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Jul 01 2010

NYIT Teams Named as Finalists in Global Design Competition Focusing on Long Island Towns

Tobias Holler, assistant professor of architecture at New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), led a team that has been selected as a finalist in the Long Island Index’s Build a Better Burb open ideas competition focused on retrofitting Long Island’s downtown areas.
The team, which includes NYIT alumna Ana Serra (B. Arch. '96), a consultant for the engineering firm Buro Happold; fourth-year NYIT architecture student Katelyn Mulry; and Sven Peters, founder of Atelier Sven Peters, was chosen by a distinguished panel of jurors who selected 23 finalists from more than 200 submissions from around the world, as announced at a press conference held on June 29 at NYIT’s Old Westbury campus.

The Long Island Index invited architects, urban designers, planners, and students to submit forward-thinking design proposals for capitalizing on the potential of the “underperforming asphalt” found in dozens of downtowns in New York’s Nassau and Suffolk counties. The competition solicited innovative design ideas for retrofitting 8,300 acres in 156 downtowns and train station-adjacent areas on the island. It also invited designers to consider island-wide challenges that could be addressed by their design strategies.

Holler’s team created a visionary plan that calls for a self-sufficient and regenerative island, with a balance between nature and the man-made environment. Their design, “LIRR Long Island Radically Rezoned,” calls for land to be developed partially as green space and partially as high-density, mixed use downtown areas located around Long Island Rail Road stations. These downtown areas would include stores, offices, and housing built upward in areas where parking lots currently exist. The team also proposes energy from wind turbines located off the coast of Long Island, food grown under domes, rainwater harvesting, and a waste recycling process.   
"Our submission was a great team effort, and we had a lot of fun working on the design,” said Holler. “Even though it may seem quite bold, we sincerely believe that our proposal would dramatically increase the quality of life for all Long Islanders, and with enough political will, it could become a reality within the next 40 years or so. Technologically, it is completely feasible."
"This competition helped me gain a new outlook on the potential of Long Island,” said Mulry. “I believe our submission deals with issues in a very sophisticated way and hopefully this will stimulate some thought in the minds of those who can change things." In addition to Holler’s team, NYIT architecture graduates Scott Brandi (B. Arch. ’08), Nasiq Khan (B. Arch. ’08), Mathew Smith (B. Arch. '08), and Eugene Miroshnichenko (B. Arch. ’08) were named finalists in the competition for their “Clover Stomping” project. Michael Piper, a former adjunct professor of interior design at NYIT-Abu Dhabi, was also named as a finalist for his project, "SUBHUB Transit System."
The winners of "Build a Better Burb" will be announced in September, and the public is encouraged to participate by casting their votes in a special "People's Choice Award" by visiting to view all proposals. Professor Holler’s team’s design can be viewed at LIRR: Long Island Radically Rezoned as well as at its Facebook fan page.
The winners of the competition, selected by the jury, and the Long Island Index People’s Choice Award recipient will be announced at a press conference on Oct. 4 at the Community Development Corporation of Long Island’s 40th Anniversary Gala luncheon. A first prize of $10,000 and $10,000 in additional prizes will be awarded, along with a $2,500 prize for the top project submitted by a student currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program.
Read More:
Building a Better Suburb, New York Times
23 finalists chosen in Build a Better Burb contest, Newsday
LI Index picks Better Burb finalists, Long Island Business News
Bright Ideas for Better Suburbs, NYIT's Frank Mruk's Opinion Piece in Newsday
Build a Better Burb, LI News Tonight

About NYIT: New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), founded in 1955, offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees in more than 90 fields of study, including architecture and interior design; arts and sciences; education; engineering and computing sciences; health professions; management; and osteopathic medicine. A non-profit independent, private institution of higher education, NYIT has more than 15,000 students attending campuses on Long Island and Manhattan, online, and at its global campuses. Led by President Edward Guiliano, NYIT is guided by its mission to provide career-oriented professional education, offer access to opportunity to all qualified students, and support applications-oriented research that benefits the larger world. To date, 85,000 students have graduated from NYIT. For more information, visit

About the Long Island Index and the Rauch Foundation: The Long Island Index is funded by the Rauch Foundation, a family foundation headquartered in Garden City, N.Y. In addition to funding the Long Island Index for seven years, the Rauch Foundation commissioned The Long Island Profile Report and a series of polls on Long Island to determine how the region is faring. The Long Island Index 2004, Long Island Index 2005, Long Island Index 2006, Long Island Index 2007, Long Island Index 2008, Long Island Index 2009, and Long Island Index 2010 are all available for download at The Long Island Index has also produced interactive maps—an online resource with detailed demographic, residential, transportation and educational information—accessible from the Index’s website.

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