EVENT REPORT

See the Crazy Carved Pumpkins From This Design Festival

At the monthlong Archtober event in New York, architects took on a new medium: pumpkins.

By Michele Laufik November 8, 2017, 7:31 AM EST

Archtober is a monthlong festival that celebrates New York’s architecture and design. This was the fest’s seventh year and Pumpkitecture’s second.

Photo: Daniel Cole

When most folks think of New York City architecture, they think of sleek skyscrapers and brick facade brownstones. Not necessarily pumpkins.

But at Archtober, a festival that celebrates the city’s architecture and design, architects were able to trade their pencils for gourd goop and show off their clever carving skills.

In addition to the “Pumpkitecture” competition, the monthlong fest also featured a series of events including tours, lectures, films, and exhibitions. Organized by the Center for Architecture, in collaboration with cultural institutions and partner organizations, the seventh annual iteration took place from October 1 to 31.

At Pumpkitecture, which was held October 27 at the Center for Architecture, invited firms such as Bjarke Ingels Group and Weiss/Manfredi went head to head—or rather pumpkin to pumpkin—to compete for the Pritzkerpumpkin prize (a riff on the Pritzker Prize, architecture's highest honor). After the event, the architectural jack-o-lanterns were put on display at the Union Square Greenmarket in a family-friendly pumpkin patch viewing area.

Besides pumpkins, architects and designers also faced off in the Great Architectural Bake-off, putting their cake design skills to the test. Originally from London, the event, which was hosted by architectural firm WATG at the Center for Architecture on October 3, featured baked goods modeled after both local and international architectural structures like the Unisphere Globe from Corona Park, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Beijing National Stadium from the 2008 Summer Olympics in China. This year's winner was Davis Brody Bond and its sweet replica of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Organizers also introduced a new series called Workplace Wednesdays this year. Each Wednesday, architectural firms Studio Liebskind, SHoP Architects, and Rockwell Group invited the public to their offices for workshops, talks, and presentations. All three Wednesday events were sold out, hosting between 30 and 50 people at each gathering. The festival’s events and tours are all open to the public, but space is limited for some events such as the Building of the Day tours and Workplace Wednesdays.

Archtober organizers hope to continue growing the festival across the five boroughs next year, and are considering expanding the Workplace Wednesday series to feature more of the city’s architecture and design firms.

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