Yesterday afternoon, inside the playground of MoMA PS 1, we met Wendy - HWKN’s temporary summer installation for the 2012 Young Architects Program. As an experiment in pushing the boundaries of what architecture can do in an urban environment, Wendy certainly makes an impression. Her blue spiky arms shoot passed the confines of PS 1′s courtyard walls, immediately attracting the attention and piquing the curiosity of those meandering along Jackson Street. Conceptualized as a storm, Wendy intends to challenge the public’s notion of what architecture should be, as the structure’s ecological function will actually clean the air. ”Wendy does not play the typical architecture game of ecological apology – instead she is pro-active,” explained HWKN. More about Wendy after the break.
As we have shared previously, Wendy features an inexpensive construction system: repurposed scaffolding arranged in a 56′ by 56′ by 46′ volume in an effort to maximize the surface area for the stretched fabric. The bright blue nylon fabric extends from the core outward and culminates in arms that shoot mist, water, and music through the courtyard. The fabric, treated with titania nanoparticle spray, will neutralize airborne pollutants which will clean the air to an equivalent of taking 260 cars off the road during its short stay at PS 1.
HWKN first learned of titania nanofilm with its use in fashion, as some designers were creating pieces one could wear on the street to act as a filter. Plus, Richard Meier used the material in his Pilgrimage Church in Rome (HWKN assumed to keep the dust of Rome off his white facade); and Malmo, Sweden has used the material in sidewalks. However, this is the first time titania nanofilm will be applied on a textile, and it provides the foundation for a grand-scale urban experiment.
It was exciting, and surprising, to walk inside Wendy, as one simply overlooks the entry stair due to the dynamics of the large spiky arms. Once inside, the heart of Wendy is displayed as bright yellow fans move the air through the structure, pools of water collect on fabric, and mist gently cascades downward.
“Wendy’s boundary is defined by tools like shade, wind, rain, music, and visual identity to reach past the confines of physical limits. She crafts an environment – not just a space,” explained HWKN.
An exhibition featuring HWKN’s design will be shown in the MoMA this summer, alongside the four other finalists. The exhibition, curated by Pedro Gadanho will also include the winners and finalists of YAP MAXXI in Rome and YAP Chile in Santiago. Such an inclusive exhibition will show the range of architecture on the international scale and strengthen the global network of the YAP.
Be sure to head over to PS 1 to meet Wendy – she’ll be there from July 7 through September 8.