The short history of the MoMA PS1 Young Architect's Program is rich, and the list of past winners is an excellent cross-section view of the last 15 years of architecture. Many winners, such as SHoP, SO-IL, and HWKN, have gone on to achieve mega-success. However, there are gems to be found in the list of runners-up as well—brilliant proposals that didn't steal the spotlight that year, but were interesting nonetheless. Moreover, there are some notable names hidden in the past submissions.
Here are the standouts of the 2014 runners-up that we believe will become part of the MoMA/PS1 Young Architects Program's secondary history.
Collective-LOK, led by Jon Lott, William O’Brien Jr., and Michael Kubo, is a relatively new collective of young architects from Boston and Syracuse. They recently won a commission to redesign the Van Alen Institute.
Their submission, Mirror Mirror, proposed redefining the wall of PS1's courtyard as an urban mirror. The edges of the triangular space are lifted to make it visible, then used to frame a shimmering surface of mirror tiles; each tile is customized with an inscription of 140 characters, collected through a crowd-sourcing campaign to create engagement and investment in the public. A hole in the center of the wall provides a place of contemplation.
The interaction doesn't stop there: from a gravel mound, viewers gain a direct view over the courtyard wall, while the hill also accommodates tiered seating for events. A colonnade of wooden beams at the perimeter houses a variety of hanging elements to cool and entertain visitors, including mist, showers, buoys, and swings.
This proposal, entitled Underberg, is an "urban iceberg" that addresses an important question: "Wouldn't it be nice to save a little cold for when it’s hot (and maybe a little warmth for when it’s cold)?" The crevasses of the Underberg, reminiscent of the avenues and streets of the gridiron, create a magically urban world under the ice.
A barrel vault ceiling directs visitors toward the stage and the museum, while under a large rotunda, a "glacial lake" collects. Fifty-foot Rohn towers hold the entire form off the ground with cables in an adapted tensegrity frame. The poles that appear to give "structure" to the design actually facilitate the intake and exhaust of air that keeps the courtyard cool.
The project remains sustainable through a combination of reuse and low-embodied energy. Even though the Tyvek (an extremely low-embodied energy material) used in the project could feasibly be recycled, a second life was envisioned for the graphic wrapper: repurposing by American Apparel as a limited collection of winter coats and jackets.
Pita + Bloom is the Los Angeles-based collaboration of Florencia Pita and Jackilin Hah Bloom. Fun fact: Bloom is the owner of the "Bloom House," Greg Lynn's fantastic 2012 design.
Balloon Frame is a design inspired by pop culture, local street art, and the vivid perceptual experience of watching parade balloons. Ten intersecting vertical planes form a series of “frames” and doorways, creating an immersive experience. The project makes use of basic materials in innovative, contemporary fabrication techniques; like actual “balloon frames,” this project focuses on speedy, lightweight construction, using a prefabricated structure of steel embedded within reusable honeycomb torsion panels.
Fake Industries Architectural Agonism is the project of Cristina Goberna and Urtzi Grau, based mainly in New York (and occasionally Sydney). They generate architecture through copies, including the partial reconstruction of Ai Wei Wei's studio that was torn down by the Chinese government.
Through the analysis of New York party spaces, such as bars, lofts, clubs, and mixed-use locations, Fake Industries concluded that spectacular architecture is not necessary to start, ignite, or boost a successful celebration. In Rooms: No Vacancy, they opt instead for a "mostly atmospheric (light, sound, music)" or body-related (alcohol, drugs, sex) approach to this party space. A grid of 16x16x16-foot rooms offer a variety of atmospheres, groups, conversations, etc., achieved through "activating devices" with alluring names like the Mountain, the Music Room, the Fog, the Bed Net, the Chamber, the Hole, the Shadows, and the Curtain. A collection of secret capsules provide darker intimate spaces for the enjoyment of the braver—or shyer—section of the public.