Center For Architecture
New York, NY


We conceive of the NY Chapter as a Forum that actively engages the profession and the public in a vital exchange of ideas, opinions and information. For the chapter to foster this activity both internally and externally, the center will reach out to the public at street level with a media Café and an open exhibit Gallery. At the heart of the center, an expansive Forum gives form and prominence to the dialogue that defines this circle of architects.


The exhibits, the events and the dialogue will occupy the foreground, with the space serving as a neutral backdrop. This spare aesthetic combined with an open plan strategy addresses the chapter’s call for flexibility and integrates the sustainability strategy of minimal intervention. We propose that this design approach will honor the chapter’s important heritage and best support its members as leaders in addressing the pressing architectural issues of our time.


A sidewalk Café, visible to the life of the street, will actively engage the public and the architectural community in a casual, yet media-rich environment. Huge electronic media panels flank the entrance displaying information about architectural events, issues and design. Visitors may peruse current periodicals and enjoy service from the coffee cart. Café tables and chairs may be stored when open space is required. Embedded in the café floor are structural glass prisms sending natural light to lower levels. Also embedded in the floor will be stones, reliefs and fragments commemorating the city’s great architects and the chapter’s historical legacy.

Since the Gallery is visible from the street, the interested pedestrian may consider visiting an exhibit. The Gallery’s display system, an overhead grid of hanging tracks and modular panels offers numerous configurations or they may be retracted to a sidewall, freeing the space for other functions. Located at the rear of the Gallery, the Director’s Suite enjoys natural light and allows contact with visitors.


The Forum, located on the middle level, serves as the heart of chapter activity. This amphitheater space, with its glass oculus overhead, expresses the dialogue that is the institute’s core function. Here chapter members and others will exchange ideas and information with full audio visual support in a collegial setting. A naturally-lit adjoining conference room, with food service facilities, has the option of opening to the larger space for receptions.


The Resource Center, located on the lowest level, features stacks and computerized study carrels that radiate in plan from the base of the Forum above. This open-plan strategy will flexibly accommodate individual, small group and archival functions as well as a large study room that may be closed off for small committee meetings. The battered perimeter foundation wall will be lit from above to dramatize this subterranean space, triggering the image of research as archeology.

CLIENT: With Laurie Kerr Architect

AREA: 7,000 sf

RENDERINGS: Peter Matthews

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