P.S.1’s Indigenous Courtyard

By kristin

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Tucked away in the often-forgotten area of Long Island City, Queens, stands the Museum of Modern Art’s younger exhibitionist sibling known as P.S.1. Since the art center became affiliated with the MoMA in 2001, the space has been dedicated to building its reputation as a true artistic laboratory, where the building’s spaces transform into site-specific art. One of the ways P.S.1 has done this is through its annual Young Architect’s Program, where emerging architects compete for the chance to transform P.S.1’s courtyard into their own personal architectural playground.
This past weekend I headed to P.S.1 to see what the esteemed team behind MOS created for the 10th anniversary of the competition program. I thought last year’s urban farm concept by the WORK Architecture Company would be hard to surpass since it’s lush landscape and flowing pools perfectly balanced the active Warm Up crowd. However, MOS’ “afterparty” structure proved to be a perfect example of this new conceptual movement of “dwelling design,” where climate management, spatial differentiation and efficient use of materials are used to craft an indigenous structure for the 21st century.

Reflecting the need to cut costs, MOS used a lightweight aluminum frame made from recyclable parts to support a series of tall hut-like chimneys with dark thatched skin. Fashioned after Bedouin tents, this layout allowed for climate control through an inexpensive and passive means. Cool air from the thermal mass of the courtyard’s shaded concrete walls and concrete water troughs located in the center of the structure were drawn up through a series of cooling chimneys by induction, creating a breeze. Additionally, the thick, weaved skin allowed some light and air to circulate but still produce enough shade to keep visitors cool.

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MOS’ “afterparty” landscape will be on view at P.S.1 until September 28th, 2009

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