Albert K. Butzel is the principal of Albert K. Butzel Law Offices. He has practiced law and led advocacy campaigns in New York City since 1965. From 1996 though 2007, Mr. Butzel directed the citizen advocacy effort that persuaded the State and City to create and fund the new Hudson River Park extending from 59th Street to Battery Park on the Lower West Side. He has also led advocacy campaigns focused on Governors Island and the new Brooklyn Bridge Park. As an attorney, Mr. Butzel has handled many important matters, including the landmark Storm King Mountain power plant case and the successful litigation against the Westway megaproject on the Lower West Side. Currently, in addition to his commercial and real estate practice, he represents citizen groups in efforts to preserve the landmarked O’Toole Building in the Greenwich Village Historic District, to downsize the massive Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn and to resist a number of other development proposals.

William Castro has been the Manhattan Borough Commissioner for the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation since February 2002, overseeing more than 700 park properties and 13 recreation centers. He previously was the Bronx Borough Commissioner for seven and one-half years and has held a variety of other positions within the Parks Department, including Assistant Commissioner for Recreation and Director of the Parks Enforcement Patrol. He graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in 1974 and earned a Master’s in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 1993.

Warren Antonio James was born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. He was educated at Cornell University where he received his Bachelors Degree in Architecture, and at Columbia University where he received his Masters Degree in Architecture and Building Design. He also studied architecture design at Harvard University and at the Ecole Speciale d’Architecture in Paris. In 1988 he founded Warren A. James Architects + Planners, in New York City, a 100% Latino-owned architecture and urban design firm. Based in East Harlem/El Barrio the firm has worked on the National Latino Museum, in Washington DC, La Marqueta Internacional for the East Harlem Business Capital Corporation, the Master Plan for the Julia de Burgos Cultural Center, the Museum of the City of New York and Museo del Barrio. The firm also designed the original community-based Master Plan for Sherman Creek a new waterfront neighborhood in Upper Manhattan which incorporates a riverside malecón on the Harlem River.

Signe Nielsen has been practicing as a landscape architect and urban designer in New York since 1978 and has overseen the planning, design and construction of more than $400 million worth of projects. A Fellow of the ASLA, she is the recipient of over 60 national and local design awards for public open space projects and is published extensively in national and international publications. She is also a Professor of Urban Design and Landscape Architecture at Pratt Institute in both the Graduate School of Urban Design and Undergraduate School of Architecture. Ms. Nielsen actively participates in all aspects of a project serving as the design director and as a primary liaison with the client, committees and community groups.

A founding partner of Rogers Marvel Architects, Rob Rogers creates institutional and cultural buildings that elegantly combine urbanism and architecture. Rob received his B. Arch from Rice in 1981, then spent a year in the office of I.M. Pei. In 1983, he received the Fossi Traveling Fellowship and spent a year drawing, photographing and thinking about the role of an architect. Rob returned to I.M. Pei & Partners for six years, then received a Masters of Design Studies with Distinction from the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 1989. After opening his own practice, he and Jonathan Marvel formed Rogers Marvel Architects in 1992. His success in leading designs for urban institutions, like the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Pratt Architecture School, has created opportunities for designing public spaces and streets, like the New York Stock Exchange and Financial District, the park at 55 Water Street, Governor’s Island, Battery Park City Streetscapes, and a new “central park” for Cody, Wyoming. Rob is currently leading the design for SandRidge Energy’s corporate campus, and President’s Park South ‘the Ellipse”, in Washington DC.

Jack Travis established his namesake design studio in June, 1985 and has completed proposals or has been involved in over 100 projects of varying scope and size for such notable clients as Spike Lee, Wesley Snipes and John Saunders of ABC sports, Giorgio Armani SPA, as well as residential work for the Sbarro family of the famed pizza parlors. Mr. Travis encourages investigation into Black history where appropriate and includes forms, motifs, materials and colors that reflect this heritage in his work. Mr. Travis’ interests have broaden in recent years to include design issues concerning sustainability in environmental design as well as alternative educational practices that seek insure the entrance of more students of color into the profession. Highly sought after for his cutting edge views on culture and architectural design, he has appeared in all of the prominent design publications. Mr. Travis’ search for style begins with the Modernist Movement from early this century. He has combined his preference for the rational approach and honesty in the use of building materials with African iconography in creating form, space and place making.

Billie Tsien was born in Ithaca, New York. She received her undergraduate degree in Fine Arts from Yale and her Masters in Architecture from UCLA. She has worked with Tod Williams since 1977 and in 1986 they formed the partnership of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects.

Tsien has taught extensively in architectural programs throughout the United States including the Parsons School of Design, Harvard University, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University.

Current work with Tod Williams includes a new museum for the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, a performing and visual arts center at the University of Chicago, the Asia Society headquarters in Hong Kong, an information technology campus in Mumbai, India, and two new skating rinks in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.

She and Tod Williams have received the Brunner Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Medal of Honor from the New York City AIA, and the Chrysler Award for Design Innovation. The partners have also been honored with The Cooper Hewitt’s National Design Award in Architecture and the President’s Medal from the Architectural League of New York.

Billie Tsien maintains an interest in work that bridges the realms of art and architecture. She serves on the advisory council for the Wexner Prize, and is a Director of the Public Art Fund and of the Architectural League of New York. Tsien is a Trustee of the American Academy in Rome, where she was in residence during 1999.

Adam Yarinsky is principal and co-founder, with Stephen Cassell, of Architecture Research Office (ARO). ARO’s work spans from strategic planning to architecture to urban design. Research and analysis drive design that unites the conceptual and the pragmatic within a strong, coherent vision. Since 1993, ARO has worked with leading universities, cultural institutions, global corporations, government agencies, and international fashion labels. Adam is the co-author of On the Water: Palisade Bay, an investigation into how rising sea levels will impact New York City which became the basis for The Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition Rising Currents: Projects for New York’s Waterfront. Adam has taught at Harvard Graduate School of Design, Princeton, Yale, Syracuse, the University of Michigan, and the University of Virginia. In 2010, The American Academy of Arts and Letters honored Adam and Stephen with their Academy Award for Architecture. This year the firm received the 2011 Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Award for Architecture.