International Students Envision Future of NYC

Event: Archiprix International — The Capital of Your World
Location: Center for Architecture 06.10.11
Panelists: Abby Suckle, FAIA, LEED AP — VP for Public Outreach, AIANY & President, cultureNOW; Andy Wiley-Schwartz — Assistant Commissioner, Division of Planning & Sustainability/Public Space, NYC Department of Transportation; Robert Yaro — President, Regional Plan Association; Roland Lewis — President, Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance
Moderator: Olimpia Kazi — Executive Director, Van Alen Institute
Introduction & Overview: Alexander D’Hooghe — Director, Archiprix & Associate Professor in Architectural Urbanism, MIT
Curators of Selected Workshops: Daniel Adams & Marie Adams, AIA — Empire Port; Neeraj Bhatia — In Grid We Trust; Brandon Clifford — Malleable Manhattan; Talia Dorsey — New New Amsterdam
Organizers: ARCAM; in collaboration with the Center for Architecture, Urban Progress, and Archiprix International
Sponsors: Underwriters: Stimuleringsfonds voor Architectuur, the Architecture Fund, Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; Sponsors: Priva; Proper Stok

Archiprix 2011

This year’s Archiprix 2011 brought NYC into the limelight, assembling international architecture students to challenge the current urban blanket and create a new New York. As an iconic hub of cultural diversity and a canvas for new thought, it suited the theme of unconventional — the “punk” of architecture, as Archiprix Director Alexander D’Hooghe put it. Three elemental truths predominated: the waterfront; building typologies; and transportation and access, primarily via the automobile. Within six days of preparation, students expanded parameters of this vertical city. Many solutions were radical. One, called “New New Amsterdam,” flooded the entire city to void its grandiosity by creating pods of compartmentalized neighborhoods. In “Malleable Manhattan,” energy was harvested in oversized floating bubbles, dividing the city in two. Many of the proposals attempted to form completely new structures, rather than work within the city’s existing infrastructure.

Panelists commended the schemes, yet stressed the importance of real and possible solutions. Although graphically the student work looked more advanced than ever, panelists felt that it distracted from practicality and well-thought-out strategies. Ultimately, panelists agreed that schools must emphasize the role of architects as master builders, designing pragmatically for societal change.