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10.03.2011
Editorial> The New Calendar
William Menking shares his highlights for Archtober.
Tyler Silvestro

In previous editorials we have pointed out that the depth and breadth of New York City organizations devoted to architecture, design and urban planning are unparalleled in any other major city. Chicago has its Graham and architecture foundations, Los Angeles its MAK Center/Schindler House and L. A. Forum, and London its Architecture Foundation and annual Design Festival, but New York has arguably a parallel organization to each these and many, many more foundations, centers, institutes, and galleries. Thirty-one New York architectural organizations have come together to brand the month of October as “Archtober”—a month long festival of exhibitions, lectures, activities, tours, and workshops. Archtober is a logical outgrowth of the popular Architecture Week, which was created in October 2003 around Open House New York’s yearly series of public tours, lectures, and events and the AIA’s annual Heritage Ball.

The list of Archtober events is published online or available in print at the AIA’s Center for Architecture on LaGuardia Place. The festival’s director Cynthia Kracauer has also created an Archtober Lounge at the Center that will be a hub of information for the month. Archtober will remind New York’s large community of architects how deep and varied are its built monuments and design resources. But in many other respects this festival is meant for the wider public. For instance, the program includes a Building of the Day that will feature one of the AIA’s award-winning projects from the past eight years, including special tours of some of the buildings. Then there are Open House’s annual weekend tours (on Archtober 15 and 16) and several exhibitions at the Center for Architecture on buildings, student work, and energy, including Smarter Living—The 2,000 Watt City, a show traveling from Switzerland. The Architectural League has invited newly-minted MacArthur winner Jeanne Gang to deliver the Franzen Lecture for Architecture and the Environment on Archtober 12. Kevin Roche will converse with Nicolai Ourossoff  at the iconic Ford Foundation on Archtober 17, and Janette Sadik-Khan talks bikes with David Byrne on Archtober 25. There are family workshops, too, including Design a New York City Skyscraper at the Museum of the City of New York (Archtober 15), public appeals such as the Noguchi Museum’s Civic Action: A Vision for Long Island Tour (Archtober 13), and reflections on how we respond to the built environment by psychologist Nicholas Humphrey at the BMW Guggenheim Lab (Archtober 13).

Archtober wraps up with the Storefront for Art and Architecture’s costume architecture party dubbed “Critical Halloween/On Banality” (Archtober 29) and a meet-up for the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade at the Center for Architecture (Archtober 31).  By the time Archtober comes to a close it will make clear just how deep and diverse is the architecture and urbanism community is in this city. Go out and enjoy Archtober! For a complete events list, go to www.archtober.org.

William Menking