This year’s winner of the P.S. 1 Young Architects courtyard installation, Work Architecture Company, is infiltrating Queens with their Public Farm 1: ‘Sur les Paves la Ferme!’ – an urban farm/green pavilion. The theme/design of the installation is partially a play on the ever popular ‘urban beach‘ – arguing instead that a public space can be created that serves as a leisure zone and as a productive, functional space serving the community as both a farm and marketplace.
Since its inception, PS1 has brought together, year after year, the best of summer fun with the latest and greatest in art, music and architectural experimentation. While celebrating invention, the summer structures have provided the necessary shade, seating and water requirements – as well as spatially organizing PS1â€™s courtyard to create various zones of gathering and program. Every intervention has expanded upon the Warm-Upâ€™s essential DNA (going back to Philip Johnson): the celebrated â€˜Urban Beach.â€™
Throughout the twentieth century, â€˜the beachâ€™ has embodied popular dreams of pleasure and liberation. From the first labor paid holidays – which led to the beachâ€™s invasions by blue and white striped bathing suits – to the famous slogan of May 1968 â€˜Sous les Paves la Plageâ€™, reaching the beach was synonymous with reclaiming a lost paradise [from Work AC].
The installation will be created by folding + elevating what would normally be a farm’s ground plane – so that the vegetation because something that you experience from below, while at the same time acting as a giant sunshade for the pavilion. The planters themselves are simple cardboard tubes [detail below] – some as large as 3 feet in diameter – bolted together in [loosely] sets of seven, where a central tube is left open and the six surrounding tubes are planted [some tubes will contain additional items, such as sound equipment].
The result is an almost textile-like creation that hovers over the space, filtering light through the various open tubes and plant life to create a dynamic setting for community interaction. This playfulness with light is a recurring theme in these yearly installations – but Work is really raising the bar by using this exciting architectural move to create functional and [hopefully] important space. The project will both function as a farm and community magnet while it inhabits the courtyard as this year’s installation, and [with any luck] serve to educate the community on the importance of creating spaces to produce natural food locally.
For [Dan] Wood [principal of Work AC] the design is both political and personal. â€œWeâ€™re interested in the slow food movement, in the local food movement, and I grew up on a farm,â€ he said. The entry also had a deep personal resonance with PS1 director Alanna Heiss. “It is quite possible that I am the only museum director in New York City who actually owns a farmâ€”about two hundred acres outside of Sioux Falls, South Dakota,â€ she said in a statement. â€œTo receive this extraordinarily seductive visual version of a farm at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center struck deep into my rural roots. I can’t wait!” [from The Architect's Newspaper].
What I’m looking forward to learning more about is how ‘farm like’ this project actually is. I realize that it is more farm in concept than actuality, but I still hope to find out that the installation is producing some crops to be harvested/picked by the community – even if it’s simply a couple of tomatoes and green beans.
Last year’s P.S. 1 Young Architects courtyard installation on ArchitectureMNP:
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