The New Jersey Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA-NJ) has announced the inauguration of Joshua Zinder, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB as AIA-NJ president. Zinder will lead the chapter’s executive committee in this volunteer position for a one-year term spanning the 2021 calendar year, in support of the organizational mission to boost public understanding of architecture “through advocacy, education and service,” while advancing the priorities of the building design profession statewide.
Zinder will also focus his term on issues related to career development for young architects, fostering growth for emerging firms, promoting versatility and portfolio diversity, and supporting efforts to fill the “missing middle” housing gap. Managing partner of locally headquartered integrated design firm JZA+D which he founded in 2006, Zinder joined the executive committee in 2019, serving a term as vice president and another as president-elect. He will be joined in chapter leadership for 2021 by president-elect John Cwikla, AIA, LEED BD+C and vice president Brian Penschow, AIA.
“The community we serve will face unprecedented challenges this year as all of us begin the task of rebuilding,” says Zinder. “Responding with a unified voice and strategic vision is critical to securing a promising future for New Jersey’s architecture professionals as well as for the state’s building stock and its economy. Having served these last two years on the executive committee, I believe that the membership and leadership are ready to meet these challenges with enthusiasm and clarity, and to advance the group’s mission while pursuing the implementation of policies we believe in passionately.”
As he has done in his previous leadership roles, Zinder plans to focus his term on several key issues that have been relevant to his own experiences as an architect, entrepreneur, and community leader. One area of his focus is the issue of mentorship and career development for young professionals, an issue he sees as intertwined with the growth and success of emerging firms. “New Jersey’s design ecosystem thrives best when new firms have the resources they need to grow, and the most important resource is talented aspiring architects. I hope to work with our community to nurture both.”
A partner in a second firm Landau | Zinder – specializing in synagogue design – the new chapter president is likewise passionate about fostering individual architects’ versatility, at every stage in their careers. “Winding up in a specialty niche can present challenges for growing a new firm and for developing new business in a complicated economic environment,” says Zinder. “Diversifying one’s portfolio with a range of building types also strengthens the architect’s skill set, and leads to cross-disciplinary innovation.”
Perhaps most critically for the pandemic era, and the post-pandemic era to come soon, Zinder also hopes to galvanize design professionals, developer partners, urban planners, and public officials to work together to uncover innovative solutions for addressing and filling the gap in housing stock sometimes referred to as the “missing middle” – the range of multifamily residential buildings that are appropriately scaled and designed for neighborhoods dominated by detached single-family homes. According to Zinder, “Many cities and towns in New Jersey and beyond desperately need new approaches to appropriately promote density, diversity, and affordability in existing walkable neighborhoods, especially near town centers.”
He adds, “Architects should be partnering with counterparts in government agencies, nonprofits, development firms, neighborhood associations and others. It is my hope that the Executive Committee can spur professionals to action, to create affordable and mixed-income housing solutions that are beautiful, sustainable, and reflective of their communities.”
A formal ceremony for Zinder’s inauguration will be held virtually in the coming weeks, and celebrated with an online gathering of family, colleagues and chapter members.
To access more business news, visit NJB News Now.Related Articles: