ESKW/A has added several new team members over the last year and we’d like to introduce them! Our Marketing Coordinator Chris Curtland sat down to get to know our latest additions.

Eric Salitsky

ESKW/A: Where’d you grow up?
Eric: I grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts. It was one of these Rust Belt towns in its heyday, and it was sort of on the decline, although apparently, it’s back on the rise right now. [Partner] Randy [Wood] was telling me that they’re building a new baseball stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox, who are moving to Worcester. A lot of people say, “Worcester. I went to a concert there once.”

ESKW/A: Do you have a travel experience that has informed your approach to architecture and design?
Eric: When I went on my honeymoon to Japan, we went to Koyasan, a remote Buddhist pilgrimage site on the top of a mountain. You take a crazy funicular to get up there, which was awesome. When you reach the top, there are many Buddhist temples which are also the overnight accommodations. The place is known for an ancient and expansive cemetery, which is really cool because it’s very, very old and sacred to Buddhists.

ESKW/A: What kinds of buildings or spaces inspire you? Is there anything specific to NYC?
Eric: One of my favorite buildings is Grace Farms in New Canaan, Connecticut, designed by SANAA. What I like about it is it has this beautiful avant-garde form to it. It’s sort of this sinuous, snake-like building, and very minimalist and beautiful and Japanese. What I like about it the most is it’s meant to be this place that’s sort of a community center. It has a library, basketball court, and auditorium, and it’s connected to nature, nestled in this beautiful campus. So the architecture really speaks to me, especially inside because the architecture disappears and merges into the beautiful flora surrounding the project. I think they did an excellent job with it.

ESKW/A: What’s your favorite color?
Eric: Olive green.

ESKW/A: What’s been your best pet?
Eric: My current dog Pecueca is my first and favorite pet. He’s a very naughty cavalier mix rescue.

ESKW/A: What was your childhood fear?
Eric: Still very freaked out by cucarachas.

ESKW/A: Favorite band?
Eric: For the past couple years, my favorite musician has been Kamasi Washington. I’ve seen him in concert multiple times – it’s a transcendent experience.

ESKW/A: Favorite ice cream?
Eric: I have a problem where I always order the strangest flavor available, and I often regret it. But the Commodore at Ample Hills in Prospect Heights is so good: salty honey ice cream with chocolate-covered potato chip clusters.

 

Sarah Holtzer

ESKW/A: Where did you grow up?
Sarah: I grew up right outside the city in Scarsdale, which is not upstate despite what some people say! I have pretty much been in New York all my life. I did undergrad in Massachusetts at UMass, grad school was in New York City at CCNY, and then in between high school and undergrad I did roughly 12 months in Israel on a gap year program.

ESKW/A: What brings you to ESKW/Architects?
Sarah: I kind of fell into the niche of affordable and supportive housing after grad school. After school I began touring firms to see what was out there, where I was exposed to this field and fell in love with it. I had started to consider a job change, and I knew that I wanted something in the same area of design. I started reaching out to my connections, putting together my resume, etc. Then before I had finalized my materials, my uncle sent along my draft level resume to Randy! I put together a quick set of work samples while on vacation in L.A., and then met with the partners one week before the work-from-home order came out. Luckily everyone is very welcoming over Zoom, so it was easy to feel like I fit right in!

ESKW/A: What do you do for fun?
Sarah: I have two current hobbies, one of which I sadly cannot do because of the pandemic (ice skating!), but luckily cycling is pandemic friendly. I recently did my first century, a 100-mile bike race, in September. It was a charity ride. I led a team through a group called ‘Yes She Can’, a nonprofit that focuses on creating community and providing enrichment for female adults with autism. My team and I raised close to $4,000 that goes directly to autism research. I plan on doing the ride again next year and hope to have an even larger team.

ESKW/A: What’s your favorite color?
Sarah: Forest green; it goes well with my hair.

ESKW/A: What’s the best New York pizza place?
Sarah: Johnny’s Pizza in Mt. Vernon. If you haven’t had their pizza, you are seriously missing out.

ESKW/A: Favorite movie?
Sarah: If Pretty Woman is on TV, I pretty much drop what I am doing and watch it.

ESKW/A: Favorite sweet treat?
Sarah: I’m not really a sweets person in general, but I won’t turn down a good chocolate-covered pretzel.

ESKW/A: What’s a guilty pleasure?
Sarah: See aforementioned chocolate-covered pretzel, or all the sushi.

 

Edward May

ESKW/A: Where did you grow up?
Ed: I grew up on Staten Island, the forgotten borough. Although I am a bit alien to my hometown, I appreciate it a lot more now that I left. It has some gems and few delightful places, but it was kind of love-hate growing up. Now for me it is more love, especially for the food. If you could encapsulate Staten Island in one phrase it would be “Italian food and above-ground pools.”

ESKW/A: What led you to this office?
Ed: I did my thesis at the Rural Studio at Auburn, and it is very much a humanitarian kind of program where we do design-build in one of the most impoverished counties in America. For me, taking a job at ESKW brought me back to that level of participation in design through helping others who are less fortunate, or societally disadvantaged. This has been a return to that kind of public interest design.

ESKW/A: How does working in NYC inspire you?
Ed: Especially after working with ESKW and dealing with a zoning-intensive project, I wouldn’t say I’m influenced by the city, but that I’m now interpreting the city in a very different manner, seeing how much the city is shaped by non-architectural entities. So it’s not necessarily that I’m influenced by the city of New York, because growing up here it has always been a part of me, but my work in architecture and at ESKW is always re-interpreting the city for me.

ESKW/A: What’s the best New York City pizza?
Ed: Denino’s Pizza, and no one is changing my mind.

ESKW/A: What’s been a perk of quarantine?
Ed: Gainful employment.

ESKW/A: Favorite movie?
Ed: Dr. Strangelove, Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb

ESKW/A: Favorite ice cream flavor?
Ed: Chocolate chip cookie dough

ESKW/A: Where would you go if you could time travel?
Ed: The day of my birth.