Illya Azaroff, FAIA, is an Architect, Geographer and internationally recognized leader in disaster mitigation, adaptation, regenerative design, and resilient planning strategies with over 30 years’ experience. He is the founding director of +LAB architect whose mission is to build resilient capacity and advance goals for a sustainable, regenerative future while giving underserved communities greater voice and visibility.
Mr. Azaroff is a full professor at New York City College of Technology (CUNY) where he leads sustainability curriculum. He often works with cities, governing bodies, and design teams around the world to build resilient capacity. He is a COP-27 delegate and is pleased to be leading the next delegation for the AIA - American Institute of Architects this year at COP-28 in Dubai. Currently Illya serves as a technical expert on several important efforts including the New York Climate Impact Assessment appointed by Governor Nancy Hochul. He has advised the New York City Mayor Eric Adams transition sustainability team and founded the AIA New York Unified Crisis Task Force City & State on issues surrounding COVID19 Pandemic; receiving the 2022 Collaborative Achievement Award from AIA National as well as the Power of A Gold award from ASAE. He can be found advising several federal agencies including HUD, as part of a Resilient Housing Task Force. His work with ICC – International Code Council and ANCR - Alliance for Community Resilience has resulted in the development of a community resilience benchmarks system. Prior relevant engagements include his service as an SME- subject matter expert, with the Rockefeller Foundation 100RC as well as a Technical Advisor to HHS-ASPR-Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and response informing the NDFR-National Disaster Recovery Framework. The U.S. State Department often has Illya receive foreign delegations to exchange sustainable and resilient strategies.
Mr. Azaroff’s work to build resilient capacity ranges from large scale to small. He works with communities across the world such as Sendai Japan, Houston Texas, the island of Puerto Rico, and the US. Virgin Islands, to small towns such as the City of Oakland Park Florida. On the Caribbean island of Dominica he is a working with the first people of the Island, helping create KIGRR the Kalinago Institute of Global Regeneration and Resilience . A not-for-profit organization aimed at creating a sustainable, resilient future through a series of cross sector projects including culturally significant resilience hubs. While in Hawaii he is working with the community of Hau’ula to create a resilience hub for the Ko`olauloa region by regenerating a traditional Ahupuaʻa - a socioeconomic, geologic, and climatic subdivision of land. In 2017 his studio designed an All-hazard home in Breezy Point New York Hurricane strong home, noted as the “next generation of housing” by the City of New York’s Mayors office of Resilience. He is also an instructor with NDTPC-National Disaster Training Preparedness Center and is certified trainer for post disaster Safety Assessment Program (SAP) through CalEMA (California Emergency Management). Over the years he has trained over 4000 post disaster service workers and community officials.
Illya is honored to be a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (2021) and is a Louise Bethune Fellow (2018). Following his 2021 presidency at AIA New York State, Illya was elected to the AIA National Board 2023-25 as a director at large. His work on resilience has been published in various magazines and books, including Climate Adaptation and Resilience Across Scales by Routledge, The New York Times, Journal of Extreme events, and Architect Magazine. Especially in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Azaroff was a frequent consultant to New York City and other public entities on issues of resilience, policy and sustainability contributing to NYC The Department of City Planning - Housing Retrofit Guidelines, FLASH - Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Resilient Housing Guidelines, Enterprise Community Partners Multi-Family Resilient Strategies as well as the Keep Safe: A Guide to Resilient Housing for Island Communities and NYC Resilient Design Guidelines . Prior to New York City he worked in Germany, Italy, and Holland. Illya has a master’s degree in architecture from Pratt Institute and bachelor’s degrees in Geography and Architecture from University of Nebraska at Lincoln.