Hy-Fi, the winning project of The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1’s 2014 Young Architects Program, opened on June 27 in the MoMA PS1 courtyard. A circular tower of organic and reflective bricks that uses biological technologies combined with cutting-edge computation and engineering, the structure is made of biodegradable material and was created through a new method of bio-design conceived by its designer, David Benjamin of the New York-based architects The Living.
Hy-Fi will remain on view through September 7.
Now in its 15th edition, the Young Architects Program (YAP) at MoMA and MoMA PS1 has been committed to offering emerging architectural talent the opportunity to design and present innovative projects, challenging each year’s winners to develop creative designs for a temporary, outdoor installation at MoMA PS1 that provides shade, seating, and water. The architects must also work within guidelines that address environmental issues, including sustainability and recycling. Hy-Fi, drawn from among five finalists, will provide a temporary urban structure for the 2014 Warm Up summer music series, which begins on June 28, and for MoMA PS1 visitors throughout the summer.
Hy-Fi combines cutting-edge engineering with innovative biotechnology to create a new building material that is grown rather than manufactured, and with it a structure that is almost entirely compostable. Its bricks are made entirely of organic matter, a combination of discarded cornstalks and living root-like structures from mushrooms. After a few days in a mold, this mixture hardens into a sturdy, lightweight solid. The natural cycle of carbon through the ground, air, water, and living matter is temporarily diverted to produce a building that grows out of and returns to nothing but earth—with almost no waste, no energy input, and no carbon emissions. The shiny blocks near the top of the structure are the molds in which the organic bricks are grown. They are coated in a special light-refracting film invented by 3M, which helps direct light down into the towers. Once the structure is taken down, these molds will be sent back to 3M for further research. The tower is designed to create a pleasant microclimate in the summer by drawing in cool air at the bottom and pushing out hot air at the top. Hy-Fi offers shade, color, light, views, and a futuristic experience that is refreshing, thought-provoking, and full of wonder and optimism.
The other finalists for this year’s MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program were Collective-LOK (Jon Lott, William O’Brien Jr., and Michael Kubo), LAMAS (Wei-Han Vivian Lee and James Macgillivray), Pita + Bloom (Florencia Pita and Jackilin Hah Bloom), and Fake Industries Architectural Agonism with MAIO (Cristina Goberna and Urtzi Grau).
An exhibition of the five finalists’ proposed projects will be on view at MoMA beginning on July 4, organized by Pedro Gadanho, Curator, with Leah Barreras, Department Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, MoMA. The exhibition will also feature the winning projects and finalists from international YAP partners the National Museum of XXI Century Arts (MAXXI) in Rome, CONSTRUCTO in Santiago, Chile, and the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) in Seoul, Korea.
SPONSORSHIP The 2014 Young Architects Program is sponsored by Bloomberg. Additional funding is provided by Bertha and Isaac Liberman Foundation, Jeffrey and Michèle Klein, and Agnes Gund.
ABOUT THE LIVING The Living was founded with the mission of creating the architecture of the future. Exploring how new technologies come to life in the built environment, they have a passion for the way that targeted constructions can activate urban space. The Living believes cities and buildings are living, breathing organisms. In the context of new technologies and new urban challenges, there is a great opportunity to create corresponding living, breathing design ecosystems. At The Living, they have established a design ecosystem that links complex flows of people, resources, data, and energy. It is based on three primary elements: information, material, and environment. Within this design ecosystem, they work on multiple scales simultaneously. The Living anticipates and welcomes rapid change, and embraces design with uncertainty, design with rules rather than fixed forms, and design with shifting and unknowable forces.
To execute Hy-Fi, The Living worked with collaborators, including Ecovative (the New York start-up that industrialized their no-waste material), 3M (the company that invented specular mirror film), Arup (the engineering firm that helped design a new structural system from these new materials), Advanced Metal Coatings Incorporated (the company that is testing their natural materials for durability in New York summer conditions), Shabd Simon-Alexander and Audrey Louise Reynolds (the natural-dye artists who are developing custom colors and coatings for their organic bricks), Build It Green Compost (the Queens-based non-profit that will process their building materials after the installation and provide them to local community gardens), Associated Fabrication, Kate Orff and SCAPE Landscape Architecture, Atelier Ten, Autodesk, Bruce Mau Design, Brooklyn Digital Foundry, and a team of graduate research students at Columbia University who will help construct and deconstruct the structure.
HISTORY This year marks the 17th summer that MoMA PS1 has hosted an architectural installation/music series in its outdoor galleries, though it is only the 15th year of the Young Architects Program, which began in 2000. The inaugural project was an architecturally based 1998 installation by the Austrian artist collective Gelatin. In 1999, Philip Johnson’s DJ Pavilion celebrated the historic affiliation of MoMA PS1 and MoMA. The previous winners of the Young Architects Program are SHoP/Sharples Holden Pasquarelli (2000), ROY (2001), William E. Massie (2002), Tom Wiscombe / EMERGENT (2003), nARCHITECTS (2004), Xefirotarch (2005), OBRA (2006), Ball-Nogues (2007), WORKac (2008), MOS (2009), Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu (2010), Interboro Partners (2011), HWKN (2012), and CODA (2013).
Additional credits and links:
Project by: The Living.
Principal: David Benjamin.
Project Lead: Danil Nagy.
Design Team: John Locke, Damon Lau, Nathan Smith, Ray Wang, Jim Stoddart, Christo Logan, Dan Taeyoung Lee, Junhee Cho, John Becker, Joe Brennan, Steven Tsai, George Valdes, and Adrian von der Osten.
Video directed and produced by: Brooklyn Digital Foundry.
Branding collaborator: Bruce Mau Design.
Organic material collaborator: Ecovative Design.
Daylight material collaborator: 3M.
Natural color collaborators: Shabd Simon-Alexander and Audrey Louisere.
Structural engineer: Arup.
Environmental engineer: Atelier Ten.
Salvaged material and compost collaborator: Build It Green!
Software collaborator: Autodesk Dynamo.
Landscape collaborator: SCAPE Landscape Architecture.
Accelerated aging tests: Advanced Metal Coatings Incorporated.
Fabrication: Associated Fabrication.
Model collaborator: LeeLABStudio.