Aaron B. Schwarz
Aaron B. Schwarz has designed projects for both the public and private sectors throughout the U.S. and Asia. In 2015, he founded the design firm Plan A; previously, he was a senior principal and founding executive director of the New York City–based international architecture, design, and planning firm Perkins Eastman, where he worked for 25 years.
Schwarz's projects have won numerous design awards, his work has been extensively published, and he was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects for his contributions to the field of design. Early in his career, he was named one of Crain's "40 under 40" and one of the New York Times's "Style Makers." He is a frequent guest lecturer and design juror.
Schwarz designed two projects in Ithaca, New York: the Ithaca City Courthouse in 1993, for which he earned an award for design excellence from the American Institute of Architects New York State Chapter; and the gut renovation and addition to Cornell's Ives Hall in 2005. Other projects include the Chongqing National Public Library in Chongqing, China; a plan for a new city in Bhutan; and a new campus for the Indian School of Business in Chandigarh, India.
Schwarz transferred into the AAP B.Arch. program from film school at New York University. He vividly recalls an exercise that Professor Emeritus John P. Shaw gave his first-year students. Slides of famous buildings would be shown for five minutes, while the students made drawings of the buildings. Shaw accelerated the exercise, shortening the duration per slide from five minutes to three, then 30 seconds to just 15.
"We soon learned that Professor Shaw was not asking us to reproduce a rendering of the photograph, he was asking us to diagram the building. We learned the essential ideas of each famous building, and we learned the critical importance of communicating through diagrams. This has stuck with me throughout my professional life," says Schwarz.
In addition to leading Plan A, Schwarz serves on a number of boards and committees, including the advisory committee of the Future of Construction Project for the World Economic Forum.