It’s now October (if you can believe it) and architecture and design aficionados in New York City know what that means: Archtober festivities.
Now in its tenth year, Archtober kicks off today in a retooled and reimagined hybrid form with both in-person and virtual events instead of the normal emphasis on the former. Navigating the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has no doubt presented festival organizer the Center for Architecture and over 70 partnering organizations and sponsors with a formidable challenge. The resulting decennial edition of Archtober, however, truly does manage to offer the best of both worlds as a city-wide celebration of the built environment with online-only components including exhibitions, talks, and workshops that have the potential to reach an even wider audience than they might normally reach when presented as physical events and popular in-person tours and activities held in a safe, socially-distant manner.
Among the calendar highlights, and there are many, literally hundreds this Archtober: The return of Open House New York (October 17–18), which will host tours, both virtual and outdoor/self-guided, of sites rarely made accessible to the general public; the architect-led Building of the Day tour series, which will be held in a virtual-only format on weekday afternoons and include immersive presentations/guided explorations of Heatherwick Studio’s Little Island (formerly known as Pier 55), the Noguchi Museum, the Staten Island Museum at Snug Harbor, and select sites far outside of the five boroughs like Taliesin West. There will also be special events held at a range of outdoor spaces like Wave Hill and the New York Botanical Garden with timed, ticketed entry to ensure social distancing, and online talks, lectures, and exhibitions from a range of partners including Columbia GSAAP, the Van Alen Institute, and the Bernard and Anne Spitzer College of Architecture at the City College of New York. Several of the city’s recently reopened (with safety protocols firmly in place) museums and cultural institutions including the Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of the City of New York will also be hosting in-person exhibitions.
Today (October 1) alone there are nine virtual workshops, talks, and special events on tap including the National Design Awards Virtual Gala, a talk of architectural photography hosted by the Glass House, and a lecture presented by the Municipal Art Society of New York on how workplaces might be redesigned and reinvented coming out of the COVID-19 crisis.
“New York City and New Yorkers have shown their resiliency through the pandemic and resulting financial crisis,” said Benjamin Prosky, Assoc. AIA, executive director of AIA New York and the Center for Architecture, in a statement released last month announcing that the show will indeed go on. “We are proud to have an opportunity to celebrate the incredible strength of our city and its built environment, and the institutions large and small that contribute to its rich and vibrant cultural landscape.”
Head over the Archtober website to peruse the full lineup.