Competition Overview

About the Competition

The City of Dreams Pavilion will function as a gathering place for people to meet, learn about the various arts programs on Roosevelt Island, and enjoy a performance or lecture.

The competition’s theme, the City of Dreams, points toward the future. Today, 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 transformation the basic practices that have driven us to our 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 is a two-stage competition. In Phase I, a jury of leading architects and other industry professionals will review initial submissions and select finalists. For Phase II, 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.

Registration Requirements

Registration deadline: September 15, 2019 (11:59PM ET)

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, along with previous City of Dreams Pavilion Competition winners.

Proposal Criteria

Instead of a typical design competition, the City of Dreams Pavilion asks entrants to consider how they would construct a 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 and installation process should have as little impact as possible on the environment.

Entrants should submit where their materials will 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.

Ultimately, 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 (DOB)
  • 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

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 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 of 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 you feel comfortable with: hand drawings, Sketchup, Illustrator, and CAD are all perfectly acceptable. The most important thing is clarity. 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 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 You can expect to receive an email confirmation of this submission within 48 hours.

Submissions Timeline and Instructions

Registration deadline September 15, 2019 (11:59pm ET)
Deadline for proposal submission September 30, 2019 (11:59pm ET)
First jury meeting to select finalists early October 1, 2019
Notification of finalists, with comments mid-October 15, 2019
Finalist proposal revisions due mid-November 15, 2019
Second jury meeting to select winner mid-November  2019
Winner notified November 30, 2019
Winner announced early December 1, 2019
Installation begins mid-March 15, 2020
Public Opening Saturday, June 6, 2020
FIGMENT NYC 2020 June 6-7, 2020
De-Installation August 29-30, 2020



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