Current Exhibitions

October 6, 2009 - January 26, 2010

Context/Contrast: New Architecture in Historic Districts, 1967-2009

New York is often imagined as a perennially new city—a place that marks its history, as The New York Times once editorialized, “with gaping holes in the ground.” Yet in the four decades since the 1965 passage of the New York Landmarks Law—the legislative milestone inspiring those remarks—New York has become one of the most influential forces for historic preservation in the United States.

The Landmarks Law established the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission as the agency responsible for identifying and preserving the city’s architectural, historical and cultural resources. As of the fall of 2009, the Commission has designated 1,235 individual buildings and structures, 110 interiors, 10 scenic sites and 96 historic districts as landmarks. The neighborhoods explored in this exhibition—Brooklyn Heights (Brooklyn), the Upper East Side, South Street Seaport and SoHo (Manhattan) and Douglaston (Queens)—illustrate the distinctly different building types and landscapes that can define districts as historic and compel us to consider how they should or should not change.

Context/Contrast asks how the Commission’s charge of ensuring “appropriate” new architecture in historic districts has allowed neighborhoods to evolve without endangering the essential character that contributes to their public value and makes them worth protecting.

Listen to interviews between Sherida Paulsen, FAIA, AIANY 2009 President, and preservation advocates.

Read the brochure of the exhibition

ContextContrast will be on view in Washington, DC, at AIA's National Headquarters, 1735 New York Avenue, February 4 through April 28. Read the Press Release.

Exhibition curator: Rachel Carley
Exhibition design: Moorhead & Moorhead
Graphic design:
PS New York
Photography: Elizabeth Felicella

Exhibition and related programs are organized by the AIA New York Chapter, the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, and the Center for Architecture Foundation in partnership with the New York Landmarks Preservation Foundation.

Underwritten by: NY Landmarks Preservation Foundation
Media Consultant:
C.C. Sullivan

Related Programs:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009, 6-8pm
Inaugural Forum

Wednesday, November 4, 2009, 6-8pm
Roundtable discussion on "Appropriateness"

Saturday, November 14, 2009, 1-3:30pm

Wednesday, November 18, 2009, 6-8pm
Preservation in Context: Communities and their Landmarked Districts

Wednesday, February 3, 2010, 6:30-8pm
Architect Talks: Focus on 13th Street



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Photo: Bjorn Wallander
Photo: Bjorn Wallander
Photo: Bjorn Wallander

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