What does it mean to build a museum that lasts for only a week? That’s the challenge faced by the architects and designers who create the structures that house the world’s ever-expanding ecosystem of art fairs—pop-up culture and commerce destinations that bring together hundreds of international galleries and thousands of moneyed collectors from around the globe for little more than a weekend at a time. One of the most prestigious of these shows is Frieze, an offshoot of the London magazine that now boasts fairs in London, New York, and, soon, Los Angeles. And each iteration is no small feat—with more than 40,000 visitors expected over the course of its run, Frieze New York, which is open to the public from May 4 through May 6, attracts more visitors in a weekend than some regional museums do in an entire year. “Normally, you build a building, you open it and that’s it,” says Richard McConkey, associate director at Universal Design Studio—the interiors-minded London architecture firm founded by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby. UDS designed this year’s tent on Randall’s Island and has collaborated with Frieze on its flagship London fair since 2014. In their first design for the New York fair, UDS took lessons from four editions of Frieze London to drastically rethink the exhibition space. And while the massive white tent may look familiar from the outside, the feeling inside is completely different—more like walking through a series of galleries than a wide-open convention center—and that’s precisely the point. Unlike permanent architecture, McConkey says, the design process of these temporary structures is endless, as each year’s iteration yields new learning to be applied to the following fair. It also provides the added pressure of having some the world’s most important contemporary art galleries under one roof, meaning the structure needs to function just as well as a permanent building would for the course of its run——”as much as you can in a tent,” jokes McConkey—even though it goes from “green to built” in just five or six weeks. In the five years that the fair has taken place on New York’s Randall’s Island, the tent that houses the exhibition had expanded to break two Guinness World Records, one for the largest single-unit marquee and the other for the biggest temporary stage in the world. But for this year’s edition of the New York fair, the team at UDS took a more subtle approach to the space with a brief to eschew the continuous, snaking structure of past fairs for something that felt more intimate, despite spanning some 300,000 square feet. They devised the plan by thinking from the inside out, creating a series of connected buildings that flow one into the next, with blue-chip galleries anchoring the crossroads. Within the space, many of the details are left to the galleries, who choose from a menu of options on everything from wall color to lighting to flooring (the most common area where galleries upgrade, where a specific surface might be needed to accommodate things like sculpture). “The fair is just here as an infrastructure for the galleries,” McConkey explains, coyly underplaying the importance of the structure that makes it all possible. “Our job as architects is to get people here, get the flow going, and get out of the way.” But, that means everything needs to work, down to considerations like the orientation of windows and outdoor spaces, to make sure no direct sunlight ever hits the work on display within the light-filled space. In addition to interior concerns, UDS moved the pavilion closer to the river and reoriented the entrances to enhance natural light and connection to the context of the island—all while understanding that come the end of the fair, no trace could be left behind, not even damage to a tree. Further reducing the structure’s impact on the environment is the fact that it is largely comprised of rented modular units, “a kit of parts, like Lego,” McConkey says. In fact, custom components account for less than ten percent of the structure—mainly the large-scale clerestory windows—a move that does more than cut back on budget, it also means the most pieces, down to the walls that separate the galleries, will be put in storage after disassembly and used again for similar structures by UDS and other firms. And then it’s right back to the drawing board. As for the next Frieze iteration, says McConkey, it “starts as soon as this thing ends.”
Posts tagged with "Randall's Island":
New York opens the Randall’s Island Connector, linking the South Bronx to one of New York City’s best parks
South Bronx cyclists, skateboarders, and pedestrians now have easy access to Randall's Island, one of New York's largest recreation areas. Initiated by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) in 2013, the Randall’s Island Connector opened this Saturday, November 14. https://vimeo.com/145758427 The quarter mile greenway extends over the Bronx Kill at East 132nd Street in Port Morris and under an Amtrak bridge to link Randall's Island to the South Bronx. The paths will give cyclists and pedestrians an alternative to the cumbersome access via the RFK Bridge. See the video above for a complete tour of the new route. At some points, only 50 feet of water separate the South Bronx from Randall's Island's 400 acres of green space. Due to circuitous access routes, many area residents do not know about or are unable to get to the island easily. The Randall's Island Connector is part of the South Bronx Greenway, a publicly funded initiative to create connected park space in the South Bronx while broadening access to green spaces borough-wide. The connector brings the borough, and the city, a step closer to their vision of building holistic green systems in an underserved area.
The New York Restoration Project (NYRP), a non-profit founded by Bette Midler in 1995 to support public space, has unveiled its vision for a greener, cleaner, artsier, bike-friendlier, and overall healthier South Bronx. The master plan, known as the Haven Project, was created with a range of stakeholders including community groups, designers, and health professionals “to promote physical activity, improve pedestrian safety, and increase social interaction in neighborhoods saddled with some of the city’s heaviest industrial uses and suffering from high rates of poverty, diabetes, asthma and obesity.” The master plan would see the creation of a new waterfront park along 134th street, and bike and pedestrian paths that feed into the upcoming Randall’s Island Connector, which will run between the Bronx and the open spaces of Randall’s Island. A pier on the river would be also redeveloped to “protect the neighborhood and industries from storm surge and foster waterfront recreation.” Conceptual renderings of the new public spaces in the Bronx were drawn up by the Denver-based landscape architecture firm Civitas and include a series of public art installations. The master plan also calls for the implementation of green infrastructure and landscaping throughout the South Bronx, starting with the planting of 800 trees in Mott Haven this year. An NYRP official told Capital that the nonprofit hopes to break ground on the pier redevelopment in 2017. But, as the publication noted, for that to happen, the NYRP will have to navigate through a series of land use and landmark issues, as ownership at the site is unclear and includes two landmarked gantries. But, importantly, the plan has support from local community leaders and a host of city, state, and federal officials. Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story said the NYRP was founded in 1955, it was founded in 1955.
Archtober Building of the Day #5 Sportime/John McEnroe Tennis Academy One Randall's Island RZAPS - Ricardo Zurita Architecture & Planning, P.C. Archtober enthusiasts ventured to Randall’s Island—many of us for the very first time—to visit Sportime/John McEnroe Tennis Academy, a tennis facility, designed by Ricardo Zurita Architecture and Planning, that includes 20 courts, a clubhouse, and a stadium on less than four acres. As the architect of the master plan for Randall’s Island, Ricardo Zurita offered a quick history lesson at the start of the tour. Once a center for social service facilities, the island remains home to two psychiatric hospitals, a fire academy, and a water treatment plant, in addition to more than 400 acres of parkland. Zurita admitted to calling it Rikers Island once early in his career, perhaps to quell our embarrassment at leaving it off of the first three Archtober maps. The fieldhouse is composed of six pre-engineered units by Butler Manufacturing that were cleverly altered to suit the space’s needs. An offset of a mere six degrees between the clubhouse unit and the five interior courts breaks up the structure and creates a viewing plane within the space. What might have been a dark and narrow corridor linking the public clubhouse area to administrative offices becomes an airy mezzanine space perfect for observing the action on the courts below. Although the structure is made up of six nearly identical units, the clubhouse space is visually set off from the courts by its slight angle, as well as the zippy green of its exterior. The section of the building that houses playing courts is painted in light blue, with seemingly random pale green stripes that, in fact, map the motion of a tennis ball as it bounces. The other three groups of five courts each are available for outdoor play part of the year. Starting in October, they are enclosed by giant inflated bubbles connected to the angular building. Zurita commented, “I always like that juxtaposition of the white soft fabric against the bright green geometric structure.” A flexible setup for the exhibition court provides stadium seating and terraces for viewing. Julia Cohen is the Archtober Coordinator at the Center for Architecture.
Hell's Gate. Gothamist reports that the NYC Economic Development Corporation is planning to spruce up a trail beneath the Hell's Gate Bridge railroad trestle on Randall's Island. The pedestrian and bike path will eventually connect to the South Bronx Greenway. Portlandia Greenway. A multi-use path planned since 2004 is finally getting underway in Portland, according to Bike Portland. The South Waterfront Greenway Trail might not feature those great archways from the Hell's Gate Bridge, but it does offer another innovation: separated pedestrian and bike paths. Biking JFK. Golden Gate Park could be much more bikable this spring. StreetsBlog says a bright green dedicated, bi-directional bike lane is planned along San Francisco's John F. Kennedy Drive and will eventually connect western neighborhoods with downtown and park attractions. Have you're say. The Brooklyn Greenway Initiative and the Regional Plan Association are hosting a visioning workshop for a planned greenway in Red Hook, Brooklyn. You can voice your suggestions for the Columbia Street Waterfront Park tomorrow, February 2 at 6:30PM.
If you thought the 2009 NYC Firefighter “Hunks” Calendar was hot, take a look at the FDNY’s newest training tool: the nation’s only high-rise fire simulator. Unveiled last Thursday at the FDNY’s High Rise Operations Symposium, the $4.2 million simulator on the department’s Randall’s Island training facility mimics conditions the city's firefighters face when battling fires several stories up. Funded largely by actor Denis Leary's The Leary Firefighters Foundation, the brick building contains mock elevators, a smoke system and standpipes, according to the Daily News. A video and more photos after the jump.