At one time, climate change could be thought of as a distant threat that could be diffused through prompt collective action. That time is past. Greenhouse gas emissions will not be reduced quickly enough to prevent significant changes to the composition of our atmosphere. Even as we hope for the best, we must prepare for the unpleasant eventualities that scientists expect will arise.
Posts tagged ‘climate change’
During my first solo trip to the West Coast, which I wrote about in my first blog post, I continued to cover ground across Los Angeles and visited several of the many city museums. In addition to a walk through the LACMA collection and the Hammer Museum, I also managed to visit MOCA where I met up with Ed Giardina, one of five people in the Los Angeles–based collective Finishing School.
At the opening of the Rising Currents exhibition at MoMA, curator Barry Bergdoll used the word “glocal” to describe the impact of this exhibition. At first I thought I misheard, but then I realized he meant that the exhibition was part of the growing global grassroots movement to address the impact of climate change with smart, local solutions.
Rising Currents opened to the public yesterday. One of the premises of the exhibition is the value of creative collaboration, and in that spirit we encourage visitors to respond to the exhibition by posting comments on the project website at the kiosk inside the gallery.
The team leaders participated in a panel discussion moderated by myself and Guy Nordenson on Tuesday evening. We posed several questions to the teams, focusing on the unique format of the workshop phase at P.S.1. Specifically, we asked if the teams gained any valuable insights during the Open Houses, when the public was invited to see work in progress.
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.
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:
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.
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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