With a grand finale—attendees filled the room and spilled out into the hall—the five teams presented their final designs to the public at P.S.1 on January 9. As the teams now begin producing materials for the upcoming exhibition at MoMA (and the MoMA team begins preparing the space and the explanatory glue around the project), Rising Currents enters a new phase. Over the next few weeks a number of expert guest bloggers will add their perspectives on an experiment that challenges both the city as we have inherited it and the format of an architectural exhibition in an art museum. The quality of design, innovation, and intense teamwork that has characterized the last two months at P.S.1 has been nothing short of remarkable. The level of interest from city, state, and federal officials has been deeply encouraging and the surge of interest from the public has been spectacular. This week a jury will convene at P.S.1 to pick the finalists for the eleventh annual Young Architects Program (YAP). YAP is an integral part of our department’s programming and while the Rising Currents project is similar in some ways, it is worth noting that it is a true innovation for MoMA and P.S.1, and we believe in some respects, for architecture museums in general.
Posts by Barry Bergdoll
Rising Currents enticed hundreds of visitors to brave the cold and spend their weekend at P.S.1’s Saturday Sessions, exploring the Rising Currents open studios and listening to the architects-in-residence present their design solutions for New York’s rising sea level. The open house marked the official conclusion of the first phase of the Rising Currents project, the eight-week architect-in-residence workshop. Working together with MoMA’s Exhibition Design, Graphics, and Architecture and Design departments, the five multidisciplinary teams now move their projects forward by determining how best to transfer the results of their P.S.1 workshop processes into engaging design presentations within the context of a MoMA gallery. Below, the teams report on their final week in the workshop. A video of the presentations will be available on the Rising Currents website www.moma.org/risingcurrents soon.
Eric Bunge and Mimi Hoang, nARCHITECTS
As the hustle and bustle of the holiday season took over New York City in the past weeks, the Rising Currents architecture teams-in-residence enjoyed the winter wonderland from their studios at P.S.1. The teams are engaged in the final production push before the Rising Currents workshop concludes this Saturday, January 9, with a (last!) opportunity for the public to visit the teams in their studios and learn about and discuss the five projects addressing New York/New Jersey’s imminent rising sea level. As part of P.S.1’s Saturday Sessions, the studios will be open from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m., and a presentation and public Q&A session will take place from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. Don’t miss this opportunity to weigh in on the next phase of New York City’s [g]local designs for the future! The Rising Currents exhibition will open at MoMA on March 24.
Film shot by Robin Urban Smith.
Above, Barry Bergdoll, The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, talks about the overall goals and challenges of the Rising Currents project. Also, stay tuned to the blog for Rising Currents updates from leaders in ecology, architecture, engineering, and civic administration.
The five Rising Currents architect-in-residence teams have been playing host to many interested parties in the past weeks. A recent visit from The New York City Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability and The Port Authority of NY and NJ served as a reminder that the impact of this project transcends the walls of the studio and the museum. On December 12, hundreds of museum visitors explored the studios at P.S.1. Each team implemented different presentation methods—from drawings, models, and maps to oyster farming demonstrations and delicious topographic cakes—to convey their project vision. The teams will open their studios to the public once more at the close of the workshop on Saturday, January 9, from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m.
With one month down and one to go, the five architecture teams presented their projects to the public for the first time at P.S.1’s Saturday Sessions last weekend. Incorporating the public dialogue of the weekend into their studio work, the teams now begin to enter production mode, transforming their ideas into models, drawings, digital animations, and mixed media for the upcoming MoMA exhibition.
Matthew Baird, Matthew Baird Architects
Even if talks go well at this week’s COP 15, greenhouse gases will still increase in our global atmosphere. Our think tank at P.S.1 is considering how to address energy needs and to reduce the carbon footprint in any rethinking of our New York Harbor site. Lately, we’ve been considering the six hundred oil tanks located in Bayonne, NJ. With sea level rise and storm surge, a substantial portion of this area will be regularly or periodically under water. After creating a series of natural and man-made buffers at the water’s edge to cap and contain the compromised soil at the existing tank farm, we propose continuing to use the existing massive infrastructure to create energy. In the cleaner, greener future, we would make fuel from a renewable resource: algae. Algal biodiesel is carbon neutral, and thus would not add to greenhouse gas emissions. Part of our approach is to find local solutions for global problems.
This Saturday, December 12 (2:00–6:00 p.m.), is the first opportunity for the public to visit the Rising Currents architect-in-residence studios at P.S.1. As part of P.S.1’s Saturday Sessions, the five teams will open their studios to the public and be available to discuss their work. Two rounds of presentations will be given. The first round of presentations will begin at 2:15 p.m. and be repeated at 4:30 p.m. Below, the teams offer a preview of their site work to date.
After two engineering workshops with Arup, we are pursuing four temporal strategies that unite the disparate scales of our site, and extend the domains of water and land across each other: 1) ferries and mobile programs on barges powered by methane gas collected from the Owl’s Head Wastewater Treatment Plant interconnect a network of hybrid stations/storm surge deflectors; 2) islands combine the infrastructural with the ecological, and are interconnected with inflatable storm surge barriers: “airbag urbanism”; 3) housing on stilts, off the sewage grid, is combined with floating treatment wetlands; 4) a pervious network of infiltration basins, swales, and culverts opportunistically appropriates underutilized plots of land, and when dry, functions as a decentralized network of parks.
We have four interdisciplinary teams that are set to start at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center as architects-in-residence for Rising Currents one week from today. They will each have a designated workshop space but they will also be in open dialogue with each other as they work. You’re invited to see their work-in-progress at a special open house they will host on Saturday, December 12, at P.S.1. I’d like to briefly introduce each of the team leaders and their team members, and describe which sites each team will be working on.
When I joined the Museum two-and-a-half years ago, I wanted to find innovative ways for the Museum to engage with contemporary practice in architecture, landscape, and design-related engineering, techniques that could complement the reactive mode of an exhibition where we show what has been done already, what we admire and is deserving of contextualization and wider publicity. There seem to be many compelling and timely issues that MoMA should be able to respond to quickly, while they are still relevant topics of dialogue and debate, issues that may require that we take the risk of committing to works and outcomes that remain to be seen.
Now we are launching a research laboratory on immediate, pressing issues. This new project is an invitation to undertake original interdisciplinary design research on “glocal” problems: global in implication but local in application and design. With the joint Rising Currents workshop and exhibition, MoMA serves in an almost unprecedented way as the incubator—rather than the mirror—of new ideas.
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