Architecture and Design Month: 31 days and 100 ways to celebrate design in NYC. As Archtober (October 1-31) unfolds, Roger Smith hits the ground running to bring you the best highlights from the festival’s ‘Building of the Day’ series. Not to mention the rousing exhibitions, eye-popping installations and glittering events happening at these landmarks across the Big Apple.
140 Essex St
The Lowline has transformed a historic trolley terminal on the Lower East Side of NYC into the world’s first underground park. Using innovative solar technology, the previously abandoned and disused space has been transformed into a beautiful respite and cultural attraction in one of the world’s most dense, exciting urban environments.
David Zwirner Gallery
537 W 20 St
Representing more than 40 artists, such as Yayoi Kusama, Dough Wheeler and Dan Flavin, and eight artists’ estates, David Zwirner has two galleries in Chelsea. The newer 20th Street gallery, opened in 2013, is a LEED-certified new-build by Selldorf Architects. The industrial edge of the exposed concrete facade is tempered by teak window frames and panelling at the entrance. Fred Sandback: Vertical Constructions is on view until October 22. Organized in conjunction with the Estate of Fred Sandback, the exhibition has recreated the artist’s important 1987 mid-career solo presentation at the Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster, which featured six new works that each uniquely engaged vertical space.
Columbus Circle subway station
Turnstyle is a privately-funded retail development that transforms a heavily traversed public passageway in the Metropolitan Transit Authority subway system into a vibrant public space for shopping, eating, and gathering. Extending from West 57th to 58th Street below Eighth Avenue and above the train tunnel, the 365-foot-long mezzanine level concourse connects the Columbus Circle station to multiple sidewalk entries and building lobbies. The project brings a familiar street-level urbanism into the underground space. Don’t miss other public art in the station, like Whirls and twirls (MTA), 2009 by the late conceptual artist Sol LeWitt.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
625 Fifth Ave
The massive 1878 Gothic Revival structure, designed by architect James Renwick Jr., is a decorated Roman Catholic cathedral church and one of the most prominent landmarks of NYC. Archtober is the perfect time to explore the 138-year-old landmark.
Museum of the City of New York
1220 Fifth Ave
The Museum of the City of New York celebrates and interprets the city, educating the public about its distinctive character, especially its heritage of diversity, opportunity, and perpetual transformation. Founded in 1923, the red brick with marble trim museum was built in 1929 and was designed by Joseph H. Freedlander in the geo-Georgian style, with statues of Alexander Hamilton and DeWitt Clinton by sculptor Adolph Alexander Weinman.
390 Park Ave
Gordon Bunshaft and Natalie de Blois’ seminal skyscraper is a triumph of the International Style. Completed in 1952, it was only the second building to use floor-to-ceiling glass windows to achieve the modernist ideal of a curtain of glass. It has served as a model for almost every NYC skyscraper that followed. This Archtober, dine out at Casa Lever for refined Milanese dishes at the restaurant’s sleek, modernist space in Lever House.
945 Madison Ave
The 1966 Breuer Building hosts collaborative projects between the Whitney and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. While its Upper East Side location places it among the city’s venerable museums (the Met, Guggenheim and Cooper-Hewitt), the landmark building designed by Bauhus-trained architect Marcel Breuer stands out in the neighborhood, known for its quintessential liveried doormen and socialites carrying bang upon bag after a day’s shopping on Madison. Skip the swanky stores and explore the art of the 20th and 21st centuries, like a landmark exhibition featuring more than 100 photographs by Diane Arbus, on view until November 27.