In 1988, The New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) initiated the Architecture + Design Program to fund the independent projects of architects, landscape architects, designers, historic preservationists, and scholars that have potential to advance the field and contribute to the public’s understanding of the designed environment. Individual proposals, which must be submitted through a non-profit sponsor, have included the development of design prototypes, historical studies of building types, theoretical design studies or texts, and explorations of new technology in the design fields. While the projects have varied greatly in form and intention, all have been selected based on the Council’s stated goal of supporting innovative ideas being explored outside of traditional practice by individuals whose work may not be broadly known.
The Architectural League has served as a non-profit sponsor for designers seeking NYSCA independent project grants since the program’s inception. Funded projects have ranged from in-depth studies of New York City’s Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities, to investigations for adapting waterfront architecture to become more environmentally productive, and the creation of a new hybrid farm, educational center, and resident gathering place in Brownsville, Brooklyn.
In this feature we’re proud to highlight the work of our past NYSCA independent project grant winners. As with our Norden Fund Travel Reports, the projects below are described by the grantees, in their own words and images.
The first iteration of this ongoing feature was published on March 3, 2014. Project reports will continue to be added.
Architecture + Design Program Independent Projects grants are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Margaret Morton reveals the architecturally and culturally distinctive ancestral cemeteries of Kyrgyzstan, the subject of her most recent photography book.
Julie Farris details two temporary landscape installations on vacant lots that she created in Red Hook, Brooklyn, one of which became a permanent garden and community space.
Christopher Payne talks about his photographs of North Brother Island, a place that has jumped from human habitation to unrecognizable ruin in just a few decades.
Rebecca Hill and Matt Donham have a short animated video with a humorous, yet controversial take on perennially flooded homes and a message of productive change.
Karen Kubey discusses her research and exhibition on the legacies and future potential of low-rise, high-density housing.
Tobias Armborst, Daniel D’Oca, and Georgeen Theodore explain their interest in Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities, or NORCs, and advocate for their preservation and expansion.
Terri Chiao and Deborah Grossberg Katz detail their research into systemic homelessness and the spatial and architectural responses of small-scale homeless service providers.
View lecture videos, read roundtable conversations, and see profiles on each of the eight 2016 Emerging Voices.
Sticks by Hou de Sousa was the winner of Folly 2016. Read an essay on this functional structure by Pasqualina Azzarello, Socrates Director of Public Programs; a roundtable discussion featuring the designers among other participants; and a look at this year’s other notable competition entries.
Announcing the winners of the Architectural League Prize 2016: (im)permanence
A collection of the winning essays from the fourth annual Urban Omnibus writing competition, As Seen On [ ].