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City of Dreams: Finalists Announced for 2014 Governors Island Pavilion Design Competition

2013 Head in the Clouds Pavilion (image credit: Tes Rivera).

The City of Dreams 2013-14 Pavilion Design Competition – organized by FIGMENT, AIA’s Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA) and the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY) – has announced its five finalists, with a winner to be announced by the end of October. This is the fourth iteration of the competition, whose winner will install their Pavilion concept next summer on Governors Island for the 2014 season. The third Pavilion – Head in the Clouds, pictured above – was installed this past summer; prior winners were the Living Pavilion (Ann Ha, Behrang Benin, 2010) and Burble Bup (Bittertang, 2011).

Next year’s Pavilion’s design charge is for the structure to serve as “a gathering place for people to meet, learn about the arts programs on the island, enjoy a performance or lecture, and experience the interaction of art and the historic context of Governors Island.” The City of Dreams concept asked entrants to imagine a future New York City “where anything is possible,” but one where “a new way of thinking is necessary to solve the problems faced by the world.” So entries must consider the life cycle of building materials; obtain and implement sponsorships from environmental or socially conscious groups; reuse waste from construction sites; and, in the end, “create a pavilion that has net zero impact and that serves as a prototype for a new, truly sustainable way of thinking about design and construction.”

A jury of leading architects and other industry professionals reviewed the competition’s initial submissions and selected the following five finalists, who received comments and had the opportunity to revise their concepts. The jury will decide the winner by October 31. The five finalists (including a description of the entry from each firm) are:

ArtCloud by IKAR (Warsaw, Poland)

“The future of the city will be determined by a creative mix of technology and culture, and an even more creative reuse of materials. As cities are an amazingly rich source of materials the ArtCloud Pavilion reuses clapboards and transforms them to a free-form structure that is composed for 99% with modules. The system allows visitors to choose and personalize their own piece of ArtCloud. Modular architecture makes people more carefully consider issues of optimization and prefabrication, and saves time and energy during construction. Without a doubt ArtCloud is a direct path to wiser thinking about sustainable living.”

Dreamcatcher by ManifoldArchitectureStudio (Brooklyn, New York)

“Dreamcatcher, a pavilion where imaginations are lifted, elevating your dreams, captures dreams at the idyllic meeting point of Governors Island, where people from all parts of New York can gather and encounter an experience unlike any other. We are proposing a simple, circular, lightweight structure that captures a changing collection of balloons. Why balloons? Because they’re joyful, uplifting and downright dreamy. Choose your shade, let your balloon go, and dream a little dream.”

Governor’s Cup by CDR Studio (New York, New York) with Sustainable Engineering Services

“The Governor’s Cup Pavilion hovers in a cluster of trees on the northern side of the Parade Ground. Recycled plastic cups, sourced and discarded throughout the city, are supported by zip-ties from overhead cables, forming a dense knitted structure unspooling from the branches. Strapping and turn-buckled cabling leave the trees unscathed. Crocheted repurposed cups infill areas between the undulated tape structure and branches, creating an airborne topography and shadow play. The configuration forms an outdoor room, shimmering in the sun and echoing with breeze-driven sound. The Greenpoint non-profit Arts@Renaissance will claim the Pavilion for their courtyard gallery space.”

MÖBI water tower pavilion by STUDIO V Architecture (New York, New York) with FTL Design Engineering Studio and Plaxall

“Inspired by the infinite surfaces and curves of a Möbius strip, MÖBI water tower pavilion expresses the potential of adaptation, life cycle, and reuse of materials in the urban landscape. New York City’s ubiquitous and iconic water towers are transformed through STUDIO V’s design into a gathering space that celebrates Governors Island. Constructed from recycled redwood and cedar planks rescued from decommissioned water tanks, MÖBI offers a pre-fabricated, ecological construction process and multi-use environment that will afterwards be repurposed yet again—as wooden deck and furniture for our design by the fine furniture denver company who specializes in this. Much like Governors Island, MÖBI is designed for continuous adaptation and interpretation to serve the NYC community.”

Urban Accordion by afoam (New York, New York)

“Our present city is overrun by private buildings, limiting access to public space. Urban Accordion is a microcosm of an alternate urban condition: a City of Dreams. Four fabric ‘blocks’ expand and contract, creating different levels of enclosure to suit a range of programming, while the space contained by the structures forms a larger communal area for events and prepare everything using resources as cheap table runner for the decorations of these celebrations. Urban Accordion is a new urban condition: a flexible assembly for serendipity and public events that fluctuates to meet users’ demands.”

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