Flatiron High and Low Exhibition at the Van Alen Institute

small flatiron high and low

The rich architectural heritage of one of New York’s historic districts is the subject of “Flatiron High and Low,” an exhibition of photographs, architects’ renderings, vintage views, and film footage to be presented by Van Alen Institute in cooperation with the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Business Improvement District. The exhibition, free and open to the public weekdays between noon and 5 pm, will be on view at Van Alen Institute from Wednesday, October 28, through Friday, December 11. A panel discussion with distinguished architects and architectural historians is slated for Tuesday, November 3, 6:30 pm, also at Van Alen Institute. RSVPs (events@flatiron.org) are required for the panel discussion.

“Flatiron High and Low” spotlights two centuries of building culture in the Flatiron district. The exhibition imaginatively explores the multiple meanings of high and low—from height and cost to technology and culture—and showcases the built juxtapositions, typological mixtures, and architectural inventions characteristic of this Manhattan neighborhood.

In addition to the Flatiron’s centerpiece park and namesake building, the exhibition will include a variety of built and unbuilt projects representative of the district’s history: charitable hospices and high-end hotels, popular entertainment venues and high-culture institutions, ephemeral spectacles and high-tech enterprises. Among the featured projects will be Roger Ferri’s visionary “green” skyscraper of 1976, an unbuilt project for the northeast corner of Madison Square Park.

The exhibition is curated by architectural historian Joan Ockman and designed by architect Eunjeong Seong. Urban archivist Miriam Berman, author of Madison Square: The Park and Its Celebrated Landmarks, is the exhibition consultant, and selections from her collection of vintage postcards will be on view in the show. Participants in the panel discussion will be architect Shohei Shigematsu, partner in the Office for Metropolitan Architecture and director of OMA*AMO New York; Robert A.M. Stern, founder and senior partner of Robert A.M. Stern Architects and Dean of the Yale School of Architecture; Carol Willis, architectural historian and founder of the Skyscraper Museum; and James Wines, artist, architect, and founder of SITE, the multidisciplinary architecture and environmental arts organization. The moderator will be Deborah Berke, principal of Deborah Berke and Partners Architects and professor of architectural design at Yale.

Special walking tours based on the exhibition will be offered by the Flatiron Partnership. An opening reception, free and open to the public, will take place at Van Alen Institute on Tuesday, October 27, 6:30 pm.

Exhibition Dates:
October 28—December 11, Monday—Friday 12-5pm

Opening Reception:
Tuesday, October 27, 6:30-8:30pm

Panel Discussion:
Tuesday, November 3, 6:30-8:30pm

Exhibition Location:
Van Alen Institute
30 West 22nd Street
New York, NY 10010

The exhibition is made possible by sponsorship and support from Newmark Knight Frank, managing and leasing agent for the Flatiron Building and 230 Fifth Avenue; the Ace Hotel, 20 West 29th Street; ’wichcraft, 11 East 20th Street; FotoCare, photography and printing specialists at 41 West 22nd Street; and Avery Digital Fabrication Lab at Columbia University.

About Van Alen Institute:
Van Alen Institute promotes innovative thinking about the role of architecture and design in civic life. Among our activities are design competitions, lectures and symposia, exhibitions, publications, research and advocacy. Our programs engage a broad constituency of people in New York City, the nation, and around the world who participate in shaping the designed environment, from architecture students to emerging and established professionals to the interested public. For more information, please visit www.vanalen.org.

About the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership:
The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Business Improvement District, formed in 2006, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to enhance the area’s reputation as one of New York’s most vital and exciting neighborhoods. This is undertaken by maintaining a clean and safe environment for those who live, work and visit the area; by spearheading area improvement projects; and by marketing the diverse business and retail options in this vibrant and historic neighborhood. For more information, please visit www.discoverflatiron.org.


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