NAMELESS, a New York-based practice shared with us their project ‘Playcloud’, for which they won the 2010 BSA Unbuilt Architecture Awards for Art Pavilion. See more images and architect’s description after the break.
Playcloud explores the narrative potential of a pneumatic and fabric structure. We are not only looking for the utopian implications of the pavilion, but also investing in a practical and sustainable solution for City of Dreams Pavilion.
The project starts from the temporary pavilion’s site-specific characteristics. Governors Island, which is 800 yards away from Manhattan, had been closed to the public until 2004. Additionally, it has a flat landscape without monuments, such as the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island. To overcome the public’s low awareness of the island, we propose that an artificial cloud pavilion be built. It would consist of an inflatable structure and yarns. People would be able to see this floating cloud from lower Manhattan and other neighboring islands. Playcloud would not only define the site’s cultural boundaries but also promote the Figment Art Festival, stimulating people’s curiosity.
PLAYFULNESS: Playcloud aims to interact with people. People are allowed not only to touch the inflatable structure but also to sit and lean on it. All these interactions with the inflatable structure produce changes in air pressure, causing the structure to gently sway. Moreover, the yarn curtain would create an illusion between the structure and the space. Its transparency, translucency, and opaqueness would be determined by the threads’ density as well as by human activity. People touch the curtain and control the degree of openness as the occasion arises. Playcloud also aims to interact with its surrounding environment. The pavilion would actively and physically engage the installation’s environment. Air structure would gently sway it horizontally with the wind. It would also expand and contract with air pressure and temperature, appearing almost to breathe. The movement of the inflatable structure would cause yarns hanging from the balloon to sway. This subtle motion of the pavilion would be reminiscent of a swimming jellyfish.
LIGHTNESS: PlayCloud is architecture of air consisting of a thin skin. The light structure makes the pavilion sustainable. It would not require a thick foundation, as it would be a light, freestanding structure; therefore, a temporary pavilion would be built without damaging historic site conditions. The transport and storage volumes of the inflatable structure are minimal. The size of the materials used for this pavilion can be significantly reduced and fit in a 3.2 cubic foot box when the materials are transported. Portability and lightness of material not only make it easy to move to the island but also save on energy for transportation.
This project suggests using simple, light, recycled materials for the temporary pavilion. Recycled yarns will be used for the substructure. New York City is well known for its prosperous garment district. A large amount of yarn is manufactured and consumed locally. Not only is this material easy to obtain, but it will also awaken interest in sustainability issues. At the end of the season, these yarns will be reused. A total of 114,000 feet of yarn (each piece is 30 feet long) will be transformed into socks by local knitting artists. These socks can be sold as souvenirs for the Governors Island pavilion.
Architect: NAMELESS Location: New York, NY, USA Principals-in-Charge: Unchung Na + Sorae Yoo Client: FIGMENT Co-Sponsor: FIGMENT, ENYA, SEAoNY Inflatable Consultant: ABR Program: Art Pavilion Building Scope: Diameter 40ft. / Height 40ft. Structure: Hybrid structure (Pneumatic + Fabric) Finish: Polyurethane, 600 Denier polyester fabric, Wool nylon