One Madison Avenue. Image courtesy Studio Libeskind.

When: Wednesday, April 29 / 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Where: Webinar
Cost: Free
Organizer: AIA Baltimore

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Categorized under: Lectures, Webinars

[Webinar] 2020 AIA Baltimore & BAF Spring Lecture Series 2: Unfolding

This event will only be available as a webinar as part of AIA Baltimore’s and BAF’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19). The Webinar will be available to stream via Facebook Live and Zoom.

1.5 AIA/CES LUs; LA CES PDH and APA CEUs available (LA CES provided by Maryland ASLA)



The 2020 AIA Baltimore & BAF Spring Lecture Series will explore unbuilt architecture and design work. Speakers will showcase and discuss their unbuilt, speculative, and/or dismantled work, including competitions, explorations, and research. The series will explore why projects go unrealized and create a dialogue about what could have been, what is, and what can be.

See the full calendar of lectures


Lecture 2: Unfolding

Carla Swickerath, Studio Libeskind

Seema D. Iyer, PhD, University of Baltimore

Moderator: Katie O’Meara, MICA Architectural Design

Between concept design and project realization, there is a multitude of unknowable factors that impact the outcome building projects. The architect’s role in navigating the interests of various stakeholders is to compromise, while staying true to the greater vision for the project. The architect must also consider site context and the needs of the community to achieve just and equitable outcomes.

Carla Swickerath of Studio Libeskind will explore the currents that impact architecture through the lens of four seminal projects: the rebuilding of the World Trade Center post 9/11; the 1996 extension to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London; a new museum for the Kurds in Iraq; and the iconic sky garden tower, One Madison, in the heart of Manhattan.

Seema Iyer of University of Baltimore will discuss Baltimore’s Vital Signs—the data gathered by the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicator’s Alliance that reveal key indicators that stand as major barriers to truly achieving a more just and equitable city. Importantly, community-based indicators can expose the magnitude of issues that neighborhoods face in order to help communities set clear and measurable goals towards removing barriers and improving quality of life.

This lecture will reveal why projects go unbuilt by reflecting upon lessons learned and examining data gathered through urban research, and how these factors inform future built work.


About the Speakers

Carla Swickerath, Studio Libeskind

Since joining Studio Libeskind in 1999, Carla Swickerath has gained diverse experience in cultural, civic, retail, commercial, residential and planning projects around the world. She has lead many of the Studio’s successful project teams from concept design through to completion—including the Crystals retail complex at CityCenter in Las Vegas, the Hyundai Haeundae Udong I-Park residential development in Busan, Korea, and the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco.

Ms. Swickerath has also led the complex World Trade Center redevelopment process from the initial competition phase to the present. Today, her dual management and design skills come into play as she oversees all aspects of operations at Studio Libeskind. Ms. Swickerath leads many of the Studio’s projects, coordinating the design team and consultants, liaising with clients and client’s representatives and managing project budgets and schedules.

She earned a Masters in Architecture from the University of Michigan, following undergraduate studies in English and Art History at the University of Florida. She has taught at the Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee in Berlin and University of Michigan. Carla speaks publicly on architecture, design and planning. Carla is a member of the Board of Trustees at the Van Alen Institute in New York.


Seema D. Iyer, PhD, University of Baltimore

Seema D. Iyer PhD is associate director and research assistant professor for the Jacob France Institute in the University of Baltimore’s Merrick School of Business. Dr. Iyer oversees the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance (BNIA), which annually prepares the Vital Signs report, a compendium of quality-of-life open data for Baltimore’s neighborhoods. BNIA is part of the Urban Institute’s national partnership of sites that provide longitudinal data on demographics, housing, crime, education and sustainability. Dr. Iyer is a recognized expert on strategic planning in community development; recent projects include an Equity Analysis of Baltimore’s Capital Improvement Program, an evaluation of Baltimore Vacants to Value program and verification of work for the Baltimore Energy Initiative. Her research focuses on the role of data sharing in collaborative public innovation processes.

Dr. Iyer is also director of UB’s Real Estate and Economic Development program and teaches courses on real estate principles and local economic development. In 2019, she helped launch UB’s Real Estate Fellows Venture competition to create pathways for early-stage developers interested in working with stable, middle-market communities in Baltimore.

Prior to joining UB, Iyer served as Chief of Research & Strategic Planning for Baltimore City’s Planning Department. She holds a Ph.D. in urban and regional planning from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She earned her MA in regional science and BA in mathematics and Russian studies from the University of Pennsylvania.