Archtober 2018: Top 10 NYC events and program highlights

September 7, 2018

Archtober is New York City’s annual month-long architecture and design festival of tours, lectures, films, and exhibitions taking place during October when a full calendar of events turns a focus on the importance of architecture and design. Organized by the Center for Architecture, in collaboration with over 70 partner organizations across the city, the festival raises awareness of the important role of design and the richness of New York’s built environment. Now in its eighth year, Archtober offers something for everyone—from the arch-intellectual who wants to talk about the relationship between architecture and power to the armchair landscape architect with a thing for waterways, parks or sustainable design—in the 100+ event roster. Below, we pick 10 don’t-miss highlights in this year’s program.

Workplace Wednesday Weiss Manfredi

Workplace Wednesdays ↑
October 3, 10, 17, 24; 6:00-8:00pm
Organized by Center for Architecture


Each week of Archtober, get an exciting behind-the-scenes look at some of the most innovative architecture firms in NYC. This year’s Workplace Wednesdays include WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism, a look at the Brooklyn Navy Yard with SITU and studio visits at Todd Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Planners and Steven Holl Architects.

Archtober Times Square Heart Design CompetitionImage via Michael Grimm for Times Square Alliance

Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition Finalists ↑
October 15, 6-8 P.M.
Center for Architecture, Edgar A. Tafel Hall
536 LaGuardia Place, New York, NY 10012

This is the first-ever exhibition of proposed projects for the annual Valentine Heart Design Competition, which invites New York City-based architecture firms to design an icon that communicates and celebrates love in the heart of this dynamic city. For 2019’s competition — the eleventh in the history of the program — Times Square Arts is collaborating with AIA New York to invite eight firms to contemplate how a Valentine sent from the heart of Times Square might embrace various expressions of love, both individual and collective. Can the public art installation generate connections and ignite conversations that articulate our aspirations as individuals, as a city, as a nation, and beyond?

On October 15, from 6 – 8pm, finalists will offer public presentations on how their proposed installations approach these questions — and the winning entry will be announced. All eight project proposals will remain on display through November 2, 2018, in the Center for Architecture’s Edgar A. Tafel Hall.

Governors IslandPhoto of Governors Island via simplethrill on Flickr

The Future of Governor’s Island
Oct 19 at 6–8pm
AIA New York | Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place, New York, NY 10012


A look at the future of Governor’s Island, organized by The Trust For Governors Island

Housing Works Bookstore Cafe via Flickr cc

Special Event: Archtober Trivia Night ↑
Oct 24 at 6–8pm
Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, 126 Crosby St, New York, NY 10012


Do you fancy yourself an New York City history buff? Are you well versed in the minutiae of architectural history? Can you just not get enough of the NYC subway system? Then join fellow quizmasters at the Center for Architecture for the second annual Archtober Trivia Night!

pumpkitectureImage credit: Inhabitat via Flickr

Pumpkitecture! Architectural Pumpkin Carving Competition ↑
Oct 26 at 6–8:30pm
Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Pl, New York, NY 10012


20 New York City-based firms go gourd to gourd to compete for the Pritzkerpumpkin. Start off your Halloween weekend at the Center for Architecture’s second annual Pumpkitecture! competition! 20 New York City-based firms will go gourd to gourd to once again compete for the Pritzkerpumpkin.

Come witness architects live-carve extraordinary structures and vote for the People’s Pumpkin. Pumpkitecture! will take place on Friday, October 26 from 6:00 – 8:30 PM. The carving will commence at 6:15 and will run through 7:30. Contestants will briefly defend their designs, after which jurors will deliberate and pick the winning pumpkin.

Cnetro Botín by Renzo Piano in Santander – SPAIN

Architecture & Design Film Festival ↑
Oct 16 – Oct 21 at 2–11pm
Cinépolis Chelsea, 260 West 23rd Street New York, NY 10011

ADFF celebrates the creative spirit of architecture and design. Through a curated selection of films, events, and panel discussions, ADFF creates an opportunity to educate, entertain, and engage all types of people who are excited about architecture and design. Over 30 films will be screened. Highlights include “Renzo Piano: The Architect of Light,” “Leaning Out,” a documentary that tells the neglected story of the lead structural engineer of the World Trade Center, Leslie E Robertson, and “Rams,” a documentary about legendary designer Dieter Rams with an original score by pioneering musician Brian Eno.

Image courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Rockwell Group

Building of the Day: The Shed ↑
Oct 26 at 12–1pm
545 West 30th Street, New York, NY 10001
Architects: Diller, Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Rockwell Group


The Shed is New York’s first arts center dedicated to commissioning, producing, and presenting all types of performing arts, visual arts, and popular culture. The Shed’s building—an innovative 200,000-square-foot structure designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Rockwell Group—is designed to physically transform to support artists’ most ambitious ideas. Its telescoping outer shell deploys over an adjoining plaza to double the building’s footprint for large-scale performances, installations, and events.

Image via Untapped Cities

Behind-the-Scenes Hard Hat Tour of the Abandoned Ellis Island Hospital ↑
Oct 13 at 2–3:30pm
Ellis Island
$75 per person. This price includes your ferry ticket to and from Ellis Island.

The abandoned Ellis Island Hospital complex—once the standard for United States medical care (and later transformed to the FBI headquarters when the island served as a detention center)—has been left to decay for nearly 60 years. Now, Untapped Cities is bringing you behind the scenes for a unique exploration of the abandoned facility; on this experience, you’ll visit the contagious disease wards, the autopsy rooms and have exclusive access to places usually closed to the public. The 22-building South Side hospital complex is hidden in plain sight, just to the left of disembarking passengers headed towards the Great Hall. Looking at its desolate, skeletal frame now, it’s difficult to imagine its backstory as one of the largest public health undertakings in American history. This hard hat tour, guided by a Save Ellis Island docent, will uncover its many buried secrets.


Image: Wiki Commons

Walking Tour – Remembering the Future: Architecture at the 1964/65 New York World’s Fair
Oct 7 at 1–3pm
Meet in the cafe at the eastern entrance ( Unisphere side) of the Queens Museum of Art.

World’s Fairs have for years offered the chance for architects to explore new concepts and technologies to create memorable, visceral experiences for a broad public. Structures designed for the 1964/65 New York World’s Fair were emblematic of a turbulent period for both architecture and society. Conceived at the dawn of the Space Age, the Fair opened as the country was coming to terms with civil rights and technological and social upheaval. At the World’s Fair, Modern architecture met Pop Art. On this tour, held on the anniversary of the opening of the Fair, we examine extant architecture from the Fair, including Philip Johnson’s New York State Pavilion, Wallace Harrison’s Hall of Science, and modern sculpture by Peter Muller Monk, Jose de Rivera and others while exploring that memorable, controversial exposition.

Image: Queens Foundation for Architecture 

Build a LEGO City
Oct 13 at 11am–3pm
AIA New York l Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Placecsz, New York, NY 10012
Organized by Center for Architecture

Families will explore architecture, design and construction with LEGO bricks. Warm up with fun design challenges, playing with the basics of massing, corbeling and spanning. From there, anything goes! Create a LEGO masterpiece for our model city, inspired by New York City bridges and skyscrapers. Family Day Programs are designed for children ages 5 and up, accompanied by an adult.


Learn more about Archtober here, and view the full schedule of events.


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