2nd PLACE – $800
with joanna-maria HELINURM + rangel KARAIVANOV
suckerPUNCH: Describe your project:
justin DILES: Lenticular Field is a low-flying cloud of steel and fiber-reinforced iridescent Mylar hovering over East River State Park. On the ground, a concrete plinth houses program and bends toward a waterfront stage while the voluptuous canopy shades and zones the park, its surfaces absorbing Apollonian power by day and releasing this energy in a Dionysian frenzy at night.
The project’s variegated volume and dramatic shifts in character share an affinity with both lenticular clouds, known for their peculiar shapes and coloration, and lenticularly-printed images that morph animatedly from one state to another.
The current park is a vast sloping lawn, punctuated by concrete pads, flowing from street to waterfront. The project organizes this lawn from above into several primary interconnected outdoor rooms: market, glade and ballroom. This is accomplished by spreading an imaginary plane, originating from the top of the site’s lone building, over the park and then cutting, torquing and tessellating it with a pentagonal pattern of varying density. This tessellation becomes the template for an intricate, canopy structure that pushes up and down from the datum established by the top of the existing building. The preservation of this low datum within the canopy binds the park to the existing neighborhood and stands in opposition to the mediocre high-rise development to the south. The canopy is accompanied by a concrete plinth that maintains the level of the street as it pushes into the site to become a pier in the landscape containing program: storage, restrooms and a multi-level lounge that occupies both the top and interior. An outdoor room with sports courts and a lawn for sunbathing are given shape by their adjacencies to the plinth and the canopy.
The canopy design consists of a tubular steel and cable space-structure and iridescent shades. Unlike pure tensegrity structures that illustrate the same structural concept regardless of configuration, this system permits less-efficient moments of bending in order to better integrate multiple design goals. Structural performance is balanced with the collection and release of energy, and the shaping of a diverse set of vibrant, atmospheric outdoor spaces. The entire canopy thickens and thins as needed to shape outdoor rooms and accommodate spans of varying distances. The canopy also irregularly touches the lawn and plinth to form columns that reinforce the spatial layering of the project.
A fiber-reinforced Mylar shading system is attached to the steel members. This system forms a perforated, kaleidoscopic skin for the internal structural cloud. Individual shades actively shape space by modulating the contour of the canopy as needed at local moments. The shades vary in height and area, compressing or expanding spaces with convex or concave curvature. Additionally, bottom shades provide acoustic reflection at the stage while top shades integrate solar collection to power integrated LED lighting. At night the LEDs work in concert with the translucent iridescent surfaces and reflective structure to liquefy the canopy into a vaporous, glittering mass of light.
sP: what or who influenced this project?
jD: Louis Kahn, Robert Le Ricolais, Konrad Wachsmann, and Constant Nieuwenhuys
These architects and artists assigned incredible importance to space-frame and tensegrity systems in the 1950s and 60s. The sense that society could be directly transformed by designing with them was seductive and pervasive. I wanted to revisit that moment with this project now that space-structures are less tied to their idealistic origins and primarily understood as independent architectural devices. I’m personally fascinated by the intricate qualities that can be elicited from these systems when sensitivity to form, color, heterogeneity and even surface are fore-grounded over preoccupations with optimized structural performance and material efficiency. And while these systems are now largely divested of the social meanings that originally popularized their use, this legacy is still an important node in architectural thinking. Jelly’s Pool Parties, in a small way, have offered the type of free-space for play and culture so imaginatively explored by artists like Constant but so often noticeably absent in contemporary life. There is a resonance between the Utopian fantasies of the 60s and the type of space that East River State Park could become through a smart combination of design and programming.
sP: what were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
The Mathematics of the Ideal Villa and Other Essays by Colin Rowe
Packed with discerning and inspired analysis of a rare order.
Mostly an eclectic mix of old favorites: Charles Mingus, Big Star and My Bloody Valentine
Lenticular Field should feel like Big Star’s ‘#1 Record’ during the day and My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Loveless’ at night.
The Daily Show online is my digital umbilical to the US while working and teaching in Vienna.
sP: whose work is on your radar?
Jenny Deller (filmmaker)
Angelina Gualdoni (artist)
Greg Lynn (architect)
Bruce Pollock (artist)
Kenneth Snelson (artist)
Ruy. Klein (architects)
Design & Production Assistants:
maxi SPINA: Very Interesting approach to cope with the issue of providing shelter for a large crowd through a modular structure -yet flexible enough to create singular moments due to the easiness of malleability of the textiles. The project captures the atmosphere of festive events through a formal and materially active ceilingscape, which becomes, together with the skeleton, depository of representational values such as light projection and mutant coloration. In this way, project successfully creates a space which is at once at the same time supple, yet full of character, generic while locally differentiated. This capability allows the structure to simultaneously accommodate a variety of events.
jose GONZALEZ:interesting idea of a superframe which is modular and ever changing, just like the program. it would have been good to see more development on how the actual spacial conditions of the site change as the frame changes.