PS1 MoMA Young Architects Program winner 2006
"NO TWO NEW YORKERS ARE ALIKE; EVERYONE MOVES TO A DIFFERENT BEAT. WHEN THE WARMUP DJS MATCH TUNES, BEATS FUSE. FORM FOLLOWS FLEXION AND AIR IS SUFFUSED WITH MIST + LIGHT, AS ALL DANCE UNDER A PENUMBRA OF MOIRÉ."
We propose the construction of a structure of pervasive interiority, a context to be entered and experienced from within rather than observed from without as object.
MoMA/PS1’s WarmUp Program has become with the years an anticipated annual ritual celebration of the city’s cosmopolitan culture and a great neighborhood block-party. The summer WarmUp event is filled to capacity with New Yorkers, most of whom are not originally from New York. Most of the New York population actually come from somewhere else, looking for something they deem important for their lives, they are seekers. They may or may not find a version of what they seek, but they always contribute the uniqueness of their individuality, their ONENESS to the multifarious culture of the city.
WarmUp is the recurrent moment in the city’s annual cycle when this diversity converges in one place at one time in one great happening. Everyone becomes an artist. Each unique voice blends together into a whole for a few moments every summer Saturday without losing its individuality, like two dissimilar songs seamlessly eased into each other by a DJ’s masterful “beatmatch.”
The creation of a space with interiority, a background for the WarmUp crowds, requires precise architectural operations. To evoke a sense of interior space the proposed structure extends to the boundaries of the site, and matter is spread thin.
The space is partially covered with 10 concertina pre-fabricated shells. They are modeled and manufactured digitally to achieve their curved form. By virtue of the thickness of the material proposed these structures would seem unlikely to span the 20 to 30-foot distances required, but by forcing the pieces into curves and connecting them into an grid, a structural tension is created that allows them to adequately bridge the required spans.
The concertina are covered with a skin of polypropylene mesh scales. They allow wind and rain to move through without excessively taxing the structure and provide a soft penumbral shade. The is rigid enough to return to its original position after the wind dies down and flexible enough to adjust to the curved surfaces of the concertina. The scales overlap generating nuanced patterns of moiré texture on the ground below.
The concertina shells are all different, they fuse into each other to create a continuous covering that spans the courtyard defining many spaces of distinctive mood and atmosphere. The connections between the parts are made with ¼” steel plate brackets. Each component of the construction–the arch, the bracket, or the concertina shell–is repeated many times. But each instance is different, either having a different radius, a different angle, or different proportions.
The wading pools are constructed in layers of rigid foam and plywood and coated in epoxy for waterproofing. They are conceived as inverted boats, that is, boats that can contain rather than exclude the water.
Water misters, are located in six different locations. The misters play an important role in lowering the temperature of the surrounding air. They are protected under three-foot diameter steel mesh hemispheres that resemble giant kitchen strainers. A light inside the strainers illuminates the mist from within in the evenings, resembling the stormy clouds that sometimes get hooked by the spire of the Empire State Building at night.
The crowds of New York are an aesthetic experience, the project hopes to encourage their continuous presence by giving them climatic comfort and variety. Inspired by the original social importance of Roman baths, the courtyards have been developed into three distinct environments.
The Caldarium has little to no shade, an array of radial chaise lounges for sunbathing and a large soaking pool.
In the Tepidarium shade, pools and misters cool the air as the concertina shells bring the soothing breeze down to people.
In the small Frigidarium walls are lined with aluminum foil bubble wrap. Every Saturday morning, 12 blocks of ice are arranged at the bottom of the wall to create an ice bench.