Recipe for a Room is a model-making contest about building spatial, sculptural, miniature rooms while fostering fun, creativity and professional mentorship. For the 2021 edition, two-person teams, each comprised of a student and architect mentor, will design small-scale rooms for an educational setting to benefit an NYC-area nonprofit.

For over a year, students of all ages have had their educations interrupted and their classroom environments altered. Learning now happens, at least partially, through the window of a computer screen. Even as COVID-19 cases continue to go down, the next generation of classrooms will be a universal focus of 2021 and beyond.

Recipe for a Room asks student competitors to create a space for learning for children, ages preschool to high school. These spaces can be located anywhere: outdoors, indoors, on the roof of a Manhattan high-rise, in a park, or on the basketball court of a NYCHA property. The location and design of the learning space should serve its community well. Room models should be made entirely out of school supplies.

The competition is hosted by the AIANY Interiors Committee and will benefit Volunteers of America-Greater New York, one of the oldest and largest human services nonprofits in the metropolitan New York area, with programs including:

  • Operation Backpack®, which strives to ensure all students in shelters throughout the city have a full set of school supplies in time for the first day of school
  • Bronx Early Learning Center, a vibrant, 22-classroom preschool for children between the ages of 2.9 and 5 years who have developmental delays or disabilities

Recipe for a Room winners will be determined during a real-time virtual event at 6:00 pm on Thursday, August 19. Each team will have the opportunity to present their completed room to a live audience. Two winners will be selected during the event: an audience favorite and a judges’ favorite.