AIA Center for Architecture



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1 The American Institute of Architects’ New York home base is smack in the heart of NYU country, but that doesn’t mean it’s swarmed with students—in fact, we rubbed shoulders with architectural rock star Craig Dykers (one of the brains behind the National September 11 Memorial & Museum) on our visit. Other notable patrons include architects Peter Eisenman (Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe) and Rem Koolhaas (the Seattle Central Library).

2 Avid bicyclists should park their wheels in the David Byrne--designed, doggy-shaped bike rack, right in front of the museum’s entrance.

3 Notice something funny about one of the walls in the stairwell? It’s a remnant from the Center’s April exhibition, “Make It Work: Engineering Possibilities.” Made of ductile concrete, it looks like a plane of DNA double helices and is damn near as strong as steel.

4 Check out the geothermal unit: It may look like any other pipe, but it’s actually a well that runs as deep as the Empire State Building is tall, and is responsible for heating and cooling the Center.

5 In 2005, the AIA mounted an exhibit called “Two Columbus Circle (plus): Museum of Arts & Design and Allied Works Architecture,” which unveiled MAD’s proposal for revamping the facade of modernist Edward Durell Stone’s “Lollipop Building.” Preservation group Landmarks West was up in arms over the plan, which naturally looked nothing like the architectural eyesore that had inhabited 2 Columbus Circle since the ’60s. The group protested the exhibit’s opening reception by standing outside the Center’s 150-square-foot-square storefront window.

AIA Center for Architecture, 536 La Guardia Pl between Bleecker and W 3rd Sts (212-683-0023, Mon--Fri 9am--8pm, Sat 11am--5pm; free.


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