STV Architect Elected to AIA College of Fellows
Apr 18, 2017
Michael Garz, FAIA, NCARB, senior vice president of STV, has been elected to the highly prestigious College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The 178 architects who were elevated to the Fellowship will be honored at 2017’s AIA Conference on Architecture in Orlando in April.
The Fellowship program was developed for architects who have made a significant contribution to architecture and society, and who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession. Out of a total AIA membership of more than 90,000, approximately 3 percent of members are recognized as fellows.
Garz, a member of AIA’s Philadelphia chapter, was selected for progressing “the science and art of planning and building by advancing the standards of architectural education, training or practice.” He is STV’s third employee to receive such an honor, joining Robert Davidson, FAIA, senior vice president and aviation and multimodal facility design practice leader; and David Ziskind, FAIA, NCARB, LEED® AP BD+C, senior vice president and chief architect of the firm’s Buildings & Facilities Division.
Over the span of his more than 40-year career, Garz has played a key role in the design of a number of large-scale, community-centric infrastructure initiatives, such as the Atlantic City Convention and Rail Terminal in Atlantic City, NJ, and the 6th Street Marketplace in Richmond, VA.
In 2004, Garz began a career-defining assignment at one of the most high-profile construction sites in the world: the World Trade Center (WTC) site in Lower Manhattan. The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey contracted with the STV/AECOM joint venture, known as the Downtown Design Partnership, to serve as managing architect/engineer and architect/engineer-of-record, in association with Parsons Transportation Group. Santiago Calatrava served as design architect and structural engineer. The Hub, which opened in March 2016, provides seamless connectivity to the Port Authority Trans-Hudson rail service, as well as 12 New York City Transit subway lines, while also serving as a portal to the entire WTC site.
Like many Americans after September 11, Garz’s connection to the WTC site and its redevelopment was a personal one. A native New Yorker, Garz saw it as a moral obligation and his duty as an architect to contribute to the rebirth of Lower Manhattan and the healing of the global community any way he could.
“When I was asked to come to New York from Philadelphia and join the Hub’s project team, I didn’t even hesitate,” Garz said. “It has meant a great deal to me that I’ve been able to have a professional impact on the nation’s response to the September 11 attacks. I will forever view this experience as the highlight of my career.”
As STV's design manager for the Hub, he worked to effectively maintain the integrity of Santiago Calatrava's architectural design amidst the never-ending political, economic, and social challenges posed by such a technically complex and emotionally evocative project.
Garz has also been a very visible educator and advocate for the project, sharing his experiences through presentations to various AIA chapters, universities and related professional organizations. He told the project’s story to the general public via his role in the nationally televised documentary, “Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero.”
Garz earned his Bachelor of Arts in environmental design from the State University of New York at Buffalo and his Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania.
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