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Sun Rigor

Griffin Enright Architects


Designers: John Enright, Margaret Griffin

The Los Angeles-based Griffin Enright Architects, established in 2000 by Margaret Griffin and John Enright, was a YAP finalist in 2004. Their design, Sun Rigor, an installment consisting of multiple vinyl ribbons covering the grounds of MoMA PS1's courtyard, allowed the landscape to adapt and transform according to the needs of the visitors.

Q&A with Griffin Enright Architects

MoMA PS1: How did you position yourself to get nominated?
John Enright and Margaret Griffin, Griffin Enright Architects: We had just completed an installation as an invited participant in the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI_Arc) exhibition series. The installation was called Keep off The Grass! Planar Landscape Phenomena. The ubiquitous lawn was the subject of this heuristic exercise about our cultural relationship to that thin plane of suburban carpet. The installation included the suspension of over 1,000 square feet of grass sod in the exhibition space, exploring the tectonic nature of the plane by emphasizing its tissue-like thinness, flexibility, and texture, while commenting on its negative impacts on our larger environment. It allowed us to examine the relationship between the organic (living) and the manufactured (processed). This dichotomy relates to our continued exploration with hybrid dialogues.

MoMA PS1: Did YAP change anything for you or your firm? When did you recognize the full potential of the competition?
Griffin Enright Architects: Participating in YAP contributed to our reputation and introduced the work in our Los Angeles-based practice to a broader New York audience. It also gave us the opportunity to explore conceptual issues related to the urban condition, landscape, and the environment. We were interested in the need for shelter from the sun and its energy, as well as the potential for combining these to create a backdrop for events and interaction. Sun Rigor is a "field" of planes, of differing textures which simultaneously adapt to anthropomorphic situations, such as sitting, dancing, and lounging, and create a cohesive texture which mitigates the large scale of the courtyard while creating more intimate gathering areas.

Flexible, fabric-like, photovoltaic vinyl ribbons emerge form the ground to create a self-sustaining instrument which provides a series of variant temperature fluctuations through zones of shade, wind, drizzle-like rain, and fog. The combination of breezes and water create a "swamp cooler" effect to cool the overall courtyard. Fog machines at the south add a zone of mist to the seating area and help the landscape to levitate. Visitors mitigate the terrain of the field and the void and manipulate these varying zones.

MoMA PS1: How was your design shaped by the history of YAP?
Griffin Enright Architects: We were very familiar with past YAP projects and created a uniquely differentiated proposal that explored issues of landscape, the field condition, instrumentality, interactivity, and solar farming. We were interested in dissimulating the sun's entropy to instrumentalize a thermally differentiated atmosphere.