CENTER FOR URBAN FARMING COMPETITION
Third Place – $300
suckerPUNCH: describe your project.
mason HAYES + richman NEUMANN: FarmvilleNYC represents a new way of thinking about community, garden, and the intersection of the two terms in the digital age. FVNYC evolved from a fundamental desire to maximize farming efficiency – faced with the question of “build on the ground or build up”, we answered “build everywhere, by recruiting every New Yorker”.
The Internet’s strength is its ability to motivate, generate hype, and spread word – exactly what a budding movement like urban farming needs to succeed. Conversely, the Internet’s weakness is its anonymity and lack of trust – problems which a physical site, which fosters genuine, real-life friendships and teamwork, can easily solve. For that reason, we conceived FVNYC from the ground up as a pair of [web] and [built] sites which work together to promote urban farming, and intertwine upon one’s visit to FVNYC in person.
Gesturally speaking, the plaza is inspired by a game board, and the building comes from the idea of “uploading into an information superhighway”. We consciously chose a surreal, acontextual vernacular to emphasize the no-one-and-everyone, universal nature of the Cloud. The three strata – street, plaza and building – are only accessible by elevator, which furthers FVNYC’s otherworldly quality.
The smartphone is the conduit to Farmville’s augmented reality features, which can route the user through the plaza to learn anything he or she specifies. Inevitably, one will encounter similarly-minded adventurers/students along the way, and from the emergent interactions of [web/site] users, friendships and relationships will be born. The building itself acts as a hyperactive culmination to the FVNYC experience – thanks to digitally-imbued surfaces winding through the building, following each user with their FVNYC account’s digital stats, every visitor can embody their own online avatar. FVNYC achieves a complete union of digital and analog learning, meeting, sharing, and farming.
sP: what or who influenced this project?
mH + rN: influence: memetics, facebook, and mit’s fluid interfaces group
sP: what were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
mH + rN: watching: reddit.tv, ted talks
listening: röyskopp, lcd soundsystem, and turntable.fm
whose work is currently on your radar?
mH + rN: radar: morphosis, big, and ycombinator
Sean LALLY: The social network component that opens the vegetative growth into a ‘game board’ is very compelling. This interaction between peoples amateur agriculture expertise around the city to the growing cycles and locations of the site sound great. What we don’t see though is how this might physically play itself out over time. What do the traces of time look like as new techniques of growing are introduced or various vegetation moves around the site based on peoples suggestions and votes? These sound like they could be real strengths of the work, but right now feel like liabilities.
Michael SZIVOS: This proposal is interesting in the way that it integrates social technology into the overall narrative of the project. Its good to see architects taking this on as a part of their overall scope. It is becoming an integral part of everyday life and it is more than strange that architects have not yet embraced this technology as a major part of building design.