Holding Pattern is Interboro’s winning submission to MoMA PS1′s 2011 Young Architects Program. It is a project for MoMA PS1′s courtyard that opened to the public on June 19th 2011.
To create Holding Pattern, Interboro asked the museum’s neighbors the following question: Is there something you need that we could design, use in the courtyard during the summer, and then donate to you when Holding Pattern is deinstalled in the fall?
Interboro talked to taxi management companies, libraries, high schools, senior and daycare centers, community gardens, a post office, and dozens of other Long Island City–based institutions, trying to make matches between things the neighborhood needed and things MoMA PS1′s courtyard needed for the summer. The result is an eclectic collection of objects—including mirrors, ping-pong tables, a lifeguard chair, a rock-climbing wall, and eighty-four trees—that enhance the experience of the courtyard and strengthen connections between MoMA PS1 and its surroundings. In the fall of 2011, a total of seventy-nine objects and eighty-four trees will be donated to more than fifty organizations in Long Island City and beyond.
While being “held” in MoMA PS1’s courtyard during the summer of 2011, the collection of objects is disposed under a canopy of ropes and retractable sails, strung from MoMA PS1’s wall across the courtyard to the building’s parapet. Connecting the edges of the courtyard, the canopy reveals the very odd, idiosyncratic shape of the space, in the same way that Hugh Ferris’s drawings reveal the potential of New York City’s 1916 zoning code. From the ground, the experience is of a soaring hyperboloid surface.
The design incorporates for the first time the entire space of MoMA PS1’s courtyard under a single column-free structure, creating an unobstructed environment for the interactions between visitors of the art center, the Warm Up concert series, and a new series of neighborhood events. (As Holding Pattern is about strengthening connections between MoMA PS1 and Long Island City, Interboro invited organizations in the neighborhood to make use of MoMA PS1’s courtyard for programs of their own making. The events include B-Boy Workshops, Ballet Workshops with LIC School of Ballet, Readings with the Queens Library, A Senior Summer Mixer and a Traditional Irish Music and Dance Workshops with New York Irish Center).
Holding Pattern’s “eclectic collection of objects” are aggregated in the MoMA PS1 Courtyard according to their material properties. Holding Pattern includes a Tree Room, a Rec Room, and a Mirror Room. Each room has very distinct—though very compatible—sensory properties.
To accommodate the multiple requests for trees, the courtyard’s side gallery houses 60 red oaks, donated by the New York Restoration Project, who will plant the trees around the neighborhood when Holding Pattern is deinstalled in the fall. This “tree room” features a maze of trees planted in mulch within a retaining wall of straw bales, creating a shaded environment much different than the adjacent courtyard. A discussion with Long Island City School of Ballet revealed a need for mirrors for the expanding school. Interboro incorporated these mirrors into the design by creating a fun house-like atmosphere in the smallest room of the courtyard. The “rec room”—an open area comprising the main part of the courtyard—is a large, column-free space that both provides adequate shade and accommodates the large amount of visitors attending the Warm Up performances. The large rec room includes benches, picnic tables, a lifeguard chair, rock-climbing wall, ping-pong table, pools, foosball table, and a sandbox.
The above text was provided by Interboro Partners.
Holding Pattern not only creates an intimate, social, and distinct space within the parameters of MoMA PS1 but also has a beautiful approach to the pre-design process with a holistic and pragmatic consideration for the context and people of the neighborhood. The project shows the good of design and how design can be thoughtful while still achieving other known objectives of design such as functionality, form, and aesthetics. The project deserves to be commended for its understanding of “socialness” within two layers. One layer is the social responsibility component. Interboro was able to recognize needs outside of the confines of the PS1 space and listen to the community. Their effective listening skills will provide the community with usable items at the end of the exhibition simultaneously creating a more enduring enhancement to the area. The second layer of socialness is the ability to create usable social space as a gathering space. A space that facilitates social interactions while also engaging the users to better experience architecture, design, and art.
Text by Justin Allen, August 24th 2011