Ideas City 2013

IDEAS CITY is a biennial festival in New York City that explores the future of cities around the globe with the belief that arts and culture are essential to the vitality of urban centers, making them better places to live, work, and play. This year’s theme is Untapped Capital, an examination of under-recognized and underutilized resources that can be harnessed as catalysts for change. IDEAS CITY was founded by the New Museum in 2011, and is organized in cooperation with an executive committee consisting of the Architectural League, Bowery Poetry Club, The Cooper Union, The Drawing Center, NYU Wagner, and Storefront for Art and Architecture. The festival will take place from May 1-4 and will include conferences, workshops, a StreetFest, and the presentation of more than 100 independent projects and public events.

As a proud partner organization for the festival, and in keeping with the theme of Untapped Capital, the League is pleased to announce two projects that will be launched during IDEAS CITY. Little Free Library / NYC, a joint project of the League and PEN World Voices Festival in collaboration with Little Free Library, LTD, will bring ten small book shelters to the East Village and Lower East Side that operate under the premise of “take a book, return a book.” Ten teams of architects and designers were selected in a jury process to design and install a Little Free Library in collaboration with a host community organization. The libraries, which will be installed during the IDEAS CITY StreetFest on Saturday, May 4, will facilitate an informal exchange of books in the city’s public spaces. Below, the chosen design teams present conceptual illustrations and short statements about the libraries they will be building during the festival.

Also launching at the Architectural League / Urban Omnibus tent at the IDEAS CITY StreetFest is Typecast, a long-term, research-based investigation into a variety of building typologies to question what it means for a site to assume an architectural “type,” and to identify the ways in which these classifications have become stale, overly simplified, or misunderstood — how they have been typecast. Our first inquiry will focus on the isolated superblock apartment buildings known as “towers-in-the-park.” While the deficits of this typology are well known, its particular assets and latent potential have not been fully explored. As explained in more detail below, Typecast will kick off at the StreetFest with a pop-up exhibition showcasing a series of commissioned photographs of five specific sites — Co-op City in the Bronx, Sea Rise and Sea Park East in Brooklyn, Todt Hill Houses in Staten Island, Electchester in Queens, and Smith Houses in Manhattan — as well as figure-ground drawings, and a preliminary set of questions that set the research agenda.

Read on for more information about what to expect from IDEAS CITY 2013.


Published: April 22, 2013