Jesse Lazar
courtesy AIA New York Jesse Lazar

The following is a press release from AIA New York and the Center for Architecture naming Jesse Lazar their executive director. Lazar has served as the organizations' interim executive director since February 2023, following the tenure of Benjamin Prosky, Assoc. AIA, as executive director.

AIA New York, the oldest and largest chapter of the American Institute of Architects, together with the Center for Architecture, are thrilled to announce the appointment of Jesse Lazar as the new Executive Director of both organizations, effective immediately.

Lazar has served as Interim Executive Director since February 2023, following the departure of former director Benjamin Prosky, Assoc. AIA, and brings to the role a long history with both AIA New York and the Center for Architecture. Since 2014, Lazar has led all fundraising and capital campaigns for both organizations, first as Development Director, and concurrently during his tenure as Deputy Director for both organizations from September 2017 until this past winter.

During this time, he has raised over $20 million for both organizations, helped to successfully execute the 2018 AIA Conference on Architecture hosted in New York, and was instrumental in establishing several programs and funds, including the Center for Architecture Anniversary Fund, the 2030 Fund, and the CFA Lab program, among others. With a proven track record of driving growth, serving AIANY members, and leading change, Lazar is poised to guide AIA New York and the Center for Architecture into an exciting new phase.

“We cannot imagine working with anyone other than Jesse Lazar, who knows our two institutions better and who has the ability and vision to help us shape our next steps,” says Jennifer Sage, FAIA, LEED AP, Board of Trustees Chair, Center for Architecture; Founding Partner, Sage and Coombe Architects.

“I’ve worked with Jesse Lazar on and off at the Center for Architecture since 2008,” says Matthew Bremer, AIA, 2023 President, AIA New York; Founder and Principal, Architecture in Formation. “I also have the mindset that institutions are generally best served by looking outside themselves for fresh leadership and vision, except in exceptional cases. Well, Jesse is simply exceptional. At a time when both AIANY and the Center for Architecture stand well positioned to grow in service to New York, the profession, and the public, Jesse possesses the unique experience, acumen, and tenacity to steer this growth.”

Lazar comes into this role as both organizations embark on ambitious new strategic planning processes, with the goals of strengthening and increasing AIANY membership and the value it delivers to architects and other professionals, and of expanding Center for Architecture offerings, deepening and growing its already successful exhibitions, education programs, public programs, and more. To that end, later this year the organizations will be defining and hiring for new roles in order to support these goals and thrive into the future. Lazar’s appointment is the first of two significant new engagements and Lazar, with the organizations’ strategic planning team, will lead this second effort. We look forward to sharing that news as well in the coming months.

Both institutions are immensely grateful to have Lazar’s sustained guidance during a period of change. Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Lazar as he embarks on this exciting journey as Executive Director. We look forward to an era of continued growth, innovation, and success under his leadership.