If approved, this terraced building will rise in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, bringing the neighborhood new office space for tech and creative companies—and momentarily interrupting its unceasing march of bland and boxy new apartments. The "Williamsburg Generator," as it has been dubbed, would be the neighborhood's first ground-up speculative office building in four decades—but it is not a done deal just yet because the Gensler and HWKN–designed building sits within an area zoned for manufacturing. The Wall Street Journal reported that the project's developer, Toby Moskovits, who heads the women-led Heritage Equity Partners, will seek a special permit to get the project approved. While it would include 20 percent light manufacturing, some are already saying it is not appropriate for the industrial-zoned area. This issue will certainly be hashed out when the project enters ULURP in the next few weeks. As for its design, the Generator's brick and glass exterior is intended to evoke the neighborhood's industrial past while still giving it that glassy, modern feel. According to a press release from the development team, the interior layouts will be flexible and modular to accommodate the startups that will populate its halls. A public passageway will also cut through the building's two main volumes.
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Last night, crowds of young architecture types filled the courtyard at MoMA PS1 in Queens to meet Wendy, this year's Young Architects Program winner by HWKN. Visible from the nearby elevated subway station and from the streets around MoMA PS1, Wendy is comprised of pollution-fighting fabric spikes set in a grid of scaffolding intersecting the concrete courtyard walls. Yesterday's crowds were given special access to the interior of the installation, revealing a complex structure of poles, fans, and misters that will cool visitors this summer. MoMA PS1 will host its annual Warm Up music series in the courtyard beginning on July 7, showcasing "the best in experimental live music, sound, performance, and DJs." Wendy will officially open to the public on July 1. Meanwhile, at a taxi garage across the street, small fragments of last year's installation by Interboro called Holding Pattern are still in use on the sidewalk. Click on a thumbnail to launch the slideshow.
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Wendy will eat the smog of the equivalent of 260 cars this summer"I cannot wait for the data to come in so we can show people," said Matthias Hollwich, a principal of the Manhattan-based architecture firm HWKN. Hollwich is talking about the air quality monitoring system that will be hooked up to Wendy, the 3,000 square-foot star-shaped pavilion HWKN is currently installing in the courtyard of MoMA PS1 for the annual Young Architect's Program. Because PS1's Kraftwerk exhibition occupied the museum's courtyard until May 14th, HWKN only had six weeks to build Wendy, which will not only house a pool, a misting station, a water canon, an elevated dj booth and an exhibition space, it will "eat" smog all summer long thanks to a special little ingredient called TiO2. Developed by Cristal, a titanium dioxide products manufacturer, and Glen Finkel at PURETi, TiO2 is a titanium nanoparticle that, when activated by the sun, engages in photocatalytic oxidation, a chemical process that safely and instantly oxidizes organic matter at the molecular level and converts it into water vapor and trace amounts of CO2. Since TiO2 is the catalyst, it's not consumed in the process. When it's applied to a building, a road or, in this case, a huge outdoor pavilion, its smog-fighting properties last for a minimum of five years. And because the water vapor washes away, the treated surfaces stay dramatically cleaner than their untreated counterparts. There are several brands of titanium dioxide coating on the market, but Finkel claims that PURETi's award-winning formula is the best because it doesn't come from a powder that’s mixed in or melted down, but from a liquid (99% water, 1% mineral content) so thin, clear and durable it can bond to virtually any surface, including fabric, glass and stone. It also requires less light to function than any known competitor, and is the only photocatalytic surface treatment known to work on the north side of a building in the shade. To maximize the surface area onto which TiO2 can be sprayed, HWKN created an intricate cluster of pointed shapes and employed structural engineers from Knippers Helbig, who worked for one month to develop a "totally reinvented" cross bracing system to hold the shape of the TiO2-treated PVC-based fabric from Botex(they were originally going to use nylon but it sags over time). “Normally when you have tensile structures it has a curve, and that has been done,” said Hollwich. “We wanted to do something formally different, so the cones are wrapped around the cross bracing which gives it its stealth form.” Surrounding Wendy with scaffolding was an aesthetic choice as much as it was a structural necessity. "The fabric is being pulled from the core to the edges and to be able to hold that edge we needed the scaffolding. The form of Wendy is also the structural system.” The whole framework is held in place by forty 5-foot-long temporary ground screws by Krinner that can be unscrewed in September when the pavilion is taken down. Using an equation based on the amount of nano particles sprayed onto Wendy, the estimated sun exposure and the average pollutants generated by local Long Island City traffic, HWKN calculated that over the course of the summer Wendy's paint job will clean up pollutants from the equivalent of 260 cars. If it sounds too good to be true, the only downside of TiO2 seems to be that it's expensive, though a little bit does go a long way—one gallon can cover 4,000 square feet. Still, at 70 cents per square-foot it's no surprise that Pureti's main clients aren't homeowners, but NASA and other large institutions like Los Angeles Community College, the 2015 Milan Expo, and office buildings in London. Hollwich sayid he's "surprised that the whole world isn't using it, because it's really magical," adding that he hopes the high visibility of Wendy will encourage more people to use TiO2 in everything from buildings and roads to textiles. In fact, MoMA will be selling t-shirts and totes sprayed down with TiO2, and after the summer programming is over Wendy herself will be cut apart and sewn into smog-fighting bags.
Facebook was aflame this morning with new renderings by HWKN (Hollwich Kushner) for Fire Island's notorious Pavilion, the entertainment complex that burned down last November. In January, it was reported in The New York Times that Diller Scofidio + Renfro were signed on to do the master plan for the marina, of which the Pavilion sits at the center and serves as the social hub. Amidst rumors that the complex's most recent owners, Andrew Kirtzman, Seth Weissman and Matthew Blesso, were more intent on selling the property than building there, the new renderings are a tantalizing tease of what could be. Indeed, the town center, such as it is, has always stood in humble contrast to high stylings of homes hidden behind thickets of bamboo. Architect and historian Christopher Rawlins, whose upcoming book on Horace Gifford highlights several houses in the Pines, noted that since the 1960s the marina was always well-used if utilitarian. The new complex would represent a definitive shift in the culture, both local and at large. "It would be the first instance of distinguished commercial architecture in a place that up to now has only had distinguished residential architecture," said Rawlins. In addition to Gifford, Andrew Geller, Harry Bates, and Earl Combs all built on the island. A reliable source told AN that the new designs would include prefab elements alongside the rough-hewn wood. The space would also be amenable for open air weddings as well as an air conditioned/soundproofed area for late night debauchery. Designs for the temporary structure for this season are reportedly being held up by permits, though HWKN certainly have their pavilion (lower p) cred through designs for PS1.
So you want to win the MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program? This year's champs Matthias Hollwich and Marc Kushner of HollwichKushner (HWKN) shared some insight about their strategy with AN. The competition started with an invited portfolio submission from about 20 young architects. After being selected by the MoMA PS1 panel as one of three finalists, HWKN started in with rigorous research into past winners and the selection process. "We made a book about every entry," Hollwich said. This study provided in-depth knowledge of the different approaches and forms which have won, and also those that have not been successful. The next step was a brainstorming session with their project team that produced 100 ideas. Those 100 were trimmed to 10, and then cut to three, but then Wendy, a striking scheme for a neon blue star, was added, making four. Once the final choice was made, a retroactive analysis helped to assure that they made the right choice and that the design had all the elements they were looking for. "It was not a linear process, but design never is," Kushner said. Wendy is a formal departure from recent winners. MOS' afterparty in 2009, Pole Dance by Solid Objectives - Idenburg Liu (SO - IL) from 2010, and Interboro's Holding Pattern from 2011 all worked as canopy-like structures spanning the courtyard, providing shade by creating spaces with overhead elements. Wendy is an object, and is more autonomous and isolated than previous entries. "I am interested in volume more than surface," Hollwich explained. The competing teams worked together in an unusual way. During the competition process, HWKN was in contact with the other teams regarding site information, which they felt helped create an even playing field between the competitors. As the only team from New York, HWKN assisted out of town firms with measurements and other on-site information. Upon being named winners, the other architects called to congratulate the HWKN team, said Hollwich. But then things got real. "High-speed architecture and prototyping have many hurdles. We are glad that we were already able to jump a couple of them," Hollwich explained. There was some unexpected drama when the question of ambulance access arose, requiring a column to be moved breaking the 3-D grid of scaffolding, but making for an interesting moment in Wendy's final form. A shout-out goes to the intern at HWKN who successfully convinced the leaders of the project to go with the name "Wendy." One late night in the studio, Hollwich received a long email detailing the reasons the name fit. He liked it, but figured Kushner would hate it. Kushner liked it, but thought Hollwich would hate it. "We think of Wendy as a kind of perfect storm, and every perfect storm is named for a woman." Personifying the building breaks with conventional architectural naming, and, the team hopes, invites visitors to fall in love. Construction begins May 15, and is set to be completed June 27th.
New York-based HWKN has been selected for this year's MoMA/PS 1 Young Architects Program. Their proposal, called "Wendy," uses standard scaffolding to create a visually arresting object that straddles the three outdoor rooms of the PS 1 courtyard. Tensioned fabric coated in smog-eating paint provides shelter and programming areas including a stage, shower, and misters. "Their proposal is quite attractive in a number of ways. It's very economical in terms of design," said Pedro Gadanho, the curator of contemporary architecture at MoMA. "One object creates a variety of programmatic and ecological conditions and its scale rivals the height of the PS 1 building." All the materials can be disassembled and reused, and according to Gadanho, the jury was particularly impressed with the combination of standardized parts (the scaffolding) and cutting edge technology (the smog-eating coating). "It's pro-active, it's not apologetic," he said. "It begins to point to a new way to think about sustainability." The designers, led by principals Matthias Hollwich and Marc Kushner and project architect Robert May, estimate the fabric will remove as much smog as taking 250 cars off the road. The pavilion will open in late June.