Jury Information

Vishaan Chakrabarti

Founder, PAU and Professor, Columbia University

Vishaan Chakrabarti is a registered architect and the founder of Practice for Architecture and Urbanism. Simultaneously, Vishaan is an Associate Professor of Practice at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation (GSAPP), where he teaches architectural design studios and seminars on urbanism. His highly acclaimed book, A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America (Metropolis Books, 2013), argues that a more urban United States would result in a more...

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Vishaan Chakrabarti is a registered architect and the founder of Practice for Architecture and Urbanism. Simultaneously, Vishaan is an Associate Professor of Practice at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation (GSAPP), where he teaches architectural design studios and seminars on urbanism. His highly acclaimed book, A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America (Metropolis Books, 2013), argues that a more urban United States would result in a more prosperous, sustainable, joyous, and socially mobile nation. Of the book, the Toronto Globe and Mail wrote: “In the world of urbanism and planning, there’s been a barrage of recent books on similar themes…but Mr. Chakrabarti has written maybe the most useful one, a polemic in favor of city living that makes the stakes clear.” Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradlee named A Country of Cities one of the top ten books of 2013 in the Huffington Post.

Chakrabarti has been a guest on The Charlie Rose show, MSNBC’s The Cycle, NY1, NPR, WNYC, and has been profiled in The New York Times and The Financial Times. Vishaan has lectured widely across Europe, Asia and the Americas. In April, 2014, the New York Times published his Op Ed, “America’s Urban Future.”
From 2012 to 2015, Vishaan was a principal at SHoP Architects where he co-led major architecture and urban design projects including the master plan and first building at the Domino Sugar site in Williamsburg as well as the master plan and first building at the Essex Crossing site at Seward Park, which together bookend the Williamsburg bridge in a new form of mixed use, mixed income urbanism.

From 2009 to 2015, Vishaan also served as the Marc Holliday Professor and Director of the Master of Science in Real Estate Development program at Columbia’s GSAPP. While there he became the founding director of the Center for Urban Real Estate (CURE). Chakrabarti is widely credited for transforming the program into one of the finest programs of its kind by establishing an interdisciplinary mission that focused on the potential role urban development could play in generating groundbreaking design, greater sustainability, and shared economic prosperity.

From 2005 to 2009, Chakrabarti was the president of Moynihan Station Venture, and remains an ardent advocate for the reconstruction of New York’s Pennsylvania Station. In addition, Chakrabarti was the inaugural Jaquelin T. Robertson Visiting Professor in Architecture for the University of Virginia in 2009.

From 2002 to 2005, Chakrabarti served under Mayor Michael Bloomberg as the Director of the Manhattan Office for the New York Department of City Planning, where he successfully collaborated on the now realized efforts to save the High Line, rezone Hudson Yards, extend the #7 subway line, rebuild the East River Waterfront, expand Columbia University, and reincorporate the street grid at the World Trade Center site after the tragic events of 9/11.

Prior to 2002, Vishaan was an Associate Partner at the New York office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LP. There he managed numerous skyscraper projects, including the new headquarters for the New York Stock Exchange, as well as the master plan for Columbia University’s new campus in Manhattanville.
Chakrabarti holds a Master of Architecture from the University of California at Berkeley, a Master of City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and dual bachelor’s degrees in Art History and Engineering from Cornell University.

He serves on the boards of the Architectural League of New York and the Regional Planning Association. He is a trustee of the Citizens Budget Commission, and is an emeritus board member of Friends of the High Line. He is also a member of the Young Leaders Forum of the National Council on US-China Relations and has served on the National Mayor’s Institute of City Design. Metropolis Magazine named Chakrabarti one of the top 12 “Game Changers” for 2012, he is a former Crain’s “40 Under 40” and David Rockefeller Fellow. Chakrabarti and his family live in Manhattan.

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Winston Fisher

Partner, Fisher Brothers

Winston C. Fisher directs the company’s financing/investing activities, property acquisitions and dispositions, and oversees all new development initiatives. With experience across a broad range of transactions, Mr. Fisher leads all financial analysis, due diligence, project capitalization efforts and joint-venture partnerships for new and distressed real estate projects. In addition to his active participation in the company’s development projects, he also manages the firm’s day-to-day stock and investment portfolio, including asset allocation, risk management and investment manager...

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Winston C. Fisher directs the company’s financing/investing activities, property acquisitions and dispositions, and oversees all new development initiatives. With experience across a broad range of transactions, Mr. Fisher leads all financial analysis, due diligence, project capitalization efforts and joint-venture partnerships for new and distressed real estate projects. In addition to his active participation in the company’s development projects, he also manages the firm’s day-to-day stock and investment portfolio, including asset allocation, risk management and investment manager selection.

Mr. Fisher is the Co-Chair of the NYC Regional Economic Development Council, and serves as a Trustee on the Citizens Budget Commission. He is a member of the Board of Governors of the Real Estate Board of New York. Mr. Fisher also serves on the Board of the Realty Foundation of New York, and is on the Board of Trustees at Syracuse University, and the Horace Mann School.

Involved in a number of philanthropic activities, Mr. Fisher is on the Board of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, and has been active through Team Intrepid Fallen Heroes in participating in extreme sports to raise funds to support our U.S. wounded troops. He also serves on the Board of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

Prior to joining Fisher Brothers in the Spring of 2000, Mr. Fisher worked as an analyst at JP Morgan Chase. After successfully completing his tenure at Chase, he joined Heller Financial working in Private Equity Acquisitions Finance and Asset-backed transactions in 1999. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from Syracuse University, class of ’96.

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Jon Kessler

Artist and Professor, Columbia University’s School of the Arts

Jon Kessler was born in Yonkers, New York in 1957. After receiving his BFA at SUNY Purchase in 1980 he participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program. Since that time he has maintained his studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

His first exhibition was at Artist’s Space in 1983. Since that time he has exhibited widely in galleries and museums in the United States, Europe and Asia. A retrospective of his work ”Jon Kessler’s Asia” was mounted at the Kestner-Gesselshaft in Hannover, Germany in 1994 and traveled throughout Europe. His exhibition, “The Palace at 4 AM”, began at MoMA PS1 in 2005...

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Jon Kessler was born in Yonkers, New York in 1957. After receiving his BFA at SUNY Purchase in 1980 he participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program. Since that time he has maintained his studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

His first exhibition was at Artist’s Space in 1983. Since that time he has exhibited widely in galleries and museums in the United States, Europe and Asia. A retrospective of his work ”Jon Kessler’s Asia” was mounted at the Kestner-Gesselshaft in Hannover, Germany in 1994 and traveled throughout Europe. His exhibition, “The Palace at 4 AM”, began at MoMA PS1 in 2005 and travelled to the Sammlung Falckenberg in Hamburg, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen and ZKM Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe. His most recent installation “The Web” at Swiss Institute and Museum Tinguely explored the connection between bodily movement and technical apparatus, deploying mechanisms, live video and an iPhone app to facilitate this relationship.

His works are in many public collections including The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art and MOCA. He is a Professor in the Visual Arts Division of Columbia University’s School of the Arts where he has taught since 1994. He plays guitar in several art rock bands.

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Signe Nielsen, RLA, FASLA

Principal, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects

Signe is a Founding Principal of MNLA and has been practicing as a landscape architect and urban designer in New York since 1978. Her body of work has renewed the environmental integrity and transformed the quality of spaces for those who live, work, and play in the urban realm. A Fellow of the ASLA, she is the recipient of more than 100 national and local design awards for public open space projects and is published extensively nationally and internationally. Signe is a professor of urban design and landscape architecture at Pratt Institute in both the graduate and undergraduate Schools of...

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Signe is a Founding Principal of MNLA and has been practicing as a landscape architect and urban designer in New York since 1978. Her body of work has renewed the environmental integrity and transformed the quality of spaces for those who live, work, and play in the urban realm. A Fellow of the ASLA, she is the recipient of more than 100 national and local design awards for public open space projects and is published extensively nationally and internationally. Signe is a professor of urban design and landscape architecture at Pratt Institute in both the graduate and undergraduate Schools of Architecture and serves as president of the Public Design Commission of the City of New York. Born in Paris, Signe received a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, in Urban Planning from Smith College; a Bachelor of Arts in Landscape Architecture from City College of New York; and a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management from Pratt Institute.

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David Rockwell

Founder and President, Rockwell Group

David Rockwell, FAIA, is the founder and President of Rockwell Group, an interdisciplinary architecture and design firm based in New York with a satellite office in Madrid that emphasizes innovation and thought leadership in every project. Merging architecture, theater, craftsmanship, and technology to create unique narratives for each project, the firm’s work includes hospitality, luxury residential, airport terminals, cultural institutions, set design, products, exhibitions, and festivals.

Projects include 111 Murray Street; Union Square Cafe and Daily Provisions (New York); The Shed and 15...

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David Rockwell, FAIA, is the founder and President of Rockwell Group, an interdisciplinary architecture and design firm based in New York with a satellite office in Madrid that emphasizes innovation and thought leadership in every project. Merging architecture, theater, craftsmanship, and technology to create unique narratives for each project, the firm’s work includes hospitality, luxury residential, airport terminals, cultural institutions, set design, products, exhibitions, and festivals.

Projects include 111 Murray Street; Union Square Cafe and Daily Provisions (New York); The Shed and 15 Hudson Yards in collaboration with Diller Scofidio + Renfro (New York); Nobu Downtown and Nobu hotels and restaurants worldwide; NeueHouse (New York and Los Angeles); TED Theater (Vancouver, BC); the restoration of the Helen Hayes Theater (New York); W Hotels (New York, Paris, Madrid, Singapore and Vieques); the New York EDITION; Dream Hollywood; the Elinor Bunin-Munroe Film Center at Lincoln Center; Station House (Washington, D.C.); the Imagination Playground initiative; exhibition design for the Center for Civil and Human Rights (Atlanta); set designs for the 2017 season of Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park, She Loves Me, Kinky Boots, Hairspray, and the 2009 and 2010 annual Academy Awards; and product collections for Knoll, Stellar Works, Rich Brilliant Willing, and The Rug Company.

Honors and recognition include 2016 Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards for Best Scenic Design for She Loves Me; the AIANY President’s Award; Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award; and the Presidential Design Award. Known for his commitment to non-profit and community organizations, David Rockwell serves as the Chair Emeritus of the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA) and as a board member of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, Citymeals-on-Wheels, and New York Restoration Project.

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Samantha Rudin

Senior Vice President, Rudin Management

Samantha Rudin Earls started her work at Rudin Management Company in July of 2007. She was involved in the development of 130 West 12th, a 43-unit luxury condominium. Samantha is also actively involved in the condo project, The Greenwich Lane in the West Village which is currently 96% sold.  She sits on the Executive Committee of Rudin Management and helps with the design upgrades of the Rudin residential portfolio.

In March of 2011 she joined the board of the Incarnation Children’s Center—the only skilled nursing facility serving children living with HIV/AIDS in New York City. In February of...

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Samantha Rudin Earls started her work at Rudin Management Company in July of 2007. She was involved in the development of 130 West 12th, a 43-unit luxury condominium. Samantha is also actively involved in the condo project, The Greenwich Lane in the West Village which is currently 96% sold.  She sits on the Executive Committee of Rudin Management and helps with the design upgrades of the Rudin residential portfolio.

In March of 2011 she joined the board of the Incarnation Children’s Center—the only skilled nursing facility serving children living with HIV/AIDS in New York City. In February of 2017, Samantha joined the Roundabout Theatre board. She is also on the board of the May & Samuel Rudin Family Foundation as well as other family foundations.

Samantha is a proud New Yorker and a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Samantha is married to David Earls. They have a daughter Elle Rudin Earls.

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MICHAEL SPEAKS, Ph.D.

Dean of The School of Architecture and Professor of Architecture at Syracuse University.

Speaks was Dean of the College of Design and Professor of Architecture at the University of Kentucky from 2008 to 2013. Former Director of the Graduate Program at the Southern California Institute of Architecture in Los Angeles, Speaks has taught in the graphic design department at the Yale School of Art, and in the architecture schools at Harvard University, Columbia University, The University of Michigan, UCLA, Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, and the Berlage Institute and TU Delft, in the Netherlands. Speaks has published and lectured internationally on contemporary art,...

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Speaks was Dean of the College of Design and Professor of Architecture at the University of Kentucky from 2008 to 2013. Former Director of the Graduate Program at the Southern California Institute of Architecture in Los Angeles, Speaks has taught in the graphic design department at the Yale School of Art, and in the architecture schools at Harvard University, Columbia University, The University of Michigan, UCLA, Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, and the Berlage Institute and TU Delft, in the Netherlands. Speaks has published and lectured internationally on contemporary art, architecture, urban design, and scenario planning. His essays and exhibitions in the 1990s were among the first to introduce a new generation of Dutch architects and planners to a broader audience in North America. Speaks has also played an important role in recent debates about city branding and alternative models of city planning, authoring a number of essays and advisory studies as well as overseeing scenario studies commissioned by city and regional governments in the US and in Europe. Speaks has been at the center of debates about the role innovation and prototyping plays in design and has written a series of influential essays that argue for the importance of what he calls “design intelligence,” or the various forms of design knowledge generated during design but which are often overlooked in favor of “the design.” Such intelligence, Speaks argues, offers an important area for design research, especially in an increasingly knowledge-based economy. Speaks was founding editor of the cultural journal Polygraph, and former Senior editor at Any in New York, where he also edited the book series, “Writing Architecture,” published by MIT Press. In addition, he served for many years on the editorial advisory board of a+u in Japan, and as a contributing editor for Architectural Record.

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Xin (Shynn) Zhang 张欣

CEO | SOHO China

Xin(“Shynn”) Zhang co-founded SOHO China in 1995. As CEO, she has led the company to become one of the largest developers of prime office real estate in China. SOHO China has developed over 5.5 million square meters (60 million square feet) in projects in Beijing and Shanghai. Her collaborations with world-renowned architects have resulted in iconic landmark buildings that transformed Chinese skylines. In 2014 SOHO China launched “SOHO 3Q” pioneering the concept of co-working in China.
SOHO 3Q is China’s largest operator of co-working space, and a magnet for Chinese start-ups and tech...

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Xin(“Shynn”) Zhang co-founded SOHO China in 1995. As CEO, she has led the company to become one of the largest developers of prime office real estate in China. SOHO China has developed over 5.5 million square meters (60 million square feet) in projects in Beijing and Shanghai. Her collaborations with world-renowned architects have resulted in iconic landmark buildings that transformed Chinese skylines. In 2014 SOHO China launched “SOHO 3Q” pioneering the concept of co-working in China.
SOHO 3Q is China’s largest operator of co-working space, and a magnet for Chinese start-ups and tech companies.

Born in Beijing in 1965, Xin(Shynn) moved to Hong Kong at the age of 14, where she worked as a factory girl for five years. Determined to pursue higher education, she made her way to England where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from University of Sussex and a Master’s degree in Development Economics from Cambridge University.

After working in investment banking at Goldman Sachs and Travelers Group, she returned to Beijing to co-found SOHO China with her husband Pan Shiyi. In 2007,
SOHO China was successfully listed on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong raising proceeds of USD $1.9 billion, Asia’s largest commercial real estate IPO to date.

Xin(Shynn)'s rags-to-riches story has embodied the rise of China's entrepreneurship, aking her a celebrity CEO at home and a sought after voice on China abroad. Active on Weibo, China’s “twitter”, Xin(Shynn) frequently shares her views on business, entrepreneurship and fitness with her over 10million followers. She also sits on the Global Board of Advisors at the Council on Foreign Relations, Board Member of The Asia Society, and is a member of the Asia Business Council and the Harvard Global Advisory Council. Xin(Shynn) holds an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Sussex and has served as visiting fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School.

In 2005, Xin(Shynn) and her husband Pan Shiyi established the SOHO China Foundation, a charity organization that promotes education to improve social mobility. In 2014, the SOHO China Foundation launched the SOHO China Scholarships, a USD $100 million initiative providing financial aid for Chinese students at leading international universities. Gift agreements totaling USD $25 million have been signed with Harvard and Yale University. The Scholarships currently supports more than 40 Chinese students pursuing undergraduate degrees at the partner universities.

Recognized for their commitment to sustainability, Xin(Shynn) and her husband Pan Shiyi are members of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition spearheaded by Bill Gates to fund technology developments that will enable a zera-emissions energy future. The Company has taken great strides to build LEED certified developments and all

SOHO China properties use smart technology to achieve up to 40% energy saving.

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DISCLAIMER
This is a privately-funded competition using the Park Avenue medians as a theoretical canvas to reinvent the Park Avenue commercial district of 46th Street to 57th Street. There is no guarantee projects will be implemented.