David Helpern Celebrates the History of AIANY’s Oculus, Where He Was Once an Editor

You can preserve buildings – which David Paul Helpern does – and you can also preserve the long tradition of publishing the house organ of the founding chapter of the American Institute of Architects. In September of 2013, Helpern, 1973-1975 volunteer editor-in-chief of Oculus, gathered with fellow architects, design-community leaders, editors, and writers to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the AIANY’s magazine and its younger digital sister publication e-Oculus.

The occasion marked the opening of the month-long exhibition “Coverage: Seventy-Five Years of Oculus” at The Center for Architecture at 536 LaGuardia Place in Manhattan. Some of David’s issues – otherwise kept in a binder in the AIANY archives – were on display.

Originally written by AIA member volunteers, Oculus today appears in print quarterly and online bi-weekly. It is now staffed by a professional editor with freelance architecture journalists. Oculus resumed publication after being suspended during the last recession. “Showing our members and the world the quality of what Architects and this society in particular do via a quality publication was too important to let it die,” stated Helpern.

David is pictured above with current Oculus editor Kristen Richards [in red], Hon. AIA. The two other former editors on the left are Jayne Merkel, now a contributing editor for Architectural Design, and John Morris Dixon, an architectural journalist and book author.