Erika Benson

Erika Benson

New York, NY, US


PDF Portfolio



Perez Architecture, New York, NY, US, Senior Designer

--Salt Lake City Airport North Concourse - Project Designer
Serve as Project Designer for the planning and programming of the Salt Lake City Airport North Concourse. Assist in the programming of the terminals and the planning and placement of B757 parking zones as well as develop several options for construction phasing.
* Programming of terminals, taxilanes, and service roads
* Provide flexible parking options for various plane types, including Boeing 757s, Boeing B737s, and regional jets
* Planning the placement of forty seven B757 parking zones, jet bridges, and gates
* Phasing the construction of the North Concourse to align with the demolition of the existing structure and the construction of the new South Concourse
* Provide two conceptual phasing options, each with twenty eight gates in the first phase and forty seven in the second
* Schematic drawings in AutoCAD of terminal and airline operation levels
* Prepared presentation documents for the client, including phasing and schematic floor plans
* Massing design of the North Concourse to match the patterns developed at a Design Development level of detail for the South Concourse
* Ensure that jet bridges met ADA standards
* Repurpose an existing service tunnel to serve as the connection between the new North and South Concourses

-- Build It Back - Lead Design Specialist
Serve as Lead Design Specialist for the repair of over 100 single family homes through the New York City Build it Back Program, New York City’s post-Super storm Sandy residential reconstruction program funded using CDBG grant monies. Lead Design Consultation site visits with the contractor and home owner, prepare as-built drawings, photograph damages, prepare lists of replacement materials, advise on resilient design & create 3D views of new kitchens and baths, collaborate with contractors on the scope of repairs and submit documents into a comprehensive project management system.
*Determine Base Flood Elevation and Design Flood Elevation
*Review Build It Back documents to check initial damage assessment results, Tier II documents and feasibility reports
*Check New York City Department of Building Information for open permits and violations, basement/cellar classification, number of units, wetland designation and landmark status
*Lead the Design Consultation field team, including additional Perez staff, the contractor, and environmental assessors to determine program eligible repair work
*Prepare project scopes, drawings and cost estimates for submittal to the Build It Back program
*Present draft scopes to homeowner on site and explain program-eligible and ineligible work
*Advise homeowners on optional resiliency measures available through the Build It Back program
*Update the cost and project milestone tracking system to ensure cost efficiency and record project hold-ups
*Incorporate environmental remediation into draft scopes based on HUD requirements for CDBG funding
*Evaluate contractor bids for items not included in the program approved price list
*Coordinate with project personnel, including owners, construction management staff, managers and support personnel
*Collaborate with engineering consultants to schedule structural assessments and incorporate results into draft scopes
*Interpret code requirements for program eligible work
*Respond to contractor RFIs
*Assist in proposal writing for the New York City Department of Design and Construction Build It Back Request for Proposals
*Serve as Perez’s representative during the Build It Back proposal pre-interview meetings with the prime and additional sub-consultants

--New York Rising – Project Manager
Serve as Senior Designer for the repair and reconstruction of single family homes though the New York Rising Program, New York State’s post-Superstorm Sandy residential reconstruction program funded using CDBG grant monies. Elevate homes above the 100-year Flood Plain, as dictated by FEMA; reconstruct heavily-damaged homes; lead preliminary home site visits; prepare as-built drawings; advise on resilient design; work with homeowners to create home elevation concepts focused on accessibility; develop schematic through construction documents and submit of New York Rising documentation.
*Schematic design through construction administration
*Code and zoning ordinance research
*Review of program documents, including previous assessments outlining the estimated cost of repairs
*Amend errors and omissions in the initial estimated cost of repair through the submittal of a scope change packet
*Check building information in the local Department of Buildings or Real Estate for open permits or violations
*Investigate the home’s taxable square footage through the Nassau County Department of Assessment
*Determine and comply with HUD and CDBG requirements for disaster reconstruction
*Coordinate with the local Department of Planning to deal with nonconforming conditions and home elevations
*Produce cost estimates for elements not funded by NY Rising
*Aid homeowners in contractor selection
*Produce submittal documents to New York Rising
*Observe construction progress
*Respond to Contractor Change Orders, RFIs and Submittals
*Lead, plan and implement community design charrettes to provide neighborhood information sessions regarding resilient design
*Generate material and design selection booklets to help low-income homeowners select materials within their allocated grant amount
*Assist in proposal writing for an SSBG-funded sub-program of New York Rising designed to aid very low-income homeowners
*Create Architectural Process and Design Standard Operating Procedures for home elevations and reconstruction

May 2014 - current

AfHny, New York, NY, US, Director of Development

Served on the Board of Directors for a volunteer-run organization with a membership base of 1500+, which provides pro-bono design services to non-profits and communities in the five boroughs of New York City. Lead the financial planning of the organization and oversaw the strategic direction of the organization by participating in monthly steering meetings.
*Lead the financial planning of the organization
*Financial analysis, such as balance sheet creation, cash flow analyses, and financial health ratios used to understand the organization’s annual performance
*Participate in monthly steering meetings with the Board of Directors to plan and govern the organization
*Create the budget for each fiscal year
*Assist in drafting the organization’s five year strategic plan
*Implement a design competition for the New York City social sector to
*Develop social impact reporting metrics and toolkits to track quantifiable impacts of completed projects
*Oversee the transition to independence after the bankruptcy of the organization’s fiscal sponsor, Architecture for Humanity
*Rebrand of the organization from Architecture for Humanity New York to AFHNY after separating from the parent organization, Architecture for Humanity
*Organize annual fundraisers
*Incorporate new initiatives into annual fundraisers, including a gingerbread house competition between several of New York City’s top architecture firms
*Foster new corporate sponsors and grow existing ones
*Manage volunteers on the development and event planning teams
*Create new partnerships with other nonprofits to initiate new projects
*Work with a volunteer team from Net Impact New York to brainstorm new approaches to corporate sponsorship drives and social impact measuring
*Design a tiered corporate sponsorship system listing benefits for bronze, silver and gold level donors

Sep 2013 - Jan 2015

ODESAR, Matagalpa, Nicaragua, Project Designer

--City of Matagalpa Eco-tourism Infrastructure - Project Manager
Worked with the Secretary of Tourism for the City of Matagalpa to develop and construct eco-tourism infrastructure in the nature reserves around the city of Matagalpa as part of an initiative to create an alternative to work in the coffee fields for townships around the city. Projects included the El Arenal Nature Reserve Museum, the Matagalpa Artesian Market, and eco-tourism infrastructure in La Siare y La Granja.
*Completed schematics through construction documents using Revit
*Completed site surveys and analyses to determine ideal locations for eco-tourism infrastructure in four nature reserves
*Undertook programming analyses for each of the targeted sites to identify activities and building typologies that would be suitable for each setting
*Researched local construction means and methods
*Developed new construction techniques for building with bamboo and adobe pre-fabricated panels
*Incorporated passive ventilation and daylighting strategies into the design along with green walls and rainwater collection devices
*Produced cost and material lists in coordination with the project engineer
*Successfully won a grant for $300,000 from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for the construction of El Arenal Nature Reserve Museum
*Led information sessions to explain the benefits of projects to local communities
*Explained design concepts and benefits to the Mayor of Matagalpa and representatives from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities
*Spoke with skilled craftsman from surrounding communities to ensure local labor was utilized during project construction
*Completed two construction observation site visits
*Sequenced construction in two phases, one for renovations that would allow the building to open immediately and the other for a later addition.

--Nueva Vida School
Designed and constructed a daycare in coordination with community leaders and a partner non-profit, Neuva Vida Streetkids.
*Served as liaison between the donors in New York and partner organizations as well as negotiated conflicting interests between the donor and client
*Assisted in site selection and purchasing
*Undertook site and programming analyses to optimize the use of the site and building
*Advised on sustainable construction techniques and materials
*Produced schematics through construction documents in Autocad
*Generated cost and material lists
*Connected project partners to craftsmen specializing in sustainable construction techniques
*Coordinated with the partner organizations to arrange for local labor and students to participate in construction
*Phased construction to align with the arrival of donated materials from the US
*Produced 3D models in Rhino for finished projects
*Assisted in construction management and observation
*Advised the organization on new design and construction techniques, including daylighting and passive ventilation strategies

Sep 2010 - Aug 2012


Columbia University, New York, NY, US, Masters, School of International and Public Affairs

Master of International Affairs
Concentration in Urban Policy
Specialization in Management

Sep 2012 - May 2014

University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, CA, US, BArch, Architecture

Graduated Magna Cum Laude
Awards: Discovery Scholar (Award for Outstanding Research Project), Recipient of the Alpha Rho Chi Medal for Leadership (Department Award for Academics and Service), Recipient of The Order of the Laurel and Palm for Leadership and Academic Achievement (University Award for Academics and Service)

Sep 2005 - May 2010


Discovery Scholar, Award

Award for Outstanding Research Project, University of Southern California


Order of the Laurel and Palm, Award

University Award for Academics and Service, University of Southern California


Alpha Rho Chi Medal for Leadership, Award

Department of Architecture Award for Academics and Service, University of Southern California


Areas of Specialization 


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