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September 13, 2016

NEW YORK, New York, September 13, 2016 – The Center for Architecture will present Authenticity and Innovation, opening on Friday, September 30 at 5:00 pm. Curated by Donald Albrecht, the exhibition, which will kick off Archtober 2016, NYC’s Architecture and Design Festival, features adaptive reuse and preservation projects outside the purview of the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Preservation and reuse are particularly relevant topics for New York City, a metropolis characterized by perennial change, continually reshaped by development pressures and architectural tastes. Many historic buildings are protected by the Landmarks Preservation Commission – about 1,500 individual landmarks and 139 historic districts. Authenticity and Innovation looks at unprotected buildings and how they have been innovatively repurposed for our time. The renewal of these structures speaks to a growing appreciation of time-honored materials and craftsmanship and their prominent place in their respective communities.

The exhibition is presented as part of “Authenticity and Innovation,” the presidential theme of Carol Loewenson, FAIA, 2016 AIANY President. The theme explores the tensions and opportunities between new technologies, new businesses, and existing buildings and neighborhoods. “The exhibition focuses on buildings that are not landmarked and could easily have been demolished, but instead were preserved and transformed for new use,” said Loewenson. “The inherent value of the selected projects can be understood through an economic, sustainability, and cultural lens, as well as for the material qualities of the architecture.”

From an abandoned trolley terminal turned underground park to a diner turned community event space, the exhibition will explore 28 New York City projects given new life by creative architects, developers, owners, and tenants. Original photography by Robert Stephenson shows the projects in their context, be it a neighborhood of old industrial buildings or a block of new developments. These photographs will be presented in contrast to historic images of the projects in their original use.

Authenticity and Innovation will also feature video testimonials by users of the adapted spaces, including Ellen Driscoll and Tony Gerber, artists with studios in the Old American Can Factory, and Alexander Olch, founder of the Metrograph Theater, formerly a warehouse.

Curator Donald Albrecht notes that the featured projects raise questions about preservation in New York City. How can the city accommodate increasing density and sustainability goals while preserving the city’s historic character? What is the relationship between preservation and gentrification? Albrecht writes, “…these projects…represent the dynamic fusion of new and old that is the core of what is authentically New York.”

Reception and Preview
Friday, September 30 at 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Members of the press are invited to the opening reception. Please RSVP to

Authenticity and Innovation Symposium
Saturday, October 1, 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Speakers: Carol Loewenson, FAIA, 2016 President, AIANY; Donald Albrecht, Curator; Justin Davidson, Architecture Critic, New York Magazine; Hilary Ballon, Deputy Vice Chancellor, NYU Abu Dhabi, Professor of Urban Studies & Architecture, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University; Hugh Hardy, FAIA, Founding Partner, H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture; Jorge Otero-Pailos, Professor and Director of Historic Preservation, Graduate School or Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University; Susan Szenasy, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief, Metropolis Magazine; Benjamin Prosky, Assoc. AIA, Executive Director, AIANY and Center for Architecture
Members of the press are invited to the symposium. Please RSVP to

Authenticity and Innovation is made by possible by the generous support of the following sponsors:

Mitchell Giurgola Architects, LLP

Andrew Berman Architect
Cammeby Realty
Loring Consulting Engineers
New York University
Pei Cobb Freed & Partners Architects
Sciame Construction
Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP
STUDIOS Architecture
Taconic Charitable Foundation
Taconic Building
Tillotson Design Associates

AKF Group
Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners LLP
Capalino + Company
Chip Loewenson & Susan Brune
Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design
Ennead Architects
Byrne & O’Neill, LLP
JFK & M Consulting Group
Prosurance Redeker Group
Robert and Joyce Menschel Family Foundation
Spacesmith, LLP
Thornton Tomasetti

Barry Bergdoll, Hon. AIANY
Jan Berman
Charina Foundation, Inc.
DeLaCour & Ferrara Architects
Tracey Hummer
Eve Klein, Assoc. AIA
Jill Lerner, FAIA
Levien & Company
RKTB Architects, PC
Richard Ruben
Jeffrey Weingarten
Henry Zachary
Zetlin & DeChiara, LLP

About the Center for Architecture
The Center for Architecture is the premier cultural venue for architecture and the built environment in New York City, informed by the complexity of the City’s urban fabric and in dialogue with the global community. The Center shares a home with the AIA New York Chapter and has the unique advantage of drawing upon the ideas and experiences of practicing architects to produce thought-provoking exhibitions, informative public programs, and quality design education experiences for K-12 students. It also leads New York City’s annual month-long architecture and design festival, Archtober. The Center for Architecture’s aim is to further public knowledge about New York City architecture and architects, foster exchange and collaboration among members of the design, development, building, scholarly, and policy sectors, and inspire new ideas about the role of design in communities by presenting contemporary and practical issues in architecture and urbanism to a general audience.


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