New York State Pavilion by Philip Johnson
New York State Pavilion by Philip Johnson

10 of the best sites to explore during Open House New York this weekend

The Open House programme, which gives the public a chance to see buildings and sites that are usually off limits, comes to New York this weekend. Here's 10 places we recommend to explore over the next two days.

Austrian Cultural Forum

Austrian Cultural Forum

With one of the most distinctive facades in Manhattan, architect Raimund Abraham's slender tower has housed Austria's cultural representation offices since it was completed in 2002.

Sandwiched between two structures in Midtown, the building reaches 81 metres high but is only 7.5 metres wide. Behind its glass and metal frontage, which slants away from the street towards the top, is a series of exhibition spaces, a theatre, a library, and apartments for the institution's officers.

11 East 52nd Street Midtown, Manhattan. Saturday 10am-6pm.

Brooklyn Army Terminal

Brooklyn Army Terminal

This vast structure by renowned Beaux Arts architect Cass Gilbert once served as the biggest military supply in the US, and was the largest concrete building in the world when completed in 1918.

Derelict for many years, it has now been turned into an industrial campus that is home to more than 100 tenants and 3,600 employees.

140 58th Street, Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Saturday and Sunday, 12-5pm.

Concrete Plant Park

Concrete Plant Park

The giant red structures of a once-active concrete plant now form landmarks as part of this waterside park designed by James Mituzas in 2009.

Tours of the site during Open House weekend will also take in an abandoned Cass Gilbert-designed rail station, which is slated for redevelopment to link the park with the Bronx River Greenway.

Hunts Point, Bronx. Pre-booked Sunday tours only.

Marcel Breuer buildings at Bronx Community College

Marcel Breuer buildings at Bronx Community College

Modernist architect Marcel Breuer and his associates completed five building's for the Bronx campus of City of New York University between 1959 and 1970.

Among the reinforced concrete structures is the landmarked Begrisch Hall, which lifts up at both ends with sloped cantilevers springing from a central point.

2155 University Avenue, University Heights, Bronx. Sunday 12-4pm.

Manhattan 1/2/5 Sanitation Garage and Salt Shed

Manhattan 1/2/5 Sanitation Garage and Salt Shed

Although they don't sound like the most appealing choice, these structures have received acclaim since they were created for New York's Department of Sanitation by local firms Dattner Architects and WXY earlier this year.

The garage features a double-skin facade and perforated metal fins, while the faceted form of the nearby salt shed is designed to emulate a salt crystal.

Hudson Square, Manhattan. Pre-booked Sunday tours only.

Find out more about the Sanitation Garage and Salt Shed ›

New York State Pavilion by Philip Johnson

New York State Pavilion

Left abandoned for years, the pavilion designed by modernist architect Philip Johnson for the 1964 New York World's Fair creates an imposing silhouette on the Queens skyline.

Its three tall concrete observation towers are recognisable from films including Men in Black and Iron Man 2, while the lower portion has recently received a fresh lick of yellow paint.

Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens. Sunday 12-4pm.

Trouthouse by Thread Collective


Architecture firm Thread Collective built and now occupy this Bushwick townhouse, which is clad with planks repurposed from the old Coney Island boardwalk.

The interior features bold splashes of colour to contrast with the white walls and concrete flooring.

225 Troutman Street, Bushwick, Brooklyn. Saturday 10am - 2pm.

Urban Post-Disaster Housing Prototype

Urban Post-Disaster Housing Prototype

Brooklyn firm Garrison Architects unveiled its full-size prototype for post-disaster housing, described as "a step forward in the way that cities respond to natural disasters" like hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, in 2014.

The modular housing is designed be installed within 15 hours on any site, giving displaced city residents a temporary home without asking them to leave their community.

Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn. Pre-booked Saturday and Sunday tours only.

Find out more about Urban Post-Disaster Housing Prototype ›

VIA West 57 by BIG

VIA 57 West

Facing the Hudson on Manhattan's West Side, VIA 57 West is Bjarke Ingels Group's first completed project in North America.

Access to the central courtyard – which has the same proportions as Central Park – will provide visitors with close-up views of the building's unusual tetrahedral form, copious balconies and metal cladding.

Midtown, Manhattan. Pre-booked Saturday tours only.

Find out more about VIA 57 West ›

Westbeth Artist Housing

Westbeth Artist Housing

The largest artist community in the US was originally built to house the Bell Telephone Laboratories, before conversion into studios by architect Richard Meier in 1970.

Tours will encompass the basement, artists' spaces, exhibition areas, and a roof deck with expansive views of the city and harbour.

55 Bethune Street, West Village, Manhattan. Saturday and Sunday, 12-6pm.