HWKN, the office of Marc Kushner and Matthias Hollwich (two of Architizer's four founders!), has won the final round of MoMA PS1’s Young Architects’ Program. They’re the 13th winners of the program, which honors a young practice by inviting them to design and build an outdoor installation in the courtyard of MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, Queens. The installations engage and cool the crowds of New Yorkers who flock to PS1 every summer for the center’s popular concert series, Summer Warm Up.
The winning design proposes a massive network of scaffolding on the site, supporting thousands of yards of a high-tech fabric treated with Titania nanoparticles. This stretchy blue fabric is the first of its kind: it “scrubs” air of pollution, using a technology developed by British designer Helen Storey and scientist Tony Ryan (a video about the duo's company, Catalytic Clothing, follows below). HKWN’s proposal – which they name “Wendy” -- is based on a simple equation: increase the amount of fabric on site and increase the air quality in the surrounding neighborhood. With that single-minded goal as a guide, the young office maximized every element of the design to increase the fabric’s surface area, giving Wendy her sure-to-be-iconic “starburst” shape. Programmatic zones sprout from her spindly blue arms – there are water cannons, an elevated DJ nook, as well as wading and misting zones. The office estimates that Wendy’s good deeds will be equivalent to removing 260 cars from the road.
The New York Times quotes MoMA's chief curator of architecture and design (and jury member) Barry Bergdoll, who says that Wendy is "pro-active, it’s not apologetic... It’s going to be amazing from the No. 7 train!"
We all have to wait a few more months for Wendy’s debut (sometime in June), but having seen the animation HWKN presented to the MoMA/PS1 jury this morning, it’s going to be worth it. Here’s to the many carbon-positive dance parties to come!