New design leader adds to team’s expertise as WXY also promotes two new directors in planning and urban design, Chris Rice and David Vega-Barachowitz

NEW YORK, N.Y. — The globally recognized multidisciplinary architecture, design and planning practice WXY architecture + urban design has announced that the widely respected architect Colin Montoute has joined the firm in New York in the position of Director of Architecture. At the same time, the firm has elevated a number of key people, including two new directors, as part of WXY’s growth and the increasing diversity and prominence of its building and planning portfolios.

In his new role with WXY, Colin Montoute, AIA, LEED AP, NOMA, will bring his extensive experience and leadership in high-profile architectural projects. Throughout his career, Montoute has led a wide range of award-winning projects both domestically and internationally, including an acclaimed prototype school campus for a rural community in Haiti.

“With WXY, Colin Montoute will continue his accomplishments on a broad range of buildings and infrastructure, with a particular focus on work within the public realm and transportation,” says Claire Weisz, FAIA, principal-in-charge of WXY architecture + urban design. “In rejoining WXY, with his depth of experience we will continue to focus on creating projects that enrich cities and foster communities.”

In his new post, Montoute will also help maintain the firm’s standards for excellence in design and architecture and work to develop its exemplary technical standards across the firm’s varied design, architecture and planning projects, including complex regional and urban challenges worldwide.

With more than 25 years of practice
in architecture, Montoute’s award-winning
portfolio ranges from public to private works
of varied scales, including significant master-
planning projects in the Middle East, mixed-
use developments in Africa, transportation
hubs in China, and various works within the
Penn Station district in New York City, where
he was the architectural lead for
rehabilitations of various key public areas
within the complex. His clients have
included the MTA Long Island Rail Road, the
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey,
the New York City Economic Development
Corporation, the city’s Department of Design
and Construction, and Amtrak. Through
Montoute’s work leading his eponymous firm, Montoute Architecture + Planning, he has cultivated an international portfolio of architectural projects including in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Africa, Haiti, and China. These include critically acclaimed extension to the Opera House Metro Line in Dubai as well as significant environmental improvements to the Al Faisaliah Mosque in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

“Colin Montoute’s broad experience across sectors and elevated quality of design have garnered impressive results for his clients and communities,” says Adam Lubinsky, PhD, AICP, the firm’s managing principal. “As we promote at WXY, Colin brings vision, talent and professionalism that support excellence in both architecture and planning, bringing a formidable team leader in the face of challenges many clients face. We are excited to work with him.”

Montoute earned his bachelor’s in architectural design from the New York Institute of Technology, and a Masters in Urban Planning from the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy in Los Angeles. He maintains affiliations with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the National Association of Minority Architects (NOMA), and he is both LEED accredited and also certified with the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. Prior to joining WXY architecture + urban design, Montoute worked for various internationally renowned firms where he led multidisciplinary teams engaged in commercial and residential works around the world.

“WXY’s influence is significant and growing, especially in the arenas of urban innovation, public spaces and significant works of cultural and public architecture, with a strong influence on the futures of land use, transportation and economic development, among other areas,” says Montoute. “I am very pleased to be working with this outstanding architecture and planning team and furthering a legacy of exceptional work that benefits the lives of people and strength of our cities.”

New Directors

In related news, WXY architecture + urban design has also announced strategic promotions several team members who are leading key projects and demonstrating valuable impact on the firm’s clients and their constituencies. The seven new appointments include two newly elevated directors:

Christopher Rice has been named Director of Planning. Rice joined the firm in 2016 and previously worked as senior planner, with a focus on community- based planning. Rice has become a leading voice in school planning, and he managed the D15 Diversity Plan, the first New York City Department of Education-initiated community planning process to create racially and socioeconomically integrated middle schools. In addition to his work with schools in New York City, Chris Rice has led similar projects in Pennsylvania and Maryland. He was a founding member of BlackSpace and previously worked in the New York City Council’s Land Use Division.

David Vega-Barachowitz joined the firm in 2019 and has been elevated from an associate to the firm’s Director of Urban Design. Vega-Barachowitz‘s work sits at the crossroads of urban design, mobility, and large-scale environmental systems, with a particular focus on reimagining cities through creative interventions in the public realm. With WXY, Vega-Barachowitz has worked with a number of key clients including Uber; the city of Davenport, Iowa; New York City’s Department of Transportation; and Transportation Alternatives. He was previously Director of the Designing Cities initiative at the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), and he currently teaches at the School of Architecture at Syracuse University. Prior to joining WXY, Vega- Barachowitz was a senior urban designer at New York City’s Department of City Planning.

“WXY architecture + urban design accomplishes its award-winning work through the dedication, commitment and passion of our highly skilled and professional team,” says Lubinsky. “These promotions recognize the outstanding efforts of our emerging leaders. We are incredibly proud of each of them.”

WXY architecture + urban design is a recognized leader in planning, urban design, architecture and innovative engagement practices. Recent projects led by the firm include the new West Thames Bridge as well as The Peninsula, a large mixed-use affordable housing development in the Bronx. The firm has also led public realm improvements for the Brooklyn Army Terminal, districtwide school planning projects in New York and Pennsylvania, and planning of the Broadway Junction area. Other current works include guidelines for on-street electric vehicle charging in New York City, the reconstruction of Astor Place, and new cabins for New York State Parks and Recreation.

The firm has received recent honors for Fast Company’s World’s Most Innovative Architecture Firms and the New York City Public Design Commission’s Excellence in Design Awards for The Peninsula. WXY earned the 2020 Excelsior Awards Award of Distinction from the AIA New York State for the cabins, and a 2020 NYCxDesign award for West Thames Bridge. The firm also holds a SARA award and a Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Award this year for the Brooklyn Navy Yard Master Plan.

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