City of Dreams Pavilion 2020: Call for Proposals

Photo (c) 2018 Zachary Tyler Newton

City of Dreams Pavilion 2020: Call for Proposals

FIGMENT has teamed with the Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA) of the American Institute of Architects NY Chapter (AIANY) and the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY) to host a competition to design and construct an architectural pavilion in Lighthouse Park on Roosevelt Island, the City of Dreams Pavilion. The 2020 pavilion will be our tenth City of Dreams Pavilion.

We are excited to announce we are now accepting entries for The City of Dreams 2020 Pavilion Design Competition!

The City of Dreams Pavilion will be a gathering place for people to meet, learn about the various arts programs on Roosevelt Island, enjoy a performance or lecture, and enjoy this temporary structure. Our theme for the pavilion, the City of Dreams, points toward the future.      

The current state of the world is such that both economic and natural resources are limited and unequally distributed. A new way of thinking is necessary to solve the problems that the world faces. Inevitably, the result will be a change in the basic practices that have driven the world to its current state. One place to start to activate and energize these changes is within the architecture and design community, where the movement toward climate action has encouraged the use of energy standards that lead to a future carbon neutral built environment.

The 2020 City of Dreams Pavilion Design Competition will be a two-stage process, in which a jury of leading architects and other industry professionals will review initial submissions and select a number of finalists. These finalists will receive comments and will have the opportunity to revise their proposals. The jury will meet again and select the competition winner in November 2019. 

A. To Register and Submit a Proposal:

1. Register by September 15, 2019, here. The competition entry fees (which will be applied to the costs of building and maintaining the winning entry) are as follows: 

  • Student entries - $40
  • Individual entries - $90
  • Group entries - $140
  • After you have registered, you will receive a link to download a submission packet with the City of Dreams Pavilion 2020 Design Guide and reference images of the project site, and previous City of Dreams Pavilion competition winners. 

2. Submit your City of Dreams Pavilion proposal by 11:59pm ET on September 30, 2019.

3. Our jury will meet and we will notify all finalists in mid-October 2019.

  • Entries are encouraged from individuals or teams of architects and non-architects of any age or experience level, provided they are prepared to carry out the project. Attribution of the winner and finalists will be given based on the names of the individuals who enter, rather than to any firm with whom they are affiliated.

B. Proposal Criteria

Instead of a typical design competition, the City of Dreams Pavilion asks entrants to consider how they will construct this temporary structure in the most efficient and sustainable way possible. Entrants should consider the entire lifecycle of building materials in their submission. Whether they do this by identifying companies that produce “cradle to cradle” products, garnering sponsorships from environmental or socially conscious groups, or re-using waste from construction sites, the materials used and the installation process should have as little impact as possible on the environment.

Entrants should submit where their materials are to come from, how their structures will be transported to the site, how they will eliminate waste during installation, and how they plan to disassemble and reuse the materials after the island closes for the season. In other words, entrants are being asked to consider using "borrowed" materials—from existing construction sites and from places where the materials can be returned after the season is over and the temporary structure is disassembled.

In the end, the goal is to create a pavilion that has a net zero impact and that serves as a prototype for a new, truly sustainable, way of thinking about design and construction.

We anticipate that the pavilion will be installed in Lighthouse Park on Roosevelt Island. However, this placement is pending approval and is subject to change.

Essential requirements of the proposal are as follows:

  • Create a gathering place for 50 or more people, providing shade and rain cover
  • Provide an integrated performance area/stage for small dance performances, music ensembles, and/or spoken word productions
  • Consider the full lifecycle of the materials used—where they come from and where they will go after the summer season ends 
  • Provide for the design and installation of the project, including sourcing all materials
  • The structure must be freestanding, and cannot penetrate the ground to a depth greater than 6”
  • The design will require approval from a number of public agencies prior to installation, which may include the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC), the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), and the NYC Department of Buildings
  • Include a budget that anticipates all costs of fabrication, transportation, installation, and de-installation

Optional considerations:

  • How will the pavilion support educating the public about arts programs on the island?
  • How will the pavilion support informal performances or lectures?
  • What other kinds of activities could take place in the pavilion?

Selection criteria that the jury will consider:

  • Proposal feasibility and build ability
  • Lifecycle considerations and overall environmental impact
  • Adherence to theme
  • Design impact
  • Innovative use of materials
  • Visitor safety: the design should not give visitors the opportunity to climb or hang on the pavilion, or do anything that would be a risk to their safety

C. Proposal Requirements

As this is a blind competition, the entries should not disclose the name(s) of the entrant(s) in the content of the PDF file, only in the covering email, and in the name of the PDF file. Please do give your pavilion design a name, and include this name on each page of your submission. To ensure anonymity, it is important that the name for your pavilion is specific to the project, and does not have any relation to your personal name or the name of any firm or organization that you may be associated with.

Your entry should include a total of three (3) 11”x 17” pages in landscape format, saved into a single PDF file, as follows:

Page 1-2: Proposed Design

Please include graphics that show how your project will look, and how it will be constructed.

Please feel free to use any graphic style that is comfortable for you: hand-drawn, Sketchup, Illustrator, CAD are all perfectly acceptable. The most important thing is clarity. Please make sure these pages are labeled with the name of your proposed design.

Page 3: Supporting documentation

Please detail what materials you plan to use for the project, bearing in mind the full lifecycle of the materials used: Where do they come from? Where do they go after the project is de-installed?

Please include a budget that shows your budget for materials and expenses. Designers will be reimbursed for materials purchased up to a certain amount yet to be determined, pending fundraising for this project.

Please name your submitted PDF file in the following manner:

“name of proposed pavilion – designer or team name.pdf”

(such as: “my pavilion – john smith.pdf”)

Please do not have any security or password protection enabled on your PDF file.

The final entry should be submitted by the same individual (with the same email) who registered the submission. If a different individual submits the entry, please indicate in the email the name and email address of the original registrant.

By submitting a project, you are asserting that you are the creator of your design, and that you have the full rights or license to use any and all intellectual property contained therein. If your project is based on someone else’s work or includes someone else’s work, you must make sure that you either get permission from the creator, or adapt the original concept significantly so that it would be legally considered to be entirely your work.

Please submit your final three-page PDF file by 11:59pm ET on September 30, 2019, to [email protected]. You can expect to receive an email confirmation of this submission within 48 hours.

D. Project Timeline

  • Registration and submissions open: August 1, 2019
  • Registration deadline: September 15, 2019 (11:59pm ET)
  • Deadline for proposal submission: September 30, 2019 (11:59pm ET)
  • First jury meeting to select finalists: around October 1, 2019
  • Notification of finalists, with comments: around October 15, 2019
  • Finalist proposal revisions due: around November 15, 2019
  • Second jury meeting to select winner: Mid November 2019
  • Winner notified: by November 30, 2019
  • Public announcement of winner: around December 1, 2019
  • Fundraising campaign begins: around December 1, 2019
  • Fabrication and Construction Begins: around March 15, 2020
  • Installation Complete: June 6, 2020
  • Public Opening: Saturday, June 6, 2020
  • FIGMENT NYC 2019: June 6-7, 2020 
  • De-Installation: August 29-30, 2020

Prior City of Dreams Pavilions

2010 – Living Pavilion by Ann Ha and Behrang Behin

2011 – Burble Bup by Bittertang

2013 – Head in the Clouds by StudioKCA (Best of Year award from Interior Design Magazine in the installation category as well as a Small Projects Award from the AIA)

2014 – Governors Cup by CDR Studio (AIANY Merit Award)

2015 – Billion Oyster Pavilion by BanG Studio

2015 – Organic Growth by Izaskun Chinchilla Architects

2017 – Cast+Place by Aesop Studio

2018 - Oculi by Austin+Mergold 

2019 - Salvage Swings by Somewhere Studio


- Victoria Arbitrio  PE, SECB, F.SEI, Associate Partner, Gilsanz Murray Steficek LLP
- Scott W Briggs, AIA, Senior Associate, Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership
- David Eugin Moon, AIA, Partner, NHDM Architects PLLC / Adjunct Assistant Professor, Columbia University, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation
- Martin Hopp AIA, RIBA, Principal, Martin Hopp Architect PLLC
- Katie Yamasaki  Muralist, Children’s Book Author/Illustrator MFA, School of Visual Arts New York


FIGMENT catalyzes and celebrates an abundance of creativity and passion, challenging artists and our communities to find new ways to create, share, think, and dream. FIGMENT’s annual participatory arts event began in New York City in 2007 and has now created more than 70 events in 20 cities in 5 countries.      

FIGMENT is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization entirely funded by grants and individual donations. FIGMENT accepts no corporate sponsorship of any kind. FIGMENT is supported by public funds from the National Endowment of the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, as well as by the Fund for Creative Communities, supported by the New York State Council on the Arts and administered by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. 


It is the goal of the Emerging New York Architects Committee to encourage membership, participation, and leadership in the AIANY Chapter among intern architects, young architects (licensed 10 years or less), and emerging professionals in the fields of design and construction. The committee engages NYC’s diverse emerging design professionals through lectures, design competitions, and networking opportunities, with a focus on Professional Development, Design Excellence, and Public Outreach.

Founded in 1857, the AIA New York Chapter is the oldest and largest chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The Chapter has over 5,500 members, including 4,000 practicing architects. The AIA New York Chapter is dedicated to three goals: design excellence, public outreach, and professional development.


SEAoNY is a member organization of the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations. Presently, 39 states and the District of Columbia have structural engineers' associations, the largest of which is SEAOC, Structural Engineers Association of California, which was founded in 1930 and presently has approximately 4000 members.

The association sponsors workshops, panel discussions, lectures, and seminars with the aim of addressing topics of interest and concern to structural engineers. Our membership, which is over 500 members, includes individuals from most major structural engineering design firms in New York State.

SEAoNY also reaches out to other professionals, outside the engineering community, who work in related fields with common interests. Currently, 10% of our membership are affiliate members who come from a variety of disciplines such as geotechnical, civil, construction management, and architecture.

The purpose of SEAoNY is to advance the art of structural engineering in New York by improving the flow of ideas and building the community of colleagues.

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