Medal to Amanda Burden, chair of New York City’s Planning Commission and director of the Department of City Planning. Speakers included talk show host Charlie Rose, former deputy mayor and current Bloomberg Chief Executive Daniel Doctoroff, and the League's president, architect Annabelle Selldorf.

While most presenters raved about the commissioner’s work, the tone occasionally veered into roast territory. When Diller Scofidio + Renfro principal Elizabeth Diller took the microphone, she confided in the crowd that her firm gave the guest of honor the nickname “Demanda” as it worked on the revamp of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

The tone stayed solidly on the side of accolades when Selldorf read from the League's citation, praising the commissioner “for her remarkable accomplishments in raising both the quality of design in our city and our expectations about design and city life.” Read the text here. In its official announcement, the organization singled out Burden’s use of zoning to spur high-profile development projects, including the High Line, the 9/11 Memorial, and Hudson Yards, among other work throughout the city.

The award is the 130-year-old organization’s highest. It has previously gone to eminent figures in the New York architecture world from Ada Louise Huxtable to Robert A.M. Stern.

Last summer, RECORD spoke with Burden about her work as commissioner and the role of design in urban development. Read that interview here and watch video excerpts from the conversation in the player to the left.

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