Upcoming Exhibitions

June 12 - September 8, 2014

Open to the Public: Civic Space Now

What makes public space compelling and enjoyable? What, in fact, makes it public? Government funding? Municipal policing? The recent “occupation” of parks, plazas, and squares, including POPS (privately owned public spaces) by protest movements worldwide has focused attention on the significance—and indispensability—of broadly accessible public space as a setting for political demonstration. And now, amidst the ubiquity of digital communication, the simple desires for face-to-face encounters and a sense of community, however transitory, also compel us to seek out the shared experiences that public spaces provide. Yet public space, often slow in the making, is easily compromised. Vulnerable to market pressures, public space loses its essential character through excessive commercialization, branding, and programming. Its creation and maintenance require both patience and vigilance.

The contemporary public spaces presented in this exhibition—thirteen in New York and one each in the nation’s three next largest cites, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston—demonstrate a broad range of approaches to design, access, financing, and management. These case studies are primarily dedicated to congregation, circulation, or contemplation, though many combine elements of all these functions. Whatever their use and impact, however, each of the spaces seen here is intended to serve the public—as complex, confounding, and contested as that goal can prove to be.

Curator: Thomas Mellins


Open to the Public: Civic Space Now is an initiative of the Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, 2014 Presidential theme: ‘Civic Spirit:Civic Vision.’

Open To The Public: Civic Space Now from Center for Architecture on Vimeo.


Share your spaces with the Center for Architecture and become part of the Open to the Public: Civic Space Now exhibition!

Respond to the following questions by posting your responses on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook with the respective hashtags:

- What's your favorite public space? #myfavoritespace
- What space would you like to visit? #visitheresoon
- What public space needs our help? #saveourspace

Submitted images will be added to a feed throughout the duration of the exhibition.

Don't forget to include our exhibition's hashtag! #civicspacenow

Open to the Public: Civic Space Now - Suggested Reading List

Open to the Public Symposium, 6/14/14



Exhibition Opening
Thursday, June 12, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Open to The Public Symposium
Saturday, June 14, 9:00 am - 6:30 pm

AIANY Featured Guide Boat Tour - Adam Yarkinsky, FAIA
Sunday, June 15, 5:15 pm - 6:45 pm

Exhibition Open House
Monday, June 16, 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Modern Architecture in the West Village and Meatpacking District
Saturday, June 21, 10:30 am - 1:00 pm

AIANY Featured Guide Boat Tour -  Signe Nielsen FASLA
Sunday, June 22, 5:15 pm - 6:45 pm

Roosevelt Island: 1970s “New Town in Town” To FDR Four Freedoms Park (Walking Tour)
Saturday, June 28, 11 am - 1:30 pm

Public Space: Community and Privacy
Wednesday, July 2, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

NYU & Washington Square: Changing Strategies of Growth and Design
Saturday, July 5, 11:00 am - 1:30 pm

Midtown Manhattan-Modernism Evolving: Crosstown Section: 53rd ST. (Approx.) East To West (Walking Tour)
Saturday, July 12,10:30 am -1:00 pm

West Side Story: Evolution of Lincoln Center (Walking Tour)
Thursday, July 19, 10 am - 11:30 am

Who Pays For Public Space?
Thursday, July 24, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

“Remembering The Future”: Architecture at The 1964/65 New York World's Fair (Walking Tour)
Saturday, July 26, 11:00 am
- 1:00 pm

9/11 Memorial and World Trade Center - Architecture, Urban Planning and the History of the New and Original WTC (Walking Tour)
Saturday, August 9, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Midtown Manhattan-Modernism Evolving: East 42nd St. United Nations and Vicinity (Walking Tour)
Saturday, August 16,
10:30 am - 1:00 pm

New York's Civic Center: History of Its Urban Development & Architecture (Walking Tour)
Saturday, August 23,
10:30 am - 12:30 pm

The High Line, Hudson River Park and New Architecture in West Chelsea and The Far West Village
Saturday, August 30, 10:30 am - 1:30 pm

The Future of Public Space
Friday, September 5, 6 pm - 8 pm

Midtown Manhattan-Modernism Evolving: The Park Avenue Corridor (Walking Tour)
Saturday, September 6, 10:30 am - 1:00 pm


Open to the Public: Civic Space Now is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

This exhibition was made by possible by the generous support of the following sponsors:



Ennead Architects
Grimshaw Architects
Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects
Peter Gisolfi Associates
Robert A. M. Stern Architects
Skidmore, Owings and Merrill
Studio Daniel Libeskind
Thomas Phifer and Partners

Capalino + Company
Desai Chia Architecture
Handel Architects
Ibex Construction
Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
Magnusson Architecture and Planning
New York Building Congress
Stephen B. Jacobs Group
Syska Hennessy Group
TEN Arquitectos
Thornton Tomasetti
Zetlin & De Chiara

List as of May 15, 2014

back to exhibitions list


The Center for Architecture
536 LaGuardia Place
NY, NY 10012
(212) 683-0023

Gallery Hours
Mon-Fri: 9am to 8pm
Sat: 11am to 5pm

Office Hours
Mon-Fri: 9am to 5pm