As both the construction and working parts of buildings have become infused with technology, Brooklyn’s NYU Tandon School of Engineering has launched a new center to specialize in the field: the Institute of Design and Construction (IDC) Innovations Hub.
The hub’s chairman will be Michael Horodniceanu, a professor in the school’s Department of Urban and Civil Engineering, as well as a transportation and construction executive. He has public-sector experience as well, having served as commissioner of New York City’s Bureau of Traffic from 1986 to 1990 and as president of New York’s MTA Capital Construction from 2008 through 2017.
The IDC will be organized as an industry-supported, membership-based entity. Member firms will be able to “leverage the hub’s resources to improve efficiency, control costs, and help identify innovative solutions that emphasize sustainability, fiscal responsibility, and safety,” NYU said in a statement. At the same time, the hub will be “grooming a new generation of engineers to take on emerging challenges facing the construction industry.”
Horodniceanu, a native of Bucharest, Romania, served in the Israeli military and earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering there. After emigrating to the U.S., he earned a master’s degree at Columbia and his doctorate at NYU.
“It is such a thrill to be back at NYU Tandon to share my experience with colleagues and students that was gained in both the private and public sectors during a career that has spanned four decades,” said Horodniceanu in the statement, adding that he has the goal “of making a positive difference in the design and construction world.”
Jelena Kovačević, NYU Tandon’s dean, stated: “With Michael Horodniceanu leading this new endeavor, we look to greatly enhance the synergies between academia and practical experience in the built environment, offering unique opportunities for our students and the sharing of newly gained knowledge with our member firms.”
In the business realm, Horodniceanu is principal of Urban Advisory Group, where he is a senior consultant to contractors, architecture and engineering firms, developers, and government agencies. At MTA Capital Construction, a subsidiary of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority charged with managing mega-projects like the Second Avenue Subway, he supervised a budget exceeding $20 billion.
The IDC will join NYU Tandon’s fleet of labs based on partnerships between academia, business and government, including the Future Labs and the new RLab, focused on virtual and augmented reality.