Portaali / Gia Wolff

Courtesy Gia Wolff

Gia Wolff’s latest architectural installation features a 25 ft diameter portal suspended above 2 Avenue between 36 and 35 Street in Industry City, Brooklyn. As part of Superfront Public Summer, the site specific piece is a reaction to the existing typological conditions and explores potential scenarios for the future of Industry City. Finnish for ‘portal’, Portaali refers to the Scandinavian dock workers who used to occupy the buildings in the late 1900s.

More about the installation, including a video, after the break.

For the installation, Tyvek is stretched within a bent steel frame which is then suspended in midair by ropes and connected back to the existing fire escape in a bicycle spoke pattern.   With the help of 8 volunteers, the installation was hoisted above the street within five hours.  “It is situated at the edge of a three-sided courtyard and is a physical threshold between the buildings as well as a metaphorical threshold, a portal, between the real and the imaginary,” explained Wolff.

Air pockets in the fabric allow the portal to sway in the wind, and in the evening time, the inner portal becomes a projection screen displaying images of the buildings morphing into scenarios that imagine future possibilities.

Courtesy Gia Wolff

“The buildings in Sunset Park are amazing because of their size, beauty, repetition, and utilitarianism.  What excites me most about them is that this is one of the few places left in the city where you can still wonder what they could be. The buildings are quite monolithic, but somehow they seem more fragile, like skeletons.  On the one hand, their bones remind us of their history, but they are not bound to their past. Instead, they provide a framework to think about the future.  The site of the installation is within a three-sided courtyard between two buildings. The installation attaches to the buildings as if creating a new fourth wall. Hanging off the existing infrastructure, it uses a projector to mimic the repetitive pattern of the building facades onto a swath of fabric.  The image of the façade is not static like the real buildings, but over time morphs into potential scenarios displaying future possibilities,” added Wolff.

Courtesy Gia Wolff

Check out her blog and visit Superfront for more information.

Courtesy Gia Wolff
Courtesy Gia Wolff
Courtesy Gia Wolff
Courtesy Gia Wolff

Design: Gia Wolff

Organization: Superfront

Location: Industry City, Brooklyn, NY

Project Year: 2011

Photographs: John Hartmann, Taylor Wozniak, Tak Cheung

Architectural Collaborators: John Hartmann and Lauren Crahan

Music Collaborator: Ethan Eunson-Conn

Volunteers: Tak Cheung, Lucky DeBellevue, Jennifer Endozo, Jake Ewert, Inti Rojanasopondist, Taylor Sams, Thomas Sheridan, Taylor Wozniak

Material Donation: Material for the ArtS

About this author
Cite: Karen Cilento. "Portaali / Gia Wolff " 01 Sep 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/165226/portaali-gia-wolff> ISSN 0719-8884

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