Every month architects and industry insiders share their recommendations for the best exhibitions and events to visit in New York.
It’s April in New York, when the weather gets warmer, which means a narrow few weeks window before May brings the chaos of NYCxDesign and too many furniture showroom events to keep track of. So to get in the spirit I recommend these events which, while more cerebral and less boozy, are just as entertaining.
First up on April 6 is the first New York event for the much-awaited monograph of one of the city’s most exciting architecture firms, SO-IL, hosted by Parsons’ School of Constructed Environments. The firm’s new book Order, Edge, Aura explores “conceptual themes that encapsulate an attitude towards the design and realization of architecture in a time of increased instability,” and this is a not-to-be-missed chance to hear the firm’s founders expound on the book’s concept.
Throughout the month of April, make sure to stop by The Cooper Union for an exhibition of works by John Hejduk. Hejduk was the consummate architect’s architect–the dean of The Cooper Union’s Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture for 25 years and still referred to with a mythical aura. His Jan Palach Memorial honors the Czech dissident whose self-immolation in protest of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in April 1968 served as a galvanizing force against the repressive communist government in power at the time. The installation consists of two symbiotic structures: the House of the Suicide and the House of the Mother of the Suicide, both breathtakingly strange, they are a testament to the enduring power of architecture to memorialize history. Both are constructed in front of the Cooper Union’s Foundation building and on view until June 11. While you’re there don’t miss the rest of the exhibition inside, with beautiful black-and-white photographs of Hejduk’s most notable projects by photographer Hélène Binet.
In other institutional programming which aims to highlight too-often-forgotten figures and narratives in history, Cooking Sections (composed of Daniel Fernández Pascual and Alon Schwabe) are hosted by Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation on April 14th (full disclosure: I work as an Editor at Columbia GSAPP, so I’m somewhat biased). The duo will present their Empire Remains Shop project, which speculates on the possibility and implications of selling back the remains of the British Empire in London today.
On April 25th, go to SVA’s Department of Design Research, Writing and Criticism to hear from Elizabeth Glickfeld, Founder and Editor of Dirty Furniture, a fun, witty and yet frighteningly intelligent magazine with a lifespan of six issues, whose latest issue centered on toilets, and more generally publishes stories from “when design leaves the showroom.”
Lastly, if you have not yet been to New York’s newest space for architecture and design, A/D/O in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, make a weekend jaunt when the weather heats up. The space’s renovation by nArchitects is complemented by a courtyard installation titled The Factory by British collective Assemble, which leverages local ceramic production into a bulwark against capitalist forms of exploitation, in addition to making shingles for the installation itself.
If all these events leave you feeling intellectually stimulated yet parched, don’t worry, there are plenty of drinks to be had in May - cheers!