Last Friday at New York’s Center for Architecture, 20 teams of New York architecture studios brought their best carving skills for a chance to take home the Pritzkerpumpkin. The Center’s annual Pumpkitecture contest was far from your run-of-the-mill pumpkin carving contest. Firms came equipped with plexiglass, metal frames, plaster, and even Pantheon models to compete for the industry’s highest pumpkin honors. 

Pumpkin segments preserved in resin

Robert A.M. Stern Architects’ jellied pumpkin pieces (Courtesy Sam Lahoz)

A pumpkin cut into illuminated slices

Studio Joseph’s plexiglass sectioned jack-o’-lantern (Courtesy Sam Lahoz)

Participating firms received spook-ified names and prizes in the spirit of Halloween season. Weiss/Manfredi, for instance, became Frights Manspooky and icon.5 architects were re-christened icon.666. This year’s jury included Chen Chen and Kai Williams (founders of Chen Chen and Kai Williams), Ashley Mendelsohn (assistant curator of Architecture and Digital Initiatives at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Museum), Ellen Van Dusen (founder and designer at Dusen Dusen), Dr. Takeshi Yamada & Seara (artist and rogue taxidermist), and Mark Zlotsky (founder of LARD and half of the artist duo Mookntaka). 

A swinging pumpkin dripping paint

LTL Architects’ Pollock-esque pumpkin machine (Courtesy Sam Lahoz)

The night’s highest honor went to Quennell Rothschild & Partners, aka QReePy, for their sprouting and protruding pumpkin design. By popular vote, the People’s Pumpkin went to SITU, aka SitoOoOooOOooOo, for their spinning, animated carved pumpkin. While not every firm could claim the top prizes, many also walked away with honorable mentions for their spooky creations. 

A tunnel carved into an illuminated pumpkin

GRT Architect’s glowing Turrell-like pumpkin (Courtesy Sam Lahoz)

A popular theme for the night was pumpkin-takes on famous artists. LTL Architects went home with an honorable mention for Jack O’ Pollock, a machine that creates Jackson Pollock-like action paintings with a paint-filled pumpkin device. Another honorable mention went to Untitled No. 13 by Alexander Cauldron from the Architecture Research Office for a Calder-inspired pumpkin mobile. GRT Architects created a James Turrell-like glowing pumpkin, while Mitchell Giurgola’s mirrored pumpkin box was an ode to Yayoi Kusama’s infinity rooms. 

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