Venture! Lecture Series Organized by Florian Idenburg

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Bryony Roberts Studio, Soft Civic, Exhibit Columbus, 2019. photo / Hadley Fruits



Design can be understood as "giving form to things to come." One enters a design trajectory to work towards a set of desired outcomes. In the past, the service of design, as an enterprise, was a viable business. Yet, in times that seem increasingly chaotic, unpredictable, unstable, and uncertain, how and why does one set up a practice? This lecture series asks six architects and designers that recently ventured on their own: How do you do it and why?

The format is simple: 25 minutes of presentation, 25 minutes of conversation. Only open to AAP NYC students.

September 1: Bryony Roberts


Bryony Roberts Studio LLC is an award-winning design and research practice based in New York. Integrating methods from architecture, art, urban design, and historic preservation, the practice creates interactive and inclusive environments in the public realm. The studio approaches design as a social practice, working with local community groups and creators to respond to the cultural histories and urban conditions of a place. As a result, the studio produces projects that offer deep engagement with existing buildings and communities and find expression through experimental material craft.


Through the lens of recent design projects and her guest-edited issue of Log 48: Expanding Modes of Practice, Bryony Roberts discusses methods of combining art, architecture, historic preservation, and urban design to address the complexities of social conditions in public space. 

Bryony Roberts leads the design and research practice Bryony Roberts Studio in New York, which integrates methods from art, architecture, and preservation to create immersive projects in the public realm. Approaching design as a social practice, Roberts works with local communities to create site-specific projects responding to social histories and urban change. The practice has been awarded the Architectural League Prize and New Practices New York from AIA New York as well as support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Graham Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, and the American Academy in Rome, where Roberts was awarded the Rome Prize for 2015-16. Roberts also researches and writes about methods of socially engaged design. She guest-edited the recent volume Log 48: Expanding Modes of Practice, edited the book Tabula Plena: Forms of Urban Preservation published by Lars Müller Publishers, and co-guest edited Log 31: New Ancients. Roberts earned her B.A. at Yale University and her M.Arch. at the Princeton School of Architecture. She teaches architecture at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation in New York. 

September 1, 2021 12:30 p.m.–1:30 p.m.

This event is only open to students studying at AAP NYC.
Bryony Robert's Instagram

September 29: Sebastian Mendez


Sebastian is a licensed architect with 16+ years of experience and co-founder of Tankhouse, a Nw York-based development firm with over 30 years of collective experience in architecture, urban planning, development, and construction. Formed in 2013 by partners Sam Alison-Mayne and Sebastian Mendez, Tankhouse was built on the belief that design and development are symbiotic disciplines, and that the best results emerge from an integrated and holistic approach.

Prior to founding Tankhouse, Sebastian was an Associate Partner at Foster + Partners New York where he leads the design and project management for a range of North and South American projects spanning luxury residential, cultural and commercial design. Sebastian earned his master of science in Architecture from the University of Buenos Aires (2002) and has completed coursework at New York University’s Schack Institute for Real Estate Development. Sebastian previously held teaching positions at the University of Buenos Aires and the Boston Architectural College.

September 29, 2021, 12:30 p.m.–1:30 p.m.

This event is only open to students studying at AAP NYC.

October 6: Nile Greenberg


Nile Greenberg is the founder of ANY alongside partner Michael Abel. Abel Nile New York was formed to work on the city of New York and is a partnership for design, planning, and other advanced organizational projects. ANY has recently designed the inaugural store for Homer, artist Frank Ocean’s jewelry brand. Nile Greenberg previously founded the Modernist office NILE. Those projects focus on work that is organized, beautiful and functional. He edited the book Two Sides of the Border as well as designed and curated the exhibition which began at Yale University. Sometimes he teaches; most recently an adjunct assistant professor at Columbia University GSAPP. 


Architecture Not-Architecture is an examination of two forms of practice, one intensely engaged in media as a monument within a project and the other where the architectural clarity is decoupled from it's legibility. The bifurcated approach in these projects stems from a desire to disabuse architecture from its integration with art, commerce, and media while recognizing the critical nature of media in Architects' work today. The work of NILE and ANY as potentially coded as Architecture Not-Architecture is a method to examine the medium of architecture by actively courting its media antagonists in some design projects, while rejecting as much legibility as possible in others.

Instagram Handles:

October 6, 2021, 12:30 p.m.–1:30 p.m.

This event is only open to students studying at AAP NYC.

November 10: Alda Ly


Alda Ly is founder and principal of Alda Ly Architecture (ALA), a New York-based architecture and interior design firm that specializes in transforming how healthcare, retail, workplace, and cultural spaces work, look and, more importantly, feel. Founded in 2017, ALA works with entrepreneurs, startups, and established organizations looking to overhaul traditional work, care, and retail models. Clients have ranged from Bloomberg and functional medicine provider Parsley Health to women’s coworking space The Wing.

Alda was born in New Zealand and raised in a working-class suburb of Los Angeles, where she watched her cabinetmaker father draw kitchen elevations and accompanied him to open houses to see how people shaped their spaces. From the moment she studied freehand drawing as a UC Berkeley undergrad, Alda knew she wanted to become an architect, and went on to earn a masters in the field from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Before opening ALA, Alda worked at Rafael Viñoly Architects, HWKN, and Leong Leong. Alda is a Registered Architect in New York.

November 10, 2021, 12:30 p.m.–1:30 p.m.

This event is only open to students studying at AAP NYC.

November 17: Vardhan Mehta


Vardhan Mehta is an architect, entrepreneur, and CEO of Acelab. Originally from a small town in central India, Vardhan Mehta graduated from Pratt Institute School of Architecture in 2018 with a Bachelor of Architecture and worked as an Architect at Weiss Manfredi, a leading architecture firm in the city for over two years. He has been awarded the coveted Presidential merit scholarship and gold medal at Asian Design Awards, among other travel and research grants. He has also won three international design competitions based in France, China and Berlin. In May 2021, Vardhan graduated from Harvard University Graduate School of Design with a Master of Architecture in Urban Design. During his time at Harvard, he co-founded Acelab - a vertically integrated building products marketplace to connect architects and manufacturers - based on his firsthand experience in professional practice. He recently raised $3.5M in seed capital to accelerate Acelab’s product development.


An old African proverb says, "it takes a village to raise a child." Similarly, creating a project or a company is a team sport as well. This is not a talk about the future of architecture, but rather the future of architects. This will be a dialogue about the business of architecture, design and construction. Vardhan will bring forward insights for budding entrepreneurs and emerging professionals from his experience so far in building a tech business. The goal is to help acquaint the audience with ideas around doing meaningful work through meaningful relationships.

November 17, 2021, 12:30 - 1:30 p.m.

This event is only open to students studying at AAP NYC.

December 1: Natalia Priwin


Natalia opened her own practice Office Natalia Priwin in April 2021 after nine years at L’Observatoire International, a lighting design firm founded​​ by Hervé Descottes. At LOI, Natalia led projects from concept to completion, working closely with Gehry Partners, DS+R, Jean Nouvel Architects, and brands like Yeezy, The Row, and Frederic Malle. ONP is committed to realizing our client’s vision through a practice of lighting, with equal consideration to the site’s context and the human experience of the space.  ONP recognizes that lighting design is an art heavily mediated by technology; for this reason, we incorporate the latest innovations into our projects, expanding the functional applications and emotional possibilities of our evolving field.

December 1, 2021, 12:30 p.m.–1:30 p.m.

This event is only open to students studying at AAP NYC.

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