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October 15, 2014
by Catherine Teegarden Center for Architecture Foundation
A proud designer shares his 3-D view of NYC created at the Center for Architecture Foundation and openhousenewyork’s annual Family Festival. Credit: Martta Sareva
Families re-imaging a “family-friendly” NYC through play at James Rojas’s planning activity using maps of the five boroughs.Credit: Hal Eskenazi

The Center for Architecture Foundation (CFAF) collaborated with openhousenewyork (OHNY) to present the 7th annual Family Festival as part of Archtober and OHNY’s annual exploration of NYC’s built environment. During this free, weekend-long event, more than 300 parents and kids came to the Center for Architecture to enjoy a variety of art and design activities presented by OHNY, CFAF, and several other participating organizations and individuals. The goal was to build awareness of and interest in the city’s built environment among New Yorkers of all ages, and to introduce them to the many cultural institutions that provide family programming on the topic year-round.

This year’s festival took place on two levels of the Center. Participants included the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic District, the Museum at Eldridge Street, People for the Pavilion, the South Street Seaport Museum, and community planner James Rojas of PLACE IT! These organizations provided a range of arts activities, such as making masks inspired by gargoyles and famous city structures, designing a 3-D view of NYC, creating stained glass window designs, and proposing ideas for reusing the New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Rojas, an urban planner who specializes in community visioning projects, transformed the Center’s Breakthrough Space into an incubator for planning a more family-friendly city. Using base maps of key public spaces in each of the five boroughs and a treasure trove of playful and appealing plastic toys and gizmos, families laid out their proposals for making the city more livable through new buildings and public amenities. It was wonderful to see both young and old engrossed for hours in creating their visions of the city’s built environment.

The Center for Architecture Foundation offers monthly family programs for kids ages 5 and up and their caregivers. Our next FamilyDay@theCenter will be Building Ornaments on 11.22.14. Families will explore different styles of decorative building ornaments in the Center’s neighborhood, then create their own versions in clay. Pre-registration required at www.cfafoundation.org.

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