Intrepid Archtober-ites ventured to the site of the 1964-65 World’s Fair to explore a monument of the Space Age. The New York Hall of Science, a 90-foot-high undulating vertical structure designed by Wallace K. Harrison, was meant to create the illusion of floating in deep space. Cobalt glass shards stud the 5,400 coffers in the rippling wall, filtering sunlight into the interior and bathing it in an intense, blue glow. Ennead Architects associate Theresa O’Leary gave a detailed account of the extensive renovations that were made in preparation for the 50th anniversary of the World’s Fair . Together with Building Conservation Associates, the firm carefully surveyed the entirety of the structure and made repairs to the water-damaged concrete and rusted rebar. Biogrowth and atmospheric soiling, accumulated over the years, were cleaned off. 50 glass panels were replaced. While the renovation of the building is complete, the exterior landscaping is still a work in progress. Due to a history of drainage issues, plans to recreate the original hexagonal pool were scrapped in favor of greenery. Ennead is also working on an outdoor classroom for the school groups that visit the museum. We’ve moved past the Space Race, but the freshly scrubbed Hall of Science stands as a proud testament to its time.
Posts tagged with "New York Hall of Science":
We love all of our clients equally… but Dr. Alan Friedman we really, really loved. We should all be so fortunate as to work with someone as generous, curious, optimistic yet not unrealistic, trusting, and somehow always fun. BKSK worked with him on two ambitious permanent outdoor exhibits (collectively the NY Hall of Science Playground) approximately ten years apart, and in between were tapped for various smaller tasks. So lightning, for us, struck more than once. The beginning of any project was, following that metaphor, electrifying. His spark of inspiration for the first playground came on a trip to India, where he found an exhibit harnessing children’s full body play to demonstrate principles of physics. He envisioned it on a park-sized scale and empowered our team (Ivan & Jane Chermayeff, Lee Weintraub, Mattyias Levy, and Tian Fang Jing from Weidlinger Associates, among others) to engage in extreme brainstorming. His questions all involved content—“What does it teach? How can it engage a group of participants?” At his urging, our projects embraced the sun, sounds, water, and wind of the museum’s Flushing Meadow site. We feel sure that the other architects he engaged as the Hall of Science grew, including Ennead (then Polshek & Partners) and Beyer Blinder Belle, would say the same: that Alan was a tireless source of, and promoter of, ideas. Above all, he wanted us to make spaces that were themselves teaching tools. Under his guidance, the process of design itself was a full body and full mind experience, filled with surprise and delight. Joan Krevlin is a partner at BKSK Architects in New York City.
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A new installation at the NY Hall of Science celebrates DIY cultureThe recently opened Maker Space at the New York Hall of Science is just what its name implies—a place to make things. The initial installation is by Singer Sewing Company, which donated 18 sewing machines, a garment steamer, finishing iron, and other equipment that will teach children and families the basics of sewing and quilting. Programming will also include workshops about conductive fabrics and soft circuits that can be used in a range of applications. The space is a symbol of work that can come out of fostering a culture of scientific learning through hands-on projects. Designed and fabricated by Brooklyn-based Situ Studio, the Maker Space itself is contained within a plywood 3-pin arch structure based on themes of craft and assembly. “Situ Studio and the New York Hall of Science share the conviction that the act of making itself can and should become a generative part of both learning and design,” said Situ’s Wes Rozen at the opening. “We are thrilled to be able to work with the New York Hall of Science on Maker Space as it is a project which, in many ways, is the embodiment of these values.” Situ's structure arches over approximately 1,200 square feet within the Hall of Science's Central Pavilion, designed by Wallace Harrison for the 1964 World's Fair. The space includes a system of modular acoustical panels, display cases, and storage units that tie into the structure with a series of threaded perforations. Furniture units can be tucked under the structure if more floor space is needed for group activities. With approximately two months for research and schematic design, one month for design development (including sourcing materials and securing sponsorship of some products), and two months for fabrication and installation, Maker Space was realized in a tight time frame and on a limited budget. Situ’s greatest challenge was to develop the design quickly enough that production and installation could begin even before all of the major details had being resolved. Designing flexibility into the structure gave Situ additional time to develop the project. Maker Space was designed by Situ Studio and built by its sister company, Situ Fabrication. The teams worked fluidly between digital models and mock-ups from the very beginning of the project. Parametric models built in Grasshopper were quickly tested in full-scale mockups at all stages. The design embodies Situ's practice as a whole: With a well-equipped fabrication shop adjacent to its offices, projects are frequently developed through iterative models, material studies, prototypes, and full-scale mock-ups. Design ideas are always tested through physical experimentation at the studio. Maker Space was no exception—at one point, a full-scale arch reached across the office and bolted into a pin-up wall covered in drawings and renderings of the construction. Watch a video of the final installation here: Making Maker Space from Situ Studio on Vimeo. From a programmatic standpoint, the Hall of Science wanted a space that enhanced science learning and collaboration in a workshop environment that did not feel like a classroom. Situ's task was to create a structure that leant itself to a wide range of activities, from individual experiments to larger projects, without duplicating a school setting. To that end, the Maker Space structure is a pegboard that simultaneously supports the electrical, acoustical, storage, and display requirements of the space. It is flexible in case future uses call for reconfiguration. Similarly, the joinery of the interlocking arches is emphasized through the use of simple materials and exposed hardware. Openness and transparency were important aspects of the museum's goal for the design. The structure encourages passive observation by curious visitors, who can glimpse activities from the outside. Practically speaking, storage was another big requirement. The museum had to store and access all of the equipment and materials needed to run workshops inside Maker Space so that the environment could transition efficiently from hosting a bustling group of students to being a clean, quiet creative space. Double-sided units woven through the superstructure function as storage on the interior. Display units on the exterior now showcase work made by visitors within the workshop, which in the future will host sessions on topics ranging from soldering and circuitry to using open-source hardware.