2014 AIA Honorary Membership

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Robert B. Tierney, Hon. AIA | Notes of Interest


For the past 11 years, Robert Tierney has led the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, the largest municipal preservation agency in the U.S. Prior to his appointment to the Commission by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Tierney was a visiting scholar at New York University’s Taub Urban Research Center, where he focused on issues of state and local governance. He also served as Counsel to New York Mayor Edward I. Koch and as Assistant Counsel to New York Governor Hugh L. Carey. He earned a B.A. at Yale University and a J.D. at Vanderbilt University Law School.

Under Tierney’s leadership the Landmarks Preservation Commission has approved more historic districts in New York City than under any other administration. Tierney’s Commission has designated 43 historic districts and extensions encompassing nearly 8,000 buildings, the vast majority of which (about 80 percent) are located in the boroughs outside of Manhattan and in communities that had been overlooked for years but warranted historic designation.

Since Tierney’s appointment, the Commission also has designated more than 300 individual landmarks, including 10 Works Progress Administration-funded pools and recreation centers constructed by the Parks Department in the summer of 1936, dozens of reminders of the City’s industrial past, numerous Federal-style buildings that reflect the City’s development after the Revolutionary War, and a dozen Modernist sites. He is also responsible for the designation of such iconic individual landmarks as the Rainbow Room, the Plaza Hotel, Westbeth, One Chase Manhattan Plaza, NYU’s Silver Towers, the Domino Sugar Refinery in Brooklyn, and the American Stock Exchange building.

Tierney’s approach to preservation is often praised for its thoughtful inclusion of contemporary architecture. As an example of such an approach, Tierney recently inspired the AIANY and the Landmarks Preservation Foundation to develop the exhibition “Context/Contrast,” which was first on view at New York’s Center for Architecture in 2009. The exhibition explores a selection of new commercial and residential projects and their relationship to the surrounding architecture and historical context. Since its opening, the exhibit has traveled to Dallas, Brooklyn, and most recently St. Louis.

Photo Credit

  • © Robert B. Tierney

Robert B. Tierney, Hon. AIA

Location: New York City

2014 AIA Honorary Membership Jury

  • Charles Schreckenberger, AIA, Chair
  • Braun & Steidl Architects Inc.
  • Akron
  • Torrey Stanley Carlton, Hon. AIA
  • AIA San Antonio
  • San Antonio
  • Eric R. Hoffman, AIA
  • Washington University in Saint Louis
  • St. Louis

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