In This Issue                                                                                                              Issue 3  Spring 2009
greenpin.gif (614 bytes)DPB greenpin.gif (614 bytes)AIA Convention greenpin.gif (614 bytes)Thanking our Heroes

Preserving Our Architectural Heritage

JRS in the News


Interior Design Magazine / Top 100 Giants                                            JRS Architect, P.C. has again achieved national recognition, garnering a spot for the fifth consecutive year.                January  2009  

Commercial Construction Magazine                                        Top Commercial Architects Report.                                   January / February  2009

New York Real Estate Journal       JRS Architect ranks among nation's Top interior design firms.              February 24, 2009

Law & Office New Jersey Conference                                  John Sorrenti participated on the Green Office Panel for this conference held in Newark, NJ    March 11, 2009


People of JRS


John R. Sorrenti, FAIA, President and Founder                                    Elected to State Education Department Vice Chair at NY State Board of Architects.

Kathy Pasquale-O'Malley, Director of Business Development and Marketing                                      Being Honored at Education and Assistance Corp (EAC) Golf Classic on June 22, 2009.

We are proud to acknowledge Joseph Pignataro, AIA, Chris Rudman, AIA and Gloria Baca who have recently earned LEED accreditation. This certification recognizes those who have completed the necessary training, education and testing to apply sustainable architecture standards to their designs.

We congratulate Alex Padilla on becoming the proud father of a baby girl, Victoria, and Jason Rivera on the birth of his son, Mateo.

Milestone anniversaries:
Frances Consoli, AIA,        
Associate NJO
-15 yrs    

Karen McGuiness,                      Director of Interior Design - 10 yrs        

Tim Taras,                                 Director of Business Development -     5 yrs


Projects of JRS


Overview of projects we are currently working on across industries:

JPMorgan Chase / WAMU  – Corporate Interior         

Mandell School – Education / New  School   

Progressive Orthotics & Prosthetics – Healthcare  / New Office

American Community Bank – Financial / New Office

New Restaurant, Long Island –      Hospitality

Neurological Surgery - Healthcare

Nassau County DPW - Bedell House –Restoration/Preservation

Jenny Craig - Retail Stores 


DPB logo

For those interested in conserving historic structures and sites, the field can be a challenging place with esoteric building concepts, hard to locate craftspeople, and highly specialized materials sourcing. This is a world navigated on a daily basis by Design Preserve Build Architecture, PLLC (DPB), JRS Architect’s historic projects subsidiary providing comprehensive restoration and preservation services throughout New York City, Long Island, and New Jersey.  DPB clients range from cultural institutions, municipalities, and corporations to small businesses and individual owners of historic homes and properties.

DPB is distinguished from those offering similar services by both the depth of experience of its core team as well as its extensive network of specialists that can be leveraged to provide additional expertise whenever needed. Whether it’s cleaning and repointing a granite pedestal or rebuilding an historic home from the ground up, DPB has the resources at hand to orchestrate a turnkey approach to most any project.

Historic Preservation 101

The four primary work methods to treating early structures are Adaptive Reuse, Preservation, Restoration, and Reconstruction.  While these modalities are often difficult to tell apart since the maintenance of old buildings may involve aspects of each approach, they nevertheless represent overall strategies to meet the needs of different clients at different times.  Each is to be found in various projects handled by DPB over the years. 

Adaptive Reuse:  When older buildings outlive their original purpose Adaptation is the process that helps clients redevelop these structures for creative new uses while retaining their historic features. 

Preservation:  Preservation work maintains a building’s existing historic fabric by conserving and repairing original materials as well as retaining alterations which depict the evolution of a building through the course of its history.

Restoration:  This approach retains the materials from the most significant period in the building’s history.  Restoration also includes the documentation and removal of features and elements from later periods.

Reconstruction:  If an early building, structure or object has been largely or totally destroyed, reconstruction allows for the creation of a replica based on an archeological investigation including documentary and physical evidence. 

A Case Study: Resurrecting Bedell House

Situated on 209 acres in Nassau County, Long Island, Old Bethpage Village Restoration affords visitors an opportunity to step back in time and experience life in a recreated mid-19th-century typical Long Island farm village exemplifying Dutch and English settlements.  Buildings have been relocated here from all over the area and reflect architectural styles from the early 1700’s onward. One such structure, the Hiram K. Bedell House, a Long Island country farmhouse, has sat closed to visitors for years.  Given its current state, the casual observer might think it was not appropriate to save this house.  Others however understood its history and saw the possibility of a future role for this hidden architectural gem.

Bedell House had its beginnings in the hamlet of West Hempstead, once a central meeting place for Long Island Indians.  It was a flourishing farm community when President George Washington passed through the area in 1790.  While the original owner is unknown, according to tradition one wing of the house dates back to the late 1790’s and was later purchased by Hiram Bedell, who built a larger house about 1835.  Over the years owners changed many times each one making modifications to suit their taste.  Eventually these attentions turned to neglect and this once fine home was fighting for its very existence when it was acquired by the county and moved to Old Bethpage Village.                            

In April 2008 Nassau County was ready to address the Bedell House Reconstruction and following a rigorous selection process tapped Design Preserve Build to provide architectural, interior design and construction management services.

Given the extent of its deterioration, the decision was made to completely dismantle Bedell House, but not before the DPB team could identify key architectural features to be salvaged and incorporated in a new 2,000 square-foot structure.  While the exterior of the new building will replicate that of the original house, the program calls for a brand new interior usage with space that will include a food concession, meeting area for 75-100 people, storage and restrooms.

As part of this process Design Preserve Build consultants have an established system for effective categorization of items and artifacts, including a rating of priority to assist in the selection and placement of salvaged materials within the newly designed replica.  A successful outcome depends upon developing sound extraction, salvage and storage guidelines to ensure the intact removal and use of historic materials.

Our research revealed some interesting details about the original structure:  The house had a stone foundation and heavy timbers were sawed to length and hand-hewn to shape and size.  The roof timbers as well as many in the frame were pegged or doweled together.  Chimneys at each end of the home were made from brick imported from Holland.  The wood used was primarily white pine, both plentiful and cheap at that time and easy to work by hand.  Nails were of iron and were hand fashioned by the village blacksmith.  Hand-split white pine shingles were carefully fitted to be as air tight as possible.

When the new Bedell House is completed it will stand as a classic example of both historic Reconstruction and Adaptive Reuse.  This project is emblematic of the increasing realization that saving old buildings and preserving their enduring qualities can be achieved in the context of meeting the practical needs of a new owner and maintaining usefulness to society.


Readers interested in Old Bethpage Village Restoration are invited to call 516-572-8400.  For more information about Design Preserve Build (DPB) and to receive the firm’s profile of projects and services please contact W. C. Jack Miller at 609-688-9100, Ext. 204.     




Insight into the AIA National Convention

Comments from John R. Sorrenti, FAIA, President and Founder of JRS Architect, P.C.

"Having recently returned from the AIA National Convention, I wanted to share a few observations gleaned from the variety of sessions and interactions with other architectural professionals."


  • The major theme of the Convention was global, and the nature of Architectural practice is truly global, which is now how the profession needs to assess itself.  Therefore the need to provide creative design services and balance cost constraints are even more critical looking forward, a practice JRS has embraced and practiced over the years.

  • Another convention theme was on the environment and sustainability.  The AIA requires 4 sustainable learning units per year as part of their continuing education program requirements to sustain AIA membership. Architects as the social stewards of the built environment, must be cognoscente of the way in which they design for future generations and that our net carbon foot-print in 2030 will be zero, which AIA has pledged to reach. JRS  continues to be on the cutting edge of the sustainability platform designing buildings that are LEED certified.

  • Technology was highlighted as the third theme of the convention and this year was the first year that people who were not able to attend the Convention were able to participate through the web, a practice that will continue to expand in order for the AIA to reach more people and be cost and green sensitive.  Additionally, Building Information Modeling (BIM) is indeed being adopted for it is here to stay.  (See our Winter 2009 edition for more information on this topic)

  • There were over 100,000 square feet of exhibitors highlighting the many new state-of-the-art materials and products.

  • Designing for the next decade will take imagination in the use of space, materials, and the economy to try and make more with less and yet still be concerned about our environment.  There were many sessions tied to the theme of sustainability.

In keeping with the last theme and as we all are well aware, sustainability is fast becoming a standard part of the design discussion and ultimate equation.  Chris Rudman, AIA, Project Architect at JRS has summarized some key messages on Green Building Strategies.


Green Building Strategies

High performance building systems can be compared to a “high powered luxury vehicle, more maintenance and higher operator skill are required”.  Building design should start with basic and smart design before incorporating more expensive green technologies.  One of the most basic is building orientation.  When possible, orient the building with the long elevation to face north and south.  Proper orientation will minimize exposure to hot afternoon solar gain.  Also, avoid dark roof finishes and utilize large roof overhangs. High energy efficient glazing is great but without proper shading and solar controls their effectiveness can be reduced.

Another concept to pay attention to is infiltration.  Recessed light fixtures puncture the thermal envelope and allow outside air to infiltrate. Using type IC rated cans and properly insulating and sealing the building reduces air movement in and out of the building. Uncontrolled air movement will negatively impact the heating and cooling systems, resulting in higher initial and ongoing maintenance costs when possible switches and electrical boxes should be minimized in exterior walls for the same reason.  Duct work that transfers conditioned air must be properly sealed and insulated.  Even open return air plenums above dropped ceilings should be avoided if possible, reducing wasted energy.

The additional maintenance of water conservation techniques are sometimes overlooked, like gray water systems.  Some statistics show that gray water systems have a 90% failure rate for regular use beyond 3 years of installation.  This is due the higher maintenance required for the complex treatment system.  If used for irrigation or flushing a common complaint is the bad smell, especially on a hot summer day. This should not discourage the use of such a system but rather the ensure thorough education.  Encouraging a service contract with an organization approved by the manufacturer of the system will greatly improve the success of the system.  A cost effective start for conservation is to use low flow or waterless fixtures.  Install recirculating pumps so water is not wasted waiting for hot water.  Be aware of tankless water heaters.  They require more maintenance than a regular tank heater.  Due to the high heat, mineral deposits build up in the heat exchanger and will need to be cleaned annually which increase maintenance costs.  Tankless is still better than a conventional tank system. A good alternate that is low in operating cost and energy efficient is a super insulated storage tank.  Consider reducing water usage as much as possible.  Water weighs 62 lbs/cf , which is heavy and expensive to move through the municipal water system.  One the greatest consumers of electricity in an American city is the energy required to treat and distribute water.

Green design can be achieved even when budgets are tight by using basic principles. Newer and more complex systems may have higher initial costs.  In the long run the life cycle cost savings of the systems may be substantial, but they can not always be introduced do to value engineering.   Early in the design, green strategies should be evaluated and then prioritized to generate the most sustainable project possible.

The nature of the practice of architecture today, is very different then years past.  We as architects need to be the leading force of our built environment and protect the global resources that we have. Technology has made the practice global in nature and an architect must be able to understand not only how a building is built, but how people and businesses need to operate and how the economics of the building process affects the environment and the use of the building.  We at JRS understand that need for life long learning and that is why it is so important for us to attend such events as the National AIA convention each year. This is one way in which we can help our clients stay ahead in this ever changing global environment.


Thanking Our

3rd Platoon of
Alpha Company,
1-32 Infantry

Currently stationed in
army infantry 

Hundreds of thousands of American Service Members are overseas in remote and hostile regions of the world, separated from loved ones for long stretches of time and enduring the most difficult of physical conditions. Recently JRS employees joined together to share the comforts of home with one such group of heroes, the 3rd Platoon of Alpha Company, 1-32 Infantry currently deployed to Afghanistan.  Second Lieutenant Jake Miraldi is Platoon Leader and nephew of JRS Finance Coordinator Jean Miraldi.  As Jean explains:“Originally I just wanted to send something to Jake and asked his father what he needed.  He sent me the list and there are so many items the soldiers need – that’s when I thought of the JRS employees participating.” The issue was raised at a monthly staff meeting and was quickly embraced by all three JRS offices.  Collection points were established in the Mineola, New York City, and Princeton locations and soon the boxes began filling up. 


While the military provides food, shelter, and gear, soldiers must use their pay to buy personal items and treats.  Even with a willingness to pay quite a number of these items are difficult to find, especially in combat zones such as Afghanistan. Imagine running out of lip balm or eye drops in the dessert.  A package of wet wipes might be the closest thing to a shower a soldier will have in a month.  A puzzle book or magazine might help someone escape reality for an hour or two.

The Military Care Package has become a favorite cause of many civic organizations, charities, and corporations and has evolved into an effective way concerned civilians can make a difference. Alpha Company’s Care Package list is fairly typical with requests for food, candy, hygiene supplies, sports equipment, entertainment, etc.  Most all of the items are under $10 and easily available in drug stores, supermarkets, and discount stores.  Overseas of course they are luxuries. 

It must also be noted that an important component of Alpha Company’s list are items for the Afghan people including winter coats (all sizes), shoes (children’s sizes), blankets, school supplies, and stuffed animals.  The ultimate mission is to make life better for everyone.


As word began to circulate about the drive, friends and relatives of JRS employees wanted to join in and began donating items as a means to express their thanks.  Local elementary schools, Washington Street School in Franklin Square, NY and St. Patrick’s School in Huntington, NY, also got into the act.  Two JRS staffers, Marie McDonald and Grace Adamo have children attending these schools and were catalysts in generating over 50 cards of support from the students to the troops.  JRS Principal Alex Hadjiyane’s daughter also wrote a poem and a card.   The outpouring from these young people reinforced their thanks for keeping America safe and making the world a better place.

As the deadline for contributions passed Jean Miraldi was happy to report on the generosity of everyone at JRS as well as its extended family.  Almost every request on the extensive Wish List was met – many with duplicates.  The packages have been shipped and are on their way to some very deserving people.

John Jean Donations 

In addition to all who were able to participate, JRS acknowledges the special contributions of Jean Miraldi for championing the effort and managing collections in Mineola as well as Olivia Parker and Cheryl Ramjit for handling collections in New York City and Princeton respectively.

Anyone interested in learning more about Care Packages for Soldiers, or about Alpha Company specifically is welcome to contact Jack Miller at 609-688-9100 (Ext. 204).     

Pictured left: Jean Miraldi, Financial Coordinator and John R. Sorrenti, FAIA, President and Founder of JRS Architect, P.C. with donations collected.



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