A question and answer session with HOK New York Managing Principal President Mr. Carl Galioto

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A question and answer session with HOK New York Managing Principal President Mr. Carl Galioto

| aia, architect, architecture | March 04, 2011

Carl Galioto

 Mr. Galioto, 57, is the managing principal of the New York office of HOK, one of the world’s largest architecture firms. HOK New York’s current projects include LG Electronic’s headquarters in Englewood, N.J., and Harlem Hospital.

Mr. Galioto joined HOK in 2009, after 30 years with Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, where he helped design One and Seven World Trade Center.

Q Why did you leave S.O.M.?

 A My focus at S.O.M. was on the technical elements of architecture and project delivery. I was interested in having a broader role in the management of an office and of a firm. I also wanted to work on building information modeling on a firmwide basis. So this is Chapter 2.

Q What are your duties at HOK?

 A I have three principal jobs, and I like to joke that each takes up 30 hours a week.

One is being responsible for the financial management of the New York office and business development.

The other is to be the chair of our Project Delivery Board, which focuses on the documentation and management of projects firmwide. The third part is being a director of our Building Smart program, a platform for building information modeling.

Q What exactly is building information modeling?

 A Essentially creating buildings in a virtual environment. We use a variety of applications to design buildings and to simulate the activities and operations.

Q Are you working on many projects?

 A We have 25 to 30 projects in this office, which is up from last year.

Health care is the strongest of our components. We’re designing a number of hospitals, including the University Medical Center at Princeton, and Harlem Hospital.

One of the more interesting projects is the North American headquarters for LG Electronics. We also designed the Canon U.S.A. headquarters on Long Island and the BMW North America headquarters in New Jersey.

Q Was it your idea to move HOK’s New York headquarters to Midtown?

A One of my efforts has been to raise the visibility of HOK through the relocation to Bryant Park — really at the center of New York. Interestingly, our predecessor firm, Kahn & Jacobs, designed this building, so we were meant to be here.

We’re in a 12-year lease and made a very nice agreement with our landlord, Blackstone. We fit the space from a sustainable standpoint.

Q How so?

A We are tracking to be a LEED-platinum interior space, and one of the ways is through low-energy consumption.

We’ve reduced the energy consumption, attributable to lighting, by about 40 percent. Because of the daylight we could work with very low light levels here — most of the light in architects’ offices now is coming off computer screens. We have motorized shades with daylight sensors throughout the office.

We have low water consumption in the toilets, and each enclosed space has its own air control, so we don’t have to overcool or overheat the air. And, of course, all of the materials here have been carefully selected.

Q Are most of the projects you design sustainable?

A We go for silver, gold and platinum levels on projects we design, and we’re looking to exceed that. We are moving ahead with several designs for net-zero-carbon buildings. At HOK, the design of high-performance buildings is our design aesthetic.

Q Do you have a favorite architectural style?

A I’ve always had a fascination and appreciation for the Modernism of the midcentury — elegant and somewhat spartan — and I was fortunate to have worked on the restoration of Modern buildings, like the Lever House.

Q You also worked on One World Trade Center while at S.O.M.

A It was more than a project, because it was so meaningful to New Yorkers — not only for the symbolism but for the security of the occupants of that building.

But as an architectural element, it’s also significant and an important component of our skyline. The building is very symbolic, as you know: It rises to 1,368 feet, the same height as the original south tower, and with the mast reaches 1,776 feet. The base is 200 by 200 feet, the same dimensions as the old towers.

Q Did you always want to be an architect?

A Ever since I could remember. I remember being a very small boy at my grandparents’ backyard in Brooklyn and taking folding chairs, boxes and whatever I could find and piling them together in different shapes. I must’ve been like 4 or 5 and doing that sort of thing. I was always fascinated by the building process.

Hat tip NYT

About the author

Drawing upon original ideas and extensive personal and professional experience in the field, David McFadden crafted this article to explore the untapped potential of making historic architectural masterpieces more sustainable. After working at various design practices—both full-time and freelance—and launching his design firm, David identified a significant gap in the industry. In 1984, he founded Consulting For Architects Inc. Careers, an expansive hub designed to align architects with hiring firms for mutual benefit. This platform enables architects to find impactful design work and frees hiring firms from the time-consuming cycles of recruitment and layoffs. David’s innovative approach to employer-employee relations has brought much-needed flexibility and adaptation to the industry. As the Founder and CEO, David has successfully guided his clients and staff through the challenges of four recessions—the early ’80s, early ’90s, early 2000s, the Great Recession, the pandemic, and the current slowdown due to inflation and high-interest rates.

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