Open Call

About CFA Lab

Center for Architecture Lab is a multi-month, multi-disciplinary residency program that offers new voices in architecture and design full authorship over dedicated areas of the Center for Architecture’s platforms, allowing them to develop and share compelling and provocative content meant to elevate underrepresented perspectives.

Created in 2021 in response to the destabilizing forces of the global COVID-19 pandemic and reinvigorated racial justice movement in the United States, Center for Architecture Lab programming invites a greater diversity of professionals to participate in the fields of architecture and design and encourages our community to consider new perspectives, critical questions, and innovative solutions to systemic problems.

The Center for Architecture aims to continue to collaborate with its residents even after the residency period has concluded through public programs that continue the conversations brought up during the length of the program. Residents will also be invited to join the Center for Architecture advisory committee and be part of the selection process for future cohorts.

2023 Theme

In 2023, the Center for Architecture will launch an open call and invite up to three lab residents (individuals or organizations) to install work in an exhibition that will open in November 2023 and will remain on view through March 2024. The exhibition will be shown in the Center for Architecture’s lower-level gallery, a central space adjacent to the main lecture hall. The residents will work with a curator (TBA) who will guide them through the exhibition process and consult on content for the show. The residents will also have the opportunity to continue the dialogue around their work through public programs during the length of the exhibition and beyond. Each resident will receive a stipend of $10,000 for the duration of the residency (6 months total).

The 2023 cohort will respond to the idea of “Home.” Architecture and design shape our relationships with the public and the private spheres. The concept of home is traditionally associated with the private sphere; it is the physical and emotional space that provides a sense of security, comfort, and belonging.

In a place as diverse and dynamic as New York City, “home” can take on many different forms and meanings. In a post-COVID world, our relationship with home life has changed as home took on a multi-functional role, blurring the lines between residential and professional spaces. While the pandemic made universal the collapsing of domestic and public spaces, for many communities, especially marginalized groups, the boundaries between home and the outside world have always been in flux. For these groups, home may not be a guaranteed place of comfort and domesticity; they may have to search outside the confines of a traditional residence to find a sense of home.


The CFA Lab Advisory Committee will review proposals with the following in mind:

Accountability – How can we ensure that architects and designers are actively holding themselves accountable to diversity and inclusion, fair labor, and social justice standards in their work? What are the greatest barriers preventing this from happening?

Equity – How do we improve BIPOC equity in the architecture and design field? What roles do education, compensation, personal bias, etc. play in perpetuating the field’s racial and cultural disparity? How can this be remedied?

Impact – How does architecture shape the politics and strategy of social movements, public health policies, and accessibility? Should Universal Design regulations be the field’s norm?

Perspective – How do we better incorporate the insights of professionals in other fields most directly impacted by the decisions architects and designers make? How do we ensure that the voices of those in underrepresented communities are given equal weight in developing designs that will directly impact them?

Transgression – How can solutions, proposals, projects, etc. destabilizing and critically questioning the status quo of the profession improve architecture’s social impact?



Individuals and organizations are invited to apply. Applicants must be 18 years or older to participate in CFA Lab.


There is no fee to apply for the residency.


Application Requirements:

Applicants must submit:

  • Professional/academic background and relevant experience (750 words)
  • Proposal concept (1,000 words)
  • Supplemental materials (images, excerpts, etc)
  • At least two references (letters of recommendation or contact information)

Residency Details:

Each resident will receive:

  • Stipend of $10,000 for the duration of the residency (6 months total)
  • Informal meetings with a selection of AIANY and Center for Architecture Board members, Advisory Committee members, and additional partners

 Center for Architecture Lab residents must: 

  • Participate in an exhibition at the Center for Architecture storefront, located at 536 LaGuardia Place
    • Galleries: Approx 900 square feet
    • Wall Space: 1,150 square feet

Additional platforms available for residents:


  • Social media channels (43.1K Instagram, 42.7K Twitter, 21K Facebook)
  • Center for Architecture News vertical, with inclusion in bi-weekly newsletter (30,000 subscribers)
  • Digital exhibition on Center for Architecture website


  • In-person, hybrid, or virtual events, webinars, lectures, symposia, or workshops, etc. organized in collaboration with the Center for Architecture
  • Dedicated event space at Center for Architecture will be made available to residents
  •  Desk space available during the length of the residency at the Center for Architecture


Submission deadline: May 19, 2023
Extended submission deadline: May 24, 2023
Finalist interviews: Week of  June 12, 2023
Finalist materials due to curators: August 2023
Exhibition opening: November 16, 2023
Exhibition closes: March 30, 2024

Sponsored by
Barry Bergdoll
Hon. AIANY, Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University
Graham Clegg
AIA, Principal, Studios Architecture
Anjelica Gallegos
Co-Founder, Indigenous Society of Architecture, Planning, and Design
Mark Gardner
AIA, NOMA, Principal, Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects; Assistant Professor of Architectural Practice and Society, Parsons The New School for Design
Christine Gaspar
Executive Director, Center for Urban Pedagogy
Ken Lum
Co-Founder and Chief Curatorial Advisor, Monument Lab
Shawhin Roudbari
Dissent x Design, Assistant Professor, Program in Environmental Design, University of Colorado Boulder
Jennifer Sage
FAIA, President, Center for Architecture, Partner, Sage and Coombe
Tya Winn
Executive Director, Community Design Collaborative