Illya Azaroff, an associate professor in the Department of Architectural Technology at New York City College of Technology, is recipient of the 2014 Young Architects Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
The award is given to individuals who have shown exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the profession in the early stage of their architectural career. In particular, Professor Azaroff’s vision of the important role that architects have to play in disaster response has opened up many opportunities for them and shown the public the incredible role architects play in planning for and responding to a wide range of risks. As the New York representative of the Young Architects Forum on the AIA New York State (AIANYS) board of directors, he has championed the interests of young architects and emerging professionals, encouraging AIANYS chapters to recognize and celebrate their efforts.
As a member of the board, Professor Azaroff co-founded and co-chairs the chapter’s Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee, which has led AIANY’s efforts, both before and after Superstorm Sandy, to re-imagine a more resilient and sustainable region. He has helped organize dozens of panels, lectures and workshops that have provided valuable information to the public and engaged the architecture community in planning for and responding to disaster. Government officials, architects and planners participated in a tri-state conference he co-organized to discuss resiliency strategies in preparation for storm surge and other environmental disasters.
Professor Azaroff’s collaborative efforts with the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center have enabled hundreds of architects to receive training in resilient designs for natural disasters. Immediately after Superstorm Sandy, he launched the Architect Helping Architect program, which reached out to architects in flooded areas of New York City and matched them with architecture offices that had spare desk space. One day after the storm, he was one of two architects who worked closely with the Office of Emergency Management on the city’s recovery efforts. His post-Sandy Initiative resulted in a series of workshops and recommendations to help city agencies outline possibilities for recovery and resilience.
Professor Azaroff is the founding principal of +LAB Architects in Brooklyn. +LAB actively embraces new and traditional technologies to enhance building practice and inform design trajectories. It does not see a distinct separation between design, building, materials, society and culture.