After being retooled and reimagined last year to offer both virtual programming and in-person outdoor tours (with an emphasis on the former), Archtober is once again embracing a hybrid format for its forthcoming 11th edition. However, much has changed over the past 12 months, and, in turn, the month-long celebration of architecture and design organized by the Center for Architecture will ease back a bit more into traditional in-person activities—exhibitions, talks, guided explorations, and much more—across New York City and beyond. But, as was discovered last year, complementing festival-anchoring in-person events with a robust lineup of virtual goings-on has enabled Archtober to expand its reach beyond the five boroughs while reaching new and diverse audiences.
This year, the Center for Architecture, which will reopen its own physical galleries and public spaces at its Greenwich Village home on October 1 to coincide with the launch of Archtober, is collaborating with over 70 partnering organizations and sponsors for the 2021 city-wide event including the Van Alen Institute, Open House New York, the Urban Design Forum, the Brooklyn Public Library, the Judd Foundation, the Pratt Institute, New York Botanical Garden, the Architectural League of New York, the Museum of Modern Art, and Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, and more.
The perennially popular Building of the Day series returns for Archtober 2021 with a bevy of predominately in-person, architect-led explorations of new and notable sites including Studio Gang’s 11 Hoyt, SOM’s Moynihan Train Hall, the Africa Center by Caples Jefferson Architects, SO – IL’s Amant Foundation campus, and the Toshiko Mori Architects-revamped Brooklyn Public Library Central Branch. And like with during Archtobers past, the series isn’t strictly limited to buildings. This year, guided explorations of parks and landscapes will be held at Heatherwick Studio’s Little Island, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, and Shirley Chisholm State Park, a sprawling (and notably soaring) new green space in Brooklyn designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.
In addition to the Building of the Day series, a number of Archtober partners will host tours and other events; several of these partners/sites are located outside of New York City proper in weekend getaway-ideal locales including the Steven Myron Holl Foundation’s ‘T’ Space arts campus in Rhinebeck, New York; Grace Farms and the Glass House, both in New Canaan, Connecticut; and Art Omi in Ghent, New York.
Proof of vaccination against COVID-19, and masks, are required for all in-person tours hosted by the Center for Architecture. In-person tours hosted by Archtober partners have established their own health and safety guidelines for attendees, which are noted on the individual event pages.
For those looking to venture even further afield from the comfort of home with no masking required, also returning is Archtober’s virtual Travel To series, which, this year, includes Los Angeles Conservancy-led tours of several projects by the late, great Black Angeleno architect Paul Revere Williams as well as an armchair tour of DL1310, a residential project in Mexico City by Young & Ayata.
As detailed by the Center for Architecture, several of the lectures and panel discussions appearing on the action-packed Archtober calendar give special focus to the pandemic and climate change and the role of the built environment in these twin crises. They include: “Documenting a Pandemic: What We’ve Learned,” hosted by the Queens Public Library on October 5. Also on October 5, Wave Hill Public Garden and Cultural Center in the Bronx will host a panel discussion entitled “Global Ecological Issues on a Local Scale.” On October 13, the New York Institute of Technology will host, “Global Futures: Transitions in Urban Paradigms,” a conversation that will explore “the enduring impact of the pandemic.” On October 16, Columbia GSAPP will host a book talk for Kate Aronoff’s Overheated: How Capitalism Broke the Planet—and How We Fight Back.
Finally, the Center for Architecture will introduce an entirely new interactive feature for this year’s Archtober festivities in the form of a mobile map dubbed the Archtober Guide to NYC. With the map, smartphone-wielding Archtober participants can “experience the city through the eyes of an architect, while being pointed towards nearby architectural sites, cultural institutions, and parks (along with spots to stop for a drink or snack!) that help define New York City as one of the country’s most stimulating design arenas,” per a Center for Architecture press release.
Head on over to the official Archtober website to view all the events, exhibitions, and activities on tap for what’s promising to be a very busy October for architecture and design aficionados in the Big Apple.