Aerial view of Green Hub LES Lower East Side Bike parking structure


"Project design" — from ideation to implementation — is at the heart of everything Pilot Projects does. In addition to commissioned client work, we invent integrative projects that turn pressing systems challenges into development opportunities. 

The Future of Forest Work and Communities

The world needs its forests. Local communities are on the front lines of conserving them. Youth are the future of these communities. What kind of exciting, innovative and rewarding work would incentivize young people to stay in, or return to, the places where this work is done?

Timeframe: 2015 - present
Budget: $100,000
Process: Ongoing: Youth Visioning Workshops have been completed in countries around the world

Wood at Work: Elegant Strategies for Architecture, City-Building, and Forest Conservation

An international conference in NYC exploring the use of sustainably-sourced wood to build city infrastructure, promote forest conservation, and enact climate change mitigation.

Timeframe: October 29-30, 2015
Budget: NA
Process: 2015, 2016, 2017 conferences completed. Publications, follow-up events, and 2018 conference planning underway.

Brooklyn Bridge Forest

Preserve a landmark, protect a rainforest, cultivate a global partnership. The Brooklyn Bridge Forest initiative will allow for one of New York City’s most important landmarks to be maintained sustainably in perpetuity—and pioneer an innovative model for other cities to follow.

Timeframe: Fall 2008
Budget: $5M
Process: Collaborating with the Wildlife Conservation Society, The Municipal Art Society of New York, Natural Areas Conservancy, and The Hudson Company

Global Cities - Global Forests [C40-F40]

Global megacities partner with global forests in an expression of solidarity and interdependence, keeping 10B tons of carbon in 40M Ha of forest

Timeframe: Project initiated 2016
Budget: NA
Process: In development

100 Fountains

On the streets of NYC our great drinking water goes largely untapped. We aim to change that with drinking fountains that part of daily life.

Timeframe: Spring 2016
Budget: $9M
Process: Presented at @MASNYC Summit for New York City 2013

Redeemer Presbyterian Church | Workplace Co-Design

Using participatory design and culture building processes, we achieved top-to-bottom green, lean, and people-first office solutions for this large and diverse nonprofit.

Timeframe: Completed Summer 2015
Budget: Undisclosed
Process: Sandbox strategy and planning with new office space design and custom furniture

Orchard Street | Streetscape Co-Design

This iconic street needed infrastructure upgrades, but it was critical that these be guided by a shared vision. Partnering with the Lower East Side Business Improvement District, we brought community groups together to create a plan for bicycle parking, street furniture, pedestrian plazas and tree plantings.

Timeframe: Fall 2013 - Fall 2014
Budget: Undisclosed
Process: Tree planting complete and construction underway

charity: water | Workplace Co-Design

The nonprofit, charity: water, needed a complete overhaul to fit 30 more staff in their SoHo loft space. Our co-design process helped leadership explore solutions and negotiate shared and common space priorities. The result: an office that was able to increase density without sacrificing a thriving workplace culture.

Timeframe: Completed Winter 2013
Budget: $50K
Process: SANDBOX strategy and planning with custom furniture design

Essex Street | Green Hub

Parking garages that do nothing but store cars need to step up. We propose adding secure, staffed bike parking; solar-electric stations; a community roof garden; coffee; and more.

Timeframe: Winter 2012 - Present: Currently seeking public funding
Budget: Undisclosed
Process: Created a coalition of local organizations for co-design and strategic plan

Fellowship for Performing Arts | Workplace Co-Design

Lose the “DMV-ness,” gain personality for a small mid-town theater company.

Timeframe: Completed Summer 2014
Budget: $50K
Process: SANDBOX strategy and planning resulting in custom workplace redesign and buildout

Delancey Street | Delancey Plaza

This public plaza upgrades a space at the speedy and disorderly entrance to the Williamsburg Bridge, building on the Essex Crossing development. A market will feature on weekends while the permanent implementation of street seats will create a resting area on off days.

Timeframe: Summer 2013 - Present: Weekend Market debuts Spring 2015
Budget: $50K
Process: Worked with DOT guidelines and BID to diversify program

ABS Collaboration Center | Workplace Co-Design

With an emphasis on drawing people together and encouraging interaction the ABS Collaboration Center was an exercise in co-design for co-work

Timeframe: Completed Summer 2013
Budget: 100k
Process: SANDBOX design resulting in custom kitchen and meeting space

Norfolk Street | Pop-up Retail Development

Our proposal for the LES BID explores ways to help very small businesses exploit an under-used site along an increasingly busy stretch off Rivington Street.

Timeframe: Submitted Summer 2013
Budget: $1M
Process: Co-design and programming with Lower East Side BID

Bowery Mission Harlem | New Hope Community Center

Bowery Mission expands to serve Spanish Harlem. Pilot Projects hired to design ground floor community co-working space, help desk, and a professional services clinic.

Timeframe: Completed Spring 2013
Budget: $200K
Process: Co-design of services and spaces

Gowanus Canal | Modular Floodplain

The bio-industrial armature we proposed for Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal used 40 shipping containers holding bio-remediation wetland plants and soil to clean sewer overflow waste water.

Timeframe: Winter 2012
Budget: Undisclosed
Process: Awarded Honorable Mention for Urban Ecology

Battery Park | Chair Design

These park chairs were designed to smooth the Battery Park Lawn as people moved them around.

Timeframe: Fall 2012
Budget: NA
Process: Submitted to "Draw up a Chair" Design Competition

Bike Rescue

What a waste, what an opportunity! A project to identify, reclaim, recycle and restore New York City’s abandoned bicycles.

Timeframe: Spring 2012
Budget: 100k
Process: In discussion with City officials, LES BID and cycling organizations.

Power Playground

What if you could do more at an interstate rest stop than just rest? The Power Playground is a kinetic sculpture that uses your workout to power an air compressor.

Timeframe: 2010
Budget: Estimated unit cost $20 - $50K
Process: In design development phase. Seeking funding partner

The Handbag Reimagined

Can the purse be redesigned to be more useful, more adaptable, and less expensive? Pilot Projects intern Anne Chen pursued a structural approach.

Timeframe: 2013
Budget: NA
Process: First prototypes complete. Further exploration pending.

DIY NYC Cat Fort

Can a feral cat shelter in Central Park provide an opportunity for hands-on learning? Here is Pilot Projects’ contribution to the Architects for Animals annual charity event, hosted by Steelcase.

Timeframe: 2013
Budget: $2
Process: Research based on extensive fort-building and wilderness survival training. Not seeking city approvals, but rather adventurous kids ready to build forts for cats in the park.

Projects that made us who we are

What is a Pilot Project? Something small and specific which catalyzes change in a large way.

Pilot Projects was born out of our past experiences - which have proved to us that small yet innovative interventions can lead to monumental change. Here are some of our stories that paved the way for our current work:

sketch of the 3D sandbox

Sandbox: The origin of a new tool: 2M square feet, 3000 employees, and 25 execs negotiating workspace allocation in a locked room.

a sketch of the booths of the Steam Cafe at MIT

Steam Cafe: A story of how food met tech to solve the problem of lackluster campus dining — and get people talking and bonding.

Sketch drawing of the

Idea Room: How a siloed organization created a glass conference room, and siloes (not the glass) shattered.

News Desk thumb

News Desk: A story about a mandate from a producer: “no technology on the table.”

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