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Storefront for Art and Architecture at 97 Kenmare Street

Even if you haven’t been to an exhibit at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in Nolita, you’ll recognize its unique deconstructed facade of windows that open and close. Some visitors don’t even know which opening is the official front door and people have been known to climb in through the windows, Storefront tells us. Founded in 1982 and dedicated to presenting innovative and provocative work at the intersection of art and architecture, the Storefront for Art and Architecture has an impressive archival collection of material that includes original artwork and wild conceptual designs, from some of today’s leading architects like Diller + Scofidio, Steven Holl and Lebbeus Woods.

Led by curator Chialin Chou, who began work on the archives two years ago, the Storefront for Art and Architecture archives will officially open next Thursday in Industry City. We’re excited to offer this sneak peek of the space as well as announce an new partnership with Storefront to show readers materials from the archive, as a new primary source for our column The New York City That Never Was.

Storefront for Art and Architecture Archives-Industry City-Brooklyn-NYCStorefront for Art and Architecture Archives in Industry City

The first phase of the Storefront Archive project is to preserve the historic material, some which is at risk of deterioration. Digitization of the materials will begin in 2016, though Chou has been digitizing some materials already. These materials will be available both on the Storefront website and the Google Cultural Institute website.

Among the many unique materials in the archive, a conceptual competition to reimagine the Statue of Liberty:

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Reimagining the Upper East Side Whitney Museum as a controversial addition was proposed in 1985, in Before Whitney:

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Storefront for Art and Architecture Archives-Industry City-Brooklyn-Sunset Park-NYC_4“Architecture is not dead. Only the architects.” Sketch and quote by Dean Vollendorf

From the open call competition Money on Money to redesign the one dollar bill:

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In 1982, as one of the first competitions organized by Storefront, architects were asked to re-imagine the Gowanus Canal then suffering under urban neglect:

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From Storefront’s public campaign to preserve the Garden of Eden, in the Lower East Side, a community garden designed by Adam Purple in an abandoned  lot:

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The original plan sketch for the Storefront facade by Vito Acconci, designed initially to be temporary: 

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The archival project commenced with support from the New York State Archive Documentary Heritage Program (DHP) and the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). Storefront aims to have the archive be a resource for design professionals, academics, for journalists, policy makers, and community organizers, as well as the public. On Thursday, at an event open to members of Storefront, the archives will be officially opened with a reception following at Industry City Distillery.

Next, see 10 outrageous architectural plans for NYC that never came to be. Get in touch with the author @untappedmich.

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