Building Department

There are two ways to participate this year. Box City @ Home invites everyone to construct a building with craft supplies and recyclable materials that you have at home, then take a photo and submit it to the City Plan. Box City: Minecraft Edition invites anyone with a copy of Minecraft to join in constructing a virtual Box City on our Minecraft server. 

If you would like to join the virtual Box City in Minecraft and feel that you are unable to afford a Minecraft license, please contact Aleta Staton, the Festival’s Louise Endel Community Engagement Manager, at astaton@artidea.org or 203.498.3725.

BUILDING PERMIT APPLICATION

BOX CITY 2020
INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF ARTS & IDEAS
CITY OF NEW HAVEN, CT

Box City is just for fun, but if you were designing and building a real building to add to a real city, there are a lot of things that Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) professionals have to think about. Here are just a few that you can think about as you build your building:

The design process often starts by working with a client to listen and learn how they want to use their building. In Box City, you are the designer, builder, and client, so you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions:

  • What is your building going to be used for?
  • Who is going to use your building?

There is an old saying in the profession that goes “Form follows Function.” Once you’ve determined the function of your building, you can decide how many rooms it needs and what size they’ll be in order to serve its function. For example, a firehouse would need a big room to park one or more fire trucks.

  • How many rooms does your building have?
  • How many stories tall is it?

Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990 because everyone has different abilities, and everyone should have equal access to all areas of public life. For cities and buildings, this means that AEC professionals have to make sure that everyone is able to use a public or commercial building.

  • Is everyone able to enter your building, inclusive of their abilities?

Safety is a very important consideration in the design and construction of buildings, and there are a lot of people who help make sure buildings are safe. During the design process, Architects and Engineers draw up plans that meet safety requirements in the Building Code. During and after construction, people like the city’s Building Inspector and Fire Marshall visit the building to make sure it meets all of those safety requirements.

  • Is there a way for people to exit your building in case of an emergency?
  • Will your building continue to stand up, even in a strong breeze?

There are lots of rules that say what can and cannot be built in different parts of a real city. Often these rules help to make sure that new buildings fit into the city and add things that the city needs (for example affordable housing in a new apartment building). Sometimes the rules make sure that buildings don’t cast shadows on streets and parks by being too tall.

Box City has fewer rules than a real city, but usually your building will have to fit between its neighbors — building lots in Box City are six (6) inches wide by twelve (12) inches long. This year, since we’re not able to build together, feel free to build as big or as small a building as you like.

It’s good to think about these questions while you’re working on your building, and we’ll them again when you submit your completed building for inspection:

  • What is your building going to be used for?
  • Who is going to use your building?
  • How many rooms does your building have?
  • How many stories tall is it?
  • Is everyone able to enter your building, inclusive of their abilities?
  • Is there a way for people to exit your building in case of an emergency?
  • Will your building continue to stand up, even in a strong breeze?

Fill out the form below to get started, then check your email for further instructions and the password to enter the Construction Site: 

Construct a box building and share a photo (Box City @ Home)
Join the Virtual Box City in Minecraft (Box City: Minecraft Edition)
Volunteer to help out

Building type describes what the building will be used for. You can pick one or more of these common building types, or invent something new: House, Apartment, Office, Store, Theater, Restaurant, Museum, Religious, Recreation, Bank, School, Factory, Hospital, Day Care, Hotel, and/or something else.


If you already have a copy of Minecraft, enter your Minecraft profile name in the form below. Your profile name appears on the Minecraft start screen above your avatar and the Profile button. If you want, you may also request to be assigned a specific plot from the City Plan.

Bedrock/Pocket Edition (Windows 10, Xbox One, Mobile, Switch)
Java Edition (Windows, Mac, Linux)

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