Guests arriving at the preview of "Party Wall" by CODA, winner of the Young Architects Program (YAP) at MoMA PS1, on Thursday afternoon. Photo by Architizer.
Opening events in the field of architecture are usually quite pale, and the debut of CODA's "Party Wall," this year's winner of the Young Architects Program at MoMA PS1, was no exception. Yet, despite its routine-ness, there was, it seemed, a rare spirit of warmth, pride, even community in the crowd.
"This is the 14th anniversary of YAP," said MoMA PS1 Director Klaus Biesenbach, adding that this is the age when a child becomes a teenager and is no longer "excused" for youthful mishaps. And it's true: The program has grown up. As its graduates have gone on to succeed in other ventures, YAP has established itself a as major stepping stone for young practitioners.
"Party Wall" is, for many, the first time hearing of CODA, the atelier founded by Caroline O'Donnell. Its most striking aspect is its enormous size, along with its billboard aesthetic and crafty character. Simply, it is a steel-beam structure clad with woven wooden parts, leftovers of a skateboard manufacturer. Almost all the materials, O'Donnell said, were handed down to her in some way or another. Parts of the wall's cladding are skateboards-turned-into-chairs, which visitors can pull out for their use. The wall's thickness hides a number of tiny swimming pools, above which are giant boxing bags that serve as weights for the whole structure.
"I was surprised by how smoothly the whole installation went," O'Donnell said to Architizer. "We worked hard, but there was no panic at the end. I think it's a pretty aggressive thing, monstrous even, but we were happy to find out how intimate the inner space feels here—more than we imagined. There were things we had to let go and didn't build, but finally you have to understand what is important in the project and what's not. And actually I feel I like it quite a lot!"
CODA will remain installed and host PS1's Warm Up music series until September 7.
CODA's principal Caroline O'Donnell speaking at the PS1 preview
The tiny bathing pools in within Party Wall, ready for this summer's visitors.
Party Wall's skateboard cladding.
A young guest sitting on a skateboard-chair by CODA. All photos by Architizer