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Meet the 2013 Curbed Young Guns: Ari Heckman

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Curbed Young Guns, now in its first year, aims to identify promising up-and-coming talent (35 and under) in the fields of architecture, interior design, and urban development. For the next few weeks, Curbed National will run individual stories on each Young Gun; here's a look at a member of the Class of 2013 based in New York:

Many of the 2013 Young Guns have deep family ties to design, architecture, or real estate, but Ari Heckman, 30, has roots in all three, from his mom, a residential interior designer, and his dad, "an amateur real estate investor," to his grandfather, an architect. "I think it was really through him that the different strands of my background coalesced and I realized that I wanted to be in an industry centered around design and real estate, but I didn't want to be an architect," Heckman, 30, says. "I say that mostly because he would always tell me that the real estate developer—the owner—is the one who makes the decisions. That made an impression very early on."

After graduating from the architecture school at Cornell, Heckman moved to Argentina for a little while and returned to his native Providence to work for developer Arnold "Buff" Chace, a new urbanism pioneer who "was definitely a mentor in making me understand development in a more holistic way," Ash recalls about working on large-scale revitalization projects around the city. "It was cool because it wasn't just about converting these buildings into a new use, it was actually about creating a neighborhood. It was an opportunity to invent something."

The quotable Heckman, over on Curbed National. >>