As we get ready to begin the installation of the MoMA exhibition next week, I wanted to take a step back and offer a visual reflection on a central figure in this exhibition. Our thanks to Architecture Research Office for poetically capturing the essence of Rising Currents. Click on the image to view the video clip.
Posts in ‘Rising Currents’
The Rising Currents exhibition and studio work at P.S.1 demonstrated the challenges that New York City faces from climate change, as well as the opportunities we have to rethink how we interact with the built and natural environment.
New York City already faces real and significant climate risks. We currently experience hot, humid summers and severe weather events, including heat waves, torrential downpours, snow and ice storms, and nor’easters. These weather events affect every New Yorker. As our climate changes, increasing our resilience to these events will become even more necessary.
This morning I got on the Staten Island ferry to tour parks on the island with Parks Department officials and the leadership of a major environmental foundation. For several of them, it was the first trip to Staten island where they actually got off the ferry and went onto the island. Along the way, we talked about the harbor and the upcoming Rising Currents exhibition at MoMA.
I was fortunate to be able to attend the final weekend of open studio at P.S.1, where the five teams shared the ongoing process of their work, and I joined a few other city officials, including City Planning Chair Amanda Burden and Leslie Koch, who is directing the development of Governors Island. The whole place was wonderfully crowded, and the final session where each team gave presentations was held in a room crammed to the gills with people, including many sitting or lying on the floor.
From the Parks point of view, the proposals represent some innovative ways to create new realms of public space, places that are not traditional parks, but rather are flexible zones of water and land and plants and animals. We currently tend to look at parks as distinct from other urban forms, with fences, walls, planted buffers— different vocabularies of building materials. While each team has proposed concepts very different from the others, they all redefine the interaction of streets, parks, seawalls, canals, piers, and even the harbor itself. From a purely selfish point of view, many of the proposals offer a major expansion of flexible green space.
A few days after visiting the five teams at their open studios at P.S.1, I went for a walk on Governors Island to view the zones from the island’s waterfront promenade. Governors Island sits in the heart of New York Harbor, and the promenade provides the perfect vantage point from which to take in the harbor as a singular force and view the zones as they are today. Climate change and rising sea levels no longer seem abstract when you look out from the island and contemplate the potential impact of the one-hundred-year flood on different locations, including the island itself. I walked around the island clockwise from Soissons Dock:
Catherine Seavitt, AIA LEED AP, is the Principal of Catherine Seavitt Studio in New York and co-author, with Guy Nordenson and Adam Yarinsky, of the book On the Water: Palisade Bay.
As one of the authors of the 2007 Latrobe Prize study On the Water: Palisade Bay, the backstory project that led to the development of the MoMA Rising Currents workshop and exhibition, I often get asked the question, “How did you come up with the title Palisade Bay?” It’s a three-part answer.
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.
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.
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