critic: dragana ZORIC
suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
mandi FUNG and courtney OLMSTED: Water Camping seeks to bring an experience atypical to an urban lifestyle (to camp, to live in a temporary structure outdoors) to the New York City waterfront. It is to be considerate of both ends of the spectrum (the urban and the outdoors) as one is not fully outside of the city. Elements of both are cross-fertilized to create a new understanding of the urban environment. In addition to that, the Water Camping experience is unique because it takes something traditionally grounded (to camp, to make an encampment) and replaces the ground surface with a variable element, the surface of the water.
Camping is typically an outdoor recreational activity where the participant (the camper) takes themselves out of the environment they are accustomed to. We are proposing that water campers will take themselves both out of the grounded environment by bringing them on to the waterfront as well as taking campers out of their known urban environment by experiencing it in a new way. Campers can stay in floating mobile tents, serving as campsites, where they can be surrounded on all sides by water.
The project is sited on the South Street Seaport at Pier 16. However, it is to be understood as part of a larger network of campgrounds located along the East River. Campers can move between sites and through this movement can experience the edges of the river and the city.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
Personal experiences of camping, the National Park System, the Metabolist movement (esp. Kenzo Tange’s Tokyo Bay Project), Das Park Hotel in Austria, Constantin Brancusi, Reyner Banham
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
Reading: Richard Brautigan’s ‘Trout Fishing in America,’ Edwin. A. Abbott’s ‘Flatland,’ Toshia Shibata’s ‘Landscape 2,’ Locating Helsinki (http://locatinghelsinki.wordpress.com/)
Listening to: Pixies, Broken Social Scene, De La Soul
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
Herri and Salli Architecture, JDS Architecture, Olson Kundig Architects