October 1 – November 30, 2023

Applications due July 7, 2023

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Practical Info
︎︎︎ Block House
︎︎︎ Download PDF

2023 Fall Residency
at the Block House


The Institute for Public Architecture (IPA) welcomes applications for the Independent Projects Residency based at the historic Block House on Governors Island.

Emerging and mid-career architects, urbanists, landscape architects, designers, and those committed to the public realm in all disciplines are invited to apply. Applicants will bring their own interests and projects to the program and will receive opportunities to present their work to the public over the course of the Residency. Fellows receive invaluable project support through access to subject matter experts and resources relevant to their project.

IPA Fellows are among the first civilian residents to live on the Island since the Coast Guard’s exit in 1996. Fellows will enjoy unparalleled historic, natural, and urban resources with direct access to downtown Manhattan and waterfront Brooklyn neighborhoods via ferry. The IPA is one of more than twenty arts, cultural, educational, and environmental nonprofit organizations-in-residence on the Island, forming a unique community that connects with a diverse and growing audience of nearly one million annual visitors.

Who Should Apply

The Residency program is open to applicants from diverse backgrounds, educations, experiences, and aspirations. Applicants may be architects, urbanists, landscape architects, designers, working in theoretical or practical disciplines, with an emphasis on the public realm. The program is best suited to applicants with a clearly developed focus and/or approach who need time and space to work independently.

Program Goals

This program is designed to support Fellows with research and design projects at any stage of development who would benefit from sharing their work in the collective, interdisciplinary context of the Residency. To that end, time will be set aside throughout the Summer for Fellows to present and discuss their work with the cohort, IPA staff, guests, and members of the public.

During the Residency, Fellows’ work can be presented in any format: academic papers, articles, and/or book chapters, film, installations, drawings, models, macquettes, among others. The program will culminate in an exhibition of work at the Block House, and eventually, a publication.

Program Structure

This program offers Fellows the opportunity to bring their own interests and projects to New York City, with its vast network of expertise and leadership in the fields of architecture, urbanism, and design. Fellows will be asked to present the progress of their work to the public in a series of Open [Block] House events on Governors Island. Each Fellow will also receive invaluable project support through the IPA’s network of subject matter experts and resources. 

Programming includes:

  • Open [Block] House: A series of public events at the Block House invites visitors to engage in conversation with Fellows about their work.

  • Weekend Open Library: The Block House design library and gallery is open to the public on weekends. Fellows are invited to interact with visitors and share the progress of their work.

  • Dinner Parties: A series of curated evenings are held throughout the Summer with guests and former fellows invited to dine with the cohort.

  • Cohort Activities: Fellows are invited to join scheduled walking tours, field trips, museum and archive visits, and events on Governors Island and around New York City.

About the IPA

The Institute for Public Architecture, based in the historic Block House on Governors Island, uses design to address social and physical inequities in the city through our signature selected topic Fellowship and independent project Residency programs, and related public lectures, exhibits and publications.

The IPA believes in a future in which design is used as a tool for facilitating social justice and the public has a voice in all decisions that shape our built environment.

︎︎︎ Apply
Practical Info
︎︎︎ Block House
︎︎︎ Download PDF

︎︎︎ Learn more about the IPA

Valentina Angelucci
2022 Fellow
There are few places that one can spend an extended period of time and still feel a sense of awe and wonder just by being there. This is what it was like to live in the Block House on Governors Island. Everyday waking up in our own park, and everynight going to sleep on an island that we share with only 6 other people and the best view of lower Manhattan. We often felt like we needed to pinch ourselves at the privilege. Life on Governors Island provided a very special and sacred time to write, think, draw and make, with a group of like-minded, intelligent, creative and kind people. It provided us with the freedom and support to bring our ideas to life!

As Fellows of the IPA we had the opportunity and platform to network with people who are experts in their field, and learn from the cumulative knowledge and experience of the IPA Board. Along with the work we were there to do, we also got to enjoy many other fun organized activities over the residency such as dinner parties and bike tours. One of the things I cherish most about the experience was living with great housemates, my fellow Fellows. As a combination of people we were very good together and have become good friends, since working together, eating together, taking care of each other, and of course, book and wine shopping! Our daily conversations at sunset on the stoops were one of my favorite times of day. We often cooked and ate together, and took evening strolls around the island. We also got to build connections with other tenants of the Island, such as gardening with Savona from the West Harlem Art Fund, and tours by the Friends of Governors Island and the National Park Service. This community welcomed us, and it felt great to be a part of them. This was one of those once in a lifetime experiences that I will cherish for many years to come. This sabbatical away from the real world to work on our own projects was refreshing and restorative on a personal level, but most importantly I feel like I truly got in touch with my own way of making and designing, and is invaluable in itself!

Line Algoed
2022 Fellow
Governors Island and the Block House provide an ideal setting for a highly productive residency. Its peace and quiet, its natural surroundings, even its eeriness, it is an inspiring and wonderful place to work. I used the IPA Summer Residency to progress on the writing of articles for my PhD in Human Geography on land tenure issues in the Caribbean. I had been working on my PhD for 5 years, finished all my fieldwork, but I was quite behind on the writing, thinking that I would need to apply for an extension of my PhD funding. However, when I arrived at the Block House, everything was in place for me to focus fully on my work. I finished more writing in these three and a half months than I did in years. Suddenly, the writing blockages that had been frustrating me were gone. Distance and difference are the secret to creativity, it is said. It helped to be taken out of my daily context, and to spend time away from academia, surrounded by visionary, creative, problem-solving people in arts and architecture.

Governors Island is a place of beauty and creativity. The many other residencies happening on the island, most of them artistic, create a stimulating setting. The weekends are bustling with activity. During the week, the island is quieter. Every morning I would take a walk, early, to Outlook Hill, and on many of these walks I wouldn’t see any other people, just birds and bees and squirrels, in the middle of New York Harbor. The island’s nature would baffle me. Often on those walks, I would go down the slides by myself, remembering what it was like to be a bewildered 5 years old. The times that I did see others I had great uplifting chats with people who love the island and take an early ferry for walks or bike rides, or with the gardening or maintenance teams. Each time I left the island for groceries or other NYC activities, I would feel happy to come back on the ferry, chat with the cheerful ferry staff, and then come home to the Block House and my fantastic housemates. Many evenings we spent on the stoops of the Block House, talking about the island, our work and life. In more ways than is possible to describe, these conversations have made their way into my work. The IPA has made this an incredible unforgettable experience, and I enjoyed every second!

Felipe Orensanz
2022 Fellow
The Institute for Public Architecture’s (IPA) 2022 Block House residency program on Governors Island was, in more ways than one, a career and life-changing experience. The unique and breathtaking setting of the Block House and Governors Island, in addition to the residency’s rich and varied program –put together by a wonderful team – struck a perfect balance between the time and space we needed for working on our projects, and the wide array of programmed group activities –which included, among others, field trips, open discussions, dinner parties, and public presentations of our work. In this sense, the residency fostered a series of tightly knitted bonds with my fellow residents and the Institute for Public Architecture’s core team, but also with its vast network of friends and professionals and with the warm, welcoming, and vibrant community of Governors Island. Looking back, I realize how privileged I was to be part of this one-of-a-kind program, and I would strongly encourage others to apply to upcoming editions. Looking forward, I am sure that the residency was but the starting point of new friendships and opportunities.

Institute for Public Architecture

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New York, NY 10003

Drop us a line: info@the-ipa.org


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