For the fifth year running, New York City will host a sprawling architecture and design festival for the entire month of October, thanks to organizers at the Center for Architecture and AIA New York Chapter. Kicking off today, Archtober 2015 features a packed calendar of site tours, panels, and events beginning October 1st and ending the 31st. Dozens of organizations will once more join to celebrate the impact of urban planning, buildings, and interior design in the quintessential city for an architecture festival, New York.
Curated each year for the design-savvy and novices alike, this year's Archtober theme is "Five Years, Five Boroughs," in reference to the five geographicalmunicipal regions that make up New York City: Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island.
2015's celebration is also distinguished from previous years with the introduction of the Center for Architecture's Archtober Hall. Located at 181 Front Street in Manhattan's Seaport Culture District, this new exhibit and event space is part of an innovative new program under the directorship of James Sanders, AIA—and sponsored by Archtober underwriter the Howard Hughes Corporation—that brings together a cluster of cultural organizations to the storied streets of Lower Manhattan.
The new pop-up space will feature two exhibitions during Archtober 2015: the Center for Architecture’s Sea Level: Five Boroughs at Water’s Edge (currently on view) and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s Åzone Terminal, opening October 23. Archtober Hall will also provide a location for Archtober partner events, including about 21st century greenways organized by Freshkills Park Alliance (October 7) and the Van Alen Institute’s “Shore Up,” a conversation looking at how cities are taking measures in reaction to rising sea levels (October 8).
This year's schedule of 100-plus events and activities kicks off today with a tour of Rockefeller University's Collaborative Research Center, the first of 31 "Building of the Day" lunchtime tours, and the opening of Designing Affordability: Quicker, Smarter, More Efficient Housing Now, exhibiting at the Center for Architecture. The exhibition explores how designers, builders, planners, homeowners and tenants craft innovative ways to reduce housing costs. (A symposium related to the exhibition takes place on October 3rd.)
Other events scheduled for the first day of Archtober include a historical tour at the South Street Seaport Museum, a "Meet the Architects" event presented as part of Dwell on Design, and a viewing of the Living Pyramid, a grand-scale site-specific sculpture by Agnes Denes at the Socrates Sculpture Park, located on the Long Island City waterfront in Queens.
Five Boroughs, 31 Buildings
Archtober may be most famous for the ever-popular “Building of the Day” series of lunchtime architectural tours, featuring everything from historic landmarks to just-opened projects and many restored iconic buildings. For each day of Archtober, a different site opens to festivalgoers who book a spot for the tour. Tours are often led by the architects themselves, and participants learn insider information while enjoying VIP access.
Festival organizers have assembled 61 partners to contribute to programming for Archtober 2015. “Our fifth annual festival will be our most memorable," says Cynthia Kracauer, AIA, Managing Director of the Center for Architecture. "Our partner and sponsor organizations together embody a complete representation of the history and the future of architecture and design work in New York and beyond.”
Kracauer adds, “Although we are the organizers, the credit for Archtober's continued success belongs to our partners and sponsors. They originally conceived of the festival five years ago, and their generosity with time and resources is the driving force behind the success of every Archtober. We're very grateful to them, and to the participants who every year display a collective passion for the built city.”
31 Days, Countless Activities
Participants can find out what's on offer by visiting www.archtober.org, but they can also visit Archtober Lounge—designed each year for the festival by Pentagram with a large-scale event calendar installation—and, beginning this year, at Archtober Hall down at the South Street Seaport. Attendees and participants can visit either space during Archtober to make plans or meet fellow festival-goers.
Highlights of this year’s festival include:
- The Architecture & Design Film Festival at Chelsea Bow Tie Cinemas: the largest such film festival in the nation, showcasing more than 25 films, five panel discussions, book signings, and Q&A's with designers and filmmakers;
- LEGO events for all ages – FamilyDay@theCenter: Everyone Builds with LEGO Bricks! and Bricks and Beverages: Professionals Play with LEGO Bricks;
- A luxury yacht tour by Classic Harbor Line of Staten Island's Kill Van Kull and Freshkills Park waterways;
- A Building of the Day tour of the new Whitney Museum, designed by Renzo Piano and located in Manhattan's Meatpacking District;
- The Brooklyn Historical Society's "This Is Brooklyn" museum tour;
- A tour of the Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning, located in the South Bronx;
- A panel discussion with the 2015 National Design Award winners at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; and
- Åzone Terminal exhibition opening, organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and hosted at the Center for Architecture’s Seaport Culture District space.
- The Designers & Books Fair, featuring more than 60 top publishers of books about architecture, experience design, fashion, graphic design, industrial and product design, interior design, landscape architecture, web design, and urban design.
“We’re really excited about this year’s Archtober calendar,” says Kracauer. “And grateful for the enthusiasm festivalgoers show every year. Without a doubt, Archtober 2015 will be our best yet!"