Department: Architecture School: School of Architecture and Design Campus: Old Westbury
Member of NYIT Since: 2006
From NYIT's Weekly Update:
The son of a builder, Frank Mruk has established an outstanding footprint in the fields of sustainable urbanism, strategy in design, and globalization. His reputation has earned him elite invitations to work with peers around the world to find solutions to problems that have an international context. Frank has practiced as a senior architect for a leading engineering design firm and has led strategic planning efforts for several Fortune 100 companies. He co-chairs the New York chapter of the AIA’s global architecture committee, is co-founder of the Indo-U.S. Green Building initiative, and is founder and president of the New York chapter of the Association for Strategic Planning. As associate dean of the School of Architecture and Design, his responsibilities are primarily focused on accreditation and business and strategic planning. He is also an adjunct professor and served as the faculty advisor for NYIT’s 2007 Solar Decathlon team and 2008 Legacy Row competition participants. In all of his roles, Frank espouses the art of collaboration and challenges his students to utilize technology in a thoughtful and socially responsible manner.
What do you believe is the role of the architect in today’s global interconnected society? I believe that architects, first and foremost, are designers. Design is design is design … be it buildings, cities, global economies, new political parties, or new societies. Architects should be designing much more than just buildings—there is real untapped potential here.
Describe some of your recently completed and upcoming projects. This past March, I was invited by the Swedish government and the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design to join 20 designers from 20 different countries for an Interdesign workshop in Malberget, Sweden, a mining community located above the Arctic Circle. The city and its 6,000 residents were being moved—house by house—to firmer ground to escape falling into an unstable mining pit. Right now, I’m preparing for another Interdesign in Monterrey, Mexico, called "Design Avenue," involving a path to a meaningful transportation innovation. I’m also working with the United Nations to plan Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan.
What is your favorite city? I have visited many wonderful cities around the world, but New York City is my favorite. Recently, however, I have been worrying that it is falling behind some other international “power” cities in terms of technology, infrastructure, sustainability, and transportation.
What’s your opinion of the design of the new World Trade Center towers, transit hub, and memorial? Having worked on the 78th floor of One World Trade Center for the four years immediately prior to the first bombing, and having lost many friends and colleagues, this subject has explosive emotion for me. It’s hard for me to judge because I attach so much meaning and personal experiences to the previous site. Having said that, I do like Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s 7 World Trade Center building.
What do you know now that you wished you had known 20 years ago? As I often tell my students, you have the skills, so get out there, be bold, and just start something. In three attempts, the odds are good that you will have one success. I wish I had done more of that 20 years ago.
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Kenneth Pugh Class of 1982 Profession: President and director of research at Haskins Laboratories