Reaching for New Heights at Marymount School

The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art celebrated the launch today of our innovative middle school program, New Heights: Discovering Classical Architecture. A collaboration between the ICAA and the Marymount School of New York, New Heights strives to bring the ICAA’s mission of advancing the practice and appreciation of classical tradition in architecture, urbanism, and the allied arts to eighth grade students at Marymount.

Today’s launch, which was hosted at the Marymount School, commenced with an interactive game designed to familiarize participating students with key architectural terms. ICAA President, Peter Lyden, officially introduced New Heights to the students and discussed the origin and mission of the program. Architectural Historian and New Heights instructor, Francis Morrone, spoke about the program’s important role in preparing students for a potential career in architecture and helping them engage thoughtfully with their environment.

David Calligeros, ICAA New York Chapter President who was also in attendance at today’s launch, commented: “With this first step of New Heights we hope to plant the seeds of the next generation of top tier architects and designers and to ensure vibrant growth, as well as preservation, for our civic culture and physical landscape. The world dearly needs a diversity of voices, especially those from a classically trained perspective, in the debates on the future of our cities and rural landscapes.”

Working with New Heights instructors—including ICAA educators, architects, architectural historians, and specialists—students will engage in a dynamic study of classical architecture through meaningful observation, critical thinking, studio experience, and field study. The latter will take place across New York City and include trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, and the historic mansions of Fifth Avenue.

The program will familiarize students with the history of architecture, the role and responsibility of architects, and possible professional paths in a variety of architectural fields. Students will learn architectural vocabulary and build an understanding of composition and design. The program’s carefully planned and rigorous curriculum aims to inspire a new generation to become leaders of architectural preservation and urbanism. After a thorough review of the course at Marymount School, the ICAA plans to introduce a model based on the program, featuring lesson plans, for other schools nationally.

New Heights will begin on Monday, October 5, 2015 and culminate Monday, December 7, 2015. For further information about the program, please contact Edith Platten at or 212 730 9646 (ext. 113).

Today’s launch was hosted at the Marymount School of New York.

The launch commenced with a matching game.

Students huddled in teams to match pictures of architectural elements with their definitions.

ICAA President, Peter Lyden, introduced New Heights to students.

New Heights instructor, Francis Morrone, spoke about the program’s important role in preparing students for a potential career in architecture and helping them engage thoughtfully with their environment.

Representatives from Marymount School and the ICAA attended today’s launch. From left to right: Jillian Pagliocca, Curriculum Coordinator at Marymount School; David Calligeros, ICAA New York Chapter President; Kim Field-Marvin, Director of Communications at Marymount School; Peter Lyden, ICAA President; Francis Morrone, Architectural Historian and New Heights Instructor; Edith Platten, ICAA Director of Education; Caroline Saudek, ICAA Director of Special Projects.

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Celebrate with the ICAA

On Tuesday evening, September 29th, the ICAA hosted a cocktail party to thank sponsors of The Classicist No. 12, whose generous contributions made this latest edition of our annual academic journal possible. The party was also in honor of The Classicist Committee of the ICAA Board of Directors, which includes Anne Kriken Mann, Gary Brewer, Alexa Hampton, and Michael Mesko. Charles Davey served as Design and Production Director for issue No. 12, with Steven W. Semes as Editor.

The Classicist No. 12 includes a roundtable discussion of Heterodoxia Architectonica, as well as articles by George Saumarez Smith on “The Space between the Orders: The Classical Landscape,” Calder Loth on “An Order for America: The Scamozzi Ionic Capital,” and Jonathan Foyle on “Stowe House.” Articles by Richard M. Economakis, Kevin Buccellato, and Charles Hind are also included, in addition to an exceptional and diverse range of professional and academic portfolios.

The event was also occasion to thank those who supported the recent completion of the ICAA’s Plaster Cast Gallery, including Flower Construction, Foster Reeve & Associates, and Seth Weine. The Plaster Cast Gallery features significant pieces donated to the ICAA from The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the collection of master carver, Dick Reid.

Order a copy of The Classicist No. 12 today by emailing, or schedule a visit to our Plaster Cast Gallery by contacting

The Classicist No. 12 featured in the ICAA Plaster Cast Gallery

ICAA Board Member, John Flower, with ICAA President, Peter Lyden

Tham Kannalikham, Foster Reeve, Elizabeth Graziolo, and Peter Lyden

James Strickland and ICAA Board Member, Anne Kriken Mann


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Preservation in Global Cities

On Thursday, September 10th, the ICAA proudly co-sponsored a public lecture in partnership with Museum of the City of New York entitled Preservation in Global Cities. This lecture focused on a major topic within all cities. How do we preserve our cities heritage while welcoming modernization? The program included an international panel of experts convened to discuss the obstacles and opportunities global cities face when challenged to balance both.

Donald Albrecht, (curator of Architecture and Design, The Museum of the City of New York) introducing panelist to audience.

Speakers on the panel included architect Calvin Tsao; Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the World Monuments Fund Lisa Ackerman; and architect and artist Jorge Otero-Pailos. Leading the panel for the evening was NY1’s television host Budd Mishkin.

Cities are built on heritage, however, sometimes this is threatened creating a so-called “assault” on a city’s heritage. So how does a place sustain community when it is under pressure for development? There is a core group of professionals in New York tasked with dealing with preservation; managing change as part of who we are. The preservation movement works with the public to preserve without constraining, in order to sustain dynamic lifestyles. Within other global cities that do not posses preservation laws, this is not always possible. Calvin Tsao commented on how citizen’s opinions are vital and a strong public voice is needed. Therefore he argues, there needs to be public exposure to the issues in order to broaden understanding and to allow for a strengthening of public opinion.

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The Art of the Measured Drawing Sketchbook

On Saturday September 19th, a group of 6 students met Instructor Stephen Chrisman behind the New York Public Library at the William Cullen Bryant Memorial, for a day of measured sketchbook drawings. The Art of the Measured Drawing Sketchbook is a new course that focuses on measuring and drawing architectural details at scale in a sketchbook. This approach to sketchbook drawing differs from the typical pictorial sketches that most architects have done on travel studies, by focusing on carefully accurate line drawings of architectural details in elevation and section.

Students at work

Prior to the day of field drawings, Chrisman presented a lecture on the history of measured sketchbook drawings and showed images from Palladio’s drawings of ancient Roman monuments and details, John Soane’s numerous sketchbooks, rarely seen sketchbooks from the architects of the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg, field drawings from the Historic American Building Survey (HABS) and sketchbook drawings from Quinlan Terry, Francis Terry and George Saumarez Smith.

Measurements in Bryant Park

At Bryant Park, the students started with drawing the balustrade of the Bryant Memorial, and in the afternoon each student selected a particular detail from the front facade of the Library to draw, including the rustication of the NYPL’s base, details of the fountains and a cross section of the bronze front doors. 

Measuring the details around the New York Public Library’s fountains

Drawing the Bronze Front Doors at the New York Public Library

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Inspired Places & Spaces – September

As the summer season draws to a close, the ICAA’s Development Department shares with us their favorite vacation destinations that inspire a sense of relaxation, inspiration, and awe.

Caroline Saudek, Director of Special Projects:

One of the most memorable buildings that I’ve come across in my travels is Casapueblo, just outside of Punta del Este, Uruguay. Designed by Uruguayan artist Carlos Páez Vilaró, it is a fanciful, quirky, and enchantingly beautiful hotel and was formerly the artist’s summer home and art studio. Perched alongside seaside cliffs, Casapueblo was inspired by the mud nests of the local Hornero birds. It is unlike any other place I’ve seen and provides a striking balance between drama and tranquility.

Casapueblo, Uruguay (Photo:

Kathleen Maloney Lo, Associate Director of Development:

The Basilica of Sacré Coeur in Paris is one of my favorite and inspiring places. It can get quite crowded, but I find something about the structure and surrounding area to be very tranquil. The basilica itself is a beautiful representation of the Romanesque-Byzantine style, and I love how the light hits the travertine stones. Walking up the steps and through the garden in the morning, when the streets are still quiet, you are rewarded with a fantastic view of the city.

Sacre Coeur, France (Photo: Getty Images)

Caitlynn Brown, Business and Development Associate:

When travelling to Pennsylvania, one of my favorite places to visit has always been Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. Built in 1829 as the world’s first true penitentiary, Neo-Classicist John Haviland designed a space that would revolutionize incarceration through an emphasis on the separation of prisoners to spark self-reflection. When wandering the partial ruins of Eastern State, which is now operated as a museum, I have always felt a somewhat eerie sense of peace and solemn stillness which surely opposes the feelings that the prison’s original inmates must have felt when entering the site’s stately, yet imposing front gates.

Eastern State Penitentiary, Pennsylvania (Photo: Wikipedia)

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What’s In a Name?




In the spring of 2014, the ICAA Southern California Chapter presented its tenth anniversary exhibition, Idea and Manifestation: Classical Southern California for the 21st Century. The exhibition was magnificent, showcasing our members’ top works and proudly demonstrating that contemporary classicism is alive and well, and most importantly compatible with the community.


Tim Barber, national trustee and representative of the College of Chapter Presidents, generously arranged a round-table dinner in my honor to coincide with the exhibit at which I was to meet the Southern California Chapter’s Board and friends of the ICAA in an intimate setting. During dinner, our group discussed how the ICAA could inspire the “next generation” of supporters, members and professionals through the ICAA’s educational programming. This conversation inspired a reinvigoration of educational outreach for the Institute, which is now coming to fruition after many months of planning.


ICAA Continuing Education courses, public programs, and our published journal, The Classicist, are now on course to reach thousands – if not tens of thousands – of students annually. Most recently, our inaugural Summer Studio in Classical Architecture introduced university students to the skills, knowledge and resources essential to the practice and appreciation of classical design, and was viewed by participants as a great success.

Learning about classical mouldings with Adrian Taylor

I am now very excited to announce an innovative new program (more on its name below….), designed to introduce middle and high school students to classical architecture and the allied arts. Our first iteration of the program will be launched in partnership with the Marymount School in Manhattan next month, and will educate 90 thirteen-year-old students in a curriculum designed by a group of renowned ICAA affiliates. Integrated into Marymount’s arts curriculum, the program will offer a dynamic study of classical architecture and art through meaningful observation, critical thinking, field studies, and classroom experiences.

The Marymount School’s beaux-arts building (courtesy of Wikipedia)

Highlights of the curriculum include walking tours of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Marymount’s own beaux-arts building, the school’s surrounding urban environment, the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, and the mansions of 5th Avenue. All field studies have been created in close collaboration with Francis Morrone, who will lead several of the tours personally. Classroom experiences will include a plaster cast demonstration with Adrian Taylor of Hyde Park Mouldings, with further presentations related to the key elements of Classical Architecture offered by architect Stephanie Mustian and others.

The interior of the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola (courtesy of Wikipedia)

At the end of the 10-week course, students will present drawings and other work resulting from on-site and in-class sessions to fellow students, parents, and dignitaries.


After a thorough review of the course at Marymount School, the ICAA plans to introduce a model based on the program, featuring lesson plans, for other schools nationally.

Mansions along 5th Avenue (courtesy of

We are so grateful for the tremendous funding support of a lead anonymous donor who has supported this program, in addition to other major educational initiatives. Additional support has been generously granted by the National YoungArts Foundation.


Also, I am indebted to the great team leaders from the ICAA New York Chapter, including David Calligeros, Stephanie Mustian, Adrian Taylor, and Francis Morrone, along with ICAA Southern California Board member Mary Kate Spach and ICAA Board Member Michael Mesko for his tireless work in developing the curriculum. The Marymount team has been a wonderful partner on this program and is headed by the school’s dynamic and visionary Headmistress, Concepcion Alvar.


So, what’s next for our new program? We need to name it, and we’d like your help! The title should reflect the program’s aspiration to provide young students across the country with access to education in classical architecture and the related arts. To submit your idea, email

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