Sunday, May 23, 2010

Living Pavilion Dispatch #1

Early stages of the Living Pavilion
click here for more photos

Work is underway on the Living Pavilion for the City of Dreams on Governors Island and it is truly inspiring. Plants defy gravity, growing down, exposing a lattice of dirt and roots toward the sky. Rather than ground breaking, it is better described as ground lofting. The structure will be an inversion that confuses inside and out through an articulated tunnel of liriope and fresh air.

A group of volunteers got started planting today. It was a great time to spend in the fresh air with some dirt between our fingers. We can't do it alone though, another 200 person-hours are needed for planting, then we also need to construct it before June 11th when the Figment participatory arts festival begins. Please be in touch with me if you can help at any point on the schedule.

This is the first structure of its kind at Figment, selected by jury out of 50 entries. I volunteered for this project originally because architecture is such a critically important marker of our culture and values. Organizing this competition was a chance for us to bring another type of design thinking to a festival that is already making loud statements about creativity in the urban condition. Figment prides our individuality while bringing us together as a society in a non-commodified and democratic act.

Within such we could not have asked for a more relevant winning project. Plant walls and green roofs are becoming more and more popular in a world hungry for sustainable solutions to the pressing issues surrounding energy and air quality. The biological paradigm is gaining momentum as an effective means of harnessing energy flows in the built ecology with a push to reclaim nature through technology. The Living Pavilion itself speaks to these issues while creating a public space for us to build and use together.

Now as foreperson for this project I am tasked with getting all of you as excited as I am, or else it's going to be hard to pull this off. I'd like to give special thanks to our crew today: Misael Rojas, Zal Sayari, and Mr. & Mrs. Behin. And an extra special thanks to our architects Ann Ha and Behrang Behin who are working so hard to realize Figment's grand inspiration to build an infrastructure worthy of a place called the City of Dreams.

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