For generations, architects have helped shape the New York skyline into one of the most remarkable sights in the world. This spring, they will add hundreds of new forms to the city’s silhouette—only this time, they’ll do it with kites.
On May 9th, architects, designers, artists, and assorted kite lovers will converge on Manhattan’s Riverside Park for the first annual FlyNY, an international kite design competition. Participants will put their designs to the test before a panel of judges including, among others, architect Michael Sorkin, Surface magazine co founder Riley Johndonnell, and Queens Museum of Art curator Erin Sickler. The top three designs will be featured in an article in the June issue of Metropolis magazine, and all winning kites will be auctioned off at a party in Chelsea on May 28, with proceeds benefiting Architecture for Humanity.
A number of prominent New York architecture firms will showcase kites alongside design enthusiasts from around the world. One participant, architect Heinrich Hohmann, grew to love kites growing up in the 1960s in Germany’s remote Black Forest. “I remember long summer afternoons lying on my back in the drying hay and watching a diamond-shaped kite in the sunlight,” says Hohmann. Today, he travels to competitions around the world, applying his architectural training to the design and production of intricate kites. Sponsored by European magazine Kite and Friends, he will visit the United States for the first time this spring to compete in FlyNY.
Another entry comes from a trio of artists who met in Columbia University’s MFA program. “I thought (FlyNY) was interesting partly because it wasn’t specifically geared to the same kind of audience that I usually make art for,” says photographer Fiona Gardner, who is collaborating with friends Annie Shaw and Noah Fischer. With past work including documenting the lives of subway-sponsored beauty pageant winners (Gardner), converting a barbershop in Los Angeles’ Chinatown into an art gallery (Shaw), and working with a German theater group as a Fulbright scholar (Fischer), the group is enthusiastic about the competition’s site-specific and performative possibilities.
For more information on FlyNY or to register for the free competition, visit the FlyNY website