September 22, 2015

1,250 Attend ALNY’s Beaux Arts Ball

1509 EUA NY Archleague NY Beaux Arts Ball 0201

Photography by Leandro Viana.

The Beaux Arts Ball, an elaborate and raucous evening begun in 19th-century Paris, hopped the pond in 1913 when it was co-opted by the American Society of Beaux Arts Architects. After decades of silence, the

Architectural League of New York

reinvigorated the event in 1990. With this new iteration, emerging architects were commissioned to design elaborate installations that lasted for one night and one night only, providing mystical settings for the revelers to party under. A full 25 years later, the event is still going strong.

Always creating an innovative theme that requires abstract interpretation, the League arrived on “Threshold” this year. The venue, the

Knockdown Center

in Queens, was converted from a doorframe factory into cultural venue and events space five years ago. From this fact, the organization derived the theme. Designers, architects and general enthusiasts danced the night away in the 50,000-square-foot space where assembly lines and machines once cranked away building products.

1509 EUA NY Archleague NY Beaux Arts Ball 0438

Photography by Leandro Viana.

As guests were questioned about the word “threshold”, many referenced the boundaries of pain, pleasure, or other sensations. Two installations by

Moorhead & Moorhead


Alibi Studio

went with the concept of portals—one with three openings surrounded by giant rubber balloons and the other, a transparent screen of aluminum. However, a suspended nylon mesh canopy punctuated with small fans by

MODU Architecture

’s Phu Hoang and Rachely Rotem dealt with the threshold of sound. As Hoang said, “We wanted to think of a threshold that was not visible or physical. Sound and its limits is one such threshold.” As the sound level in the space rose, the fans moved with greater speed and made the canopy vacillate and sway. All three installations came together to transform the hall into another world.

Co-chairs for the event

SHoP Architects

’s Vishaan Chakrabarti and MAA Design’s Maria Alataris, also husband and wife, were happy with the turn out, which topped previous years. “We’re proud to be part of this organization that is always fostering a new generation of young creators,” commented Chakrabarti. Alataris took it a step further, adding, “Only 15 years ago, we were the emerging architects. Now, we can give back.”

And what better way to foster growth than a party? The money raised by the ball went towards ALNY’s many programs supporting local architecture, design, and urban planning.

1509 EUA NY Archleague NY Beaux Arts Ball 0983

Photography by Leandro Viana.

Recent DesignWire