City of Dreams Pavilion 2017

Submission: September 30, 2016
Registration: September 15, 2016
Language: English
Location: New York, USA
Prizes: Details below 
Type: Open


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 on Governors Island, the City of Dreams Pavilion. The 2017 pavilion will be our sixth.

The City of Dreams Pavilion will be a gathering place for people to meet, learn about the arts programs on the island, enjoy a performance or lecture, and experience the interaction of art and the historic context of Governors Island. Our theme for the pavilion, the City of Dreams, points toward the future. If we imagine a future New York City where anything is possible, what would it look like? In our wildest and most optimistic dreams, what is the future of the city?

The current state of the world is such that both economic and natural resources are extremely limited. 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 sustainable design has only scratched the surface of what is possible and necessary.

The 2017 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 2016.


1. Click here to register. You must register by September 15, 2016.
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 2017 Design Guide and reference images of Governors Island, previous City of Dreams Pavilion competition winners, and other FIGMENT projects that have been built previously on the island.

2. Submit your City of Dreams Pavilion proposal by 11:59pm ET on September 30, 2016.

3. Our jury will meet and we will notify all finalists in mid-October 2016.

  • 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.


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 on the South Parade Grounds on Governors 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 island closes for the 2017 season
  • Provide for the design and installation of the project, including sourcing all materials
  • All materials must be able to be transported on the Coursen Ferry (11’ vertical clearance)
  •  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 Trust for Governors Island, 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


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, 2016, to pavilion@figmentproject.org. You can expect to receive an email confirmation of this submission within 48 hours.


  • Registration and submissions open: May 15, 2016
  • Registration deadline: September 15, 2016 (11:59pm ET)
  • Deadline for proposal submission: September 30, 2016 (11:59pm ET)
  • First jury meeting to select finalists: around October 1, 2016
  • Notification of finalists, with comments: around October 15, 2016
  • Finalist proposal revisions due: around November 15, 2016
  • Second jury meeting to select winner: mid November, 2016
  • Winner notified: by November 30, 2016
  • Public announcement of winner: around December 1, 2016
  • Fundraising campaign begins: around December 1, 2016
  • Fabrication and Construction Begins: around March 15, 2017
  • Construction Complete: around June 1, 2017
  • Public Opening: Friday, June 9, 2017
  • FIGMENT NYC 2017: June 9-11, 2017 (anticipated dates, pending approval)
  • Summer Season 2017 on Governors Island: May 27-August 25, 2017
  • De-Installation: August 26-27, 2017

Go to the competition’s website