Letters to the Mayor and Competition of Competitions

April 30 – May 24, 2014


This exhibition presented two programs developed by Storefront; the first edition of the Letters to the Mayor: New York and the winning entries of the Competition of Competitions.

To learn more about Letters to the Mayor go here. To learn more about the Competition of Competitions go here.


As a civic figure, the architect has the privilege and responsibility to articulate and translate the collective aspirations of society, and specifically of those not able to sit at the decision-making tables. 


Throughout history, architects have engaged with this responsibility and the structures of economic, political and cultural power in different ways and with varying degrees of success. With the rise of globalization and the homogenization of the contemporary city, the role of the architect in the political arena has often been relegated to answering questions that others have asked. While designing the next economically driven cultural-iconic-touristic object, an increasing amount of both architects and with them, politicians, have forgotten the ethics that should be associated with architectural practice and the potential of design in the construction of public life. 


Letters to the Mayor presents fifty letters written by international architects to the political leaders of more than 20 cities around the world. Each letter provides a space of reflection for the architect to present ideas and methodologies and express some of the concerns and desires that might contribute to action within political spheres. 


Letters to the Mayor also presents the eighteen finalists of the Competition of Competitions, a project launched in 2013 that invited interdisciplinary teams of architects, artists, economists, philosophers, writers, and citizens at large to formulate their visions of the future of architecture and cities in the form of a competition brief. With the intention to provoke long-standing conventions of the architecture competition, the first edition of the Competition of Competitions drew more than 100 entries, which were reviewed by a jury of professionals and visionaries including Amale Andraos (Architect, Work AC), Paola Antonelli (Architecture Curator, MoMA), and Michael Sorkin (Architect and architecture critic).  


Letters to the Mayor is thus a compilation of briefs, facts, desires and dreams for the construction of our cities foundations and horizons. All competition briefs and letters will be sent to each respective City Mayor after being presented at the Storefront gallery.  

The winners of the Competition of Competitions were announced at the public opening of the exhibition on April 29 at 7pm. Click here.



Participating Architects

Ellie Abrons, Emily Abruzzo, Nora Akawi, Azra Akšamija, Zahra Ali Baba, Suad Amiry, Arielle Assouline-Lichten, Ana Dana Beros, Bronwyn Breitner, Alessandra Cianchetta, Odile Decq, Sonja Duempelmann, Keller Easterling, Pia Ednie-Brown, Frida Escobedo, Daniela Fabricius, Yvonne Farrell, Daisy Froud, Rosalie Genevro, Cristina Goberna, Selva Gürdoğan, Greta Hansen, Roisin Heneghan, Joyce Hwang, Catherine Ingraham, Julia King, María Langarita, Alexandra Lange, Ana María León Crespo, Ariane Lourie Harrison, Jing Liu, Yeoryia Manolopoulou, Mpho Matsipa, Mitch McEwen, Shelley McNamara, Meredith Miller, Sissil Morseth Gromholt, Elizabeth O’Donnell, Marina Otero, Mariana Pestana, Rocío Pina, Anna Puigjaner, PUSHAK, Danielle Rago, Suchi Reddy, Dagmar Richter, Florencia Rodríguez, Saskia Sassen, Deborah Schneiderman and Scott Lizama, Annabelle Selldorf, Maria Smith, Michael Sorkin, Esther Sperber, Benedetta Tagliabue, Martha Thorne, Nathalie de Vries, Marion Weiss, Sarah Whiting, Mabel Wilson, Kim Yao, Marisa Yiu, Alejandro Zaera Polo, Mimi Zeiger, Zoka Zola, and more.



Competition of Competitions Finalists


ReDesign the Discipline of Architecture 

The Architecture Lobby


Open Source Open Space: Hacking the Built Environment 

Boot/Trunk [Nicole Lindahl, Louise Mackie and Samantha Senn]

dePOLITIsign: An open call for the redesign of a USCIS office 

Min Chen & Kristin Enright

Amazonia 2020 

Civic Projects [Kati Rubinyi, Deborah Richmond , Michael Powell, Ewan E. Branda]

Deploy Yourself, Not Your Designs 

The Coalition for the Improvement of Refugee Camps [Marcy Monroe, Lee Dykxhoorn]

Second Nature 

El Corbusier


The City is The Room. The Room is The City. 

FormFictionFormat [Elena Palacios Carral, Manijeh Verghese]


grey_matter(s) [Annie Charleston, William McCommon, Megan McDonough, Shota Vashakmadze]

NO TITLES, A Campaign for Illegal Architecture 

GroundLAB [Sean Billy Kizy, Sara Lum, Rakia Seaborn, Nicholas Sharma]

Taking Buildings Down



The Discreet Architect

Local Provision Studio [Valeria Federighi, Janet Yoon]


Nature, Error, Babies 

Metonymy’s Architecture [Tom Nurmi, Jeffrey Dunn, Meagan Lehr, Erika Wilder]

Off-the-Radar: The Architecture of Non-Existing Space 

Mitnick-Roddier [Mireille Roddier, Keith Mitnick]


Rezoning the 5th Façade: Redefining New York’s City Roof Scape 

normaldesign [Matthias Neumann in collaboration with Shane T. Umman]


The Next Suburb

The Thirteenth Hour

Future Factory

Gretchen Wilkins [with Ian Nazareth and students Matthew Ellis, Ken Yip Lai, Sarah Moussa, Francisca Rodriguez, Nicholas Stathopoulos]


BLISS: Better Living through Intuitive Soft Surveillance 

Yeadon Space Agency


Into the Void: An Architectural Competition on Emptiness

Zooburbia [Felipe Orensanz, Rodrigo Duran]


Storefront x Voutsa collaboration wallpaper

Dissolvable furniture installation by Piotr Chizinski

Newsprint design by Lauren Francescone

The wallpaper installation by George Vousta is as an investigation into the language of power, mirroring the activities commonly associated with The Mayor. Shovels, ties, microphones, bows, ribbon ceremonies and handshakes construct a pattern that in digital repeat, creates a chaotic background noise, rhythmically echoing the letters across the room. 

About Voutsa


Voutsa is a New York-based lifestyle and interiors brand that specializes in signature hand-illustrated and digitally reworked wallpapers, custom murals and wall installations.  In addition to special collaborative projects such as the “Letters to the Mayor” piece designed for Storefront for Art and Architecture, Voutsa produces seasonal collections of digitally printed wallpapers as well as custom textiles and objet, available online and in showrooms around the country.  George Venson, a Texas native and the founder of Voutsa, lives and works in Chinatown, New York.  Pronounced voo-tsa, its origins date back to Greece; George’s grandparents immigrated to the US through Ellis Island, changing their name in the process to Venson. In an effort to usurp this transition, George formed Voutsa LLC in their honor and in honor of the American Dream.  George holds degrees from Rice University in Economics and Visual Arts.


This exhibition is supported in part by the Norwegian Consulate General New York.