Rem Koolhaas, German Martinez, and Richard Perlmutter designed New Welfare Island for the south end of Roosevelt Island (once known as Welfare Island). This theoretical project extended Manhattan’s grid, in this case between Fiftieth and Fifty-ninth streets, onto the island, in a manner similar to that used for Koolhaas’s and Zenghelis’s Roosevelt Island Redevelopment competition entry. Each newly created lot was intended to support competing structures—formally, ideologically, and programmatically—corresponding to what they viewed as Manhattan’s dominant characteristic. Just north of the “travelator,” a moving pavement extending to the rivers, is a convention center. To its south, amid vacant lots reserved for future use, are Kazimir Malevich’s “Architecton,” an interior harbor housing a 1932Norman Bel Geddes yacht, and a “Chinese” swimming pool. The New Welfare Hotel, a city within a city, which looks toward Manhattan, is situated at the bottom of the island.
Publication excerpt from an essay by Bevin Cline and Tina di Carlo, in Terence Riley, ed., The Changing of the Avant-Garde: Visionary Architectural Drawings from the Howard Gilman Collection, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2002.