suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
HWKN (HollwichKushner): Wendy is an experiment that tests how far the boundaries of architecture can expand to create ecological and social effect.
Wendy does not play the typical architecture game of ecological apology—instead it is pro-active. Architects are always obsessing over minimizing their building’s footprint. They specify light bulbs that use less energy—facades that lose less heat, brown water systems that use less water. Wendy doesn’t confuse responsibility with action and strives to seize a larger opportunity.
The Young Architects Program offers the chance to think beyond the traditional definition of site to address the larger ecosystem of the city. That is why Wendy is composed of nylon fabric treated with a ground breaking titania nanoparticle spray to neutralize airborne pollutants. During the summer of 2012 Wendy will clean the air to an equivalent of taking 260 cars off the road.
Wendy’s boundary is defined by tools like shade, wind, rain, music, and visual identity to reach past the confines of physical limits. Wendy crafts an environment—not just a space. Spikey arms reach out with micro-programs like blasts of cool air, music, water canons and mists to create social zones throughout the courtyard.
Wendy sits far enough away from the stage to let concerts go on unimpeded, but close enough to the entrance to create a filter and initial impact to visitors. It bridges over the walls into the large and small courtyards to include them in the program.
During the day it is the cool background to parties and events. During the night it becomes a second stage.
Wendy looks the way it does because of one simple equation—more surface area = more clean air. The simplest, cheapest and most abundant construction system in New York, the scaffold, is deployed efficiently to create a 70’ x 70’ x 45’ volume – as large as the budget will allow—to create the largest surface area possible.
After the party is over and the scaffolding goes back to the warehouse, Wendy’s skin lives on in the scaffolding projects around NYC. Long after the last band performs at PS1 Wendy’s skin will be scrubbing air.
Activating the urban potential of architecture.
That’s what Wendy is about.
It’s an experiment—It’s a storm—It’s Wendy.
“PS1 is an opportunity for architects to work with the public as a client so we were able to push at the boundaries of architecture.”
– HWKN Principal Marc Kushner
“We built bigger to make MORE of an ecological impact. That was a surprise and a revelation that bigger can be cleaner. Architecture has to be pro-active to make a difference.”
– HWKN Principal Matthias Hollwich
sP: What or who influenced this project?
HWKN: Breakthrough research into textiles, and compounds that remove pollution from the air. We are working with Catalytic Clothing’s co-founders Helen Storey and Tony Ryan who developed the fabric that literally cleans the air around it.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
HWKN: Windy, by The Association.