ArchDaily announced the winning proposal for the 2012 MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program (YAP) earlier this month. In order to bring you full coverage of the annual competition, we are featuring the other four creative designs that competed against HWKN’s Wendy. AEDS’s (Ammar Eloueini Digit-all Studio) proposal creates a 21st century urban oasis in the fabled courtyard of PS1. The design encourages visitors to meander through a maze-like field of objects, enticing them to take up different paths, creating distinct experiential moments. This anti-monumental, anti-plop art approach is acutely attuned to both the human scale and the elemental senses.
For perhaps the first time, the entire courtyard will be activated throughout the day and long into the night, inspiring a voyeuristic curiosity, a desire to explore and inhabit hidden “moments.” A stream of water carves a path between the objects, stitching together three main spaces defined by the experiences of Water, Mist and Vegetation. At night, diffused light is fragmented through the digitally fabricated patterns that perforate the surface of the objects.
This hidden gem, nestled inside an enclosure defined by a sixteen foot high concrete wall, references spaces such as the Alhambra in Spain and the French Quarter courtyards in New Orleans. Historically, these courtyards were concealed within a dense urban context. Openings in gates, walls and alleyways offered views of the courtyards from the street, revealing lush vegetation, fountains and a rich culture of detailed decoration. Likewise, thin slots in the MoMA PS1 wall will allow the casual observer walking along the street a glimpse of the mysterious urban oasis inside.
The site of the MoMA museum involves two streets that intersect at a severe angle, creating the unique triangular shape of the PS1 courtyard. The proposal responds to the convergence of these streets by positioning objects within the courtyard that create multiple paths and mystery. Each object frames a particular view that relates to the distinct experience of the space.
An acute awareness of the human scale was explored throughout the project. This awareness informs the proportions of each object. Designed at three scales, the objects provide a balanced relation to the human body, comfortably accommodating visitors rather than overwhelming them.
A stream of water, emanating from a shallow pool, weaves through the courtyard and between the objects, stitching together the three main spaces: Water, Vegetation and Mist. These elements define the environments of each area, creating a distinct atmosphere as visitors wander through the oasis. Visitors are encouraged to use the courtyard during the day, taking a moment to relax in one of the cabanas. At night, the courtyard experience is amplified by diffused and fragmented light from the objects, illuminating MoMA’s social events and weekly concerts.
The design pays particular attention to constructability and sustainability. Given the six week timeframe in which the installation must be erected, ease of construction was carefully considered. AEDS conceived a prefabricated system to provide a realistic solution to minimum on-site assembly. The final design optimizes the use of chosen materials. The proportions of the three main components are standardized for easy construction. At the end of the installation, the materials can be easily dismantled and recycled.
Varying in height from eight to ten feet, the largest objects become occupiable spaces. These objects, which we refer to as “cabanas,” are constructed using a lightweight 90” x 90” wood frame base open on two sides. A layer of white fabric softens the cabana interior. Recyclable Corian panels provide the exterior finish. The solid panels frame specifically considered views. Select panels of each cabana are perforated with a computer generated pattern. This pattern continues from one cabana to the next, discretely connecting the elements with a seemingly continuous surface. The orientation of the pattern captures the quality of the water that streams past, drawing a primal connection, creating a series of sensory experiences that evolve over time. After the project is deconstructed, the Corian panels will be 100% recycled by DuPont.
Secondary objects, all with 60 x 60 inch bases, vary in height, further enhancing the exploratory experience, encouraging visitors to navigate through the field. Tables are designed with a 30 x 30 inch base, illuminated from underneath with LED’s. Variations in height provide a comfortable surface for books, coffee, and laptops during the day and cocktails at night. The stream of water, also illuminated with LED’s, provides a shimmering iridescent source of light in the evening.
During the day, light filters through the perforated surface of the cabanas casting a playful shadow within. At night, LED’s imbedded in the structural layer of the frame diffuses light through the fabric, illuminating the interior. Light is directed and fragmented through the perforated surface to the outside activating the exterior. A cushion of red foam placed inside the cabana invites visitors to hide within the space and become a voyeur, watching the scene unfold through the perforated view. In the end, there will be a multitude of ways to experience the project. Visitors won’t circle an object in the plaza, but instead they’ll experience the entire courtyard as a series of distinct and intriguing moments.
Text provided by AEDS.