High Hole-Y Days

Hou de Sousa is the winner of this year's Flatiron Plaza Holiday Design Competition

Hou de Sousa's colorful installation, Ziggy, was the winner of the 2019 Flatiron Public Plaza Holiday Design Competition. (Courtesy Van Alen Institute)

The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership and Van Alen Institute have just announced the winners and finalists of the 6th Annual Flatiron Public Plaza Holiday Design Competition. New York-based architecture, art, and design studio, Hou de Sousa, was chosen by a jury of ten designers, planners, and strategists for their project titled Ziggy, which will be installed in front of the iconic Manhattan skyscraper in time for the holiday season. 

The installation will be composed of painted rebar and 27,000 feet of iridescent cord shaped into a brightly-colored winding form, resulting in a lightweight structure that frames views of the Flatiron District’s landmarks while doubling as seating for visitors. 

a rendering of a multi-colored art installation located in a public plaza in new york city

Hou de Sousa’s colorful upcoming installation, Ziggy, frames views of the surrounding Flatiron District. (Courtesy Van Alen Institute)

“Hou de Sousa’s spectacular installation invites us to rethink how we interact with public space, and with one another,” said Deborah Marton, executive director of Van Alen Institute in a recent press release. “Through the clever use of transparent materials and open gateways, their design creates delightful and unexpected ways to connect with others.”

Partners Nancy Hou and Josh de Sousa have won numerous competitions over the past few years (hosted by Google, Friends of the High Line, Socrates Sculpture Park, and the Architectural League of New York, to name a few) for environmentally responsible work that “fosters public engagement and creativity,” in the words of Van Alen. The team partnered with Schlaich Bergermann Partner for structural engineering, and A05 Studio for steel fabrication. 

architectural models of new york's flatiron district sit on a table

A model of Besler & Sons Mini Souvenir City. (Courtesy Van Alen Institute)

The competition’s runner-up this year was Besler & Sons project Mini City Souvenir Plaza, which would have transformed the Flatiron Public Plaza into a “party scape of iconic buildings and experiences, populating the space with large-scale facades of nearby architecture.” The idea was that the facades surrounding the park would have been fabricated from post-consumer recycled plastics and reproduced in high detail. 

an rendering of a public design project shows people interacting with an installation located in a public square in new york city's flatiron district

Another finalist, Holiday Exchange, was designed by New Affiliates. (Courtesy Van Alen Institute)

Other projects that made it to the final round included Holiday Exchange by New Affiliates, Flatiron Portal by Only If, and Collective by Worrell Yeung

Ziggy will be installed on the Flatiron North Public Plaza at the intersection of Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and 23rd Street as a part of the Partnership’s “23 Days of Flatiron Cheer” programming. Weather permitting, it will be open to the public daily from November 18, 2019, through January 1, 2020.

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