Press Releases

April 3, 2015

AIANY & Center for Architecture Name Pratt Institute Professor David Burney, FAIA, Interim Executive Director

New York, NY (April 3, 2015)—The American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY) and the Center for Architecture today named David Burney, FAIA, interim Executive Director. Burney, an architect, urbanist, educator, and former Commissioner of the City’s Department of Design and Construction (DDC), will serve in the post until the organization hires a permanent Executive Director.

Burney is credited with raising architecture standards for NYC’s public projects while at the helm of two major City agencies. From 2004 to 2014, he served as Commissioner of the DDC. At DDC, he oversaw a staff of almost 1,200, charged with managing capital projects for multiple city agencies and cultural institutions in all five boroughs. In 2006, to ensure the quality of municipal public works, he launched the DDC’s Design and Construction Excellence Initiative. Previously Burney was director of design at the NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA) from 1990 to 2003. Prior to his work as a public servant, he practiced architecture with the firm Davis Brody Bond.

Burney is currently an Associate Professor of Planning and Placemaking at the Pratt Institute’s School of Architecture and serves as Board Chair for the Center for Active Design.

“David Burney’s vast experience leading City agencies and his legacy of improving the quality of public projects in New York will be an invaluable asset to AIANY as we work with the current administration on issues concerning creating affordable housing and reducing carbon emissions, among others,” said AIANY President Tomas Rossant, AIA. “David is a tremendous design professional and we’re excited to have him onboard in this capacity.”

“We are grateful to have such an accomplished architect and public servant as David Burney step in to help lead the organization as we search for our next Executive Director,” said Center for Architecture President Joseph F. Tortorella, PE. “Burney transformed public architecture in this City and shares AIANY’s and the Center’s commitment to fostering design excellence to enhance the lives of all New Yorkers.”

“I am honored to join AIANY and the Center for Architecture as interim Executive Director,” said Burney. “I have been a member, friend and partner of the Chapter and the Center for a long time and look forward to helping these respected organizations continue their positive impact on the built environment in New York City during this transition period.”


Burney’s appointment follows the resignation last week of Rick Bell, FAIA, who served as Executive Director since 2001. Bell was instrumental in creating AIANY’s Center for Architecture, a preeminent public institution for architectural education and discourse. With some 15,000 square feet, the Center hosts almost a thousand programs every year, along with 20 annual exhibitions.

“The fourteen years at AIANY have been a wonderful part of my life, but it is now time to move on to undertake new opportunities,” said Bell in a prepared statement. “I am proud to have helped create the Center for Architecture which has grown into a meeting place and community center for all in the design professions, and which brings in architectural enthusiasts from around the world. I express my thanks and admiration for all of the hardworking staff and for the inspirational boards both past and present who have allowed me the privilege of being at this remarkable place.”

“Rick is an impassioned advocate for the design community. We were fortunate to have had his leadership at an important time in the Center’s and AIANY’s growth and wish him well in his future endeavors,” said Rossant and Tortorella.

About AIA New York
Founded in 1857, the AIA New York Chapter is the oldest and largest chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The Chapter's members include more than 5,000 practicing architects, allied professionals, students, and public members interested in architecture and design. The AIA New York Chapter is dedicated to three goals: design excellence, public outreach, and professional development.

About the Center for Architecture
The Center for Architecture is the premier cultural venue for architecture and the built environment in New York City, informed by the complexity of the City’s urban fabric and in dialogue with the global community. The Center shares a home with the AIA New York Chapter and has the unique advantage of drawing upon the ideas and experiences of practicing architects to produce thought-provoking exhibitions, informative public programs, and quality design education experiences for K-12 students. It also leads New York City’s annual month-long architecture and design festival, Archtober. The Center for Architecture’s aim is to further public knowledge about New York City architecture and architects, foster exchange and collaboration among members of the design, development, building, scholarly, and policy sectors, and inspire new ideas about the role of design in communities by presenting contemporary and practical issues in architecture and urbanism to a general audience.

Return to list.


AIA New York Chapter
536 LaGuardia Place
NY, NY 10012
(212) 683-0023

Gallery Hours
Mon-Fri: 9am to 8pm
Sat: 11am to 5pm

Office Hours
Mon-Fri: 9am to 5pm