PS1 Goes Green
It took a while to reach inside and awaken my inner hipster, but eventually I was splashing around in the pool, shaking my groove thing (or whatever), and marveling at the transformative capacity of some carefully crafted wood and plastic and water in a concrete courtyard. The "Warm Up" series represents the very best in terms of community outreach by a cultural institution, in my opinion, and PS1 deserves all the accolades the effort brings them yearly, including:
Voted by Time Out New York readers as the Best Club in 2005 -- December 29, 2005-January 4, 2006 issueThe series mixes a courtyard installation by the winner of the annual Ps1-MoMA Young Architects Program with mingling, good family frollicking (few people I know get out of their entirely dry), and a world-class line-up of DJs and live performances:
#10 of The 20 Hottest Beach Parties in the world by The Observer (UK) -- February 12, 2006 issue
[I]international DJs and live music ensembles [have included]: DJ Harvey, Groove Collective, Lovebug Starski, Afrika Bambaataa, Prins Thomas & Hans-Peter Lindstrom, Mad Professor, Richie Hawtin, Danny Krivit, Trevor Jackson, Francois K, DJ Craze, Charlie Dark, Vikter Duplaix, Fischerspooner, Frederic Galliano, Kid Koala, Arto Lindsay, The Scissor Sisters, Ursula Rucker, Derrick May, Swayzak, Luke Vibert, XPress 2, Danny Wang, and many more.Typically, the architectural firm awarded the prize runs with the urban beach theme, giving it some twist toward coolness this year or eye candy that year, and so it was with something akin to amazement and sheer delight that I read this morning about the winning proposal this year. The New York Times' Robin Pogrebin has the details:
One can only imagine how the judges reacted when the architects walked in lugging the kind of hulking concrete-pouring cardboard tubes used at construction sites filled with flowering heads of cabbage.
The proposal by Dan Wood and Amale Andraos, the husband-and-wife duo behind Work Architecture, was clearly a departure from previous design proposals to transform the courtyard of the P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City, Queens for a summer. But the urban farm concept — including an abundance of fresh produce and a genuine harvesting plan — was apparently just too darn offbeat to pass up.
“It’s just so unlike anything that’s been done before,” said Barry Bergdoll, the chief curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art, which jointly sponsors the annual Young Architects Program with P.S. 1. “It’s the first one that’s not canopies or party spaces. In some ways it’s almost in counterpoint to the program.”
Wood and Andraos's proposal is more than just a curiosity, in my opinion. They're possibly heralding a new level of "seriousness in our fun" consciousness that simply has to happen or we'll wake up one day to find we need gondolas to get to work in Manhattan. But beyond the "green = less global warming" arguments, they're interested in a broader (and not so gloomy) vision:
[T]he architects’ creative process started with the more traditional P.S. 1 courtyard concept of an urban beach, focusing on themes like the striped bathing costumes of a 1928 photograph called "La Plage." They moved from there to contemplating "Sous les pavés, la plage" (roughly, "under the paving stones, a better life"), a slogan dating from the 1968 student riots in Paris. Finally they arrived at the notion of "Sur les paves la ferme," meaning, "Over the pavement, the farm."Congrats to the architects! And congrats to PS1 for taking a chance on a project that promises to raise the bar significantly for what art, architecture, and partying can all be about. I suspect next year's proposals will all be more interesting.
"We wanted to find what our generation’s symbol would be," Ms. Andraos said, "embodying our preoccupations, our hopes for the world."
In working out their design, the architects also kept in mind the movement from industrialization to postindustrialization, from global to local, from the free market to the farmer’s market, and from sand to hay.